These words, Allahu wa Akbar, part of the vernacular of daily recitals of Muslims around the globe, have different and significant meanings if uttered outside a Mosque. Below is a simple guide to enlighten you:

  • If under duress, Allahu wa Akbar adopts the western meaning of “Oh! My God”. (i.e. Syrians watching someone die).
  • If in prayer times or reflections, Allahu wa Akbar adopts its Koranic meaning of “God is Great”.
  • If in anger, both observant and extremist Muslims use Allahu wa Akbar alike to express its Koranic meaning of “God is Great”.
  • If victorious, Allahu wa Akbar could either mean “Oh! My God” or “God is Great” (i.e. Depending on what the victory means. In general, Syrian fighters mean it as “Oh! My God”).
  • If singing, Allahu wa Akbar adopts the western meaning of “Hallelujah”.
  • If chanting against someone or something, Allahu wa Akbar adopts the western meaning of “I blame you”.
  • If chanting in anger, Allahu wa Akbar means “I blame you, God is Great”.
  • If celebrating a wedding, Allahu wa Akbar adopts the western meaning of “Congratulations”.
  • If a boy is born, Allahu wa Akbar adopts the western meaning of “Thank God”.
  • If a girl is born, Allahu wa Akbar is rarely chanted or mentioned (No kidding).
  • During all other times, Allahu wa Akbar is used as a statement of identity to mean “God is Great”.

Next time you hear those three words uttered by a Muslim, analyze the context to understand its meaning. The vibration of the voice, the geography, the state of mind, and/or the people affected or inflicted all make quite a difference in the meaning of the words.

After all, there is a world of difference if you hear your neighbor, a member of your family, or your boss say “Oh! My God”, “Congratulations”, or “I Blame You”.

Allahu wa Akbar meaning for non-Muslim Dummies

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