Many Meanings

Inshallah is a word you hear at the end of every third or fourth sentence in Saudi Arabia. The actual meaning, I’m told, is “God willing”, a nod to the uncertainty of life and our place in the cosmic pecking order. However, there are nuances and undercurrents to how this phrase is used, so I’ve put together a list of the many meanings of Inshallah.

1. When spoken by a friend it means “I hope so.”

2. From an acquaintance: “Good luck with that, you’ll need it.”

3. In meetings: “That idea has a a snowball’s chance in hell, but I’m going to smile and watch you fail.”

4. From a teenager: “Whatever…”

5. From a bureaucrat: “That’s not my job”

6. From a taxi driver: “With this traffic, there’s no way we’re getting there on time, but I’m not admitting that. And I’m going to charge you more and hope you don’t notice.”

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