insh Allah

It took me a while to understand how the Qatari business owners think here. People at first would tell me they are lazy or stupid or incompetent or constantly changing their minds. I took note of what they said, but it clearly wasn’t the whole story. It was too neat a conclusion. Too simplified.

After talking to a lot more people about business life and seeing more of how they do things here I feel like I have it now. It’s not a lack of capability. It’s an issue of belief.

God blessed them with oil and made them wealthy. He continues to bless them with oil and make them ever wealthier. God’s direct blessing is the reason. Struggling to force something into being against God’s will cannot be fruitful and if God blesses, then struggle is not needed. These are not platitudes to them.

This thinking goes deeper than you think it does. They grow up wealthy surrounded by foreign workers who have come to leech off God’s blessing to them. They go to any university of their choosing world wide because of the blessing. They take positions of power in their country because of the blessing. They are surrounded by nations who are also blessed but not as much and their betrayal with the blockade smacks of envy. They survive the blockade not because they are strong and smart but because of God’s blessing. Not by my accounting, by their own. Because God favors them the most and so they deserve the best.

only the best
Figure 1. These Signs Flash on Every Highway
only the best will do
Figure 2. These Signs Are plastered on Every Construction Site

They are short sighted in personal and business dealings not out of laziness (strictly) but in principle. Only a fool spends his days becoming expert at trimming the sails when God sets the wind always at your back. God provided the car in the first place, do you not trust him to provide another? Why live your life in service to the maintenance schedules of a thousand possessions when you can live your life in service to the provider of possessions.

Having a strategy, evaluating the feasibility of a plan, measuring results, responding to the warnings of people in the trenches: none of these things are appealing when you always have the money to cover your mistakes thanks to God’s blessing. "Worrying" about such things is not considered good. If you feel like starting, start. If you feel like stopping, stop. It is capricious, but if God’s not blessing it, why struggle to continue. It probably sounds like I’m trying to be funny given this summer’s spam but I’m dead serious when I say that I’ve found a new depth of meaning in "Qatari’s are not doing, Allah is doing" and it kind of gives me the chills.

You could sum up their mentality using one of their most common phrases:

"insh Allah" = God willing

But it might be more instructive to translate it as "God willing (and the creek don’t rise)".

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