[Reader-list] Allah Hafiz to Khuda Hafiz: A road better not traveled

Samvit samvitr at gmail.com
Tue Nov 9 14:28:16 IST 2010

Sorry Kshmendra, I didn't realize that. This thought was triggered by a
program that I watched last night on NDTV India. The anchor, Vinod Dua, who
is from Dera Ghazi Khan, talked about it in detail.

On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 2:11 PM, Kshmendra Kaul <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Dear Samvit
> This was shared on sarai on 24th May 2009
> http://mail.sarai.net/pipermail/reader-list/2009-May/019892.html
> A connected article in two parts which might interest you, was shared on
> 31st May 2009.
> http://mail.sarai.net/pipermail/reader-list/2009-May/019968.html
> "Khuda Hafiz versus Allah Hafiz: a critique" By Mahfuzur Rahman
> http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/2004/01-15Mar04-Print-Edition/0103200455.htm
> http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/2004/16-31Mar04-Print-Edition/1603200449.htm
> Kshmendra
> --- On *Tue, 11/9/10, Samvit <samvitr at gmail.com>* wrote:
> From: Samvit <samvitr at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Reader-list] Allah Hafiz to Khuda Hafiz: A road better not
> traveled
> To: "reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
> Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 12:43 PM
> A very interesting read. It talks about the road that radicalization
> has taken. Most of us, inspite of our religion would love to say khuda
> hafiz but the fanatics now want us to change the way we address each
> other. Sad!
> Allah Hafiz to Khuda Hafiz
> Nadeem F. PARACHA
> The first time Allah Hafiz was used in public was in 1985 when a
> famous TV host, a frequent sight on PTV during the Zia era, signed off
> her otherwise secular show with a firm ‘Allah Hafiz.’
> As most Pakistanis over the ages of six and seven would remember,
> before the now ubiquitous ‘Allah Hafiz’ came ‘Khuda Hafiz’.
> The immediate history of the demise of Khuda Hafiz can be traced back
> to a mere six to seven years in the past. It was in Karachi some time
> in 2002 when a series of banners started appearing across Sharea
> Faisal. Each banner had two messages. The first one advised Pakistani
> Muslims to stop addressing God by the informal ‘Tu’ and instead
> address him as ‘Aap’ (the respectful way of saying ‘you’ in Urdu). The
> second message advised Pakistanis to replace the term Khuda Hafiz with
> Allah Hafiz.
> The banners were produced and installed by Islamic organisations
> associated with a famous mosque in Karachi. Ever since the 1980s, this
> institution had been a bastion of leading puritanical doctrines of
> Islam. Many of the institution’s scholars were, in one way or the
> other, also related to the Islamic intelligentsia sympathetic to the
> Taliban version of political Islam and of other similar fundamentalist
> outfits.
> However, one just cannot study the Allah Hafiz phenomenon through what
> happened in 2002. This phenomenon has a direct link with the
> disastrous history of cultural casualties Pakistan has steadily been
> suffering for over thirty years now. Beyond the 2002 banner incident,
> whose two messages were then duly taken up by a series of Tableeghi
> Jamaat personnel and as well as trendsetting living room Islamic
> evangelists, a lot of groundwork had already taken place to culturally
> convert the largely pluralistic and religiously tolerant milieu of
> Pakistan into a singular concentration of Muslims following the
> “correct” version of Islam.
> The overriding reasons for this were foremost political, as General
> Ziaul Haq and his politico-religious cohorts went about setting up
> madressahs in an attempt to harden the otherwise softer strain of
> faith that a majority of Pakistanis followed so they could be prepared
> for the grand ‘Afghan jihad’ against the atheistic Soviet Union with a
> somewhat literalist and highly politicised version of Islam. The above
> process not only politically radicalised sections of Pakistani
> society, its impact was apparent on culture at large as well.
> For example, as bars and cinemas started closing down, young men and
> women, who had found space in these places to simply meet up, were
> forced to move to shady cafes, restaurants and parks which, by the
> mid-1980s, too started to be visited by cops and fanatical moral
> squads called the ‘Allah Tigers’, who ran around harassing couples in
> these spaces, scolding them for going against Islam, or, on most
> occasions, simply extorting money from the shaken couples through
> blackmail.
> Then, getting a blanket ideological and judicial cover by the Zia
> dictatorship, the cops started to harass almost any couple riding a
> motorbike, a car or simply sitting at the beach. Without even asking
> whether the woman was the guy’s sister or mother (on many occasions
> they were!), the cops asked for the couples’ marriage certificate!
> Failing to produce one (which in most cases they couldn’t), hefty sums
> of money were extorted as the couples were threatened to be sent to
> jail under the dreadful Hudood Ordinances. The same one the Musharraf
> government eventually scrapped.
> Some of these horrendous practices were duly stopped during the
> Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif governments in the 1990s, but the cat
> had long been set among the pigeons. Encouraged by their initial
> successes in the 1980s, Islamist culture-evangelists became a lot more
> aggressive in the 1990s. Drawing room and TV evangelists went about
> attempting to construct a “true” Islamic society, and at least one of
> their prescriptions was to replace the commonly used Khuda Hafiz with
> Allah Hafiz.
> This was done because these crusading men and women believed that once
> they had convinced numerous Pakistanis to follow the faith by adorning
> a long beard and hijab, the words Khuda Hafiz would not seem
> appropriate coming out from the mouths of such Islamic-looking folks.
> They believed that Khuda can mean any God, whereas the Muslims’ God
> was Allah. Some observers suggest that since many non-Muslims residing
> in Pakistan too had started to use Khuda Hafiz, this incensed the
> crusaders who thought that non-Muslim Pakistanis were trying to adopt
> Islamic gestures only to pollute them. The first time Allah Hafiz was
> used in public was in 1985 when a famous TV host, a frequent sight on
> PTV during the Zia era, signed off her otherwise secular show with a
> firm ‘Allah Hafiz.’ However, even though some Islamic preachers
> continued the trend in the 1990s, it did not trickle down to the
> mainstream until the early 2000s. As society continued to collapse
> inwards — especially the urban middle class — the term Allah Hafiz
> started being used as if Pakistanis had always said Allah Hafiz.
> So much so that today, if you are to bid farewell by saying Khuda
> Hafiz, you will either generate curious facial responses, or worse,
> get a short lecture on why you should always say Allah Hafiz instead —
> a clear case of glorified cultural isolationism to ‘protect’ one’s
> comfort zone of myopia from the influential and uncontrollable trends
> of universal pluralism?
> I’m afraid this is the case.
> http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/16-nadeem-f-paracha-allah-hafiz-to-khuda-hafiz-hs-07
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