One hears it in every conversation—the Arabic term Insha’Allah.
Jo Tatchell, in her book on the changing face of Abu Dhabi, A Diamond in the Desert, makes these comments about the meaning of this expression:
Time is easily filled in Abu Dhabi. Things just happen. It’s not serendipity but a peculiar relaxation of the brain, a letting go that, in often tightly controlled lives, feels counter-intuitive. It allows opportunity to find you. The Arabs call it insha'Allah, God's will.
Such fatalism is often mistaken for lack of interest and passivity. To the Arabs it is more the understanding of oneself as a humble soul in the all-powerful hands of Allah. If the outcome is pre-ordained it should not he resisted amid a flurry of wasted actions and empty promises.
In practice, insha'Allah is a great proviso. It allows people to let others down gently without embarrassment on either side. Insha'Allah means never having to reject anyone. Whatever life's disappointments, it is God's will if things do not run as you might have wished. If a message does not get through or a deal goes sour, so be it. Likewise, if the people you wish to see are able to accommodate you, that, too, is Allah's will.
Vague as it can be, insha'Allah is infused with optimism. In surrendering to a higher order, there is always the possibility that things might turn in your favour. There will always be another time, another moment.
Stuck in a Velvet Rut in the Emirates? FIF, 2 November 2010.
How Do You Translate Insha’allah? Arabic Literature (in English), 2 June 2010.
The Saudi Insha’allah, American Bedu, 6 September 2009.
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