In a chaotic and charged presidential debate, US Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden said ‘inshallah’, a phrase from Muslims’ everyday vocabulary, in a cross-talk with President Donald Trump about his taxes.
Biden used the phrase during an exchange in the first half of Tuesday’s debate watched by more than 60 million TV viewers, but final streaming counts still pending.
When Trump said his tax return would be released to the public “as soon it’s finished,” Biden responded: “When? Inshallah?”
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Immediately after saying the word, Twitter lit up with discussions and debates on the use of the Arabic phrase.
“Yes, Joe Biden said ‘Inshallah’ during the #Debates2020 debate,” tweeted political commentator Wajahat Ali.
“It literally means ‘God willing,’ but it’s often used to mean, ‘Yeah, never going to happen’. Example: My wife: Will you finally pick up your socks? Me: Inshallah. No, saying inshallah doesn’t make you Muslim.”
Asma Khalid, a national political correspondent for NPR covering the 2020 elections, said she confirmed it with Biden’s campaign.
Others tried to explain the term to non-Muslims.
The word “Inshallah” means if God wills and Muslims should use it with the correct meaning and the correct belief.
The word is an acknowledgement that while one will try to fulfill their goal, there could be God-like circumstances that may get in the way. To many, the utterance of the phrase is an exercise in humility.
These days, some people misuse saying Inshallah by saying it in a sarcastic way that something is never going to happen.
Though some saw it as a casual thing to use the word, Biden’s use of the word has triggered some angry reactions from some Muslims.
“It’s so disheartening that the best thing the Biden campaign seems to be able to offer Muslim Americans in the midst of an uptick in Islamophobic violence is an offhand, completely inappropriately applied ‘inshallah’ in the debate,” tweeted political activist Meriam Masmoudi.
Journalist Tamer El-Ghobashy also criticized Biden’s comical use of the word.