Hall 1101-351


Nagmadeen Muthanna

Carrie Hall

English 1101

26 october 2018

Allahu Akbar

       “Allahu Akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu Akbar”. What went through your mind? Was it a terrorist attack, someone flying a plane into a building or a terrorist bombing structures. Allahu Akbar means God is the greatest. I grew up saying “Allahu Akbar” many times a day. And no, I wasn’t a terrorist. I wasn’t someone who blew up buildings, killed people or shot a missile from my rocket launcher. When this word is used, Americans tend to believe something bad is about to happen. Most Americans are terrified of this phrase.


          When Muslims scream “Allahu akbar” they are referring to whatever is happening in accordance to Allah’s will. When a person graduates from school, his/her family is going to yell allahu akbar, which shows happiness. When mourning, Allahu Akbar would signify God will of this person’s death. Before going to war, Allahu Akbar would signify the results occur according to God will, and God is with you no matter whatever happens. Before an exam, a Muslim may say Allahu akbar and this would imply that I studied, I worked hard. I will score well if Allah wills, and if I don’t then it is not for me to argue, Allah most likely has a plan.


        I was on the line to go to Saudi Arabia at JFK airlines. I was on the phone with my mother and she told me to make takbeer. As a normal thing to do i said Allahu Akbar. After hanging up the phone,  I instantly felt the stares on my back. I realized “Allahu Akbar,”

Muthanna 2

a phrase I so casually used, meant something dramatically different for those who heard it. As a Muslim, “Allahu Akbar” coming from my lips signaled that I was a potential terrorist threat. The feeling of guilt began to set in, even though I knew I did not do or say anything wrong.


       I went to Saudi Arabia to do umrah ( a prayer performed in Saudi Arabia to remove your minor sins from the previous and upcoming year). If you walk towards the kaaba (most sacred place) which is in the center of Saudi Arabia great mosque. You would only hear one word repeated by millions of people. “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, allahu akbar” you get goosebumps from just hearing this word. I was speechless, I felt safe and closer to god then I have ever. Just repeating this word makes you want to cry because you know god is watching over you and is taking care of you. You know that god would give you the best gift in the world, which is paradise and all you have to do is obey him. He is just testing you to see if you can pass the test and is deserving of paradise. This word reminds you that god is the most merciful and even if you do wrong, he is willing to forgive you. All you have to do is repent. Even Muslims that end up going to hell will eventually go to paradise after they have received their punishment. This phrase makes you fearful of god and reminds you to go back and thank him for giving you this life.

         I wake up every morning at 6 am to pray one of my 5 daily prayers. The Athan (call to prayer) Starts with allahu akbar and ends with allahu akbar .To start the prayer i say allahu akbar. My sister graduated from Brooklyn college and we threw a party for her. When she arrived to the party we all screamed allahu akbar. One day my grandpa had a heart attack. My mom started crying, all that can come out of her mouth is the phrase “allahu akbar”. this phrase is the most beautiful phrase in the world. It can be used in any way possible.

         This phrase does not only scare people but causes Muslims many problems for them. according to “The perils of saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in public” by Khaled Beydoun, he states “From state policy to newsprint, television and film, the Arabic language has been inextricably tied to terrorism. Routine phrases such as “Inshallah” (God willing) and greetings such as “Al-Salaamu Alaikum” cause anxiety. Muslims have been ejected from airplanes, targeted by bigots and hate-mongers, and racially profiled at airports and beyond for saying these phrases, which are branded as threatening and cast with guilt. None more than “Allahu Akbar,” which became a fixture in conservative media”. In other words, khaled Beydoun believes Because of these terrorist that caused the world so much trouble, all the muslims are in guilty.(                                                                   ) I strongly agree with his comment. if you speak any type of arabic in certain places like an airport, people or the security guards would think you are planning a terrorist attack. Muslims have to avoid speaking arabic on planes and most importantly not to use the word allahu akbar because it can get us kicked out of the plane.

            Why are terrorist using this word in such a wrong way. According to “What does ‘Allahu Akbar’ mean and why do terrorists shout it?” by Reiss Smith he states “Many Islamist extremists have co-opted “Allahu Akbar” as a war cry. There are reports of many jihadis uttering the phrase before killing. These extremists -including those fighting for ISIS -claim to commit atrocities in the name of Islam, although the vast majority of Muslims condemn their actions”. Reiss smith points is that even tho terrorist say they are doing this for islam, no muslim agrees with them.(                                                           ). Yes, muslims can use this word as a war cry. But muslims cannot do the acts a terrorist is doing. Terrorist kill muslims and call it a sacrifice to god, terrorist kill non believers and act like its a normal thing to do. If a muslim were to curse at a non believer he would receive a punishment from god. If a muslim kills anyone he is going to the hell fire.


        In conclusion, terrorism and muslims should not be associated as one. Terrorist have demolished the meaning of allahu akbar and has caused many muslims troubles in america. If a muslim utters the word allahu akbar he is considered a terrorist. Such a beautiful word misinterpreted saddens me and all the muslims. I have finally finished this essay, “alhamdulillah ( all praise is due to god alone) and allahu akbar”.




  • Smith, Reiss. “What Does ‘Allahu Akbar’ Mean and Why Do Terrorists Shout It?” Express.co.uk, Express.co.uk, 3 Feb. 2017, www.express.co.uk/news/world/703390/allahu-akbar-what-does-it-mean-why-terrorists-muslim-arabic.
  • Beydoun, Khaled. “The Perils of Saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Public.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Aug. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/08/25/the-perils-of-saying-allahu-akbar-in-public/?utm_term=.d88893ec11d0.