The belief that people are powerless to control events, is part of traditional Arab culture, and this belief refers the control of life events to God. Although this belief is less prevalent among the educated elite of the Arab world, it remains a much held notion amongst many Arabs, irrespective of their religious backgrounds.

For Arabs, fatalism is based on the belief that God has direct and ultimate control of all that happens. If something goes wrong, or right, the cause can be assigned to God’s will. Indeed, too much self-confidence about controlling events is considered a sign of arrogance tinged with blasphemy. Fatalism in Arab thought is most apparent in the ritual phrase “Insha’Allah”, meaning “God willing”. This phrase is used frequently and reflects strongly the belief in God’s control over all events.

If you are working with clients and their families in planning for future service provision and goal setting, you can expect to hear references to God’s will as an integral factor affecting future developments.