Friday, August 19, 2011

Typing ‘Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam’ in MS Word and MS Office Documents

All Muslims are obligated to say ‘Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam’, whenever they hear or write the name of Holy Prophet Mohammed  صلى الله   عليه وسلم  As you have noticed, in the previous sentence I wrote ‘Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam’ in Arabic after the name of the Holy Prophet. In Holy Quran, Allah says "Indeed Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet; O People who believe! Send blessings and abundant salutations upon him” - (Chapter 33, Verse 56).

The phrase ‘Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam’ means ‘May Allah honor him and grant him peace’. While Muslims do say ‘Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam’ when they hear the name of Holy Prophet Mohammed ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), but when the name is being written in MSWord or Outlook, they face with challenge of writing the phrase in Arabic font. As you can see, it’s not easy to type the phrase in Arabic, especially when you are working on an English keyboard. To overcome this challenge, it became a commonly accepted practice among Muslims to write the English translation of ‘صلى الله عليه وسلم, that is ‘May Allah honor him and grant him peace’.

However, some people, in order to save some time and energy, have further reduced the phrase to ‘Peace be upon Him’. If one translates ‘Peace be upon Him’ in Arabic, it is ‘عليه السلام‎’ but not ‘صلى الله عليه وسلم’. Muslims are obligated to say ‘ عليه السلام  ’ for archangels and Prophets of Islam except Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه وسلم). For Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه وسلم ), a Muslim must say صلى الله عليه وسلم. Yet, many of the Muslims, continue to use the phrase ‘Peace be upon Him’ for Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه وسلم) too.

In recent times, as an act of laziness, Muslims have started using the abbreviation ‘PBUH’ for ‘Peace be Upon Him’. Several Islamic scholars have severely criticized such abbreviation. Several Fatwas (orders based on Islamic laws) have given against usage of abbreviations instead of writing  صلى الله عليه وسلم . I must accept that, I have also committed this sin of writing abbreviation. I pray to Allah for forgive me for my sins.  

So, this demands a question, how should a Muslim get over the challenge of writing ‘صلى الله عليه وسلم’ in Arabic font and not commit any sin by using abbreviations? Is there a solution to it?

I did some research on this and found that, there is indeed an elegant and easy solution. In computers, every character is assigned a unique code called ‘Unicode’. Formally, ‘Unicode’ is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. Whether it is English or French or Arabic, every character that can be typed, is assigned a Unicode. In order to reduce the length of the code, hexadecimal system is used instead of decimal system. Without going into too much of technical details, here’s an elegant solution to typing ﷺ in a MS word or any MS Office documents.

To type in MS Word or any MS office Document:

(1) Type FDFA.

(2) Type ‘Alt+x’. (Hold on to ‘Alt’ key and press ‘x’ key.) As soon as you type ‘Alt+x”, ‘FDFA’ is converted to ﷺ

Unicode for ‘ﷺ’ is ‘FDFA’.

Below table gives Unicode Values of common Arabic Words/Phrases:

Arabic Phrase/Word

English Transliteration




Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam






















For example, if you want to type ﷲ, then

(1) Type ‘FDF2’.

(2) Type ‘Alt + x’ (Hold on to ‘Alt’ key and press ‘x’ key). MS Word or any Office document will then convert FDF2 to ﷲ.

For the Unicode for all the Arabic characters, refer to this link.

Note: This technique works for all MS Office products. In case, due to some issue, if it doesn’t work for you, then add ‘U+’ to the Unicode and repeat the steps mentioned above. For example, for typing ﷺ, type ‘U+FDFA’ and type Alt+x.

To know the general techniques for inputting characters via Unicode in Windows, Mac, Linux, etc., check this Wikipedia link. (

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What does Google think of famous Indians?

I am sure, you might have come across Google Auto-Complete feature. While you type the search keywords, this feature predicts what the keywords could be. According to Google, functionality of this feature is

“As you type, Google's algorithm predicts and displays search queries based on other users' search activities. In addition, if you're signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, you may see search queries from relevant searches that you've done in the past. All of the predicted queries that are shown in the drop-down list have been typed previously by Google users”

Today, I received an email that spoke of interesting results that auto-complete feature gave, when the names of current Indian Politicians are typed. So, I thought of doing a little experiment to verify what are people searching about famous Indians. Note, I am not logged using my Google account during this experiment, hence the results are not impacted by my past searches.

(Btw, I think, the researchers working on social behaviour of people on Internet must take a note of this. I wonder if any research papers are written on this).

Current Politicians:



image(Seems like nobody searches the name of Leader of Opposition)


Some freedom fighters:




Some Indian Hindi Movie actors: image






Some talented Indians:


image(This is seriously embarrassing. How come Indians aren’t searching about Ramanujan. When I search Srinivasa Ramanujan, no instant results!)