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The War Within Islam ( 4 Sept 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Bless Bakistan, Holier than thou: Urdu becomes Arabic in Bakistan

By Murtaza Razvi

Aug. 12th, 2011

Last year it was Ramazan Kareem, instead of Ramazan Mubarak, and this year roza and Ramazan are the ‘bad’ words. We’re told it is sawm and not roza; Ramadan and not Ramazan. Why they haven’t just yet realised the folly of calling salaa(t) namaaz is beyond me. Wuzu has been set right as wudu, but azaan has been left alone and not rechristened (have an Arabian equivalent?) as adhaan.

While it is now customary to say “We’ll meet after Maghrib”, Zuhr, soon to be Dhuhr and Isha, soon to be ‘Isha’a, have been spared. Asr also has been spared the ‘Asr effect, (as has been Ali, which has yet to be re spelt as ‘Ali). Fajr perhaps is too early in the day to be bothered with, so no one mentions that time, or is it because you can’t really rechristen Fajr? That’s some light for you in our clouding day!

Khuda has long been a bad word with those obsessing about filling up Urdu diction with Arabic words. Khuda was in fact the first casualty to fall to this onslaught, as Khuda Hafiz became Allah Hafiz, not realising that Hafiz too should have been fixed, as the Arabic pronunciation of the word is Hafidh. Allah will also have to be re spelt as All’ah (follow Junaid Jamshed). Maybe the likes of him, who when endorsing a certain brand of crisps calls Halal, (k)halaal and haram (k)haraam is already working on this one too.

I shudder to think what will happen when the lot comes round to fixing people’s names and their titles, and that too is coming soon enough. While people like me who have very Arabic names will only have to change the way we spell our names, i.e. from Murtaza Razvi to Murtadha Radhvi, my dear Pakistan will be in a bigger trouble. The letter ‘P’ does not occur in the Quran, nay in the Arabic alphabet even of the Jahiliya period. For starters, they might settle for Bakistan (and Dar al-Islam for Islamabad), advancing a similar argument that they do against roza: that the Quran does not mention roza but sawm, hence when a Muslim fasts, sawm it shall be. What they won’t tell you that even an Arab Christian or Jew (God forbid, Arabs the fountainhead of Islam, still have those people among them?), calls his fast sawm because that’s the word for roza in Arabic — Muslim or non-Muslim, Quran or Psalms or the Bible.

As for Bakistan, the controversy will only begin thence, because ‘istan’ is a Persian suffix, and totally unacceptable when referring to an Islamic republic. It will have to be translated and we may come up with something like ‘Al Khalissiya’ (of course preceded by Jamhuriya Islamia), and not to be confused with the Sikh demand for Khalistan (see how non-Muslims flock to the Persian language?).

Our national anthem, oh, my, my… too will have to be scraped because, lo and behold, except for one word in Urdu, all of it is in Persian. And the verse with the Urdu word in it tells us that the ‘system’ to govern Pakistan will be based on the ‘will and unity of its people’, and not of Allah. Astaghfirullah! And blasphemy of blasphemies, the national anthem ends with Saaya-i-Kuda-i-Zuljalaal (under the shadow of God the Majestic).

Now if Khuda is not the Muslim God, whose majestic shadow does our country seek? We’re in trouble. All Muslim Pakistanis will go to hell for praying this prayer in their national anthem, that is, if our puritan, born-again Pakistani Muslim brethren (and sisters) are to be held in the right. Do think about it.

Also, if they are right, consider this too: there’s more trouble ahead for our national leaders — dead and alive. The dead ones, especially the Shaheed among them, will have to be rechristened for them to keep enjoying the status of a Muslim martyr. Ms Bhutto will become Shaheeda Lasaaniya (Benazir, as in unmatchable) al-Bhutto or Bint al-Bhutto. The Quaid-i-Azam will be called al-Quaid al-Azam; the Shaheed-i-Millat will become Shaheed al-Ummah or (Milliya), and the Madar-i-Millat, Umm al-Ummah. What will happen to our Meeras and Reemas, Javeds, Jamsheds, Parvezes and Nasreens and Parveens, is anyone’s guess.

But its happening, folks. Even though Abu Bakr, Khadijah and Ali, the very first converts to Islam, did not have to change their names when they embraced the faith; nor did the many Turks, the Iranians, the Berbers or the Indonesians, subsequently. If poor Yousuf Youhana were not a Pakistani, he would have been saved the trouble, but it’s our obsession with religion in the public sphere that keeps telling us that names too must conform to a faith. A Muslim may not name his son Firaon, and understandably so, but there will be many Yazids among us for all times to come. Think about this one too.

Meanwhile, God, err… Alla’h, bless Bakistan. 

The writer is a member of the staff at Dawn Newspaper

Source: The Dawn, Karachi