sourced : freemalaysiatoday
Who is confused over the word Allah?
“If the word Allah is to be employed in the Malay versions of The Herald to refer to God, there will be a risk of misrepresentation of God within Christianity.
“This is because the Christian concept of God as symbolised by the Trinity is absolutely and completely dissimilar to the concept of Allah in Islam.
“The potential for confusion is not confined only to Muslims but also to Christians,” said Zawawi in his written judgment.
The decision to block The Herald from using Allah’s name was a unanimous decision made by Zawawi Salleh, Apandi Ali and Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim.
Going by the various Christian groups that opted to seek a legal recourse in this case, I do not see Christians as being confused over the usage of Allah. In court yesterday were representatives of different Christian denominations.
Father Lawrence Andrew and Emeritus Archbishop Soter Fernandez are Catholics. However Council of Churches general secretary Hermen Shastri is Methodist. Sidang Injil Borneo that had a watching brief in court belongs to the Evangelical Christian Church.
Now that I have established that the Christians are not confused over Allah’s name, let’s look at the Muslim groups.
There were, among others, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA), Malay rights group Perkasa and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA).
ISMA’s second vice president (II) Abdul Rahman Md Dali even accused Christians of “constantly hatching plots to separate Islam from the Muslims”.
Media reports stated there were about 200 Malay Muslim crowd at the steps of Palace of Justice that performed prayers, thanking Allah for a judgment that favoured them.
However it must be noted here that the Muslim groups and the 200 odd crowd do not represent the majority of the Muslims. Groups such as Perkasa would not gel with Muslim NGOs such as, for example, Sisters in Islam.
So now, who is confused? And why is there such a confusion when Islamic studies have been part of
the education system for a Muslim student from young? Aside from that Muslim students have to attend religious classes.
‘Our Allah and your Allah’
If there is confusion, is it safe to conclude that the Islamic studies taught in schools are flawed to the extent that it has not instilled confidence to Muslims towards Islam?
Perhaps Muslims who are confused should read the Quran.
Surah Al-Alaq (96:1) states: Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).
Of the three judges, Zawawi quoted Surah Al-Ikhlas to support his judgment that there is one Allah and that Allah belonged to the Muslims.
Surah Al-Ikhlas states: Say: He is Allah, The One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.
Unfortunately Zawawi failed to read Surah Al-Ankabut verse 46 that recognizes Christians as People of the Book along with the Jews.
The verse states: And dispute he not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to him we bow.
On another note, if there are confused Muslims, they should make an effort to deepen their knowledge of Islam and practice the moderation that this faith preaches.
Spirituality and religiosity is the path the human race should take to reach out to Allah. After all Allah is omnipresent and omnipotent.
My last point is Allah’s sanctity is not affected whatsoever even if non-believers used His name.
The word “Allah” has never been exclusive to Islam – indeed, both Christians and Jews used the word “Allah” to refer to God even before the coming of Islam.
That remains the case today. When Christians across the Middle East pray to God, they use the term “Allah”. Walk into a church in Cairo, Baghdad or Beirut this coming Sunday and you will hear the name of “Allah” invoked.
It also applies to the Jews of the Arab world, who for centuries have prayed to “Allah”.
The Quran itself is explicit on this subject, declaring, in Surah Al Ankabut, that Muslims should tell People of the Book (Christians and Jews) that “our God and your God is one”.
The Malaysian decision overlooks not merely the theology, but also the etymology of the word. The word “Allah” is derived from the Arabic “al-ilah”, the god. It’s found its way across the world and entered Malay from Arabic.
Arabic as a language is a vehicle for faith, be that Christianity, Judaism or Islam. The God of the three monotheistic religions is the same god. It is unsurprising, therefore, that all three faiths in the Arabic-speaking world (and beyond) refer to God as “Allah”. And if they have the same God, they should have the right to call their deity by the same name.
sourced the national
Confusion maybe , because of the use of the word Allah,but not between Muslims and Christians ,not possible?
Confusion? may be too tame a word to describe the current Knotty situation.
Not only the Sikhs who also use Allah in holy books,
Arab speaking Christians in Malaysia , whether they are Catholics or protestants coz same- same , their Arab holy books and their language has only one single word and no other for God, .and it is Allah.
There are 3 names to refer to the Holy trinity Godhead in Arabic and all 3 names have the word Allah.
.Allah al hab=God the father, Allah al ibn = God the son, Allah al ru/ quds = holy spirit.
In Arabic Jesus is Yasu.
Indonesian Christians also, most don’t speak english and when they refer to God in speech ,church services or sermons and literature and reading of the holy scriptures in Bahasa Indonesia , God is always referred to as Allah as well.
,And usually when the priest or pastors need to invoke the name of the almighty in Bahasa Indonesia, in a message or prayer, the name Allah is called upon.
Myanmar Christians also called God, Allah, like the Christian Ibans and other non english speaking Bumis in East Malaysia and they have been doing so for umpteen years n years ,
Also the Christian Nepalis/ Pakistanis / a scattering of Arabic nationalities ( not all are Muslims or Buddhist) and they usually attend the Bahasa services in church.
All the nationalities above attend the Bahasa services in Malaysian churches and use Allah in reference to their Christian God and also in their languages that they use to worship God apart from in church. Also used in their devotion , prayers and sermons.
Actually the Christian community in Malaysia who speaks Chinese or English in the church services or when practicing their Christian faith do not have a problem with the word Allah. It is not an English word to use. and neither is the term in Chinese.
Catholics and Protestants who speak English use Heavenly father, Lord, God , Jesus, etc with their equivalent in Chinese and Tamil among the community who practice Christianity in those respective languages.
Therefore it is mainly for the Bahasa Malaysia /Indonesia speaking Christians, who need to use the term Allah in reference to the Almighty. And to service all the other Christian nationalities from all over the world who happen to be in Malaysia and found a preferred church to attend for their spiritual devotion.
Church services for these groups are either conducted in one common language – Bahasa – or English – which they choose for themselves which to attend.
And of course the Christian approach to sharing the word of God and ministry to the faithful is so obviously very different from the Muslim ways. Therefore one can be certain that there will be no confusion as to the two faiths and method of devotion to the almighty.
We can be sure that Bahasa speaking Christians and Muslims who use a common term to call GOD can tell the difference between a mosque and a church. And that the islamic way differs from the Christian way to prayers and worshipping God.
The knotty part is that it is a Arabic word, introduced into the Malay language. Many do not see that the word Allah is not exclusively in reference to the Islamic God almighty in many parts of the world.. Allah is also used to refer to the Christian God and the SIkh deity, therefore .
The Malay language demanding it’s exclusivity for the use of the Islamic God in Malaysia doesn’t really mean that it will be so..lest we forget , there are other religious communities as well in Malaysia that has been using the term for more than a hundred years in reference to their deity and not to the Islamic God .
But at the same token, both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic faiths , hence the ultimate God of both religions are one and the same, so when both religions use the word Allah in reference to God , it is not really in error in the name because Allah is the God of Abraham( Nabi Ibrahim) which is the same God that the Christians worship.
Divergent teachings with both being major world religion, theologically in contention as to which is the true path to God. But consensus is that both religions are traced back to the one and only same God, So the reference term ” Allah” is just a moot point of contention.
But to put things into a more accurate perspective on this Malaysian controversy , the general consensus is that it is more a political ploy to gain support from an ethnic grouping or political party.
The marjority of Malaysians are Malays and by default muslims.. The court ruling is as political as they come, all 3 judges are Muslims.
The english speaking christians do not use the word Allah. preferring the conventional references: heavenly father , Lord , Father God , Jesus etc. .
But the non english speaking christians , Indonesians , Myanmarese , Nepalis , some Pakistanis and East Malaysians use Allah in reference to God in the Malay language.Esp the east malaysians and Indonesian christians who have been using the term for more than a hundred years without incident.
The absurdity is that, according to the Ruling party , there is a concern the marjority malaysian malay speaking muslims will be confused by and risk being converted into Christianity ,accusing Christians of a proselytizing conspiracy because they are adamant and will not back down from using of the common reference (not exxagerating , statements have been made by them to that effect) and make apostates out of the malay/muslims..
SO they are demanding that they or their Malay language own the word “Allah” in Malaysia ,and Christians cannot use it to refer to God.. Only for Muslims in Malaysia.
In the eyes of the international community who have been following the developments on this “Allah” controversy, the Malaysians have essentially created the impression, yet again, that Islam and the Muslims are vindictive, intolerant, small-minded bigots who likes forcing or imposing or compelling their whims on followers against the infidels.
Is it any wonder that time and again , the Islamic faith is often accused of using the Almighty’s name in vain and besmirching His reputation.
What’s in a name? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. And even more so this Shakespearean “a rose is a rose” type of problematique seems relevant in a world of political manipulations such as in Malaysia when race and religion are the twin determinants of political evolution-Azly Rahman.
also read allah-in-malay/ ( Marina Mahathir – Khaled Samad(PAS) – Yusri Mohd ( Malaysian islamic youth movement) debate on Al Jazeera TV on the use of the word ALLAH)