Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC San Diego

Adding Allah to Alhamdulilah : the use of Arabic God-phrases for performative functions


Phrases that reference the name of God, God-phrases as I refer to them, are frequent and ubiquitous when it comes to Arabic speakers. In this paper, I explore the function and use of Arabic God-phrases. Due to their structure and the ideologies behind them, God-phrases have performative functions in the conversation. I argue that it is the integration of God's name that adds authority to the speaker within the context of a dialogic interaction. With this authority, the power of the speaker can be wielded in many directions, such as guiding or influencing action in the recipient or the speaker. Additionally, given the integration of "God" into these phrases, I will also look at the performativity of God-phrases for non-Arabic speaking Muslims who may also integrate Arabic God-phrases into their everyday speech. I argue that even for them, God-phrases also rely on the power in the name of Allah to create a sense of authority. Using excerpts and examples of the use of God-phrases, I will demonstrate a variety of functions accomplished through the integration of God- phrases. Also in the paper, I explore the relationship between God-phrases and dedication and submission to Islam, as well as their opposite extreme in the case of blasphemy. Religiosity and piety do not rest simply on the use of God phrases, but rather rely on the holistic integration of behaviors and actions. Through an alignment between religious ideology and behaviors/actions, like the use of God-phrases, one works toward piety

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View