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ALHAMDULLILAH

Thursday, October 24, 2013

There's just something about what I call the 'Allah' words that cannot be replicated in any language but the original, nor their flavor in the context of any culture but an Islamic one.

The 'Allah' words are just that - Arabic words that praise Allah, or invoke Allah, or forbid in the name of Allah. They're the Islamic equivalent of 'Oh my God' or 'Jesus Christ' or what have you that Americans spit out on the daily. And like those little phrases, in Indonesia you'll hear an 'astagfirullah' or 'alhamdullilah' about every couple of sentences, if not more frequently.

Astagfirullah is for situations when you want to remove blame from yourself, taunt a friend for their ungodliness, or hopefully forbid something from happening altogether. Alhamdullilah is a prayer of thanks to God, while masha'Allah expresses more specific joy and appreciation, while protecting from bad luck and preventing jinxes. Finally, insha'Allah tells you that something will happen - but on God's time, not necessarily yours.



There are many, many, many more Allah words, like Allahu Akbar (God is great), and subhan'Allah (the closest translation might be 'hallowed is thy name') but, at least in Indonesia, none are quite so prolific as the main four.

I love these words because they're powerful. An 'alhamdullilah' can be drawn out on nearly every syllable. 'alhaAAAAAAMMMDUUUUULLIILAAAAAAHHHH' - screaming it when I found out that a scholarship application I was worried about was due 15 days later than I thought was so much more satisfying than going for a 'thank God!', or even a 'SWEET BABY JESUS, THANK YOU, OH LORDY', although the power of the second can't really be denied, and I can't exactly say I haven't used it before.

There's just something about them. Maybe it's the novelty, or the little reminder of Indonesia every time I get shoved in the hall and think 'astagfirullah', the way I always think back to my friend Farah when the word 'masha'Allah' comes to mind.

All I can say is that I miss hearing the 'Allah' words and being understood, not given weird looks, when shouting them to the heavens.



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I'm Sara, the freckled bule, one out of eight of the coolest people in the world. I spent a year in Indonesia as a KL/YES Abroad student but now I live in Boise, Idaho. Welcome to my bloggity blog.

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