So coming from a foreigner in regards to the Muslim religion this may come across as misunderstood or perhaps a tad offensive. However, after conversing with many native Moroccans, both devout Muslims and not, I have started to form an opinion of my own.
After making arrangements with somebody the most commonly heard phrase in Muslim countries is “inshalla”. Literally translating to “God willing” or “if God wishes”, a kind of blessing more or less saying that yes, we will meet for tea tomorrow “if God wishes”. Aside from the fact that most Muslims believe life is beyond their control and in the hands of God (which is fine), some abuse this saying as a way to avoid commitments of any sort.
I have had numerous discussions on how hard it is to get something done when everything is seemingly left up to “chance” or “God”. The idea of free will and motivation does not translate (not literally translate) into a culture where most people use God as an excuse for things not completed. There is a lot more to this saying and the whole ideology of permitting God to conduct your every action than I even care to understand at this point. With that said, I am an avid procrastinator (and hate making commitments) so I love this saying. Having an opportunity to back out on any engagement or obligation and say that “I guess God did not want it” is too convenient. I may even publish post this post, Inshallah 🙂
Thom Yorke said, ‘I used to think there was no future left at all’, and although that may sound a tad pessimistic, he’s got a point. You can’t count on the future. So to me InshAllah means something along those lines. Yes, I’d like to meet you for dinner tomorrow, InshAllah. Although I may have full intentions of it happening, nothing is certain. Maybe I’ll get held up at work. Maybe I’ll get sick. Maybe there will be a traffic jam. Maybe the bus I’m going to wait for will get into an accident and never show up. Who knows?
Of course, my attitude towards this might change if I’m the one being stood up at the restaurant. However, I’m learning that my North American expectations of punctuality and concreteness haven’t given me anything yet but frustration. I am not in North America. So I’ll end with a better known expression, ‘When in Rome’…
PS This saying can even be applied to internet dating …or in this case marriage websites.