ya-allah VS yalla!


  • for non-arabic speakers, “ya-allah” is used to express: “oh god” why? why me? what have I done to deserve this? — while “yalla” is used to used to express: “hurry up” and “come on” do it! what are you waiting for? just get it done.
  • the power of “yalla” was first coined by YallaStartup.org and I first experienced it first hand during YallaStartup weekend, which i later explained to hanane.
  • the conversation below is a chat conversation between hanane and myself:

Hanane K. i have this friend mr. y, and i know how his life was and is like. and i have to admit that he has so much problems… the thing is that he never forgets these problems and he keeps on looking at his life with this “ya-allah” attitude. he is always the victim (of course in his head). he projects his anger on everything… and i think it’s all because of this “ya-allah” attitude instead of the “yalla” one…

…and i think that he is bringing more and more problems to himself because he is in this victim attitude. he will only see the bad things and maybe sometimes miss some opportunities…

…i have another friend, mr. x who i think has this “yalla” spirit instead.  he has a positive attitude towards the world. maybe because he has this attitude, he was able to see that he can benefit from the fact that he can live with his parents and do the projects he wants, [and he’s been doing projects like crazy]… for the other mr. y it’s like: “ya-allah”, i have to work to make money so I can do my own projects, and i don’t want to work, I want my own projects. i don’t want to ask my parents for money, and I don’t want to live with them. my life sucks “ya-allah”! [and he is missing opportunities that could change his situation to the better.]…

… what i am saying is too theoretical. if i had mr. Y’s life, maybe now i would’ve been somewhere on the road stealling people’s money.

William C. you’re absolutely right, saying something is a lot easier than doing it. I believe the people that this awareness can help most, are those who don’t have the problems yet. this could help those who aren’t saying “ya-allah” yet.  and if/when they get the problems, then they can realize how they’re acting. they can realize that they are in “ya-allah” mode, and jump into “yalla” mode instead. I believe the key is to practice and experience the power of “yalla”, so that when “ya-allah” kicks in, you can kick it out…

…for those already stuck in “ya-allah” mode, it’s definitely 50 times harder. but at least now that they are aware of what the problem is, they are one small step closer to changing their attitude and closer to experiencing the power of “yalla!”…

…another thing that greatly helps those that are stuck, is community support. when someone is surrounded by people who all have the power of “yalla” in them, then this time it’s 50 times easier to overcome “ya-allah” mode and actually get something done.

…wow hanane!! you just created a note! πŸ˜€ thank you, now i will share it with the world.

yours, will

twitter: @williamchoukeir

p.s. closely related: how the path of the warrior can help you complete your project.


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7 Responses to ya-allah VS yalla!

  1. Hanane Kai says:

    the most lovely thing is that now we’re aware of these two modes and we also have names for them πŸ™‚ …so whenever someone steps in the ‘ya-allah’ mode, the people around him will tell him – as he would be so taken with his problem and didn’t notice- and hopefully he’ll make the effort to go back to the ‘yalla’ mode.

  2. Anonymous says:

    note to self & to community: when you hear someone saying ya-allah! ask him to say YALLA! instead.that’s a great idea hanane!

  3. Anonymous says:

    my related comment to http://naz73.blogspot.com/"i love it! :-)do you realize that what remembering "allah" does in your mind is this: it gives you certainty that things are accurate the way they are, and everything is only a challenge to be overcome.and this state of mind has such a power, whether you are religious or not.and this is very different than saying "ya-allah!" and you say ya-allah, you enter a state of rejection to your current situation. and refuse to fix it, because, well, you refuse that it’s there in the first place :-)"this is what "yalla" does, it gives you certainty that things are accurate the way they are, and everything is only a challenge to be overcome. so Yalla! go overcome that challenge. what are you waiting for?

  4. Karim Badra says:

    "???????? ???? ????????"

  5. Anonymous says:

    karim: haha!, good one πŸ™‚

  6. Ahmad Osman says:

    ‘but at least now that they are aware of what the problem is, they are one small step closer to changing their attitude’ <– You know there is a nice term for this type of a statement. I forget what the term is, but basically it is the idea of a written statement whose reading per se is supposed to be an activation of something in the reader’s real life. Someday, I will remember the term.

  7. Anonymous says:

    thank you ahmad! that’s lovely. missing out conversations

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