When I used to live in my company provided residence, I had a few Egyptian colleagues living with me, Once on the weekend, we decided to visit some mall by a Limo, when the driver asked that where do we have to go, one of the Egyptian replied “Geant Mall, Inshallah” – “to Geant Mall, God willing”.
It is a Muslim tradition that whenever you aim or plan anything – we say that Inshallah – (God Willing – with the will of the God) – but recently “Inshallah” has been creep, to the extreme. Atleast in the Arabian countries, it is now attached to the answer for any question, almost every question (past, present or future) shall get an answer but not without Inshallah. “Inshallah” is used for future, technically & religiously – If I say, “I plan to take CISA exams, Inshallah” – It means that “If God willing, I’ll take CISA exams” – but now? Here with Saudis or for that matter any Arab national, considers his conversation incomplete, if he/she doesn’t use this word – What’s your name, for example, might be answered, “Muhammad, Inshallah.” I often wonder about the answer and sometimes out of my curiosity ask ‘You are already Muahmmad or you are going to be Muhammad?’
It has become a public display of piety, fashion, culture leaving the religious part aside (which was a symbol of faith) – but now very rarely you see this word being used to show one’s faith in God. It has become a word that has attached itself to nearly every moment, every question, like the word ‘like’ in English. But it is powerful reference, intended or not.
It has also become a very diplomatic phrase, in most of the cases denial or refusal shall also be replied with only one phrase ‘Inshallah’.
For example, if you go to some Arab (Saudi particularly) in your office and if you get the answer, “Inshallah” – then most of the expatriates considers it a refusal.
Inshallah Bukra, Masslam (I.B.M)
Don’t confuse Saudi/Arabic IBM with the International Business Machines – its a very commonly used sentence, there are very few days when you won’t come across this sentence – whether early morning, noon, afternoon or almost the closing hours of any office – you just go to any of your department which is being run by the locals (courtesy Saudisation) – and if the person is not willing to respond to you (95% of time), you’ll most probably get this answer “Inshallah Bukra, Massalam” (if God willing, Tomorrow, peace be with you). So, whenever you get this answer, just assume that there are rare chances that your task/request or work (no matter how official/important it is) would get done.
So, as I come to end of today’s blog – I invite your comments and Inshallah would respond to them Bukra, till then Massalam ;)