I’ve mentioned it from time to time, but in the summer of 2007 I had a long email debate with a Salafi Muslim civil engineer in South-east Asia about Islam and Christianity. Needless to say, it was an education.
We correspond from time to time, and he’s on my list when I announce new technical books. Like many civil engineers, he spends a lot of time out of the office on the job site. The last mailing I sent out I received the following “out of office reply”:
I am in a site visit to __________. Insyaaa Allah, I will be back on __________.
For urgent matters please call or send sms to…
For the uninitiated, “Insyaaa Allah,” is the common Muslim sentiment, “If Allah wills it”.
One of the topics of our dicsussion was the difference between this phrase and the following:
Listen to me, you who say ‘To-day or to-morrow we will go to such and such a town, spend a year there, and trade, and make money,’ And yet you do not know what your life will be like to-morrow! For you are but a mist appearing for a little while and then disappearing. You ought, rather, to say ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ (James 4:13-15)