Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Islam Glossary: Inshallah, or Insha'Allah Share Flipboard Email Print Cairo Prepares For Obama's Middle East Speech. David Silverman/Getty Images Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Important Principles Prayer Salat Prophets of Islam The Quran Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr Hajj and Eid Al Adha By Pierre Tristam Political Journalist B.A., Politics and History, New York University Pierre Tristam is an award-winning writer who covers Middle East, foreign affairs, immigration, and civil liberties. He has been writing for more than 20 years. our editorial process Pierre Tristam Updated February 07, 2019 Inshallah is an Arabic expression that means "God willing," or "if God wills it." It is a conjunction of the Arabic word for God (Allah) and the Arabic words for his will. Inshallah is one of the most common expressions, or verbal appendages, in the Arab world and beyond it. Persian, Turkish and Urdu speakers, among others, use the expression liberally. Although it's been claimed to be an essentially Islamic expression ("Do not say of anything, 'I will do it tomorrow,' without adding, 'If God wills,'" one reads in the Koran, surah 18, verse 24), "Inshallah" is more accurately understood as a Middle Eastern, and especially Levantine, expression. Its enthusiastic utterers include Lebanon's Maronite and Orthodox Christians, Egypt's Copts, and the region's occasional - if unadvertised - atheists. An Increasingly Common Phrase "But there has been inshallah creep, to the extreme," The New York Times reported in 2008. "It is now attached to the answer for any question, past, present, and future. What's your name, for example, might be answered, "Muhammad, inshallah." [...] Inshallah has become the linguistic equivalent of the headscarf on women and the prayer bump, the spot where worshipers press their foreheads into the ground during prayers, on men. It has become a public display of piety and fashion, a symbol of faith and the times. Inshallah has become a reflex, a bit of a linguistic tic that has attached itself to nearly every moment, every question, like the word “like” in English. But it is a powerful reference, intended or not."