Recently I read a Facebook post of one of my non-Muslim friends who was celebrating a turn for the better in her son’s health. Many of the comments read, “Praise God.”
This made me pause. And re-read. And think. And after a bit, I understood why I had been confused.
You’re thinking, “Of course she should Praise God that her son’s health is improving.” And I say to you, OF COURSE. PRAISE GOD!!
So now you’re even more confused: why, then, did this phrase make me do a double take?
It made me do a double take because it is so rare that I hear non-Muslims use that term. So rare, in fact, that probably I’ve only heard it used in similar contexts, expressing gratefulness for a hardship that has eased or passed. But Muslims don’t limit their Praises of God to just passing of hardships. We say it in almost every occasion.
Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah is Arabic for Praise God. Someone asks you how you are, you say, “Praise God.” You’ve just been released from the hospital: Praise God. You’ve arrived safely after a long trip: “Alhamdulillah.” You’ve just been in an accident: “Alhamdulillah.” You’ve just received horrible news: “Alhamdulillah.” You were denied the promotion that you KNOW you deserve: “Alhamdulillah.”
We Praise God always…ALWAYS…because we believe that God rewards the patient. Accepting hardships with an Alhamdulillah gets us one step closer to Paradise.
I’m sure many non-Muslims do the same; the similarities between all of us who believe in One God are much more than our differences.
Another term you’ll hear Muslims say like it’s going out of style is ‘in sha’ Allah.’ ‘In sha’ Allah’ simply means ‘God willing.’ Why do we say it so often? Because it is one of the six pillars of faith to believe in destiny, that our lives are pre-ordained and nothing happens without God’s will.
Now, contrary to ‘Praise God,’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard a non-Muslim say ‘God willing.’ Actually, once. Once I heard it being said. In the USA, I used to worked with a young man who came from Haiti, and I was pleasantly surprised when he said to me one day, “Don’t you think it’s strange that people here always make plans but they never say, ‘God willing?’ In Haiti we ALWAYS say it.”
So when you hear the Muslims around you say ‘in sha’ Allah,’ they’re not saying anything strange; they’re just affirming their faith that nothing happens without God’s will.