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Arguing over “Allah”

“Before this they demanded to use the Malay language for their Bibles. Then they demanded to use the word ‘Allah’ for Christian publications. Today they demand to use the word ‘Allah’ without restrictions. After this, they will demand the right to convert Malays to Christianity without restrictions. What else will they end up demanding?!”

PARTI Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kulim-Bandar Baru Zulkifli Noordin, responding on his blog to the government’s initial permission for Christian publications to use the word “Allah”. The government published this ruling in its 16 Feb 2009 gazette, but specified that the publications would need to have the disclaimer “For Christianity” printed on their front covers. (Source: Allah Kristian?, The Riding MP blog, 1 March 2009)

“To me, the government has made a mistake and I am certain Muslims in this country will not accept it because the meaning of Allah has theological differences in Islam and Christianity and this could incite extremist Muslim groups.”

Malaysian Islamic Dakwah Foundation chairperson Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad, who also criticised the Home Ministry’s decision and urged for it to be reversed. (Source: Kerajaan perlu tarik balik kebenaran guna kalimah Allah: Nakhaie, Berita Harian, 28 Feb 2009)

“There is a judicial review on the matter and we leave it to the court to decide. I think there was a mistake in enacting the gazette. When we made a mistake, I must admit that there is a need to look at it thoroughly. As there was a mistake…so it is better we make correction.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, apparently acquiescing to the pressure and duly rescinding the decision published in the gazette. The ban on the use of “Allah” in Christian publications has therefore been restored to its pre-16 Feb status. (Source: Home minister rescinds new gazette on “Allah”, The Nut Graph, 1 March 2009)

“PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat said non-Muslims are allowed to use the word “Allah” as there is a verse in the Quran which quotes the non-Muslims of Mecca calling their god “Allah”

The New Straits Times, quoting Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who is also the Kelantan menteri besar, on 2 March 2009. However, Nik Aziz said it was “up to the federal government to decide”, and that he did not want “to interfere in this”. (Source: Nik Aziz: “Allah” is for all, The New Straits Times, 2 March 2009)

“We find Christian Arabs comfortably delivering sermons in church in Arabic throughout the Arab world. They even use the word ‘Allah’ with no objections from the Muslims there because, as every Arab knows, the word “Allah” means ‘God’.”

Khalid Samad, PAS MP for Shah Alam, on the withholding of Catholic publication Herald‘s licence pending a court decision on the use of the word “Allah”. In Khalid’s letter to the editor, he said the position taken by the Home Ministry was “untenable”. (Source: Let Catholic weekly run in Malay, The Nut Graph, 5 Jan 2009)

“In Islam, there is one God for all humanity. Therefore, one should not monopolise or personalise ‘Allah’ as belonging to only one sector of humanity.”

Prof Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, head of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. Kamali went on to say that the only circumstances in which the word should be banned are when it is abused. He said this was consistent with the principle of sadd al-dhara’i (blocking the means to an evil development) in Islamic jurisprudence. He concluded that if there was no abuse of the word, then there should be no restraint in its usage. (Source: Scholar: Don’t restrict “Allah”, The Nut Graph, 17 Feb 2009)

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8 Responses to “Arguing over “Allah””

  1. Car Khar Toy says:

    Dear All,

    How about we also ask the government to change #1 Rukunegara from “Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan” to “Kepercayaan Kepada Allah”?


  2. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear People,

    Malay insecurities – as demonstrated by the words of Zulkifli Noordin – cannot be removed by legal means. The only way for the Malays to overcome their insecurities is by the mastery of science and technology – which will then enable them to secure a large chunk of the economy by fair and meritocratic means.

    Arguing about God will not help the Malays.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  3. Pat Lu says:

    Hi CKT

    Can’t change “Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan” to “Kepercayaan Kepada Allah”? as the meaning of Allah means the belief in “ONE and only true God” (under the Abrahmic religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam); while Tuhan is used to cover all religions that believe in other beings or who believe there are more than one God.

    Hence the contention why Christians insist on Allah and not Tuhan.

  4. observor says:

    This whole mumbo jumbo is ridiculous! Fighting over the use of a word which has been used long before the existence of Muslims, Christians and even Malays obviously. Taking this matter to court is making a fool out of our country in the eyes of the world including the Arab nations who laugh at us. There goes our pride down the drain with such stupidity despite having physical wonders.

  5. upkonisme komulakan says:

    Perak state anthem:

    Dilanjutkan Allah usianya Sultan
    Adil dan murah memerintah watan
    Ditaati rakyat kiri dan kanan
    Iman yang soleh Allah kurniakan
    Allah berkati Perak Ridzuan
    Allah selamatkan Negeri dan Sultan

    If “Allah” exclusively belongs to Malay Muslims, then what would happened to a large group of non-Muslims in Perak? Will they be barred from singing their state anthem?

    Salute to PAS for being more moderate, more rational and more practical. Utamakan Malaysia!

  6. lembu susu says:

    They don’t understand what is language and what is religion. They got it mixed up. Islam is a religion. Bahasa Malaysia is a language. If you want to ban the Christians from using the word “Allah”, then, you have to ban them from using Bahasa. Don’t teach Bahasa Malaysia in schools, then. They have myopic, small and narrow minds. They fought over words, whereas if you want to champion religion, then, go after these corrupt guys who plundered the nation’s wealth. This is more important in a religion than words. By banning the words, you are creating animosity instead of unity. This is contrary to what they are saying, that Islam is a peace-loving religion.

  7. John Stewart says:

    Dear Readers, as an overseas observer, frankly I watched with amazement at how irrelevant, small minded, insecure and intolerant some Malaysians have become – to the masses (Muslims and non-Muslims), not just in M’sia but to the rest of the six billion people out there in the world.

    Because of unfettered pride, a small group of “holy” people unashamedly demonstrates their vast ignorance, lacking in simple common sense, etc., and we have decided to ignore factual experience (as pointed out by Khalid Samad) and the principle of sadd al-dhara’i (refer to Prof Dr Mohd Kamali’s advice).

    Some may be familiar with the saying, “a little knowledge is dangerous”? Would any of the protagonists stand up and prove that he/she knows Allah more then any one of us six billion people? Perhaps, if we have enough humility and integrity, we might consider asking Allah rather than His creatures in courts (playing gods)?

    Congratulations to all concerned, some of us are now convinced that we are in control of Allah and His subjects!

  8. John Stewart says:

    Could I share this quote from a Muslim mystic: “Allah (God) sighs to become known in us. God is delivered from solitude by the people in whom God reveals himself. The sorrow of the unknown God is softened through and in us.” (Ibn al-Arabi, 1165-1240CE) Your readers may like to ponder over this quote, with humility.

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