I haven’t been a world traveller so I can’t vouch for other countries, but everyone in Pakistan seems to have some strange affiliation with the Arabic language.
One part of me understands that. Seeing that the Quran is recited in the Arabic language, it is bound to be respected in this Muslim majority country. But the respect borders on bizarre.
Arabic and Urdu (Pakistan’s national language) are written in the the same script: hence every one can ‘read’ Arabic even if they don’t know what the words mean.
Now there seem to be some unwritten rules about the Arabic language which are understood to stand true. Every child of this nation is taught one Theorem since the day he was born. But don’t worry: its easily explained: I call it the
Theorem of Arabic Islam
This theorem clearly states:
EVERYTHING written in Arabic is directly related to ISLAM.
But wait. That’s not it. There are several corollaries to this theorem.
If something is written in Arabic, keep it in a safe place. It is pious. And to be respected.
Do not, under any circumstances, try to learn the Arabic language. That must be left to the scholars.
Everyone who talks in Arabic is a pious person. They embody the epitome of piousness and religiousness
If you are even the slightest interested in religon, you must drop about as many Arabic words as you can in day to day conversation.
Sub Corollary of 4: MashaAllah and InshaAllah are words that the common man uses. Try saying ‘yaa’ni‘ in the middle of every sentence and remember to pronounce Pakistan as ‘Al-Bakistan.’
That makes you sound like an original Arab and hence, oh you guessed it: A GOOD, PIOUS Muslim.
Sub Corollary of 4- II:
Everything has an ‘Al’ behind it. It is ‘Al-Mc Donalds’ and ‘Al Basmati Rice’. If you want, you can call your children ‘Al-Children’ and you would be a better person for it.
Now keeping all these things in mind, try to understand what happened:
A guest hands me an ‘Arabic pamphlet’ that she found lying on the floor in my house.
‘Why was this on the floor? Bayhurmati! (disrespect)‘
Me: ‘Aunty this is…’
Anonymous Aunty: ‘Hai its written in Arabic and you’ve thrown it on the floor! If you don’t want to read it, at least put it in a high place’
Me: scanning the pamphlet But this is…
Anonymous Aunty: What?
Me: This is an informational pamphlet.
Anonymous Aunty: *still scowling at me* ‘Kis kisam ka? (what type)‘
Me: This came out of my contact lens solution. Its an information pamphlet.
Anonymous Aunty: Are you sure? Can you read Arabic?*doubtful smile*
Me: feeling it futile to argue ‘Jee, may sambhal daitee hon.’ (Yes, I’ll take care of it and put it in a safe place)
I think I’m going to bring out a new Arabic keyboard.
Al-Mc Halal Keyboard: The Real Keyboard, for Real Muslims.
There’s definitely a market out there.