By: Hasan Basri Tanjung

In the book Asbabun Nuzul compiled by KH Q Shaleh dkk (1995) written the history of asbabun nuzul (reason of being sent down) for surah Al-Kahfi verses 23-24. “And you should never say about anything: Indeed, I will do this tomorrow morning, except (by mentioning); ‘Insha Allah’.” (Surat al-Kahf [16]: 23-24).

One day, the Quraysh sent An-Nadlr bin Al-Harts and Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ith to meet a Jewish priest in Medina to ask about Muhammad’s prophethood. Then, the two messengers told him everything related to Muhammad’s attitude, words and deeds.

Then, the Jewish priest said, “Ask Muhammad about three things. If he can answer them, he is the Prophet sent. However, if he cannot answer them, he is only a person who claimed to be a Prophet. First, ask about the youths of ancient times who traveled and what happened to them. Second, ask about a traveler who came to Masyriq and Maghrib and what happened to him. Third, ask him about the spirit.

“The messenger returned to the Quraysh. Then, they went to meet the Prophet SAW and asked the three questions mentioned above. The Prophet SAW said, “I will answer your questions tomorrow.” The Prophet said that without the phrase “Insha Allah (God Willing)”.

The Prophet SAW waited for revelation for 15 nights, but Angel Gabriel still did not come. The people of Mecca began to mock and the Prophet himself was very sad and embarrassed because he did not know what to say to the Quraysh. Then, Gabriel came bringing a revelation that rebuked the Prophet SAW for confirming something the next day without saying “Insha Allah”. (Surat al-Kahf [18]: 23-24).

On this occasion, Gabriel also spoke of young men who were traveling, namely As-habul Kahfi (18: 9-26); a wanderer, namely Dhu’l-Qarnayn (18: 83-101); and the case of the spirit (17:85).

Mufassir Ibn Jarir ath-Tabari in the Book of Jaami’ul Bayan explained, “This is the teaching of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad SAW so as not to ensure a case will occur without any hindrance, except to connect it with the will of Allah SWT.

Indeed, the great meaning of the word “Insha Allah” is contained within the meaning of at least four things: First, humans have a high dependence on the plans and provisions of Allah (monotheism). Second, avoid arrogance because of the success achieved (politics, wealth, science, and social status.) Third, show a sense of sincerity (self-limitation to do something) before the humans and Allah SWT. Fourth, be optimistic for a better tomorrow.

What if the word “Insha Allah” is made as a shield to deceive people or a pretext to escape from responsibility? Indeed, we have committed two sins: First, deceiving because of using His substance. Second, we have deceived ourselves because actually we are reluctant to keep the promise, but only to maintain good relations with colleagues, friends, or relationships. Wallahu a’lam.


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