Does Saying “O My God” Entail Disbelief?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Does using the following english phrases entail disbelief?

– O my goodness
– For goodness’ sake (it is to be said that this is used instead of “for God’s sake”)
– Goodness me
– O my god

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Generally speaking, uttering these expressions is not a sin nor shirk although some of them are best avoided.

Saying “O my God”

The expression “O my God” is equivalent to saying “Ya Allah”. Thus, there is no intrinsic problem in using it unless the context dictates otherwise, such as doing so in vain or where it may be seen as disrespectful to God’s name.

Saying “O my goodness”

“O my goodness” is merely a euphemism where the word God is replaced by the word goodness. The reference to God through the word goodness is an established usage particularly in exclamatory phrases. One reason why this switch is made is in order to not use the word God in vain and to avoid causing offense. Today, it is used primarily as a colloquial phrase to express shock or amazement without a dominant conscious recognition of its being a reference to God.

Saying “Goodness me”

“Goodness me” is similar to the above. This phrase is likely a shortened form of “goodness gracious me”, which is from “God grace me”. Again, while it originally related to a request for the good or grace of God, it is no longer colloquially used in that manner but merely as an exclamation of surprise and dismay.

Saying “for goodness’ sake”

Finally, “for goodness’ sake” is a euphemism for the phrase “for God’s sake.” This is perhaps the only phrase among those mentioned that may pose a problem since doing someone for one’s sake may be understood as doing something for someone’s good or advantage. However, it also has a valid meaning of doing something out of regard and consideration for someone. Because there is the potential for an incorrect understanding, the phrase “for God’s sake” is probably best avoided. However, “for goodness’ sake” in its dominant usage has lost a conscious connection to the word God (like some of the previous phrases) and is simply a colloquial expression of surprise, impatience, or some other emotion. As such, there is no harm in using it.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Vulnerability as the Pathway to Virtue – Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Join the conversation regarding sacred wisdom and pathways to non-violence at the 2016 Festival of Faith conference in Louisville, Kentucky with Dr. Ingrid Mattson  as she profoundly connects the viewer and listener to the nature of need as the true human experience and Vulnerability as its gateway.

It seems that all aspects of life stem down to the notion of power or the lack thereof.  Suffering is real; evil occurs and is experienced. What then is  our response? How do we understand and connect?

Dr. Ingrid’s response is real and compelling: “everyone will do what they will do and  my job is to learn in that situation; my job is to see the  opportunity for me to express my reliance and awareness of God’s Power ; to understand what it means to be in need of mercy, to be in need of compassion, and to be in need of justice.”
Vulnerability allows us to have the courage to go forward and try to exemplify prophetic virtues into action for the sake of all of those whose peace is being disturbed.

We are grateful to the Festival of Faith for the video. Cover photo by Bhatti Mashooque


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