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Khuda or Khoda (Persian: خدا) is the Iranian word for "Lord" or "God". Formerly, it was used in reference to Ahura Mazda (the god of Zoroastrianism) and today for God in Islam by only the Iranian speakers, and as a loanword in Bengali, Urdu, Sindhi, Hindi and several South Asian languages.
The term derives from Middle Iranian terms xvatay, xwadag meaning "lord", "ruler", "master", appearing in written form in Parthian kwdy, in Middle Persian kwdy, and in Sogdian kwdy. It is the Middle Persian reflex of older Iranian forms such as Avestan xva-dhata- "self-defined; autocrat", an epithet of Ahura Mazda. The Pashto term Xwdāi (خدای) is a New Iranian cognate.
Prosaic usage is found for example in the Sassanid title katak-xvatay to denote the head of a clan or extended household or in the title of the 6th century Khwaday-Namag "Book of Lords", from which the tales of Kayanian dynasty as found in the Shahnameh derive.
Semi-religious usage appears, for example, in the epithet zaman-i derang xvatay "time of the long dominion", as found in the Menog-i Khrad. The fourth and eighty-sixth entry of the Pazend prayer titled 101 Names of God, Harvesp-Khoda "Lord of All" and Khudawand "Lord of the Universe", respectively, are compounds involving Khuda. Application of khuda as "the Lord" (Ahura Mazda) is represented in the first entry in the medieval Frahang-i Pahlavig.
In Islamic times, the term came to be used for God in Islam, paralleling the Arabic name of God Al-Malik "Owner, King, Lord, Master". But "Allah" is more common. The usage of the word Khuda is considered disliked.
The phrase Khuda Hafiz (meaning May God be your Guardian) is a parting phrase commonly used in Persian, Kurdish and Pashto, as well as in Urdu among South Asian Muslims. This usage is subject to controversy, as the appropriate word for god in Islam is Allah. However, Allah is derived from the el-Lah, the High god of the pantheon of Nabataean gods.
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- Edalji Kersâspji Antiâ, Pazend texts, Bombay 1909, pp. 335-337.
- The Milli Gazette, OPI, Pharos Media (2004-03-15). "Khuda Hafiz versus Allah Hafiz: a critique, The Milli Gazette, Vol.5 No.05, MG99 (1-15 Mar 04)". Milligazette.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.