Matters of opinion that enables me to understand or make some sense of my country- Malaysia

Posts tagged ‘allah’

Allah, the Malay God ?

Mohd Izzudin Saedon

It is believed in Malaysia that “Tuhan ” is the general Malay word for the deity of any religion. (dewa also)

The recent Malaysian court ruling banning the word “Allah” from a Catholic newspaper denies religious freedom of the minority Christian community in Malaysia. How true is this? 

 (“denies”  is too strong a word to describe, ” restricts”  woud be more more accurate)

Christians make up less than 10% of the Malaysian population. Although the percentage is higher than Hindus, the religion is a little uncommon among the native Malay Muslims, especially to those living in the peninsula.

.( such a small minority and still cannot compromise nor accomodate the community, making mountain out of molehill , esp in peninsular, even a smaller percentage, hardly a dent in the scheme of things if they had just let things slide and let the christians carry on with it, who would have noticed if no one makes a big stink out of it, but as usual, )

As the more familiar religions of Buddhism and Hinduism refer their deity in words alien to the native Malay Muslims, it is unofficially known that the word Allah denotes only the Muslim “Tuhan” or God in Malay.

(in peninsular, undoubtedly but not so east malaysia, Allah is uniformly acknowledged as meaning  God in christianity as well in east malaysia christian bahasa lingo.)

.Most Christians living in the peninsular are of Chinese and Indian ethnicity. While their numbers are relatively smaller than the Buddhists and Hindus, churches of various Christian sects are not rare.

These churches do not use the Malay-language bible and no Malay is spoken or written in their sermons and religious stuffs. Instead, they use English or the mother tongue of the followers like Mandarin and Tamil. ( and the issue of Allah is non existent)

God (in the context of Christianity) is never referred to as Allah.

(in peninsular english /chinese /tamil speaking churches)

Furthermore, the word Allah itself is very foreign to these Christians with some obviously awkward in pronouncing the word. Before the Allah issue, almost all of these Christians would agree that Allah exclusively refers to the Muslim God.

However, things are very different in the other parts of Malaysia, Borneo. Almost 50% of the East Malaysian Bumiputeras (natives) are Christians. These Christian Bumiputeras use their native Iban, Dayak, Penan and other languages in everyday life. All these languages belong to the same group as the official Malay language with many common vocabulary and similar grammar. The use of ‘Malayic languages’ in their religious matters has lead to a controversial issue just recently. Today these Christians are not allowed to call their “Tuhan” as Allah anymore. Now, must they delete all the Allahs in their circulated Alkitab (Malay or Indonesian translation of the Bible) and think of a new name for their Lord?

The real issue

Christianity is not a new religion in this part of the world. Christian missionaries and traders have long spread their faith here with their gold, gospel, glory thingy ever since the Malay trading ports era. There are many Christian Malays outside Malaysia, maybe within Malaysia too, if one does not constitutionally need to be a Muslim to be considered a Malay.

One of the first men believed to have circumnavigated the world, Panglima Awang, who was baptized and known as Enrique of Malacca, was a Malay. Later in the modern world, there were suspicions that another Malay who sailed around the world, Azhar Mansor, had converted to Christianity. The man eventually denied that accusation. There’s this unending, maybe inherited, fear that the Malay Muslims are in constant danger of being converted into another religion (especially Christianity as other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism are not very popular in this once Hindu-Buddhist society). And there are real situations to base this fear on.

While spreading the teachings of other religions to Muslims is illegal in Malaysia, there are evidences that many Malays were converted into Christianity. Malay Muslims become restless as more and more murtad (apostate) cases are uncovered. Some are even concerned about the Orang Asli community who no Malay Muslim gives a damn about before, being proselytised by Christian missionaries although it is not illegal to do so to the mostly animistic Orang Asli.

( why shud they be fearful , if one is strong and proud as to one’s own identity and faith, it shud be unshakeable, no amount of persuasion can change minds if unwilling, in a same vein, it can be viewed from the islamic perspective, why no attempts to reach out and introduce the islamic faith to the nons, not compulsion but explanation,, it is legal and no restrictions)

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Back to the Allah controversy, if non-Muslim non-Malay natives of Borneo have long been Christians and have long been introduced to Yesus Kristus, Ruhul Kudus and Allah as the hypostases in the doctrine of Tritunggal (Trinity), why is it that only recently the non-Islamic usage of Allah becomes controversial nationwide?

 ( because of the home ministry trying to create the impression as champions of the malays/muslims. not anticipating the public reaction)

.Is this not because of all the murtad cases igniting fear among Malay Muslims as I mentioned earlier? Let’s not get to the argument over “rights of spreading the truth”, “religious freedom”, or that “Allah is used in the Arab world”, yet. Let us first agree that the sole reason of this controversy is the fear among Malays that their ancient Muslim identity is being threatened by another “Allah-worshipping” religion.

Where is this fear stemming from? insecurity ,resentment or a supremacy complex, safeguards are in place, illegal to proselytize , or for muslims to convert , born and die as muslims,   repressed jealousy/ bitterness coz they cannot and do not have the  religious freedom the other faiths freely enjoy so they dont like it and deny it to others subconsciously? ) 

Being born a Malay Muslim myself, like most Malays living in Malaysia, I cannot guarantee that I perform all the compulsory religious duties or that I do not enjoy any religiously forbidden things.

What is important is that I believe in God. In contrast to most Malays, I do not believe in “Allah, the Malay God” but in God of the universe. He who creates the worlds but is not in this world. He who I believe has been worshipped by people of religion everywhere post=paganism, maybe earlier.

( my point exactly , to many the expressed views are logical n acceptable as forward thinking but Muslims will see it as dangerous threat, creating tension n insecurity and resentment, seems more emphasis on rituals and programmed behaviour in approach to faith matters than true substantive element of the heart and the conscious awareness and desire to worship out of faith and understanding.

“Your God and the God of those Christians, Jews, those people with holy books and all is one” or something similar is actually written in the Quran (see Quran, 29:46). Yes, that big book those Malay kids are bringing to the Ustaz’s house for mengaji (Quran recitation class). These Malay Muslims read the Muslim holy book but they seem to have failed to comprehend anything about the religion besides knowing polygamy is a sunnah.

Ask a typical Malay Joe about inter-religious things. They can only say that the Chinese worship statues of fat men, the Indians worship statues of handicapped men and Christianity is a religion which allows you to practise free sex and wear sexy clothing, among other things. I can imagine how furious a typical Malay would be if I tell them that they have been worshipping the same God as the Christians and the Jews. “But God say must wear tudung (hijab), Christians wear bikinis! Outrageous!” says an imaginary baffled Malay Makcik (elderly woman).

We can say that most Malays, even those with kopiah (skullcap) who go to surau, have little knowledge of their own religion, let alone of other religions. So, with their belief that only Muslims worship Allah, there is no doubt that a typical Malay reading a Christian article or bible with the word Allah all over would probably think that it is an Islamic text. “And that’s when they start to go astray!” says an unknown, maybe imaginary maybe not, Malay Islamic scholar.

Clueless and hence dangerous fertile breeding ground ,evrything is perceived as a threat or they are under siege mentality, reciprocating in retaliatory response that has violent overtures or fanatical mindset) 

Malay Muslims with better education are dissident about this issue. While some disagree that Christians are banned from using the word Allah, most Malay Islamic scholars are in favour of it. I believe that those scholars do know that Allah is universal, not exclusive to only Muslims (because them being Islamic scholars, they should know!), but they are afraid Islam is losing its followers in Malaysia. It is because of their awareness about the fact that majority Malay Muslims are only following blindly what they know as “Islamic teachings” told by their ancestors and school text books, or “taqlid”, without real knowledge about Islam.(Irresponsible , They will definitely know but just to conveniently not bring up ,political expediency, manipulative agenda)

Let’s go to the Christians. It is a noble thing to share what you believe is the truth with people around you. Any religion in the world would encourage spreading the teachings of that particular religion to everyone. The more, the better. Even Muslims do this.

There is nothing wrong with it unless you’re in Malaysia and you’re teaching it to Muslims, simply because the constitution prohibits such a thing to happen. If somebody is unhappy about this, that somebody may bring it to the court or take other appropriate ways.

 (muslims are shielded and they still behave insecure n fearful of proselytization, are they so worried that they are weak in faith that like north koreans or east  germans, floodgates opens, mass abandonment..which if in depth consideration , not far fetched after all, considering the society comprising malays mat rempits, glamor puss, entertaiment celebrities etc.)

All in all, the recent Malaysian court ruling calling a Catholic newspaper to stop using the word Allah is made not to intentionally deny the rights of minority Christian community in Malaysia but more of a protective measure to safeguard the faith of the majority Malay Muslims, done in a not-so-smart way. This is what I believe. (Truth)

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Personally, I am against the exclusivity of Allah to Muslims as it is against my belief of a universal God and also because it is un-Islamic.

(maybe a view shared by many malaysian muslims )

In fact, any religious publication should be allowed to use Allah to refer to the Almighty God, be it Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or others, for Allah is the God for all. However, I’m hoping the Malay Muslims get proper and better education.

(liberating the malay mindsets is the key to understanding and acceptance of other faiths and also self confidence /assuredness)

While they are getting there, Herald Malaysia should just use the word “Tuhan” instead. ( impossibility, too deep ingrained spiritually the word Allah to mean God in malay for them.)

My thots are  in  bold letters..Bryanbb

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Why don’t ban the use of Bahasa to practice Christianity.?

sourced Teach-christians-a-lesson-ban-malay-bibles/

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says he has had enough of Malays being “trodden and spat on” by “ungrateful Christians” and wants the government to ban Malay bibles in retaliation

SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should ban the Malay bible the al-Kitab from Malaysia in retaliation for the Christian community’s “ingratitude”, right-wing Malay group Perkasa urged last night.

“We have been compromising, we have given them leeway. They wanted the Malay Bible, we allowed them to have it… they were still not satisfied,” said its chief Ibrahim Ali said at the Perkasa Selangor Conference 2013 here.

“It is better that we urge the government and the prime minister to rescind its decision to allow Malay bibles in Malaysia!,” he said to loud applause and roars of approval from the audience of about 500 of its members.

The Perkasa chief was responding to the Catholic Church’s recent announcement that it would not give up its struggle for the rights to use the Arabic word ‘Allah’ in its weekly publication, The Herald.

This was after the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled on Monday that The Herald could not use the word ‘Allah’ on the basis that the word was “not integral” to the Christian faith.

Amid the backlash, ministers were quick to explain that the ban applied to The Herald alone, and not other Christian publications, including the al-Kitab, as per the Cabinet’s 2011 decision – a decision that Ibrahim wanted amended.

“How long are we going to compromise, to give in? We have been trodden on, spat on but we would have been fine with that if they were grateful for our compromises. But they aren’t!” said Ibrahim.

‘Christianity a religion without a name of God’

Clearly in his element, Ibrahim resorted to name-calling, declaring DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng a “pig” for declaring that he would continue to fight for Christians’ right to use the word ‘Allah’.

He also took a swipe at Christianity, saying that it was “a religion without a name of God.”“Christianity is not a new religion – it has been around for hundreds of years. But apparently even up to today, it has no name for its God,” he said, to loud laughter from the audience.

“They insist on using the word ‘Allah’ because there is no other name for their God,” he mocked, adding that the actions of Christian leaders, pastors and the archbishop “puzzled” him.

Christian leaders as well as Muslim scholars such as former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin have argued that the word “Allah” predates Islam, and is not exclusive to Muslims.

The tussle over the word is also unique to Malaysia as in Arab countries, non-Muslims are free to use the word.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s 2009 ruling that ‘Allah’ was not exclusive to Islam – a ruling overturned on Monday – had sparked protests and attacks on Christian houses of worship.

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Do not allow Bahasa  Malaysia to be used in Christianity . make it illegal , insist on that, then no need to ban any books, problem solved.

Or make it compulsory that Christians must learn English. In Malaysia, set laws that  only English allowed to be used in Christianity.

Ban non Christians from using christian names..that will instantly get you millions of Malaysians in support of what a clever suggestion it is.  Makes sense that only Christians are allowed to have a christian prefix to their familly names.So disallow it and those wo have it must show their ICs to prove that they are indeed Christians as their names suggest , other wise they have been proselytized.

Good grief. maybe the illegal proselytizing  law should be extended to include other non christians non muslims as well..make it a national law. that only christians can go to church and practice their faith..you will have the eternal gratitude of the non christians and non muslims religious community leaders because they may bleed their followers to the christians if they are proselytized.

The christians can be very convincing that it even scares the muslims just how persuasive they can be in converting others into Christianity.

Make sure all incoming Christians flying in to Malaysia has a leaflet ( similar to the trafficking drugs message in airplanes) that says, please refrain from using the word Allah if you are an Arabic speaking Christian.. Its illegal to use the word in Malaysia unless you are a muslim.

But if you are non english speaking Indonesian Christian. please refrain from praying to God out loud in west Malaysia, because the term Allah is not allowed to be used in bahasa  unless referring to only the Islamic God..

Yup , think these may work..!

On second thought, well , since we are on a roll, yeah, why not Ban the malay speaking  Christians from being  Christians.! Or ban bahasa speaking  Christians from churches then nobody will be able to use the word Allah, completely eradicating the problem..

What say you Perkasa  or Ibrahim Ali?  Don’t  all the suggestions  make Sooo   much brilliant illogical sense ?

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Many Malaysians do not see that this is not merely quarelling over a term to refer to God..

It is also about preserving and protecting  the sanctity of our constitution that guaranteed us the right to religious freedom without being dictated to, on how and what we can/cannot do to practice our faiths, within reason of course.

Jus coz some NGOs make demands n try to intimidate the others to obediently fall in line .

If we do not draw the line , the excesses can  insidiously creep into our society and psyche  un-noticed till it is too late and too much ground have been given, just because noone took things seriously , thinking that they were too petty and there are more urgent priorities in their lives, like earning a living, and be a good neighbour and citizen. .and good inter communal relations.

How much more can we minorities afford to compromise  then realise much later  we have been shackled, in mind and environment.

Our little bits of freedom and peace of mind compromised.. Be it in our kids freedom of religion , right to good education , prospects for self-advancement,  restricted because we did not want to react despite seeing it coming a mile away..

This is not really about a word, it is about the sanctity of the constitution and freedom to practice our own religion without being arbitrarily told what we can n cannot do to worship God..

If the minority communities allow themselves to be easily cowed n intimidated just coz some NGOs make a big stink.

Come on… surely us malaysians have the discerment to think for ourselves what is  right n wrong n where the limits are, in terms of religious beliefs.

For those who still think that this is merely a petty bickering  over a term to refer to God,and is blown out of proportion, well , i d say it is getting out of hand with dangerous statements like the above.

Essentially Ibrahim Ali or Perkasa , is mocking Christianity ,insulting the Christians , making derogatory jokes about the religion.. calling the CM of Penang names for defending the Allah issue in favor of the Christians.

And what is galling is , for sure everyone suspects he will get away with it. we know that, he knows that.the whole country thinks that,

What manner of  society or Goverment condones such blatant offensive behaviour viciously mocking the Malaysian  Christians  just because it is politically expedient to do so?

Because they are reluctant to  risk the wrath of the marjority malay/muslims if they should decide to do the right thing , which will be  very unpopular with their core voter bank of supporters.   Ethics and morality means nothing and is out the window usually when it involves political decisions in Malaysia .

This instance, it is highly likely that the label  ” NFA” No further Action applies  because it just hurts the feelings of a small minority community not the marjority.

Imagine if another NGO leader was talking about Islam in this tone and attitude.

Instantly They will be hauled up and hung out to dry for insulting Islam. It is the politically correct thing to do.

The political cynicism and hypocrisy in our country is approaching shocking levels.

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Even a person like Ibrahim Ali,  if un-checked , un opposed nor chastised , just how far will he be allowed to go..if he thinks it is a smooth passage.

Read his “remarks… the  contemptuous arrogance in the tone. Like the minority communities owe him or UMNO for they have been rewarding  the minorities the crumbs , but now want to collect interests from the handouts but having a hard time collecting so he is like a “Ah Long” debt collector, making threats..

Soft individual indignant voices from each of us, collectively is a fierce and loud roar. That may prompt them to sit up and pay attention.. Cannot rely on the opposition or NGOs all the time to protest on our behalf, some times we can take a small initiative and see where it will lead.

For those who still think that this is just a petty issue…and wax philosophical about it..adopting the classic malaise-ian “tidak apa la ” stance. let them bicker, won’t personally affect me..well at least  read between the lines to his “remarks…

the  Hitler-ish or Kim Joung Un-ish attitude displaying arrogance and fanatical  tone of supremacy  in the “WEs”  .. WE this WE that , WE allow, WE compromised  .. as if they own the country and can arbitrarily dictate terms the way  they see fit. “WE” tell you what to do, WE tell you how to practice your faith, WE decide what you can and cannot do , WE decide everything, WE are like GOD all powerful..WE give and WE can take away.. …”jangan kurang ajar dengan Tuan kamu”

(It seems so much like a statement straight out of North Korea)

Obnoxious , Arrogant but most of all” IGNORANT” is how the statements come off as..this is what happens when there is a total lack of understanding and knowledge about a minority community and their faith. Peninsular muslims have no clue at all how christians practice their faith, esp in bahasa.Muslims just go to the mosque for worship and devotion but how often do they visit churches to see how christians worship, esp in Bahasa.NEVER.

I wonder what the muslims will think after they emerged from  attending  to observe any   Bahasa church services in the peninsular for the Bahasa speaking christians?
In the english and chinese services, Allah is not used because there are direct translations and chinese version of GOD, but none in Bahasa so both Tuhan and Allah is used, both term have different connotations , one means Lord and other is GOD , both terms very commonly used among the Bahasa speaking christian community in peninsular churches.Not only in printed publications or digital media..
,ie Jesus is the Lord ,our GOD..translated –. Yesus ialah Tuhan , Allah kita.

Been used for many Years in peninsular and had never been an issue till now..

And the call to demand that this spiritual reference is banned and Christians mindsets be changed overnight.?
Bear in mind that ” Allah” is a term that is as Exalted , Holy , Reverent a term for the Bahasa speaking Christians in reference to God as it is to the Muslims.

muslims shud see for themselves or at least make an effort to be informed on how Malaysian Churches conduct Bahasa services ..
Even English speaking christians ,not all are familiar with the Christian terms and lingo in Bahasa , much less malaysian muslims who don’t even know what happens in a church.
Some church leaders shud take the initiative and invite some Muslim counterparts as their guest in church to observe how Christian services are conducted ,esp in Bahasa, and vice versa..

( i am sure it will not be seen as proselytizing , but to foster better mutual understanding of each other’s faith)

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We are not picking quarrels either with our close friends across the ethnic divide, We can still enjoy each others friendship and interact  freely in personal ,social,commercial dealings. This has nothing at all to do with us as a society..Life goes on.

Just certain quarters and Govermental policies that rubs us the wrong way. There are not many hateful bigoted  villains actually, although they exist in , as individuals , many of the supposed bigots may turn out to surprisingly  decent people but have to be conformist to collective views because when idealogy gets in the way, People get ugly  especially when greed and ambition rears its head in temptation.

Many of us interact across the ethnicities on a daily basis, and can testify that, all their friends are not at all like the personalities in the media or descriptions of the inter racial relationships.

In real life , we do not even feel or notice anything out of the ordinary but we just see  people just like ourselves , nothing stands out,

If there is racism according to some in the Goverment. or private sector that keeps harping on it. Many of us don’t see or feel it. It is a fantasy bogeyman, hardly exist except in the minds of the bigoted mindsets. or , except in rare circumstances, places or by intentional design.

Bryanbb

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Not only  Christians and non muslims , international media  criticise the Allah ruling in Malaysia.

 

An extract from the

EDITORIAL : The Hajj sermon

Hajj this year ended on a sad note when the Grand Mufti in his annual sermon at Arafat reminded the 1.6 billion Muslims present about the divisions, chaos and schisms that have destroyed the fabric of Islam, leaving it tattered, frayed and in bad taste.

Mufti Abdul Aziz al Sheikh said that there is no salvation for Muslim nations without adhering to the teachings of Islam, without elaborating that there is no compulsion in faith, and that we are responsible for our own deeds.

The most we are allowed is to pass on the message of Islam, but it is not for us to force others to follow.

The problem with practicing Muslims today is that they treat Islam like an insecure entity that needs care, due attention and a special shelter lest it gets smeared and nullified.

The recent example of this attitude is displayed in Malaysia where the government has gone so far as proscribing Christians from using Allah as their God’s name.

Who has given Muslims the liberty to copyright the name of Allah? It is His name, and He is the God of the universe, as He has said in the scriptures.

There is no religion that does not believe in the existence of God. Why are we trying to deny people owning God in all His attributes? Is this how piety in Islam is preserved or managed?

In fact being Muslim is no guarantee that we have reached that threshold. Is this what the glory of Islam had been all about, something that we want to revert to and long for?

With retrogressive steps such as prohibiting Christians from using the name of Allah or destroying churches.

. Islam’s glory lies in its spirit of tolerance, sacrifice, patience, devotion and simplicity. The message of Hajj is an embodiment of all these attributes that Abraham and every prophet that followed him practiced and left behind for the people to cherish and follow.

The Hajj sermon just managed  to come off with an impression that  Muslims don’t practice what they say. Deeds do not match  words.

sourced : Full draft :  http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\10\16\story_16-10-2013_pg3_1

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Read also :  The confused Muslims  and Christians’  confounding  “Allah” bickering

The Allah confusion among Muslims and Christians ?

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sourced : freemalaysiatoday

Who is confused over the word Allah?

Christians are not confused. Some Muslims, not all, are.
In delivering his verdict yesterday, Justice Zawawi Salleh stated that there would be confusion among Muslims and Christians if Catholic publication The Herald continues to translate God as 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.

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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

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My thots.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bryanbb

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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)

How the Allah issue started

Allah” issue: Who started it?

By Jacqueline Ann Surin

LEST we forget, the source of the Allah controversy that resulted in churches, and a Catholic school, being torched and threatened did not begin on the streets. It did not begin with narrow-minded and ignorant Muslim pressure groups threatening to spill blood to assert their sole right to use “Allah”.

Lest we forget, it began with the 1986 government ban on the use by non-Muslims of the word “Allah”, and three others — “solat”, “Kaabah” and “Baitullah”. That’s the Barisan Nasional (BN) government we are talking about, the one that Umno leads.

Hence, lest we forget, the issue of non-Muslims using the word “Allah” would not be an issue at all in Malaysia if the Umno-led government had, to begin with, respected the legitimate rights of other faith communities. The “Allah” issue would not have spiraled into, to quote a friend, suburban terrorism — and it is terrorism when violence and intimidation are used towards achieving one’s goals — if the Home Ministry had not acted to deny the rights of non-Muslim citizens in the first place.

Today, in the aftermath of churches being torched and threatened, we hear Umno leaders, most notably Prime Minister and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak denying that Umno is responsible for the situation we find ourselves in. We hear BN leaders condemning the violence committed against churches throughout the country. But as a lawyer friend commented on Twitter on 8 Jan 2010: “If you inflame passions, you cannot condemn violence.”

Doing what’s right

We know historically and culturally that firstly, “Allah” predates Islam; and secondly that it is used by non-Muslims in other Muslim countries with no restriction. So, the government is responsible for this narrow-minded and bigoted interpretation of who can use “Allah” in Malaysia. And by continuing to defend its position through a court appeal, the government is the one responsible for perpetuating the notion that Muslim rights will always supersede non-Muslim rights no matter if it is illogical, irrational or unconstitutional.

Are we surprised then that some groups will resort to acts of terrorism in Malaysia in order to assert their superiority at all costs? With the kind of government we have today — one that consistently does little to delegitimise violence in the name of Malay and Muslim superiority — I’m not at all surprised that there are those who think they can get away with using fear and intimidation to strip others of their rights. After all, the government is already doing it.

And even in this particular issue, Najib and his Umno ministers continue to resist doing the right thing instead of kow-towing to and fanning the flames of ignorance and fear among the bigots in our midst.

Demonstrators at the National Mosque on 8 Jan, protesting against the “Allah” ruling

No more dialogue

In an attempt at damage control, the government and a couple of politicians including Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin have now called for an interfaith dialogue to resolve the issue.

But really, the time for dialogue is over. Meaningful dialogue can only happen when all parties to the dialogue are treated as equals. In the current scenario, I’ll wager that any “dialogue” will involve non-Muslims acceding to the perceived “sensitivities” and assumed rights of Muslimsto own copyright to the word “Allah”.

And mind you, the use of the word “Allah” is not a “sensitive” issue, as top Umno leaders and the Umno-backed Utusan Malaysia are fond of restating repeatedly. It’s a copyright issue. And there is nothing at all that gives Muslims in Malaysia, or elsewhere, the copyright to use the word to refer to God and deny others the right to do so.

Indeed, there have been Muslims who demand that Christians should use the word “Tuhan” instead of “Allah” so that Muslims won’t be confused. But if Christians and Sikhs have not been confused thus far from the use of “Allah” in their worship, what makes Malaysian Muslims so special that the government should continue to perpetuate their ignorance about a word that pre-dates Islam?

Additionally, since copyright for the word does not belong to Muslims, what right do Muslim groups and politicians have to demand that non-Muslims can only use “Tuhan” and not “Allah”?

Instead of an interfaith dialogue where non-Muslims are likely to be asked to compromise on their rights to protect the false sensitivities of some Muslims, here’s what I would like to see happen. If Najib’s administration is really sincere about 1Malaysia, I would like to see the government host public forums and seminars for Muslims who may be confused about the word “Allah”.

Really, what’s stopping the Umno-led government from wanting to educate the ummah? Islam, after all, brought enlightenment to those who lived during zaman jahiliyah — the age of ignorance. If Umno is such a champion of Malay Muslims, why is it perpetuating this age of ignorance instead of educating Muslims while simultaneously respecting the rights of non-Muslims? Why is it enforcing the ban and appealing the High Court decision that nullified the ban when it is even stated in the Quran that “Allah” doesn’t just belong to Muslims?

Perchance the home minister, who was from Umno in 1986 when the ban was gazetted, and continues to be from Umno, is ignorant about historical fact and constitutional rights? Or perhaps Umno would rather Muslims remained ignorant? Or perhaps, Umno just doesn’t care about the legitimate rights of non-Muslims no matter the rhetoric about 1Malaysia?
BN-sponsored fascism

The West often likes to describe Malaysia as a “moderate Muslim state“. We are far from it. We have become a fascist state under BN rule. How so? Well, a state that actively and aggressively promotes racial and religious superiority is no different from the Nazi state that asserted that the Aryans were superior to the Jews. And the systematic use of violence, fear and draconian laws to diminish and suppress the legitimate rights of minority groups can only be described as fascist.

The BN will, of course, deny responsibility for the way the “Allah” issue is playing out. The government will provide financial aid to churches to prove to Christians that it does not condone these acts of violence. It will now be open to interfaith forums, where before itbanned any such attempts by groups such as Article 11.

Too little too late, I’m afraid. Make no mistake: the BN government started this. And by denying culpability now and stubbornly refusing to do what is right despite the historical, cultural and religious evidence, the BN is responsible for the rising fascism in our midst.

Is this the kind of Malaysia we want to live in?

sourced: thenutgraph.com/allah-issue-who-started-it/

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Who owns the word Allah? — allah-in-malay/

Also read : confusion-because-of-the-use-of-the-word-allah/

 

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