Unnoticed by many during the contentious first presidential debate, Joe Biden introduced a new Arabic word into the American lexicon.
Technically, it is three words, in both Arabic and English: “in sha’ Allah,” or “if God wills.”
However, “If you take it literally, you won’t get the intent,” said Ramez Atallah, general director of the Bible Society of Egypt.
“It can also mean, ‘It will never happen,’ and this is probably what Biden meant.”
Asked by the debate moderator about his tax returns, President Donald Trump answered, “You’ll get to see it.”
To which the former vice president interjected, “When? Inshallah?”
Trump continued, and the moment was lost to almost all but Arabic-speaking viewers. Muslim Twitter users lit up in astonishment, wondering if they heard correctly.
“Enchilada” was about as close as other ears heard.
But while one Muslim writer has humorously called inshallah the Arabic equivalent of “fuggedaboudit,” what should Christians make of the phrase?
“Everything is uncertain,” Atallah said. “We live in an unpredictable world, and no one is ever sure that what they plan will be accomplished.”