Banned In Pakistan: English Translations Of Sacred Arabic Words

Religious scholars are lauding the decision, especially since it comes during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan has reportedly prohibited the use of English translation for Islamic terms.

“Sacred Arabic names and words like ‘Allah’, ‘masjid’, ‘sala’at’ and ‘Rasool’ are now forbidden to be translated into English as God, mosque, prayer and Prophet,” according to Samaa, a local television news channel.

The decision, approved by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was lauded by religious scholars who stressed the ban ought to be implemented soon.

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Mufti Naeem, a legal expert in Islamic matters, commented that the move is commendable, especially since it comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Another religious scholar, Mufti Muneebur Rehman also lauded Sharif for the initiative, saying “some religious terms and names are best described in Arabic and they couldn’t be translated in English.”

As per the government’s summary, the use of English words for Islamic terms could technically be illegal; however, details of the ban’s implementation remain undisclosed as yet.

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It’s not the first time Pakistan has waged a war on words officials deem inappropriate.

In 2011, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority issued a list of 586 Urdu and 1,109 English words that were considered offensive or pornographic, directing cellular operators to block text messages that contain them.

The idea, according to PTA Director Public Relations Mohammad Younis, was to “block most words that are vulgar and obscene.”

While the inclusion of expletives somewhat made sense, entries like Jesus Christ, monkey crotch, fatso, idiot, intercourse – and even seemingly ordinary words like period, hostage and flatulence – left many scratching their heads. 

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