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27 April 2010

إن شاء الله

A girl in one of my classes mentioned this phrase (transliterated as Insha’Allah) as a ritual she has found herself engaging in, largely due to her Arabic classes. It means “if God wills it” and has become, in some ways a marker for the future tense. This comes from a passage from the Qur’an, in Surat Al-Kahf, 18:23-24: “And do not say, regarding anything, ‘I am going to do that tomorrow,’ Except (with the saying), ‘If Allah will!’ And remember your Lord when you forget and say: ‘It may be that my Lord guides me unto a nearer way of truth than this.'”

Because of the large Muslim population that has migrated into France during the past 50 years or so and the commonness of the term in their speech, it has been borrowed into colloquial French. It’s one of those words that I picked up and started using without even really noticing. But since I was reminded of it, it’s been constantly on my mind. When I start worrying about next year, I say it quietly to myself. When I am talking about the uncertainty of next year, I say it quietly to myself. “[Insha’Allah] I’ll take such and such a position next year.” “[Insha’Allah] I’ll be going to such and such a graduate school.”

How do we consecrate time? How do we turn over future events to the providence of God? If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I have no control over my present, much less my future. Everything will work out, but only insha’Allah.

إن شاء الله

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