Thursday, October 09, 2008

God Willing

There is a double-edged sword in Egypt that few people speak about. But today I’m going to break that silence and tell you about the word Insh’allah. Meaning “God willing” or “if God wills it,” this catchall phrase is used in a multitude of situations that drives type-A personalities like mine crazy. You see, there is no “yes or no” here - it is simply “if God wills it.” While this often means “yes” or “hopefully,” it usually means “dream on,” or “not so much.” Heaven help the poor girl who simply wants a straight answer before she has a nervous breakdown.

Imagine if your boss asked if your report for that huge client would be done on time and you said, “hopefully.” Or what if Fox News started talking about a Republican win in November with “God willing.” These are types of things that I deal with day in and day out here in Egypt. I want a flat out yes or no!!! I’m not a maybe kind of gal.

As you read through the following questions, think about what the answer really means and then join me in the happy room with the padded white walls and the huggy jacket.

Q: Will the movers be here this weekend with my things?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Will they somehow manage to time their arrival to mess with plans that I have already made A: Insh’allah

Q: Am I going to once again find that the only item broken during the move was something of mine that I love and is irreplaceable?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Is Hubby going to be happy at this job longer than he was at any of his previous ones?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Is the current worldwide economic crisis a harbinger of the fall of Rome?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Are Americans really crazy enough to be taken in by someone who can’t pronounce the letter “g” and thinks that “betcha” is a word?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Am I going to learn enough Arabic from my tutor to live comfortably in an Arabic-speaking world?
A: Insh’allah

Q: Is Typ0 going to kill the next workman who excuses his lack of timeliness and shoddy work with a smile and “Insh’allah?”
A: Insh’allah


Anonymous said...

i agree with ya it's the most stupid word i have ever heard, it's like telling: "don't blame me if i didn't it, go blame Allah".

we Egyptians like to tell it and believe in it cuz it's clear our conscience from feeling guilty after the horrible stuff we commit.

Connie said...

I've gotten to where I do not mind 'Insh'allah'. It's the 'No problem' that is MY problem. If I ask a taxi driver what the fare to a place is and he smiles and says, 'No problem!'.. I know to walk off and get the next taxi.

Anonymous said...

So the Arabic lessons are going well? HAve you not found an appropriate Arabic response?