Going ‘miskeen’ in Saudi Arabia

Published: June 5, 2012
The writer is Director South Asian Media School, Lahore 

The writer is Director South Asian Media School, Lahore khaled.ahmed@tribune.com.pk

Brigadier (retd) Mehboob Qadir, who was Director General (SPAFO) of Pakistan Armed Forces deputationists to the Saudi Armed Forces from 1998 to 2002, noted in a recent article: “Pakistanis together with expatriates from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, etc, are called ‘miskeen’ by the Saudis”. He thought, quite correctly, that the word was used to mean ‘the poor wretch’. We use the word for the ‘down and out’ in Pakistan too.

What hurts is that the Saudis address the white expats of Europe and America as ‘rafiq’ (friend). What of the concept of ‘ummah’, he asks, which means that all Muslims are one nation? He discovers that ‘ummah’ applies only to Saudis, Iraqis, Egyptians, Yemenis, Kuwaitis Bahrainis, Emiratis, etc., but not to others. Arabs only, it seems, qualify.

The Saudis abolished slavery only recently in 1974. Then why are we ‘miskeen’? Is it really abolished though? Arabia of the Bedouins by Marcel Kurpershoek (Saqi Books 2004), records that Saudi Arabia was still tribal and big tribal families employed lavishly opulent slaves riding Land Cruisers who made Pakistanis and Bangladeshis till the fields of their masters.

The dominant tribe is Oteiba that “accepted Islam at the hand of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), in 622 AD and remained fiercely faithful to him”. Lawrence of Arabia modelled himself on an Oteibi warrior.

For the poor, the Holy Quran has two words: ‘faqir’ and ‘miskeen’. ‘Faqir’ is ‘a man in need’ but ‘miskeen’ is ‘completely down and out’. ‘Faqir’ has less than what he needs; ‘miskeen’ has nothing. ‘Miskeen’ literally means, ‘brought to a standstill in one place’.

In Hebrew, the word for poor is ‘meesken’. The Arabic root ‘skn’ means that which has lost all movement. The Urdu word ‘saakin’ (static) is related. Hence, poor is someone who can hardly move.

But the ‘skn’ root otherwise yields positive words, like peace and tranquillity (sakoon), including the Quranic word sakina (peace) that explains the feeling inside the Ark of the Covenant, expressed in the Judaeo-Christian doctrine of shekinah.

Faqir’ comes from the root ‘fqr’ which means ‘spinal vertebra’. Derivative word ‘Zulfiqar’ means that which ‘breaks the spine’ because it was originally the name of a sword. Etymologically, therefore, ‘Faqir’ means ‘broken-backed’.

Faqir’ has taken on more meaning. It means also someone who is contented in his need. One important element in mysticism is ‘faqr’: the need to be in need. Although it is an antonym of ‘ghani’ (one who is free of need), it has come to mean something close to ‘ghani’. It is, in this sense, that a famous family of Punjab called themselves ‘faqir’. My friend and well-known scholar Faqir Aijazuddin has a very firm spine.

The third word for poor is extremely poignant. It is ‘ghareeb’. It means someone who has left home or is homeless. And leaving home in ancient times meant going west (gharb). The sun sets (‘gharub’) in the west (‘maghrib’). When we observe the ritual of ‘Sham-e-ghariban’ during Muharram, we actually mean the ‘nightfall of the homeless’.

In Saudi Arabia, the Europeans are called ‘rafiq’. It comes from the root ‘rfq’, meaning ‘elbow’: one who is ‘by your elbow’. Friendship is ‘rafaqat’. Interestingly, ‘artafaq’ means leaning on something for support as if raising oneself on one’s elbow.

More derived meanings include softness because friendship is such a soft thing. When the Holy Quran talks of Paradise it talks of softness (ease) in this sense. To conclude, the most accurate sense of ‘rafiq’ is companion.

Pakistan is in the grip of honour. ‘Miskeen’ is not a good reminder these days.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (64)

  • kanwal
    Jun 5, 2012 - 10:40PM

    A lot of Pakistanis living and working in Arab countries tell the same story as described above. Its a horror story. But i guess racist people can never really unite into a concept of Ummah. For the rich Arabs, it all comes down to money. No matter you are an expat of europe or a ridiculuosly rich mafia boss. Recommend

    Jun 5, 2012 - 10:43PM

    Mr Khalid Ahmed,

    Many thanks for writing this piece tracing the roots of some words and comparing their use in different languages. It is a lot more educative than some of the columns which are full of the same rhetoric lacking sincerity or substance.


  • Anwar Hakam
    Jun 5, 2012 - 10:54PM

    As eye catching as the title of the article appears at fist glance, Khaled Ahmed is leaving much to the imagination of the reader. The synthesis of the word miskeen and its meaning especially in the context of Arabian collective arrogance needs to be profoundly looked at. The tragedy is that faith hasn’t been successful in purging the acute sense of tribal supremacy of its earliest adherents. Excessive wealth in the form of petro-dollars in the later half of the 20th century has but dramatically enhanced this erroneous feeling of superiority.


  • 1984
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:04PM

    You should have mentioned that in the Arabian peninsula,lot of Indians and Pakistanis share rooms and live together like brothers…

    These Arabs have an inferior complex over whites and a superiority complex over Asians…
    An asian(Indian,pakistani,filipino) will get salary than a European of the same educational qualification.

    But unfortunately,the mullahs of South Asia are bribed with petrodollars and are brainwashing muslims to follow the Arabic customs ..

    That project has succeeded in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan…Its slowly creeping in India,Malaysia and Indonesia where the local muslims are desperately trying to abandon the local culture and picking the radical Arabic culture,creating a hostile environment for everyone…


  • Ashfaq
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:06PM

    I remember the 70’s when the Arabs came to Pakistan for rest and recreation. And we provided all kinds of recreation.


  • 1984
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:07PM

    Correction to my previous post

    An asian(Indian,pakistani,filipino) will get LESS salary than a European of the same educational qualification.


  • Ordinary Villager
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:14PM

    An excellent Article. Believe me I met Arabs and I told them just for experiment once that I am Italian and I was instantly patted and they told me that they love Valencia and they love our Girls. Then i became a Pakistani and the same Arabs were changed and i saw a new disgusting look in them. Such is a level of Hypocrisy in Arab states. They are worshipers of White skin and for them South Asians are subhumans. I saw one Pakhtoon driver was beaten up by a Saudi and even he spit on his face and no one took action against him. In Saudia slapping on a face and spitting and throwing shoes at some laborer is a usual scene and many Indians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangalis and Srilankans face this type of horror on a daily basis.


  • Babloo
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:23PM

    You wrote
    “The Urdu word ‘saakin’ (static) is related.”
    I would like to add that
    The Sanskrit(Indian) word for static or absence of motion is “stabdh”

    Other words sharing the same root in sanskrit/hindu are “stupa” ( large standing monumet) , “sthan” ( a place, not in motion ), “sthapit” ( establsihed ) and the English word “stand” also comes from the same sanskrit ( indo-european ) root “stabdh”.


  • brit-pak
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:25PM

    khaled sahab

    you are going on a lot of hear say people on the ground in saudi arabia tell me yemenis are treated worst than pakistanisRecommend

  • Ashfaq
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:44PM

    @ 1984

    I think in Saudi Arabia Pakistanis and Indians are the best of friends than any other country in the world.


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:48PM

    Saudis has been interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs for decades and guess who’s fault is it. The ruling class of Pakistan has been giving them all the privileges which they could not get in Europe and Americas, They are the ones who has exported their brand of radical Islam to Pakistan with the connivance of ruling class because they became millionaires in the process while toadding to Saudis. Saudis are the main culprits who caused 9/11 and in the process has destabilized Pakistan, they have supported the Jehadis during Russian-Afghanistan war and now supporting their brand of Wahabism. It might surprise them when the local cultures will shun and abandon imported cultures and this Wahabism in Pakistan, there is already a backlash developing in Pakistan against the Saudis.The recent incident at Islamabad airport showed their arrogance and I am pleased that the air port security put them in their place where they belong.


  • asim
    Jun 5, 2012 - 11:55PM

    More reserach is needed; lot of mistakes.
    1) Rafiq is not used for Europeans
    2) Otaibi tribe accepted Islam at prophet hand not verified. This tribe is Badu’s mostly serving in police and military now.


  • DevilHunterX
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:16AM

    Wonder what Difa-e-Pakistan Council has to say about this


  • Abbas from the US
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:17AM

    In short the arabs and specially those that call themselves as Saudis are rascists to the core. They need lessons in humility which unfortunately will be acceptable after the oil wealth runs out.


  • Mo
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:26AM

    Having lived in the Middle East for over 12 years, I have learnt there’s more tribalisim than religion in these countries. They don’t practise Islam rather bedouin culture is practised and they seem to be very proud and arrogant – even though they haven’t achieved anything. I hate libeling people and I don’t enjoy patronizing countries in general – but there’s nothiing one can do but abhor their ignorance and pity their racist societies!!


  • John B
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:48AM

    If any consolation, Arabs are miskeen elsewhere in the world. Be proud of who you are and what you do and do it sincerely.


  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:56AM

    @Naeem kahn
    Then what about there help during all your troubles and good thing is they dont gives passports to foriegners other wise every body i mean pakistani , bangalis, indian, lebananis,
    Palestini, Egyption wanna be a Saudi but where were before they discoverd oil in arabia.
    @Khalid Ahmed
    In whole we are Miskeen in west we indo paki drive cabs, runs gas stations, cleans there towels and bed sheets at Motels, Etc but still second class citizens we are will stay untill india and pakistan cut there defence budget and spend on welfare of the public.


  • Iftikhar Ali Malik
    Jun 6, 2012 - 1:01AM

    So that was the word..’miskeen’ that got saudi citizen beaten up by our ASF officers


  • Khan jr
    Jun 6, 2012 - 1:03AM

    It may sound racist but I have always found Arabs from Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to be crass, ill- mannered and crude. Unfortunately as they have money our ruling classes have perpetually bowed to them. It doesn’t say much about our ruling classes.


  • BNS
    Jun 6, 2012 - 1:34AM


    I read your comment, and it reminds me of a story written by one of Muslim short story writer back home in Karnataka, India. The story goes like this: a brother of 5 girls who struggled hard to meet the ends fails to do so and one by one his 4 sisters get married to and divorced by the rich Arabs who in the 70s were coming to poorer muslim countries for having a marital bliss sanctioned by religion. The greedy clergy used to close their eyes to these marriages of convenience and conduct them. The heartrending part is when the 5th sister’s marriage, for which the boy is about to finish the ‘rasm’ and suddenly the mother of these children stops the marriage disclosing that the Arab is the father of her last daughter. The cruelty doesn’t stop there, the next day the Arab gets married to the still young looking mother of the children.

    The writer of this story led a strong movement to stop this atrocity in Karnataka. It is still fresh in my memory when a minor Muslim girl from Hyderabad, India, was saved from such trafficking on board an Air India aircraft. The bottom line is that Muslims of the sub-continent have been exploited by the Arabs.


  • Jun 6, 2012 - 1:38AM

    ‘Rafiq’ (friend), was a term used by most Gulf and non-Gulf Arabs for shopkeepers, drivers, etc in UAE, who were mostly Pakistani or Indian origin, and not restricted towards them only, as it would also be used to call Arabs, mostly non-Gulf, as well of such professions sometimes. If true, I am surprised Europeans are called ‘rafiq’ exclusively in Saudi Arabia. While not unheard of in UAE, as Gulf Arab Emiratis themselves pander to Europeans as well while degrading Asians, just not very common and usually to break the ice with a stranger. I could be wrong.

    Some Asian non-Arabs in UAE have unfortunately viewed ‘Rafiq’ as a condescending or derogatory term, and probably could have evolved that way at some places due to some Emirati or Arabs’ prejudiced behaviour towards them, or experiences elsewhere in the Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia. By itself it is rather benign and not meant to be derogatory. Pakistanis themselves will have the first and last names ‘Rafiq’.

    But, yes, the ‘miskeen’ mentality along with other prejudiced, bigoted or racist notions prevails in UAE, and elsewhere in the Gulf.


  • Jun 6, 2012 - 1:52AM

    When we observe the ritual of ‘Sham-e-ghariban’ during Muharram, we actually mean the ‘nightfall of the homeless’.

    You probably don’t want to mention that in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, which may make you worse than ‘miskeen’ in their intolerant eyes.


  • Arindom
    Jun 6, 2012 - 2:18AM

    But the Mullahs, fed by petro-dollars continue to hold sway over Pakistanis and perpetuate this subservient, ‘Chamchagiri’ attitude towards Arabs – to the extent that Pakistanis have begun to imagine that they live in Middle East! The Arabs must be really enjoying a good laugh at the Pakistan’s expense!!!


  • Shahid Jamil
    Jun 6, 2012 - 2:28AM


    Agreed. His columns are orders of magnitude more informative and interesting than many others for this reason. Please continue to educate us. Thanks.


  • Mirza
    Jun 6, 2012 - 2:46AM

    A nice Op Ed and addresses the current problem of S. Arabian influence in Asia. This is a real story from my heart. First time I felt pride on my origin was when I came across with the Arabs for only a few days in my life. I thanked God that I am not Arab and much better. Since I have much better options I would not spend a single day in any Arab country. The only exception is a few hours of transit in an Arab Airport. It is sad that we spend/waste our resources on non-productive activities and our people starve and have to go to such countries for humiliation.Recommend

  • Ammad
    Jun 6, 2012 - 3:03AM

    Don’t know on who’s directions these fatuous liberals start maligning Arabs. I have just been to Saudi Arabia and I saw nothing like that. You get people of all kind every where. You don’t have people of one kind some where. What about your ideals and to put aptly masters europeans and americans. Do you find them the most modest people living on earth. Condemn everybody who dares disparaging us in our country.


  • Babloo
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:09AM

    Are Arabs aware that they are looked down upon from India ( most Indians consider Arabs ill educated, medieval tribals ) to the West – where they are viewed even worse ? If not, next time you meet a bigoted arab, inform him.


  • Pakis in SA
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:40AM

    i’m sorry to say the berigadier is lying, pakistanis, indians and bengaladishis are called sadiq (friend) in Saudi Arabia, people from europe refered to as khawajah.

    it is a shame this lie comming from pakistani official trying to ruin relations with brotherly country, i guess he did not get paid under the table thats why he is upset.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:40AM

    My dad is a vice president there and is earning loads!
    So much that all of my brothers and sisters are studying in Europe (Germany and UK).

    The thing is, they are racist towards anyone POOR. Be it Egyptian or Indian. They never speak anything against rich expats like us.

    And btw, This ummah you keep applying to Saudi, tell me, how do Pakistanis treat Afghanis ? or used to treat Bengalis? How do Indians treat Bengalis?


  • Amjad
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:46AM

    @Ammad: Perhaps you haven’t been to the Middle East and seen how Third World immigrants are despised and how Europeans and Westerners in general are worshipped. The only irony is that Arabs are despised more in these same North American and European countries where South Asians are more respected.


  • Zalim Singh
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:54AM

    excellant article sir, as usual.


  • Arya
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:24AM

    In Hinduism, which is accused of practicing castism, the so called lower caste were actually called miskeen for centuries.One would have thought, Islam would uplift the converted miskeen, but it seems, it has not. They are still a misqkeen.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:42AM

    @Pakistani Agnostic: ” … How do Indians treat Bengalis? … “

    You mean Bangladeshis ?


  • Saqib
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:49AM

    I must say here, I have lived in Saudia as well as in UAE, the above article is correct for saudia, Kuwait to some extent Qatar but no way this correct for UAE, Most of the Emiratis are down to earth friendly, open minded and well educated, there are few bad among all but rarely, I will add here that Syrian, Egyptians and Lebanese and some cases Iranian are more high headed and acts like local here in UAE.


  • Adil
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:06AM

    Before immigrating to Canada,i used to live in Oman.So willbase my judgment on whatever I listen or hear from people who actually lived there in Saudi Arabis.Oman, I guess, was more friendly place with the Sultan there having lived and studied in Pune,India;plus masses sharing history with Baloch and Makrani tribes in Gwadar,Pakistan. Gwadar was an exclave part of the Sultanate of Oman in the past.Many locals there could easily understand Urdu,Hindi and Hindustani.


  • narayana murthy
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:13AM


    I request you to name the writer and the story please.

    I would very much like to read it.

    It’s a humble request.


  • Xami Dada
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:14AM

    What really hurt me is, that These people are nothing to us if we think.
    Religion restricts us to follow them, otherwise they are no one to us. We
    Pakistani are more good in Education, Civilization, More golablized etc etc.

    They are looking at Pakistani like they Dogs to them is KSA even they
    are considered third state in Gulf Region. It hurts me

    Who made us to be like that?
    1) Our political Leadership
    2) Our Economic Position


  • ahmer
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:25AM

    Saudis need to be expelled from pakistan and thier brand of tribal and bedoin islam should be controlled. It has caused nothing but problems for Pakistan. The sooner we realize this the better. Saudis and theie paid mullahs in Pakistan and the military which propagated this is the real enemy of Pakistan. They do not want us to progress.


  • Raheel
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:26AM

    I totally agree with this article i have come back from Saudi a week back and have largly faced the same problem, it is very difficult to live there…. The attutide the saudi have towards us is like we come from a place where we dont have anything to eat and we live on streets


  • Riaz Khan
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Saudis laugh at Pakistanis, if they call them brother since as mentioned by Khalid they only consider Arabs as their equal whereas we are tired calling them our brothers! Time to wake up. They look down on us as mentioned by Khalid as MISKEENS.


  • prashanth
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:28AM

    On the subject, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh’s wife is the first woman to get a wavier from covering her head – for an official visit to KSA. She insisted and got that wavies.


  • v n srivastava
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:55AM

    It only shows that religion. does nor make a nation our civilisation is 2000yr old and we in this subcontint are onwers of it are mojahirs of Sindh different from Indians U P. same looks same speech same food …


  • Mahesh Patil
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:58PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    Dear friend,
    Please read full text of Brigadier(Rtd) Mehboob Qadir. I am appending one para from his article for your knowledge.It may be useful for your dad and your siblings.

    ” I know of a senior Pakistani banker who helped set up a renowned Saudi bank, rose to the position of vice-president and after 29 years was ordered out at a week’s notice, his invaluable service and lifetime of hard work notwithstanding. His fault? None except the sweet pleasure of his employer and the weapon, the guillotine of Iqama.”


  • AA
    Jun 6, 2012 - 2:40PM

    @Khaled Ahmed: Informative piece, as always. My observation on the use of word rafiq, however, is different. Having lived in the Gulf for many years, I noticed that “rafiq” was used as a patronizing word to address what we would call a “sufaid posh” foreigner, be he from the subcontinent or elsewhere. “Miskeen”, of course, is used either out of contempt or pity for poor, usually laborers from the subcontinent. But it is not used to address a person.


  • stradam
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Saudis and Pakistanis are similar,Saudi miskeen is same as Pakistani muhajir.


  • kaalchakra
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:51PM

    To follow true Islam, a Muslim must be able to read and understand Arabic in its true sense. Arabic must be taught to all Muslim children. That way they will understand their true selves and never fall for people who mislead them away from Islam. When they have equal understanding, there will be no difference between arabs and non-arabs.Recommend

  • Syed Dilbar Ali Shah
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:58PM

    I am not agreed to the above statement. I have been in Saudi Arabia for 8 and a half years, but I found Saudis respectful for Pakistanis. I didn’t come across any Saudi, who looks down upon a Pakistani or Pakistan. All the five fingers are not same and equal, samilarly, all the people of a nation are also not alike. There are a lot of Pakistanis who are grown up in Pakistan, eat pakistani food and grain, breathe in Pakistani air and drink Pakistani water, but they sing for India and Afghanistan. Sorry, if I harshed someone heart, but I mentioned my own experience.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:34PM

    @Mahesh Patil:
    Yes,i admit, this whole iqama is a bad blot on this country but it also depends on how good your sponsor is.


  • BNS
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:44PM

    @ Narayana Murthy,

    I don’t remember what was the title of the story. However, I remember the name of the story writer. His name is Faqir Mohammed Katapadi, he is from South Kanara distrtic (Mangalore) of Karnataka, India. Thanks.


  • narayana murthy
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:59PM


    Thank you so much. I will try to get a hold of the story.


  • logic wins
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:10PM

    till 1970 the currency of Oman was the Indian rupee.Infact the Gulf Rupee was the currency of
    the present day states of Kuwait,Qatar,UAE,Bahrain till they introduced their own currencies.


  • SA
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:39PM

    Most of the commentators, including the writer do not seem to have full knowledge of the situation. This little article about the roots of a few words of the Arabic language does not, rather cannot encompass the socio-economic condition of Saudi Arabia viz-a-viz the South Asian or Western expatriates. There are a host of questions that need to be answered before you come to a conclusion. Arab arrogance is typical and has a long strain of DNA dating back centuries, to the times of Noah and Moses. But then why, inspite of all this clamour of being looked down upon that South Asians, including Pakistanis throng the Peninsula by hook or by crook in millions. They send billions of foreign exchange back to their countries upon which our economies thrive. Thanks to the Saudis!
    I would request the writer to do some more research on the subject and write a few more articles.Recommend

  • Omar
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:25PM

    In 80, the saudi thought every pakistani is either an engineer or a doctor.


  • arif
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:52PM

    Fully agree with you, Sir. If all Pakistanis thought and acted like you, we would not have the kind of problems we face. Saudi Wahabbism has destroyed Pakistan and only fuelled the fires of fanaticism, stone-age thinking and, worse, heralded an era of terrorist violence. But to stop this, we have also to get to the root cause of the problem which is Pakistan’s mullah-inspired extremism. As your innuendo rightly suggests, the corrupt and greedy mullahs, eager to get hand outs from Saudis. The mullahs and their fanatic ideas MUST be stopped. We need to educate our masses and make them nation builders and not allow madrassahs to churn out extremist, crazy loonies. Recommend

  • Gulistan
    Jun 6, 2012 - 8:03PM

    Things must have changed somewhat in the past years. I did a short stint of a year some 25 years ago in SA – Indians and Pakistanis were called ‘rafeeq’, which was said in a derogatory fashion.


  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 6, 2012 - 8:04PM

    The truth is Rich peoples no matter what there reliegen is whether they are white christian to latin american poor peoples or Arabs rich to poors south and far east asian peoples or even rich peoples in india and pakistan think there fellow poors a Miskeen i been through this so i know how Army officer treat the Jawans of army and How rich busnissmen treat there workers
    or helpers how rich in family behave fellow family members?? and by the way talk about countruction workers in MId east countries the most Miskeen on earth they dont get paid salary for many months and no one in the say any thing where is Human right organization and even those country islamic courts cant solve those problems i been through this so i know i left my eight months salary behind which my fiend and relative used it what else to say…. its a long list….


  • Brajanarayan
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:53PM

    @1984:You have spoken very correctly. In the name of purity, hatred is being spread and extremism is being encouraged by vested groups disrupting social harmony.


  • akash
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:32PM

    Muslim rule in the subcontinent began in 712 CE when the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab in modern day Pakistan, setting the stage for several successive invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 15th centuries CE, leading to the formation of Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.
    I think Pakistan was quite moderate before US & Saudi Arab started dumping weapons & petro-dollars to counter Communism through extremism.They found Pakistan under Zia a perfect lunch pad.A propaganda team of mullhas & extremist groups distorted history & used Islam as a tool to create a false sense of Islamic pride among the youth so that they get motivated & do whatever they are told to do.
    Indonesia is a great example. They follow islam but keep their hindu cultural identity. Islamic republic of Indonesia has Garuda airline,they have Ganesh image in their currency notes, Ramayana is the national folklore. Sita, laxman are common muslim names in Indonesia. Why Pakistanis does not follow the same.


  • Zalmai
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:54PM


    A very good observation, which is often overlooked in the name of nationalism. Indonesia is a very good example of a country holding on to their heritage and adopting a new religion in a syncretic and progressive fashion.

    In Afghanistan we have names like Kanishka, Geeta and Yama along with ancient Iranian names like Feraidun, Mithra, Rustam, Bahram, Cyrus, Jamshed, Khurshid, Azita, Anahita and of course not to forget Pashtun names like Zalmai, Torpekai, Zarpan, Zarlasht, Nangyalai, Turyalai, Baryalai and finally all Arabic names after the advent of Islam. There is nothing wrong in retaining your ancient heritage and reconciling them with your new religion, you don’t have to give up one for the other.


  • politically incorrect
    Jun 7, 2012 - 3:27AM


    Agreed, except that in addition to learning Arabic, the non-Arabs should also learn riding camels and wielding sowrds to become one and the same with Arabs.


  • Hindu Indian
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:37AM

    @politically incorrect: You missed on non-Arabs driving Ford Endeavours and Nissan X-Trails


  • akash
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Thanks for the info.


  • I am Sam
    Jun 7, 2012 - 4:11PM

    @ Author

    FYI There is a Hindu community in India called ‘Savji’ that has ‘Miskeen’ , ‘Habib’ etc. as its last name .


  • AbdulWadood Muhammed
    Jun 17, 2012 - 2:15AM


    its true that workers are opressed in saudia, but lets please not turn this into an arab vs pakistani thing, there are arrogant in pakistan and saudia, but also there are nice muslim in saudia and pakistan.

    jazakallah khair


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