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Mā shāʼ Allāh (Arabic: ما شاء الله) is an Arabic phrase that expresses appreciation, joy, praise or thankfulness for an event or person that was just mentioned. Towards this, it is used as an expression of respect, while at the same time serving as a reminder that all accomplishments are considered by Muslims to be achieved by the will of Allah. It is generally said upon hearing good news.
In some Muslim cultures, people may utter this phrase in the belief that it may help protect them from jealousy, catching the evil eye, or jinxing. In Islamic aqeeda (matters that are believed with certainty) it is known that protection comes only from Allah.
The triliteral of shāʼ is sh-y-ʼ 'to will', a doubly weak root. The literal English translation is "God has willed it", the present perfect of God's Will accentuating the essential Islamic doctrine of belief in destiny, qadar.
Person A: I have just become a father!
Person B: Ma shaʼAllah!
Person A: Your house is beautiful, mashaʼAllah!
Person B: Jazakallah Khair!
Among non-Arabic peoples
The phrase has also found its way into the colloquial language of many non-Arabic peoples, such as Persians, Turks (who say "maşallah"), Kurds, Bosniaks, Azeris, Chechens, Avars, Circassians and other Muslim peoples of the Caucasus, Tatars, Albanians and Muslims and Urdu-speakers of South Asia (who say "Masha'Allah"), and some of the peoples of the Balkans who once lived under Turkish rule, including some who are not of the Islamic faith: Serbians, Bulgarians and Macedonians say "машала" ("mašala"), often in the sense of "a job well done". Greeks use the word similarly. In the vernacular form of Cypriot Greek speakers invoke Masha'Allah in a similar fashion to Turks. the practice of saying this word is also present in in eastern Africa specifically the horn of Africa where it is used by the local Muslim people of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
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