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The phrase means "O [name]". Literally, the word Yā means O (a vocative, signifying a direct address to a person). It is a common prefix used by Arabs to call each other. Someone named Zaid will be addressed in Arabic as Yā Zaid.
Use in Various Parts of the World
Muslims regularly uses this phrase or Ya Rasullallah (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassalam) to call the Prophet in distress. They take this from the Quran, Hadees and from the usage of companions of Prophet of Islam.
Use to Call a stranger
In Saudi Arabia, Yā Muḥammad is used to address a stranger in order to begin a conversation. It is considered one of the polite and respectful ways to address a stranger, as Muhammad is considered as the most respectful name anyone can be called, hence its popularity among Muslims worldwide.
Request for strength
Ya Ali is mostly used as a request for strength by the Shia and Shia in the phrase Ya Ali Madad (یا علی مدد, O! Ali, help!). Ali is established as the strongest bravest chivalrous warrior that fought with the prophet, and he is also an Imam by Shia School of thought, and he is the one of the rightly guided Caliph by Sunni School of thought among Muslims. There is a tradition of using these phrases as slogans in religious gatherings meant to increase one's level of morale and also in situations demanding religious passion. For example, two or more people having to lift a weight and would say یا علی مدد aloud (mostly in the subcontinent).
Remembrance of Muharram
During the Remembrance of Muharram, spontaneous slogans of Ya Hussain, Ya Ali and Ya Rasulullah "Messenger of God!" are very common. On such occasions, the slogans are mostly demonstrations of strong support.
- "Ya Ali Ya Muhammad". F.I.E.L.D - First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database. A Project of the Heritage Society. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
- "Proclaiming the words 'Ya RASOOLALLH'". Islamic Academy, 1251 Shiloh Rd. Plano TX 75074. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
- "CONCEPT OF NIDAA YA RASOOLALLAH (CALLING OH MESSENGER OF ALLAH)". Usmani Mosque, 308 St Saviours Road, Leicester LE5 4HJ. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
- Sir Henry Yule; Arthur Coke Burnell (1903). Crooke, William, ed. Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive (The University of Michigan ed.). J. Murray. p. 419. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
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