Question # 140: Is it allowed to greet ‘Khuda Hafiz’ or ‘Allah Hafiz’ as is done among the Indo-Pak continent?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The word ‘Khuda’ is a Persian word for “Lord” or “God” and was originally used in reference to Ahura Mazda (the god of Zoroastrianism). So, use of the words ‘Khuda Hafiz’ imply supplicating protection for the one being greeted from Ahura Mazda, a Persian deity based on its root meaning or origin. As for ‘Allah Hafiz’, it is claimed that the use of it is better than ‘Khuda Hafiz’ because it does not involve the elements of shirk; however, it is still not from the ways of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), Companions and the salaf. Hence, any such greeting is also considered an innovation (bid’ah). Hence, just as one gives ‘As-Salaam’ when entering upon a gathering or meeting another Muslim, it is also Sunnah to give ‘As-Salaam’ when parting. Also, when two companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) met, they would not part until one of them recited Soorah Al-‘Asr to the other and then greeted salaam.

Long Answer:

MEANING OF KHUDA HAFIZ

The literal translation of the words ‘Khuda Hafiz’ is “May God be your Guardian”. ‘Khuda’ is the Persian word for “Lord” or “God”. Originally, it was used in reference to Ahura Mazda (the god of Zoroastrianism). In Zoroastrianism, the fourth and eighty-sixth entry of the Pazend[1] prayer titled ‘101 Names of God’, Harvesp-Khoda “Lord of All” and Khudawand “Lord of the Universe”, respectively, are compounds involving ‘Khuda’. (Wikipedia.org)

According to Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda is the supreme god in ancient Iranian religion, especially in the religious system of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (7th century – 6th century BCE). Ahura Mazda was worshiped by the Persian king Darius I (reigned 522 BCE – 486 BCE) and his successors as the greatest of all gods and protector of the just king. According to Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda created the universe and the cosmic order that he maintains. He created the twin spirits Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) – the former beneficent, choosing truth, light, and life, the latter destructive, choosing deceit, darkness, and death. The struggle of the spirits against each other makes up the history of the world. (Britannica Encyclopedia of World Religions)

So, use of the words ‘Khuda Hafiz’ imply supplicating protection for the one being greeted from Ahura Mazda, a Persian deity based on its root meaning or origin.

MEANING OF ALLAH HAFIZ

The following was stated in an article dated 17 April 2012 appearing in ‘The Guardian’: “[In Pakistan], until about 10 years ago ‘Khuda Hafiz’…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’… 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… Interestingly, while Allah is an Arabic word, the Arabs themselves don’t use ‘Allah Hafiz’ – which is a purely Pakistani-manufactured invention mixing Arabic with Persian…”

ANALYSIS

Although it is claimed that the use of ‘Allah Hafiz’ is better than ‘Khuda Hafiz’ because it does not involve the elements of shirk, it is still not from the ways of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), Companions and the salaf. Hence, any such greeting is considered an innovation (bid’ah).

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a going astray.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)

Also Narrated by Salama (رضي الله عنها) “I heard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saying, “Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have not said then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” (Al-Bukhari)

In another report, Aisha’h (رضي الله عنها) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Whoever performs a deed that is not in accordance with our matter will have it rejected.” (Muslim)

Hence, Muslims should avoid innovations and beware of them and should strive to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah, without adding anything or taking anything away, for Allah has perfected this religion as He says in the Qur’an: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:3)

SUNNAH WAY OF GREETING

Just as one gives ‘As-Salaam’ when entering upon a gathering [or meeting another Muslim], it is also Sunnah to give ‘As-Salaam’ when parting from that gathering. Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “When one of you ends up at a gathering, let him extend greetings of peace [Salaam]. Then if he intends to stand [and leave}, let him extend greetings of peace [Salaam]. The first is not more of a right [duty] than the last (i.e., both are equally Sunnah).” (Related by At-Tirmidhi, who said ‘Hasan’ and by Abu Dawood, and Al-Albani said ‘Hasan Sahih’; Al-Bukhari related it in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad; At-Tahawi related it in Mushkal Al-Aathaar) (‘The Book of Manners’ by Shaikh Fu’ aad Ibn Abdul-Azeez AshShulhoob)

It is also prescribed to end a gathering by saying that which was narrated by Abu Dawood from Abu Barzah al-Aslami (رضي الله عنه) who said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to say, when he wanted to leave a gathering: “Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bi hamdika, ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk (Glory and praise be to You, O Allah, I bear witness that there is no god but You, I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You).” And he said: “It is expiation for whatever happened in that gathering.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawood)

It is also prescribed for one of the people present to recite Soorah al-‘Asr when ending the gathering, because of the report narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat from Abu Madeenah al-Daarimi (رضي الله عنه) who was a companion of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). He said: When two men of the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) met, they would not part until one of them recited “By Al‑‘Asr (the time), Verily, man is in loss” [Soorah al-‘Asr, 103] over the other, then one would say salaam to the other. (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Sahihah) (Islamqa.info) 

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam

[1] One of the writing systems used for the Middle Persian language