by Mary Jackson (October 2010)

Sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Cairo, I overheard an English businessman embroiled in a protracted telephone conversation. I surmised that the man's interlocutor did not share his sense of urgency. “I need it now.” Pause. “Yes, now.” Long pause. Then finally, in exasperation, “No, not inshallah, now.”

I laughed, for I was on holiday, and in no hurry. Moreover, I could picture the Egyptian, pressing his hand to his heart and assuring the Englishman that inshallah the car would be fixed today or the room would be ready this afternoon inshallah, or inshallah his brother was coming from Luxor tomorrow and would pick up the part at the market inshallah, where he could, inshallah, get a good price. “It's just their mañana, isn't it?” said my companion. I nodded. But this was ten years ago, and I knew nothing about Islam.

To a brisk Englishman trying to get something done, the effect of inshallah and mañana appears the same: both denote what Churchill called “sluggish methods of commerce”. But the wellspring is different. A Spaniard's mañana puts off unpleasant duties to tomorrow – or the fullness of time – because today he wishes to sing, stroll, dance and love. A Muslim's inshallah makes all dependent on the will of Allah, because Allah has decided everything, not least that there shall be no singing, strolling, dancing or loving. A mañana is indolent, unhurried, relaxed and sensual. An inshallah is fearful, constricted, even paralysed. That Churchill quotation in full:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

Whence this attitude, this aversion towards work? I use the word “aversion” not just in the modern sense of “antipathy”, but in the older meaning of “turning away from”. One clue lies in what Churchill calls “fearful fatalistic apathy” (my emphasis). Consider this Hadith, quoted at Hizb ut Tahrir's website

There will be Prophethood for as long as Allah wills it to be, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be Khilafah on the Prophetic method and it will be for as long as Allah wills, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be biting Kingship for as long as Allah Wills, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be oppressive kingship for as long as Allah wills, then he will remove it when He wills, and then there will be Khilafah upon the Prophetic method and then he remained silent. (Ahmed)

As well he might. When Allah wills everything, there is nothing to say. This is not Cordelia's defiant “Nothing, my Lord”. The Slave of Allah must await further orders. And when Allah wills, and has determined everything, woe betide the man who tries to pervert Allah's course by his own efforts. The Egyptian on the other end of that phone conversation in the Cairo hotel may not have been lazy or evasive in putting off the English businessman. Rather, he may have been frightened to promise what he ought not to promise in case Allah had other plans.

Fatalism is not exclusive to Islam.  “God willing”, “D.V.” “The Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise”, and the more secular “all being well” are very un-Islamic expressions of faith or hope in some outside agency. Yet they are different, because they contain the assumption that while God – or fate – will help us along, we do the spade work.  With the Judeo-Christian God, both God and man play their part, because there are two sides to the bargain, as David Goldman, also known as Spengler, argues:

American founding notion of “inalienable rights” stems from the Hebrew concept of covenant: a grant of rights implies a Grantor, and an irreversible grant implies a God who limits his own sovereignty in covenant with mankind.

From the vantage point of Islam, the idea that God might limit his own powers by making an eternal covenant with human beings is unthinkable, for Allah is absolutely transcendent, and unconditionally omnipotent.

Inshallah is as different from “God willing” as it is from mañana. “God willing” means we have done our best, and trust God to do what is best. Inshallah means that Allah may do his worst, and we must accept it. Why, then, would the Egyptian struggle to fulfil a contract with an English businessman? Why would any devout Muslim work hard, explore, write, invent, paint or even juggle, to the Greater Glory of Allah? It makes no difference, makes no sense and, above all, is not commanded.

Jihad, in contrast, is commanded. Jihad is the struggle to remove obstacles to the spread of Islam, and includes, but is not limited to, violence. Islam spread by means of Jihad, most of which took the form violent conquest. And it is in Jihad, with its concomitant institutions of slavery and dhimmitude, that there may be found another explanation for the absence of a Muslim work ethic: Muslims should not need to work. As “the best of peoples”, the earth belongs to Allah, and by extension to Muslims.

A blogger Arbulan, whose work should be more widely known, puts this case succinctly:

[Bernard Lewis] recognizes that the oppression of women and the enslavement or other parasitical exploitation of non-Muslims forms the core structure of Muslim society. Such oppression and exploitation became stronger with time since the expansion and very existence of the Islamic conquests depended on them. Moreover, the disdain shown by modern Arabs for physical labor might well be a result of the long continuous Muslim institution of slavery. Patai observes how an aversion “to manual labor, in particular work that involves dirtying one's hands is another Bedouin attitude that has widely influenced the Arab mind.”

This attitude has found sanction in Islam, which is, after all, the seventh century Arab mind imposed on all times and places. Saudi Arabs do little or no work, using Western workers for skilled and professional jobs and Indians, Pakistanis or Fillipinos for manual labour. Nor is Saudi Arabia exceptional in the Muslim world. The Sudan, Niger, Mauritania and “modern” Dubai all practise slavery. Shockingly, even in London rich Arab Muslims keep slaves, as a recent documentary showed. And they see nothing wrong in it. They are “the best of peoples”, because Mohammed said so. And if Mohammed said so, why would our Egyptian, one of the best of peoples, put himself out for that English businessman, that uppity infidel, in that Cairo hotel?

Wafa Sultan's book A God Who Hates gives the apostate's view of Islam from one who knows it inside out. Sultan suggests that the disdain for work comes directly from Islamic teaching:

[Islamic] teachings did not emphasize the importance of work. The concept of work in Islam was confined to nomadic migration, raiding, booty and the struggle for survival. Islam promised its followers rivers, fruits, wines and milk, but it did not encourage them to sink wells, grow fruit or raise livestock.

Contrast this with the New Testament, in which people are found fishing (even if they leave their nets), sowing seeds (even if on stony ground), watching their flocks by night (if interrupted by an angel), planting vineyards (even if grudgingly in the case of those hired in the morning), and separating wheat from chaff. Raiding and booty is not part of the picture. The closest the New Testament comes to a raid is the parable of the Good Samaritan. If that story had got in the Koran, the praise would not have gone to the Samaritan who helped the traveller, but to the thieves who attacked and robbed him, and there would have been advice on how to share out the spoils.

We are coming closer to understanding why, when most Muslim countries are poor, their cafés are full of men who sit around all day puffing on a hubble bubble. “Fearful, fatalistic apathy” – what Hugh Fitzgerald calls “inshallah fatalism”- combines with a sense of entitlement and unearned superiority, and nothing gets done.

If superiority is unearned, by definition, there is no need to impress. A Muslim man need do nothing to the Greater Glory of Allah, because Allah has decided he is one of the best of peoples. Indeed, to try to impress Allah would be a kind of blasphemy. A Muslim man is superior by virtue – if one can call it virtue – of being a Muslim, but also by virtue of being a man:

Men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which God has gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband's absence, because God has of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness you have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, and scourge them. (Koran 4:34)

It follows that man need do nothing to impress woman. She is obliged, on pain of beating or worse, to be impressed, whatever kind of man he is. This rather puts wooing out of the picture, and coy mistresses don't get a look in. Even with the talent, could a devout Muslim write this?

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Of course he couldn't. In any case, he doesn't need to. If a Muslim man wants to have sex with a woman he just takes her as his concubine – an Infidel woman is his by right – and she doesn't have the option of being coy. Nor need a Muslim man sing, paint, compose or invent to get a woman into bed. He doesn't even need a corny chat-up line. She has to come anyway, or the angels will curse her till morning, if she is lucky, and he will beat her if she is not. His woman is his tilth, and it's easier than tilling the land. Muslim men do not need to work to impress women, and so they do not work. And Muslim women have their work cut out producing more Muslim men, each less impressive than the last.

Islam grants men the right not to work. In Islam, they have no need to. Theirs is the earth and everything that's in it – including its women. Returning, for the last time, to our Egyptian, it is less surprising that he failed to deliver the goods than that he promised them in the first place.

Defenders of Islam might protest that this is theoretical, and that we need hard facts. Well, just recently The Times printed a fact about Britain, and it is a hard fact to stomach:

Religion emerges as a source of concern, especially in employment. Only 47 per cent of Muslim men are in employment, and only 24 per cent of women.

Correction: “religion” is not a source of concern; Islam is. British Hindus, who are generally the same race as British Muslims, have one of the highest employment rates, along with Christians and “those of no religion”. Incidentally, this article was late because of my demanding day job. It is particularly galling to think that such a huge proportion of my working day is spent, in effect, supporting a population that takes their Jizyah for granted, and a failure to provide it as an affront. Our Government has promised dramatic welfare cuts, not least a cap on benefits. These cannot come soon enough.

British Muslims are idle because they can be. Infidel taxpayers support them, just as infidel taxpayers support Muslims all over the world. Hugh Fitzgerald:

End, everywhere, the Jizyah of foreign aid by Infidels to the Muslims. End it, period. Full stop. And again and again suggest that, given the supposed solidarity of the umma al-islamiyya, the Saudis and Emirates and the Kuwaitis and Qataris and all the others, with their gigantic fortunes, should be put to the test: it is they, not American and British and French and Italian and Canadian taxpayers, who should be contributing to the Muslims, for they are the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth in human history, those rich Arabs who have done nothing to deserve, nothing to merit, the ten trillion dollars they have received since 1973, nor the ten trillion they are likely to receive in the next decade or two.

End the Jizyah of aid and welfare, and Muslims will have to work or starve. Without the Jizyah, to cushion them, the bankruptcy of Islam will hurt. And God willing, they will see Islam for what it is, and leave it. Not inshallah, God willing.

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Mary Jackson contributes regularly to The Iconoclast, our Community Blog. Click here to see all her contributions, on which comments are welcome.


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