By now, you’ve probably all heard the recent story about the young man who was detained and questioned by the FBI because he was speaking Arabic on a plane, and said “In shaa Allah” (God willing) before hanging up the phone.
Don’t be that guy! To make #FlyingWhileMuslim easier, we put together a list of words and phrases you should never say on an airplane, unless you want to get arrested.
In shaa Allah – This is an obvious one. It has the sound “sha” in it, and Fox News listeners will hear that and automatically assume you’re saying “shaheed,” which they believe means martyr.
Ma shaa Allah – This word has “Allah” in it, and if you’re afraid of the evil eye, don’t say this phrase out loud. Say it in your head.
Astaghfirullah – Again, this word has “Allah” in it. It sounds scary, okay?
Allahu Akbar! – Avoid this phrase at all costs, because the media loves to show videos of crazy people screaming this right before doing something horrible (and un-Islamic). If you say “Allahu Akbar” on a plane, you might as well just call the FBI on yourself, because they will without a doubt think you’re about to blow the place apart.
La ilaha illah Allah – There’s no need to make supplication or tasbeeh on a plane. Listen to music instead, and sing along out loud, so everyone knows what you’re listening to. Taylor Swift songs are highly recommended; totally non-threatening, and Tammy in 5C typically loves her.
ISIS – You can never mention this flower on the plane. Choose another type of flower to talk about. Personally, we like tiger lilies and roses.
You’re the bomb/That’s the bomb/I’m the bomb – When said by a Muslim, it doesn’t matter what came before the word “bomb.” You might as well have just said that you have a bomb; the reaction will undoubtedly be the same. Besides, this term is a little outdated. Use hip and trendy lingo like “on fleek” or “slay” instead.
Usama – If you have a relative or friend named Usama, don’t tell anyone. Do not talk about him or to him, and if you must say his name, call him Sammy.
Athan – Make sure your Athan app is turned off. Actually, you should probably just delete it before you get on the plane, to be safe. If your flight attendant heard that, she would probably freak out and tell the pilot to make an emergency landing. Then, not only are you going to be escorted off the plane and greeted by the police and FBI, but you’ll also have a whole flight full of angry people pissed at you. A Drake Athan might be cool, though…
Arabic or anything Arabic sounding – Don’t order the hummus on the a la carte tray. Trust me. They’ll all recognize your ability to pronounce it perfectly and get super nervous. Really, don’t use any language that’s not English. You’re in America – speak American.
By the way, this whole list is sarcasm. Please continue to speak in whatever language makes you feel comfortable. In fact, we encourage you to never allow anyone to convince you to stop using the first five words on this list. They’re the words that will keep you close to Allah (swt) if you are ever faced in a situation where your patience is tested. The struggle is real, y’all – and so is #FlyingWhileMuslim.
But don’t say we didn’t warn you if you find yourself thrown off a flight.
You should also check out…
This is How Muslims Can Avoid Being Kicked Off Their Flights
College Student Kicked Off Southwest Flight & Interrogated by the FBI for Speaking Arabic
Another Muslim Kicked Off a Southwest Flight: Woman Wearing Hijab Booted Because Flight Attendant “Didn’t Feel Comfortable”