In Arabic uncertainty is: majhool, rayba or shak. It is the (unknown), the (sceptical) and the (doubtful). It could be any of the three and it is a word of high significance in the Middle East. With its religious, cultural and social distinctiveness, the Middle East is unique in its history, customs and traditions. It is also the land of uncertainty. The word Inshallah implies uncertainty. It means if God wills, or, in other words, nothing is certain.
There is always inshallah (God willing), since everything is connected to God’s will. Blessed or cursed, there is no way to escape destiny. It is a belief, a way of life, a code of conduct and a virtue. Even when all the signs imply the outcome, inshallah is omnipresent. The belief in destiny is strong and predominant, yet it does not restrain progress. People plan, work and produce, but with every move comes inshallah. When setting up an appointment, a meeting or a date, the eternal word Inshallah will surface. Uncertainty lingers and is deeply-entrenched.
Creating a balance between nasseeb (destiny) and free will is not an issue. Some might think that we just succumb to our destiny, to what we have and simply accept our fate without questioning. But we are not submissive, as hard work is highly-regarded and we strive for the best. Free will exists but it comes with an understanding of the predetermined.
When we feel that there is room for change, we venture, choose the uncertainty of change and manage to take control of our lives, with God’s will. We dare and aspire to new possibilities and unexplored dimensions. We believe that the will of God governs our lives, yet free will unconsciously persists. If things don’t happen as planned the frustration is accompanied by acceptance, since this is God’s will and it is definitely for our own benefit.
The driving force is the religious mindset. Disappointments and downfalls are accepted with hamdullah (thank God). This belief instills strength and empowers and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” applies perfectly well here, and on every occasion, hamdullah (thank God) looms. This is the magical boost that instigates perseverance and respects patience and forbearance. Failures and setbacks are received with “hopefully for the best.” Acceptance is a virtue.
Life is not all rosy and perfect. There might be failures, disappointments and resignation to the predetermined, such as failed marriages. In a culture that is particularly conscious of fadiha (scandal), divorce could be out of the question. Many women suffer and simply surrender to their fate because patience is the righteous thing and divorce is a scandal. There is also the fear of economic repercussions. Dependant women have no source of income and might continue suffering due to a dread of the unknown. There are various situations where people might endure harsh conditions and accept them as nasseeb, or their destiny. Torn between stability and uncertainty many would choose the real, the stable and the safe.
And mind you, we are a society that hates change. We are always pulled to the past. The forces of tradition and heritage prevail and dominate. When challenged by uncertainty we are haunted by fear. The fear of social pressure, the unknown and the consequences. New ideas and concepts are not easily accepted, even worse, new endeavors are deplored and condemned. Our fear of chaos prompts us to reject and resent novel ideas. Yet, if change brings benefit, we embrace it. Absurd? It might be, but people tend to applaud success and loathe failures.
We are also the land of contradictions. The ideas of fate and destiny are spread across a wide spectrum of society. Even the educated fully accept concepts that are bequeathed to us by our ancestors. These concepts move people’s lives and their understanding. Some of us still stick to them, others crave change. Nevertheless, we are confronted with the relentless force of progress which comes in different forms and shapes. It might be sudden and radical or can infiltrate smoothly bringing new thoughts and revolutionary approaches. We will eventually be dragged into uncertainties which will open unknown horizons. Hopefully, favorable ones.
We are not different from any other culture. We share with others the fear of the unknown. We realize that uncertainty comes with a margin of error. However, we try, experiment and give ourselves a chance. It is a human trait that each and every one of us wishes to leave their mark, walk their own path and attain their own goal. If we deeply reflect on the daunting aspects of uncertainty, we would hold back. But we don’t. We might be hesitant and indecisive, yet we are not overwhelmed by the immensity of the decision and its outcomes. On the contrary, hope and determination urge us to delve into the unknown and to explore new prospects. There is a mysterious force within us that pushes us forward. Our anxiety vanishes and is replaced by enthusiasm as soon as we start treading on safe ground.
As humans, we have a common belief that uncertainties are linked to a mysterious notion. We call it God’s will, others call it a super power or a stroke of luck. Different names for the same concept. We could be hindered, delayed or defeated but there is always a fervent belief that God or luck will always be on our side.
Photo 1: Petra, Jordan – Urn Tomb – PNP Images (Shutterstock)
Photo 2: Wadi Musa, Jordan – The lost city of Petra – Jamie Brown (Unsplash)_1
Photo 3: Aqaba, Jordan – A the beach – Alarax (Shutterstock)
Photo 4: Amman, Jordan – Groceries – Elena Chevalier (Shutterstock)
Photo 5: Amman, Jordan – Out the bus window – Authentic Travel (Shutterstock)
Photo 6: Amman, Jordan – Roadscape – Authentic Travel (Shutterstock)
Photo 7: Aqaba City, Jordan – Looking out – TarasikJO (Shutterstock)
Photo 8: Amman, Jordan – Dining – Photocritical (Shutterstock)
Photo 9: Madaba, Jordan – Out for a ride – Dmitriy Feldman Svarshik (Shutterstock)
Photo 10: Petra, Jordan – Hello – Roxanne Desgagnes (Unsplash)
Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed
Alencar, Joana. Uncertainty – Our Spirit – Brazil. November 2018.
Awdejuk, Pawel. Niepewność – The Road to Freedom – Poland. July 2018.
Bell, Sarah. The Bushfire Drive – Australia. July 2018.
Bondarenko, Evgeny. Twenty Plus Years. August 2018.
Cajoto, Christina. The Trajectory of Life – España. August 2018.
Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.
Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.
Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.
Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.
Deiana, Sara. The Dark Side of Perfection. September 2018.
Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018
Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018
Fischer, Kristin. Talking about Cancer – Germany. September 2018.
Gómez, Javier. Uncharted Bliss. October 2018
Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.
Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.
Guillot, Iuliana. Preparing for Change – Romania. June 2018.
Huihao, Mu. Going the Uncertain Way. July 2017.
Julber, Lillian. What Will Tomorrow Bring? – Chile. July 2018.
Kanunova, Nigina. Metamporphoses in Modern Life. June 2018.
Kingsley, Anastasia. Expect the Unexpected. November 2018.
Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.
Korneeva, Kate. One We – Russia. April 2018.
Krnceska, Sofija. No Name Country – Macedonia. May 2018.
Lassa, Verónica. The Old Eastern Books of Uncertainty – Argentina. May 2018.
Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.
Marti, Sol. A Thought Falling – Spain and Germany. December 2018.
Pang, Lian. Now or Later? October 2018.
Phelps, Jade. Healing Journey Pulls Us Apart – America. June 2018.
Protić, Aleksandar. Environmental Uncertainty. August 2018.
Romano, Mavi. An Uncertain Democracy – Spain. April 2018
Ranaldo, Mary. Incerto or Flexible: Italia and UK. March 2018.
Ray, Sanjay Kumar. Once upon a Time in a Queue – India. November 2018.
Çakır, Peren. Building a Future in Times of Uncertainty – Argentina and Turkey. May 2018.
Sanmartín, Virginia. Qué Será, Será – Spain. June 2018.
Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.
Sariñana, Alejandra González. A Brighter Future? – Mexico. December 2018.
Sekulić, Jelena. Nesigurnost of the Past, Present and Future – Serbia. June 2018.
Sem, Sebastião. Vagrant Poets. September 2018.
Sepi, Andreea. Uncertainties Galore – Germany. April 2018.
Sevunts, Nane. From Uncertainty to Newness. November 2018.
Sitorus, Rina. When Uncertainty Reaches the Land of Certainty – Indonesia and the Netherlands. May 2018.
Trojnar, Kamila. Ephemeral. October 2018.
Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.
Uberti, Alejandra Baccino. Adventure – Uruguay. September 2018.
Vuka. Lacking Uncertainty in Political Culture – Serbia. April 2018.
Wallis, Toni. Living for Today – South Africa. October 2018.
Younes, Ghadir. Economic Uncertainty in Life – Lebanon. Part 38.
Zakharova, Anastasiya. LGBQT – Russia. August 2018.
Translators and writers from Bosnia, Armenia and then on to the Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes…
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed