Source: the guardian
Does it matter what name people use for God? This is the question thrown up as a result of a strange development in Pakistani etiquette.
Until about 10 years ago “Khuda hafiz”, which means “God protect you”, was the phrase commonly used to say goodbye. But, in the past decade, “Khuda hafiz” began to be overtaken by a new term “Allah hafiz“. Now, “Allah hafiz” is used by everyone from religious clerics to fashion models and the country’s top TV anchors.
While languages change and evolve with time, and Pakistan certainly has bigger problems such as corruption and militancy, the alteration has unsettled liberals in Pakistan, who say it reflects a wider change in the country’s cultural landscape.
Khuda is the Urdu word for God, borrowed from Persian. Yet today, some people claim that Khuda can refer to any God, while Allah is the specific name for God in the Qur’anic scripture. Others have gone so far as to claim the word Khuda may even have pagan origins.
The promotion of “Allah hafiz” first began in the 1980s under the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq when Pakistan was involved in the US- and Saudi-backed jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. According to some reports, “Allah hafiz” was first used in public in 1985 by a well-known TV host on the state-run PTV. However it would be years later that the greeting took off.