It all came about following a conversation with a Palestinian colleague some weeks ago, who was explaining the real meaning of 'Inshallah' to me...... as most of you know, it means 'God willing'. However, my friend was discussing the different ways in which people use the phrase and how, in fact, it is often abused. He explained it thus:
A person should only use 'Inshallah' in the context that they fully intend to do something and it will happen if God wills or it is in his plan. The only reason that it wouldn't happen would be if God intervened somehow.
He went on to say that some Muslims will use 'inshallah' as a 'get-out' clause, almost as if to say 'if I can be bothered' and this, he stressed, was a total abuse of the phrase and he felt it was used by many without really considering its true meaning.
So, this happened rather too often, until I became irritated and eventually started to tell particular individuals that they were no longer allowed to use 'inshallah' in my presence and I only dealt in certainties!! :-) They all found this rather amusing, and of course took absolutely no notice of the crazy woman.
Interestingly, I have now read that, in fact, the Quran requires that Muslims must say 'inshallah' after every statement of intent to do something. This is obligatory. So I guess I will have to let it wash over me and accept that my colleagues are simply doing their best to be in tune with God's plan for life, the universe and everything ...... including portacabins.