The one perennial truth of all of mankind is that you will die and so will everyone else.

This has been true since the beginning of time and will be till the end, death is the one universal inescapable commonality. Rich or poor, genius or dumb, everyone will parish. The Quran tells the Muslim this exact message,

“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction.” (4:78)

We go through our daily life and do not think about it. But others, keep this thought at the forefront. Some people may say that’s very morbid or that it’s not good for mental well-being. I would disagree, it depends on how you utilize the thought, it may be counter intuitive but thinking about your mortality can be used as a tool, mental jiu jitsu of sorts.

The thought of your death can give you strength and clarity, it will keep you concentrated on what’s truly important and allows you to detach yourself from the trivial fluctuations of day to day life we trap ourselves in. It is a very powerful concept if understood deeply. 

“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children. It is like plants that spring up after the rain: their growth at first delights the sowers, but then you see them wither away, turn yellow, and become stubble. There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; the life of this world is only an illusory pleasure.” (57:20)

The Arabic phrase or dua inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji’oon is a reminder which embodies this whole concept.

inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un meaning

The translation of this phrase inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un is “Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return.” 

The origin of this dua or saying comes from the Quran, Surah Baqarah ayah 156:

innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun
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Inna – meaning Indeed, truly, surely or ‘verily, we’. 
Li-llahi – We belong to Allah.
Wa Inna – Wa meaning “and” and inna again meaning “indeed, we”
ilayhi – towards him.
Rajiun – Will Return.

Pronunciation

Here’s a video we put together to help you learn the proper pronunciation to recite this du’a.

inna lillahi wa in allah e rajioon in arabic text

In arabic this phrase is written,

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

Here are the various spelling variations, there isn’t one accepted or correct version. These are just the english transliteration of the Arabic text. The one used should be the one that most accurately reflects the pronunciation in Arabic.

  • Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (most commonly used).
  • innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun
  • inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon
  • inna lillahi wa inallah rajioon
  • inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji un
  • inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji’oon
  • ina lilah waina allah rajiun

The above transliterations should help with pronunciation, but you can also listen to the mp3 audio file to get it just right.

Said Upon Hearing News of the Deceased

Typically upon hearing the news of someone passing away, a Muslim says innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon, may Allah grant [name of deceased] jannat-ul-firdos.

What’s important is to not get in the habit or ritual of just saying these words with no further thought or reflection of what we are saying.

Don’t let it be just a statement that comes out of the mouth, it is a very profound dua, one we should be mindful of what we are saying as it can serve to benefit us on how to conduct ourselves.

It means we ALL belong to Allah and we ALL will return to him. It’s not said just for the one who passed away but is a reminder on the day of Judgement we will also return to him. 

Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. (3:185)

Hadith On Dua When Calamity Strikes:

Umar bin Abu Salamah narrated from his mother, Umm Salamah, that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“When a calamity strikes one of you, then let him say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. O Allah, I seek reward with You for my affliction, so reward me for it, and replace it for me with something better (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun Allahumma Indaka Ahtasibu Musibati Fa’jurni Fiha Wa Abdilni Minha Khair).’” When the time of death was near Abu Salamah, he said: ‘O Allah, replace me for my wife, with better than me.” So when he died, Umm Salamah said: “Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. I seek reward with Allah for my affliction, so reward me for it.”

Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi 3511
In-book reference: Book 48, Hadith 142

Conclusion

The full ayat in Surah Baqarah 155-157, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un”. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”

Understand saying this is not just a making of a statement. The prayer, if said with pure intention, is accompanied by a deep conviction of one’s heart “To Allah we belong”. If he or she believes this to be true, then it would be wise to dedicate their life on this earth to fulfill all activities with the thought of allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the one to whom all things belong. We are all destined to return to him, this is our inevitable fate. This 70 something year lifespan on planet earth is short and temporary. The akhirah is where we will spend eternity. 

Lastly, inalillahi wainailaihi rajiun should not be confined just upon hearing news of someone’s passing away, it should be a dua to remind ourselves during difficult times to strive in the name of Allah.

The alternative life is one of self-aggrandizement meaning accumulating wealth, power, notoriety but they will soon realize this will be short-lived, and just as quickly he got his wealth he will lose it.

These things can not be taken to the grave, this is a lesson we don’t want to learn late in life.

 “Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.”
(21:35)