Meaning of some turkish idioms that contain the name of Allah

Idioms have long been considered as a backbone of every language. When people speak each other express their thoughts and feelings by using a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning. How the different kinds of flowers beautify gardens, idioms with their specific peculiarities beautify the languages too. The different situation of our daily life can be better communicated and described by the contribution of the idioms. It means that consciously or unconsciously, we often use the idioms in the different steps of life. It can be said that they encompass our life from all its aspects. Therefore, it will be a great mistake to accept the idioms only as a part of language.

Idioms also can be accepted as a historical bridge between the past and present and always carry the old traditional life with its all principles to present day by using beautiful , attractive ,short and effective expression .

The following definitions will give us detailed knowledge about idioms:

«An idiom is a style of expression in writing, speech, or music that is typical of a particular group of people» [2]

«idiom is a fixed, or set, expression whose meaning is different from the literal expressions of words in the expression» [3, 231]

«idiom is an expression peculiar to a language» [4, 51]

«idiom is a group of words the meaning of which is different from the sum of the meanings of the individual words and of the syntactic pattern which binds them together» [5, 111]

«idiom is a phrase or expression that is inherent to a particular culture, region, or people» [6, 18]

«idiom is a style or form of expression that is characteristic of a particular person, type of art, etc.» [7]

«idiom is a combination of fixed words which, ease speech and writing and sometimes can not be understood logically.» [8]

Different definitions of idioms prove that, the idioms which appear in any language are not only group of words or kinds of combined metaphorical expressions but they are also colorful part of tradition which take place in every walks of social, cultural, financial, political, ethical and even religious life.

Besides the all positive features, the comprehensibility of idioms always criticized. As it has been observed that idioms have mostly figurative meanings rather than literal. This peculiarity creates difficulty in understanding of them. Especially those who have limited knowledge of idioms may mistakenly understand the figurative meanings as literal. For instance; the English idiom

«to let the cat out of the bag» is a metaphorical expression; it means to reveal the secrets of someone. However, even the English speaking people think that it really means to let the cat out of the bag. Or Turkish speaking people understand the idiom in a literal sense and suppose that really someone is letting a cat out of the bag. «Kuyusunu kazmak» (sink /dig somebody’s holewell) is a Turkish idiom which metaphorically means «preparing some plots secretly for someone» also «cook someone’s goose «is an English idiom which expresses the same plot by using the different metaphor. If both English and Turkish idioms understood literally, meaning will be totally different.

Since the very beginning of human life in earth human being began to search about secrets of the creation and tried to comprehend the relation between the creator, human and universe. As a result of that, gradually religion and religious issues took place in human life . After the advent of Islam Allah, His names and attributes became the main subject for Muslim scholars, linguists and poets to be searched and used in the different fields. Turkish literature is the best example of this kind in which many idioms that begin with Allah’s name. In fact, the name of Allah is generally used in Turkish idioms either to show respect, loyalty, faith and thankfulness to Allah or to remind His existence, unity, power, knowledge generosity, mercy and finally punishments.

This article deals with meaning of some selected Turkish idioms that contain the name of Allah. In this article first of all the meaning of the idioms given with English translation. Then literal or figurative meanings of idioms were expressed in accordance with Turkish culture. In addition, English equivalent of idioms were given if possible. Finally, the usage of idioms demonstrated with examples which excerpted from different Turkish sources. Let’s have a look on the meaning and usage of the following Turkish idioms;


Meaning of the idiom: «Henüz belli değil. Only Allah knows»[9, 30]

Do you to limitation of human mind and senses some events may remain as mystery and nobody knows how to explain or enlighten them .In other words, human being cannot realise or predict what is beyond limitations. But there is all knower Allah Who knows everything with His infinite knowledge

independently. Above given Turkish idiom is used when something is hidden or unknown. We say in the case of unknown matters «Allah bilir-only Allah knows exactly» It can be said that Turkish idiom is based on the following verses

«Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.» [10, 70]

«Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.» [11, 34]

Usage of the idiom: «Herkesin iç yüzünü Allah bilir.» [12, 157]

Allah bilir ne zaman gelir? [13, 380]

«Geleceğini ben de biliyorum, ama ne zaman gelir?«Ne zaman mı? Ha valla orasını Allah bilir! Artık bugün gelmez.»[14, 276]


Meaning of the idiom: «kendini veya başkasını öldürmek. To destroy the building of Allah – kill oneself or others. « [15, 332]

Among the creatures ,human being was created in the best shape and given the highest degree. Whenever we compare the human with other creatures we come to know that human creation is better than other in many aspects. The creation of man was expressed in the following verse; «We have certainly created man in the best of stature»[16, 4] It means the verse proves that Allah the Almighty loves human more than others. As a result of that, killing oneself or others in Islam extremely forbidden. The act of killing oneself or suicide is accepted as a great sin. The following Quranic verse and tradition of the Prophet became source for Turkish idiom.

«But whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.» [17, 93]

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, «He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the HellFire.» [18, 446]

Above given verse and tradition remarks that killing oneself or suicide strictly forbidden and accepted as a great sin in Islam .Furthermore, those who commit suicide or the act of killing declared to be the dwellers of hellfire eternally .Because man was created naturally and asked (by Allah ) to die naturally in accordance with his predetermined death. Turkish idiom figuratively expresses the great sin (suicide) by using the word «destroying the bina – means building» Actually, «Bina-Building» as a metaphor stands for human life/soul. If someone destroys the building of Allah definitely destroys the soul which was bestowed by Allah the Almighty as trust (amanah) to human being .

No doubt ,due to its metaphorical meaning when the Turkish idiom «Allah’ın binasını yıkmak – To destroy the building of Allah» is directly translated into English or other languages it will not find its equivalent and may not make any meaningful sense. Because at the first sight the idiom will be understood literally and the literal meaning will cause misunderstanding even by Turkish speaking people who has limited knowledge of idioms. It is very important to keep in mind that according to Islamic faith Allah existed even before the eexxiisstteenn-ce of time and space and cannot be bound by these parameters. In fact, time and space-place are also included among His innumerable other words,Allah has no any place or building. To demonstrate the closest relation between Allah and Human soul Turkish idiom figuratively expressed the soul as Allah’s building.

Usage of the idiom: «Adam öldürmek ve Allah’ın binasını yıkmak fena bir şeydir.» [19, 17]

«Kul haklarından da önce Allah’ın binasını yıkmak demek olan adam öldürmeden sorulacaktır.» [21, 251]


Meaning of the idiom: «May Allah give/helpDon’t wait go away I will not give charity»[21]

The idiom is actually used for beggars who always bother people in public by asking some charity. Actually, bagging was criticized in many cultures and religions. The prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) encouraged his companion to work and earn livelihood with sweat. «He said; «It is better for anyone of you to take a rope and bring a bundle of wood over his back and sell it, and Allah will save his face because of that, rather than to ask the people who may or may not give.»[22]

It can be said that Turkish idiom literally reflects the reactions of Turkish people against the beggars who accustomed to ask financial help and make money on the streets. In Turkish if said «Allah versin – may Allah give» means go away I don’t want to give you anything. In fact, it is a very soft form of rebuking the beggar just to remind him the importance of working and earning. No doubt the following verse forbids us to admonish the beggars harshly even who habitually ask money. «And as for

the petitioner, do not repel [him]» [23, 11] Somebody may ask why the beggar is directed to Allah?. As it was expressed in Holy Quran;»Allah is the best of providers»[24, 11] Turkish and other Muslim societies believe that Allah is needless and provides everything freely. Therefore the beggar is directed to Allah who will give or provide whatever being asked.

Usage of the idiom: «Sonra kapıyı başı beyaz külâhlı bir adam açtı. Açmasıyla da bağırdı: – Allah versin!.. Kapıyı kapadı yüzüne.Biran sendeleyen genç kadın... Ama düşmedi, dilenci olmadığını bu başı külâhlı küstah adama öğretecekti» [25, 110]


Meaning of the idiom: «Kimsenin kendisine yardım edemediği bir durumda çaresiz kalmak.To be in helpless condition.» [26, 121]

Success is a very sweet fruit of hardworking. However, sometimes attempts for success end with a great disappointment. Actually, Turkish idiom indicates a case which is beyond human power and only get normalized by the help of Allah. The same situation may be expressed in English «in the lap of the gods.»

In Turkish culture if anyone says «iş Allah’a kalmış» means there is no way to get rid off if unexpected miracle doesn’t take place. It can be said that idiom on the one hand, reflects the weakness of man who didn’t find any solution for his failure. On the other hand, the same idiom demonstrates the faith of man who expects assistance from Allah to get rid of all failures.

Usage of the idiom: «O üç adam: – Artık dünya ile ilgimiz kesildi, işimiz Allah’a kaldı. Bizi buradan ancak Allah kurtarır.Şimdi herkes Allah için yapmış oldukları iyilikleri hatırlayarak Allah’a dua edelim ki, bizi bu felâketten kudretiyle kurtarsın, dediler.» [27, 190]

«Biraz böyle sus oturduktan sonra Yakup Ağa, «Kaymakam Bey bilmez, biz de bilmeyiz; işimiz Allaha kaldı.»[28]


Meaning of the idiom: «Yeni evlilere evliliğiniz ömür boyu olsun anlamında söylenen iyi dilek sözü – May Allah makes both of you older on the same pillow -have a long lasting marriage it is said to for new married couples as a well wishing» [29]

Turkish idiom is related with marriage and family life. According to Islam and Turkish tradition the best family life is the one which is based on mutual understanding, respect, justice and love. His exemplary life is one of the best path for the partners to be followed. Best marriage that begins here in this world end continues in hereafter. Unfortunately, today marriage and divorce performed quickly. Therefore, to remind the importance of long lasting marriage and family life, it is said for new married couples «Allah bir yastıkta kocatsın» means; both of you get older together on the same pillow-sleep together on the same pillow till the end of life. If we take a look on the idiom «Allah bir yastıkta kkooccaatt-sın-May Allah makes you older on the same pillow» is an invocation for newly married couple and figuratively expresses the hope or expectation of long lasting marriage.

The above given idiom has figurative meaning and in the case of direct translation to English it will not understood truly.Becasue getting older together on the same pillow perhaps will remind sth else.It will be better to say have a long lasting marriage that will not cause any misunderstanding in English .

Usage of the idiom:»Zeynep Hanım mahcup ve çekingen: – Allah bağışlasın... Allah bir yastıkta kocatsın beyim.Dedikten sonar bana: – Hoş geldin hanımım. Obamıza şenlik getirdin.Beyimize köle idik, senin için de köle oluruz... dedi.» [30, 57]


Meaning of the idiom: «herkes ölecek, ölmek kaçınılmazdır-Death is Allah’s determination and must happen – Since all men are mortal and must die.» [31]

Poor or rich one day every human will taste the death which is inevitable to escape .History showed us that regardless of their social and financial status many people passed away. The above-mentioned Turkish idiom indicates the death as Allah’s order or wishes. In fact, death of a person is destiny which was predetermined by Allah before the creation of universe. Therefore death is as normal as birth and beyond the control of human. This idiom is especially used to remind someone death and be honest during whole of his life. Also the idiom used in Turkish to show one’s rigid decision on something to do. The above given idiom also based on the following verses of the Holy Quran.

«Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.» [32, 185]

«He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term (for you to die). And there is with Him another determined term (for you to be resurrected), yet you doubt (in the Resurrection).» [33]

«[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the

Exalted in Might, the Forgiving-»[34] Usage of the idiom: «Benim bir çok subay arkadaşlarım vardı. Muharebede öldüler. Orasına kimse karışmaz. Ölüm Allah’ın emri.» [35, 331]


Meaning of the idiom: «Güzellik içinÇok güzel -It is used for extremely beauty -beautiful person.»[36, 244]

Turkish idiom depicts the state of a person whose eyes and heart attracted by blinding beauty. In fact, when Turkish people see a beautiful person say «Allah övmüş de yaratmış-Allah created and glorified or Allah created him/her specially. It is crystal clear that Allah created everybody in a good and beautiful shape. However, Turkish idiom exaggeratedly brought the individual beauty to the fore. It can be said that the following verse became a source for Turkish idiom that expresses the issue perfectly Allah says; «We have certainly created man in the best of stature.» [37]

Usage of the idiom: «Allah seni övmüş övmüş yaratmış; elbet huyun suyun da güzel olur ama, bilmem talihin de yüzüne gülüyor mu?» [38, 17]

To sum up: Islam had a great impact on Turkish culture, tradition and literature. As a creator of the whole world, with His infinite power, knowledge and other attributes, Allah`s name always attracted the attentions of believers. In order to show love, respect, admiration and fear the name of Allah was used in Turkish literature such as in poems, novels and fictions.

Finally, it can be said that after embracing Islam the name of Allah was mostly used in Turkish idioms. Allah’s name was used to describe different situations which can be summarized as follows.

To indicate Allah’s power and human weakness: ALLAH BİLİR (Only Allah knows)

ALLAH VERSİN (May Allah give/help) ALLAHA KALMIŞ (Left to Allah’s hand-In

Allah’s hand)

To remind Allah’s determination and life hereafter:

ÖLÜM ALLAH’IN EMRİ (Death is Allah’s determination and must happen)

To warn against crime and suicide:


the building of Allah – kill oneself or others)

To demonstrate one`s good wishes and praying for others:


you get older on the same pillow-have a long lasting marriage – grow old together.)



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Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2015
City: Almaty
Category: Philology