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What Does ‘Inshallah’ Mean And Why Did Biden Say It To Trump?

Biden’s use of the word “inshallah” during the presidential debate has prompted a lot of questions from viewers. Here’s what it means.

The first of three presidential debates is under our belts, and if Tuesday’s fiasco of a face-off is any indication, we’re in for a bumpy ride between now and November 3.

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden went at it in an unprecedented manner, barely allowing the other person to speak. CNN’s Dana Bash described it perfectly: “That was a shit show.” Few policies were discussed and the moderator, Chris Wallace, had a hard time controlling the situation. Still, after the 90 minutes had passed, many memes were born and there were a few moments worth discussing, like when Biden said “inshallah” as a reply to Trump’s response regarding questions on his tax returns.

People of non-Arabic descent, or those not familiar with the term, were confused as to what was said, wondering if they’d misheard Biden.

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“Inshallah” is a popular Arabic phrase, perhaps their most popular and utilized expression; it means “God willing.” It’s a word that has many wrinkles, that can mean different things depending on the context and the way that it’s used.

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“If you grew up Muslim, Arabic speaking or not, you’d know it best as the thing your parents say like a gentle-sneaky no. You’d ask your parents to buy you a skateboard or a guitar, and not taking you seriously, they’d say Inshallah,” American Muslim Aymann Ismail explained via Slate.

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“They’re telling you eventually or, in most cases, never. It’s amorphous in this way, and really changes in meaning the way you say it. I’d say it fits pretty well in Biden’s purported use.”

The use of the word “inshallah” has riled both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats of Arabic descent have praised the use of the phrase while others have decried it. Some Republicans started to speculate on whether this means that Biden is a Muslim, which is highly unlikely.

Biden’s use of the word “inshallah” likely suggests that he surrounds himself with a diverse group of people, something that we could all use more of. While the debate may have been a dumpster fire, at least viewers got schooled on a new term.

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