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“Qur’an: Muslims and Christians worship same God”


(Pic by Lorna / Dreamstime)
PETALING JAYA, 6 Jan 2010: An American-based Islamic society has commended the 31 Dec 2009 High Court judgement that lifted the ban on the use of “Allah” by Catholic paper Herald.

The Islamic Society of North America (Isna) said the Qur’an was explicit that Muslims worshipped the same God as Christians.

“The Qur’an commands Muslims to declare that the God they worship and the one worshipped by the followers of revealed books, including Christians, is one,” Isna said in a 4 Jan statement.

It cited the Qur’an (29:46):  “… and say [to the followers of the Abrahamic faiths]: ‘We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.’”

“We urge Muslim non-governmental organisations to respect Islamic teachings and long-held Islamic traditions, and to withdraw their opposition to the use of the word ‘Allah‘ by their Christian compatriots,” Isna said.

Isna disagreed with the argument that non-Muslim Malaysians usually translate God as “Tuhan” in Bahasa Malaysia, not “Allah”. “This argument is contrary to both Islamic understanding and practice,” said Isna.

“Christian Arabs have been using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in their religious sources since the inception of Islam, and have never been challenged by private Muslims or Muslim governments on this ground,” it added.

It said Islamic law was clear that Christians have the right to practise their religion according to their own religious teachings.

Isna is an association of Muslim organisations and individuals that has been operating in the US and Canada for more than 40 years.

Today, the High Court granted a stay of its decision pending the Home Ministry‘s appeal of the lifting of the ban.

In the meantime, protests are reportedly being organised after Friday prayers on 8 Jan by Malaysian Muslim organisations to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the High Court ruling.

Malay-language newspapers have also been criticising the High Court ruling while Malaysian cabinet members, notably Muslim ministers from Umno, have been appealing for “calm”, saying the matter was “sensitive“.

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30 Responses to ““Qur’an: Muslims and Christians worship same God””

  1. Siti says:

    In my opinion if the Christians are allowed to use “ALLAH”, this will cause a huge implication in the future to the next young generation.The Muslims believe that ALLAH :

    *DOES NOT MARRIED.
    *DOES NOT HAS A CHILD.

    …while the christians believed the other way around. They claimed that

    *JESUS IS A SON OF GOD.
    *AVE MARIA IS THE WIFE OF GOD.

    …and this is very contra. Whatever it is, I think this matter was brought up by a group of Christians because they have their own agenda which all of us will get to know after a few years, for sure. Speaking of al-Quran, please understand the content correctly and do not mis-interpret it. Thank You.

  2. san says:

    This is not about petrol where they used to compare with other countries and say that our petrol price is relatively low. iIguess they will say we cannot compare the situation in Malaysia with other countries in this “religious” case.

  3. Khairi says:

    Hi,

    This issue is old. To divert rakyat intention on more critical issues such as [the missing] jet engines, sugar price, PKFZ and some other crises that will follow, or more that I maybe do not know because all people talk about is [...] “how to name our God here?”

  4. natalie says:

    Well said!

    Muslims say “Bismillah hirahmman nirrahim”, which means “In the name of GOD, most gracious most merciful”; Arab Christians have been using the prayer “Allāh al-ab (الله الأب)”, meaning God the father, “Allāh al-ibn (الله الابن)” mean God the son, and “Allāh al-rÅ«h al-quds (الله الروح القدس)” meaning God the Holy Spirit, for centuries before Islam.

    Even in pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was a pagan supreme deity.

    I seriously don’t see what the problem is. I hope Malaysians will unite and will resolve this peacefully.

  5. Nicholas Aw says:

    It is sad that a word can create so much tension that we have seen protests and demonstrations by certain groups or organisations. Then there were attacks on churches.

    I believe that Christians are God-loving people and would not retaliate as they practise what they preach. I would not dare to comment if it had been three mosques instead of churches. Even during the cow-head protest, which obviously slighted the feelings of the Hindus, the latter were calm and left it to the authorities to act.

    From news reports, we know that those charged were not remorseful as they openly upheld their actions despite being caught on camera.

    The people are losing faith in the enforcement agencies, and we can’t blame them for that. Even the protest over the two journalists who desecration the Holy Communion in a church has seen no positive action by the police. Going further back, there was the murder of Joe Fernandez, which was never solved. Fernandez’s death was in one way or other caused by a certain group of people who were brainwashed to believe that he was an evangelist and a threat to Islam [...]

    I feel that the government should come down hard on this small group of people whom I consider to be Islamic extremists. Generally, every citizen, whether Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai or any other religions, wants to live in peace and harmony. Please do not allow this small group of extremists to destroy the country.

  6. Rimisac says:

    The prime minister may piously preach brotherhood, peace, and religious toleration and promise to bring these terrorists to book. But frankly, everyone will be very, very, very surprised if these criminals are ever caught and brought to court. We all know that the Malaysian police are very selective on how they analyse and how aggressively they follow and catch certain law breakers. It is a given that this group of Muslim terrorists will never be caught. It may also be a waste of time and effort on our part. But the question the PM should ask is how is it that the Malaysian police and Special Branch and its intelligence agencies failed to uncover and preempt these attacks on the churches?

    Also, why is it that the Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein did not warn those who kept increasing the drumbeat of anti-Christian sentiments to pull in their heads?

    Shouldn’t the prime minister be asking the minister to resign or be sacked? But I think we [worry] that these fire bombings of the churches [might] soon escalate into more violence and systematic attacks, shooting and killings of Christians in Malaysia. All this designed to claw back Malay Muslim support for Umno. But failing that it will also give the PM a golden opportunity to emulate his father, Tun Razak, and declare Emergency Rule, suspend Parliament, cancel general elections (which we know BN will lose) and rule by decree for another 10 years. And if the streets of KL were to flow with the blood of Christians and other non-Muslims, so what? It means nothing to them for as long as the ends justify the means.

  7. Bodowi says:

    God in English, Allah in Bahasa Malaysia. Its just a translation,What is so confusing. Some people just don’t use [their] brain.

  8. I love to invite all my Christian friends to use the word “Amitaabha”; which means all-encompassing, compassion & enlightenment; its the cure all for all the ills of society today; food for thought; may you all be well & happy, Sadhu3!

  9. Siti Kasim says:

    I am flabbergasted when I read Siti’s (not my twin sister) comment that allowing the Christians to continue using Allah will cause a “huge implication in the future ….”.

    Obviously she is not aware of the real situation that is happening here. The Christians are not asking to be allowed to use the word ALLAH now. The request is not recent. It is not like they woke up one day and suddenly decided they want to start using the word Allah in their Malay Bibles and their magazines.

    They went to court to challenge the government’s refusal in renewing their licence to continue printing their magazine in Malay and using the word Allah when referring to God in which they have done for donkey years.

    The fact that the word ALLAH had been used by the Christians for hundreds of years seems to be totally lost on Malay [Malaysians]. If the argument against it is as what Siti said, I believe it is an insult to my children’s generation.

    Cik Siti, just as you and I have the same name, it doesn’t mean you and I are of the same character and the same mannerism. We are two very different people despite the similarity in name. The same here, it is merely a name. The Christian Allah and Islam’s Allah have two different characteristics. Just like you and I, of the same name, of the female gender, Allah in Christianity and in Islam are of the same name, entity is GOD but different characteristics depending on which religion you come from.

    I do hope Malay [Malaysians] will check their facts first before making statements that will just raise more division amongst us, Malaysians.

    Love to all
    Siti Kasim

  10. Syaril says:

    Why do Malaysian Christians want to use Allah only in the Malay publication? Why not use Allah for all languages just like the Muslims do? Why only pick on Bahasa? Very suspicious? Recently there was a call by a Dutch Christian priest for Christians all over the world to call God only by the name Allah, but was opposed by all. This reflects their sincerity.

  11. Rusman says:

    As a Muslim, I was often told that only knowledgeable Muslims should be allowed to interpret the Qur’an so that we are not misinterpreting the Book. To non-Muslims, please do not take the verses literally and [make conclusions]; most likely it will be out of context.
    The “Allah” issue in Malaysia is a political ploy by irresponsible politicians with hidden agendas.

  12. Jimbo says:

    Why is it that only in Malaysia the word “Allah” cannot be used by Christians? Other Islamic countries have no problem with it. Is their faith so weak that they can be confused? Is this an Islamic issue or a Malay issue?

  13. casey says:

    This is a reply to Siti.

    For decades, in East Malaysia we have been using “Allah” in our Malay session prayer. In our Malay-Indonesion version of the Bible and books.

    But as far as I can see, there is no “huge” implication to the future “young” generation. I am a Christian and my cousins are “Muslims”, but I never saw them get confused between my “Allah” and their “Allah”. They have confidence in them to know what is the truth, as they believe in their GOD.

    [Siti], what agenda are you talking about? Is this the 1Malaysia that has been promoted by our dear Najib?

    Also you’re telling us to understand the content of al-Quran correctly. I, too, humbly ask you to understand the real meaning behind our religion. Please do not say or even talk about things that are wrong. If you want to talk about other religions, do please go and ask the correct people instead of gossiping among yourself things that are incorrect. [...]

    [It] is [probably] hard for you to understand the concept [of] Trinity, even for us Christians.

    Jesus is not the actually son of God, but at the same time He is.

    And, Hail Maria is actually a prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. [...]

    Maria is not the wife of God, I do not see her as the wife of God. She is the mother of Jesus.

    [It is because of conclusions like this] that we are having this kind of problem in Malaysia, from people who are so afraid and so narrow-minded.

    So I humbly ask you to seek first the truth before making any baseless assumptions.

  14. aiyoyo..ena-dey says:

    Syaril,

    You just answered your own question la. They want to use Allah in Malay because that is the Malay TRANSLATION. They don’t use it in other language because the TRANSLATION is different la. They are NOT INTERESTED in WORSHIPPING the God of Islam. Why do Muslims think that their religion is so weak? Shouldn’t they be happy instead that CHRISTIANS WILL BE CONFUSED and will convert to Islam? Fear is a sign of self doubt. Do you doubt Islam? Will you be confused? If you are smart enough not to be confused, don’t assume that others are stupid. Stop insulting your brothers!

  15. Wan Adli says:

    There is at least one essential difference in Muslim and Christian conception of god. Muslims believe in the Oneness of the God Allah, while in Christianity the concept of god is identical with Trinity. There could not be a really Christian concept of god without Trinity, and there could not be Trinity without Incarnation, and there could not be a divine Jesus without Incarnation. It is impossible to say Jesus is divine without Trinity. It follows that Christian god has at least once incarnated himself in human history. This conception of god is fundamentally opposite to the reality-truth of Allah, who never incarnate into human form.

    As far as part of the Qur’an 29:46 is concerned, there are two things that Muslims are commanded to declare. Firstly, it is the belief in the truth of all revealed scriptures including the Injil and the Qur’an. Secondly, that followers of Muhammad’s God and followers of Jesus’ God is the One and the same God. To be technically precise, these two points must not be separated. The object of the first point is the authentic Injil, and the object of the second point is the authentic God exposed in the authentic Injil. On the contrary, the current Bible is not the authentic revelation of Jesus, and the Trinity God is not the true God of Jesus.

    In other words, Muslims are commanded to declare their belief in the real-true God and the authentic revelations; not the deviated conception of god and the changed scriptures. It is inconsistent to say we believe that Muslim and Christian One God is the same, and also believe in the Qur’an in which Jesus is said to be human, yet also believe in the Bible in which Jesus is said to be divine. Nor is it coherent to say we believe in the Oneness of Muslim God, and also believe in the Trinity God of Christian, and also believe in the Qur’an and the Bible. The truth is, Muslims believe that Muhammad’s and Jesus’ God is the One and the same God, and they also believe the truth of Muhammad’s and Jesus’ authentic scriptures.

    The Qur’an is explicit that Muslims do not worship the same god recognized by Christians, and there is at least one essential difference over who Muslim and Christian god is.

  16. Rin Tin Tin says:

    Yo! Stop wasting time and energy over some word name. There’s no god but there’s “matter”, there’s “energy”, there’s “DARK MATTER” and “anti-matter”. If you guys still want to worship and continue to argue whose god is greater or whose god is right I suggest you follow one common entity “Syai Tan” aka Louis Cyphre. He will unite us all.

    Rin tin tin (frens call me Rinny).

  17. NOT confused says:

    Christians don’t believe God is married either. I agree that we should “please understand correctly and not misinterpret”. We should check what other people claim before claiming what they claim to believe.

  18. Azizi Khan says:

    I believe by looking at comments from Siti etc – they seem to have a similar misunderstanding of Islam. In fact this is a big problem. For decades now Islam has been propagated in Malaysia as if its a *Malay religion*. And Allah is some how a *Malay Muslim God*.

    This is highly blasphemous because Allah and Islam is universal. No other religion seems to be in this state of confusion. Malaysian Christian, Hindus and Sikhs do not go portraying that they are somehow different from the Christians, Sikh and Hindus anywhere else.

    So here lies the problem. How do you treat decades of brainwashing by government controlled Islamic bodies who used Islam to further their own agendas (ie Malay politics).

    This also brought on to the Malaysian Muslims because most Malaysian Muslims simply memorize the Quran without understanding the meaning of it. Everything else is filled in the blanks by some religious leader.

    So the question is – who is confusing whom ?

  19. induborneo says:

    Seriously, God is not owned by one race and everyone is God’s children.

    Speaking of Malays rights:
    What makes this race exceptional and exclusive that they can simply claim God’s name? Other religious and pious scholars of Islam confirmed that nothing stated that it is just exclusive to Muslim. The religion and faith are never weak – it’s the people. Not trying to be racist here but [it looks like] Malaysian Muslims [are more] backward [...] than the Holy Quran.

  20. wan says:

    Correction:

    The same God?

    Are you kidding me?

    ALLAH =TRINITY concept?

    Siti got it right.

  21. golly says:

    Dear Wan Adli,

    You are absolutely right of course.That your knowledge is right for the Mislims. On the other hand, the Christians are also absolutely right in their eyes that their knowledge of God is the right one. They call their God Allah too. The issue is what right have you to stop them calling their God Allah. What gives you more rights than them, especially since they have called their God Allah before you. Leave them alone with their misunderstanding (in your eyes).

    The whole world believes in the Oneness of God the Creator. The God of Adam, Abraham, Noah, the Jews, Joseph, Mary, Christians, Muslims. Only their UNDERSTANDING differs. The nature of the One God does not change with man’s description of Him. God remains God. Unchanging – name same.

  22. Kim says:

    Isna does not understand the situation in Malaysia. Does Isna realize that the Christians in Malaysia are so eager to use the word Allah only in its bahasa (Malay language) publications and speeches? Why not use it for other languages also? We Muslims use Allah for all langages. The translation in bahasa for God is Tuhan while Lord is Yang Amat Berkuasa. The Christians have been trying to convert the Malays for centuries but they failed.They made some inroads in Sabah and sarawak on the indigenous people using this tactic. They want to try it in Peninsular Malaya.

  23. onemorething says:

    Merlin, yo. When will it end? If Christians say, “Okay, okay, we can call our god ‘Tuhan’”, Dewan Bahasa puts it into the dictionary: “Tuhan – the god Christians worship.” How long will it be till some extremist realises that the children of this country proclaim every week “Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan”.in the Rukunegara and get the idea that the children will be confused or are being converted? Then what?

    Already some churches are told that the crosses must not be freely visible, Christmas celebrations must be about Santa and not Jesus.

    Sensitive? Why? No concrete reason to be so except for personal ideas. Everyone is equal in law. One cannot take away the liberties of another at one’s own whim. The result is chaos. The answer is to educate. Ignorance leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Who are we really feeding with hate? God, or…?

  24. lyndale says:

    No matter how Islam is interpreted, the word “Allah” is Arabic for God, as Elah is in Aramaic. It still remains that it preceded Islam and should not be confused by way of giving the impression that it came after Islam was formed. If Muslims want to express Allah in their own interpretation, so can others without hindrance or criticism.

  25. abak says:

    Allah is not a Malay word. It is Arabic. How can you say that is the Bahasa translation? The correct translation is God – Tuhan, Lord – Yang Amat Berkuasa (just like in court , Lord is equivalent to Yang Amat Arif to refer to a judge). Muslims use Allah for all languages to refer to our God. Muslims will not bother if the Christians want to use Allah refer to God for all languages just like the Muslims do. Why pick only in bahasa?

  26. Wan Adli,

    You are absolutely correct in your statement about the core difference between the understanding of God/Allah to the Muslim and the Christian, and I agree, barring a few statements:

    It is not fair to generalise that all Christians believe in the Trinity, or the deity of Jesus. There are denominations which accept the deity of Jesus but deny the consubstantial Trinity (Mormons), or accept a strict monotheism of God and a kind of “special position” for Jesus as a Messiah and prophet, but not His deity (Jehovah’s Witnesses). Granted, they are minorities, but they ought to be included.

    That aside, it is understood that understanding God as the Trinity is blasphemy to Muslims, and understanding Jesus as non-deity is anathema to most Christian denominations. So the question is: should the religion of another group of people be subject to the blasphemy of another religion?

    As you yourself have made clear, and as many others who have been discussing, there is no confusion among Muslims when Christians use “Allah” in reference to the Trinity. The only thing that exists is offence. But is it right, fair, and just, for the Christian to amend his or her religious tradition in order so that it is “not so offensive” to the Muslim majority?

    As the 1980s laws under various Islamic state departments have shown us, it doesn’t just end with the word “Allah”. In Malacca, up to 50 words and sayings have been deemed “Islamic property”. If Christians consent to this, they consent to a slippery slope that leads to the extinguishing of the Christian faith in Malaysia completely. If the Christian cannot exist in Malaysia unless he or she lives and worships in such a way as to not offend the Muslim majority, then it obliterates the very premise of Christianity entirely, because the entire religion itself is a blasphemy to Islam.

    The Prophet Muhammad recognised this blasphemy; the Prophet Muhammad simply allowed the Christians to be. The Qur’an is sufficient in waring the Christians on what their outcome would be if they have played their stakes wrongly. I appeal the Muslims of Malaysia to simply heed the deeds of the Prophet. The usage of Malay in many churches is restricted only to groups that have already used Malay as a language for Christianity prior to the formation of Malaysia. Generally, each publication comes with the disclaimer “For Non-Muslims only”. We only wish for the liberty to continue worshipping as we have always done.

  27. joe says:

    Why are [some of our] Muslim brothers and sisters so worked up with the word “Allah” being used by Christians to refer to God? … When a Muslim uses Allah, he/she refers to the Muslim God. And when I use Allah, I know I am referring to my Christian God.
    There is no confusion.

    Only the ignorant will be confused. And I see so many ignorant Malaysians out there.

  28. Galif says:

    To induborneo.

    Please be careful in your choice of words, it sounded like you referred to the Al Quran as meaningless. I quote, “Not trying to be racist here but [it looks like] Malaysian Muslims [are more] backward [...] than the Holy Quran.”

    It’s true that most Malaysians are ignorant to this matter, but we’re not all bad. I myself am a proud Malaysian citizen and faithful to my religion, Islam. And I stand on freedom of beliefs, whatever race you are, or no matter what religion you might be, we have the freedom to choose.

    Whether you’re Christians or Muslims, arguing over a word is pointless. The important thing is to embrace our own God in our own hearts, and believe.

    And yeah, doesn’t every religion teach us to be compassionate towards each other, love and care for every living thing? Stop this hatred y’all. No matter how different we are, what colour, or beliefs we have, we are brothers, all of us!

  29. alamak(am i allowed?) says:

    Wan,

    Q: Was the Trinity understanding already there in the time of the Prophet? If yes, then he would have been aware of this ya? And what did he say? Did he not say their God and your God are one? Are you disagreeing with the Prophet?

  30. alamak(am i allowed?) says:

    Yo,

    Kamus Dewan (the authority on Bahasa Malaysia):
    Allah: Ar Tuhan > Sorry, no mention of HANYA UNTUK MUSLIM

    Convert Muslims? Whatever for? We believe God alone decides. That there is place for ALL in heaven regardless. Only He knows and decides. So. Whatever for?


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