Islamic Abbreviation: SWT

Glorifying God When Mentioning His Name

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When writing the name of God (Allah), Muslims often follow it with the abbreviation "SWT," which stands for the Arabic words Subhanahu wa ta'ala. Muslims use these or similar words to glorify God when mentioning his name. The abbreviation in modern usage might appear as "SWT," "swt," or "SwT."

Meaning of SWT

In Arabic, Subhanahu wa ta'ala translates as "Glory to Him, the Exalted" or "Glorious and Exalted Is He." In saying or reading the name of Allah, the shorthand of "SWT" indicates an act of reverence and devotion toward God.

Islamic scholars instruct adherents that the letters are intended to serve as reminders only. Muslims are still expected to invoke the words in the full greeting or salutation when seeing the letters.

"SWT" appears in the Quran in the following verses: 6:100, 10:18, 16:1, 17:43, 30:40, and 39:67, and its use is not restricted to theological tracts. "SWT" often appears whenever the name of Allah does, even in publications dealing with topics such as Islamic finance. In the view of some adherents, use of this and other abbreviations could be misleading to non-Muslims, who might mistake one of the abbreviations for being part of the true name of God. Some Muslims view the shorthand itself as possibly disrespectful.

Other Abbreviations for Islamic Honorifics

Sall’Allahu alayhi wasalam (SAW or SAWS) translates as, “The graces of Allah be upon him, and peace” or “Allah bless him and grant him peace.” “SAW” offers a reminder to use the full honorific phrase after mentioning the name of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.

Another abbreviation that often follows Muhammad’s name is "PBUH," which stands for “Peace be upon Him." The source for the phrase is scriptural: "Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace" (Quran 33:56).

Two other abbreviations for Islamic honorifics are “RA” and “AS.” “RA” stands for “Radhi Allahu 'anhu” (May Allah be pleased with him). Muslims use “RA” after the name of male Sahabis, who are friends or companions of the Prophet Muhammad. This abbreviation varies based on gender and how many Sahabis are being discussed.  For example, "RA" could mean, “May Allah be pleased with her" (Radiy Allahu Anha). "AS," for “Alayhis Salaam” (Peace be upon Him), appears after the names of all the archangels (such as Jibreel, Mikaeel, and others) and all the prophets except for the Prophet Muhammad.

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Huda. "Islamic Abbreviation: SWT." ThoughtCo, Oct. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/islamic-abbreviation-swt-2004291. Huda. (2017, October 29). Islamic Abbreviation: SWT. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/islamic-abbreviation-swt-2004291 Huda. "Islamic Abbreviation: SWT." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/islamic-abbreviation-swt-2004291 (accessed December 14, 2017).