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Still unclear about “Allah”

1 Aug 2010: Hishammuddin “regrets” the “Allah” ban

“We should have let the sleeping dogs lie. It was triggered by those that believed that the word ‘Allah’ should not be used in Sabah and Sarawak.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, expressing regret that his ministry had banned Catholic newspaper Herald‘s use of “Allah” to refer to God during Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar’s tenure. He said the decision would continue to haunt his ministry “for a very long time”. (Source: Hishammuddin says regrets “Allah” ban, The Malaysian Insider, 1 Aug 2010)

2 Aug: MCA and DAP call for the “Allah” ban to be rescinded

“MCA therefore urges Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin to use all the authority vested in him as Home Minister to rescind the ban. By doing so, the Home Minister will be respected as a BN leader who looks after rights and interests of all Malaysians, including protecting the constitutional rights of minorities.”

“MCA therefore reiterates our position on ‘Allah’, i.e.:

1) No confusion arises when one’s spiritual conviction is strong

2) Nobody can copyright ‘Allah’ nor claim monopoly

3) Historical fact that ‘Allah’ predates Islam.”

MCA central committee member and publicity bureau deputy chairperson Loh Seng Kok in a press statement, calling for the ban on “Allah” to be rescinded. (Source: Rescind the “Allah” ban – MCA Publicity Bureau to Home Minister, mca.org.my, 2 Aug 2010)

“The Cabinet should make a decision to withdraw the appeal against the High Court judgment of Lau Bee Lan on the Allah controversy now that Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has admitted that his predecessor, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, should not have banned the word ‘Allah’ from being used by the Catholic Church.”

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, calling for the cabinet to withdraw its appeal against the High Court decision allowing Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publication, following Hishammuddin’s remarks. (Source: Cabinet should make a decision to withdraw the appeal against Lau Bee Lan judgment on the Allah controversy, Lim Kit Siang for Malaysia, 2 Aug 2010)

3 Aug 2010: Muhyiddin: Stop bringing up “Allah”

“Attention should be given to such considerations. I don’t understand why the DAP and MCA are taking a common stand on such matters.

“We know that this matter had previously been strongly debated and had created an unhealthy situation.”

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, saying the issue on the use of “Allah” should not be revived as the appeal was pending in court. He said raising the issue could become a burden, especially when the matter had already cooled off. He also cautioned Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties from further discussing the matter. (Source: “Kalimah Allah” Issue Should Not Be Revived – Muhyiddin, Bernama, 3 Aug 2010)

3 Aug 2010: MCA U-turns and Hishammuddin backtracks

“We are not making the same stand with DAP. We only want the BN government to resolve the issue as soon as possible so that it will not be further exploited by the opposition.”

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, denying that the MCA was taking the same stand as the DAP on the “Allah” issue.  (Source: MCA makes U-turn over Allah row, Malaysiakini, 3 Aug 2010)

“Why would the government retract the appeal, or why would the church retract the court case? It applies both ways, you know.”

“There could be also a request for the church to drop the case, as much as there is a request for the government to drop the appeal … let the courts decide because that is the process.”

Hishammuddin, denying that his expression of “regret” over the “Allah” ban meant the government would retract its appeal. (Source: Gov’t has no reason to drop “Allah” appeal, Malaysiakini, 3 Aug 2010)

“If we say regret [and] it’s an issue, you can look at it in many ways if you want to indulge in polemics.

“I regret that there are terrorists in Malaysia, I regret there are peragut (snatch-thieves) in Malaysia, I regret that this (word ‘Allah’) is becoming an issue … but why pick on that to make it a firestorm or bigger than what it is?

“There are many regrets [over what] we do, but whether or not I regret is out of my control because it is in the courts.”

Hishammuddin, trying to explain to reporters what he meant when he said he “regretted” the “Allah” ban. (Source: Govt has no reason to drop “Allah” appeal, Malaysiakini, 3 Aug 2010)

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28 Responses to “Still unclear about “Allah””

  1. Anak Laut says:

    Let the Allah be a Muslim God only. Christians, please find other name in the Bible to replace Allah. Reasons:-

    1. To end the issue
    2. God of Islam is different from Christian God.
    3. Quran is not the Bible.
    4. Bible is not Quran.
    5. Christian Heaven/Hell is different from that of Islam.
    6. The Muslim way of life is very different from the Christian way of life.

    • JayCKat says:

      Must remember that the word Allah and variations of that word have been used by the Christian for centuries. By right, since Christians used that word first, Muslims should be the party to distance themselves from using Allah when referring to the Muslim version of their Abrahamic God.

      Please also note, the Christian, Muslim and Jewish God are the same being. All three parties (aside those in Malaysia) are in agreement with that. Only major difference is the interpretations, relationship between Jesus and God.

      Really, it is like splitting hairs.

      Now Odin, Zeus and Siva are truly different.

      • Anak Laut says:

        JackCKat,

        Please read the Bible and Quran in your Internet only then you know the differences between the God of Quran and God of the Bible.

        Christian God 3 in 1 where as Islam God only single Allah.

        Let the followers of both religions in this loving nation of us not fighting each other because of that word.

        • arah says:

          My dear Anak Laut.

          For years I have been searching in the bible where it is mentioned that God is three or even the word Trinity but I can’t find it until this moment.

          Please help or get your Priests or Pastor to show me which part of the bible mentioning God the Creator is Trinity.

          What you opinion regarding Mark 12:28-31?

          • Anak Laut says:

            Dear Mr. Arah,

            It is not directly mentioned in the Bible, but the meaning is there. My previous statement is just to differentiate between the two Gods of Islam and of Christians. What I want JackCKat to look and goggle in his/her Internet is to look for the differences between these two religions, not the “Trinity” as I myself knew that the word “TRINITY” could not be found in the Bible. But if you insist to know how it came about, please go to this link: :-http://www.heaven.net.nz/writings/trinity-07.htm

            By the name of the religion we know that Muslims are preaching about the Islamic God, Christians about the Christian God. By knowing the differences only then the followers of both religions will not clash over God’s name.

            To solve the issue let us separate these two great religions. Islam is Islam and it belongs to Muslims. Christianity is Christian and it belongs to Christians. So the name of the God should be different.

            In these modern days of “Faith Freedom & Freedom of Speach” Some Muslims/Christians etc.. denounce their religion to other religions. People are searching for the truth. We also cannot say that one is better than the other, [it is up to people's] own choice.

      • arah says:

        My dear JayCKat.

        Do you know that Adam and Eve, Abraham and Jesus are Muslim?

        Do you understand the meaning of Islam and know that Islam was not founded by Prophet Muhammad?

        The Holy Quran repeatedly affirms that every one among God’s messengers had been sent to his people alone, except for Muhammad -peace be upon him. Noah was sent to his people to invite them to worship God and adhere to piety, as mentioned at the start of the sura bearing his name (Sura 71). So was Abraham, as related in Sura 29: “And Remember Abraham: behold, he said to his people: ‘Serve Allah and fear Him’” (Al-‘Ankabut: 16). Lot as well as the Almighty related in Sura 26: “The people of Lot gave the lie to the Messengers” (Al-Shu’ara’: 160). And similarly Hud as mentioned in Sura 11: “And to the Ad People [We sent] Hud, one of their own brethren. He said: ‘O my people! Worship Allah! ye have no other god but Him’” (Hud: 50). And Salih was also sent to his people, as in Sura 7: “To the Thamud people (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren” (Al-A’raf: 72). Shu’ayb was dispatched to the people of Madyan, as related in the same sura, “To the Madyan people (We sent) Shu’ayb, one of their own brethren” (Al-A’raf: 85). Jesus was similarly sent to the Israelites as related in Sura 61: “And remember Jesus the son of Mary said : O Children of Israel, I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you” (Al-Saff: 6).

        Muhammad (peace be upon him) was, however, sent to all mankind. God Almighty says in Sura 7, addressing His Prophet: “Say: ‘O men, I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah” (Al-A’raf: 158). It was mentioned in books of tafsir (commentaries on the Quran) that this verse had been revealed on an occasion when a group of Jews admitted that Muhammad was a prophet, but argued that he was a prophet sent to the Arabs only. God thus rebuked these people on account of this claim and command in the same verse that they should believe in Him and in His Messenger, saying: “So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet who believes in Allah and His Words; follow him that (so) you may be guided.” In this verse, God bears witness to the fact that His messenger had been sent to all mankind, Arab and non-Arab. The Almighty also says in suras (Yusuf, Sad and Al-Takwir): Describing Qur’an : “It is no less than a message (dhikr) for all creatures (al-’alamin)” (Yusuf: 104). And in Sura 68: “But it is nothing less than a message to all the worlds” (Al-Qalam: 52). Ibn Manzur explained the term dhikr (reminder) as referring to the fact that the Quran contains a detailed elaboration of religion. It is thus as if God -hallowed be His name- is saying that the Quran is but a law to the worlds. The term al-’alamin is plural of ‘alam (world), and thus the meaning is that the Quran is a law for the world with all its peoples and races. The use of the plural is an indication of an all-inclusive intent, meaning that this law is for the whole world, East and West, North and South.

        http://www.isesco.org.ma/english/publications/The%20University%20of%20Islam/p3.php

        • Anak Laut says:

          My JackCkat and All

          Jesus of Christian and Esa of Islam are different persons.

          Isa of Islam is a muslim
          Q 3.52 Then when ‘Eisa asked his followers: “Who will be my helpers in Allah’s cause?” They said: “We are the helpers of Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslim.”

          Jesus In the Bible is not a Muslim. There is absolutely no historical or biblical record of Jesus or his followers/disciples making wudu, performing salat facing Mecca, observing Ramadan or going to Arabia for Haji and running around the Kaaba.

          Jesus/Esa in in the Quran is a prophet and he did not die on the cross.

          Jesus in the Bible is a Lord and Saviour who died on the cross.

          Mariam in the Quran is the Sister of Aaron/Musa.

          Mary in the Bible is the mother of Jesus and hundred of years younger than Moses/Aaron.

          • noct says:

            Actually, Mariam in the Qur’an was also mother to Isa.

          • Firdaus says:

            @ Anak Laut

            This is interesting.

            Since you say this and that is “in the Quran” and “in the Bible”, I am sure you wouldn´t mind providing the reference to those particular parts of the Quran and the Bible where it says what you stated.

            For example: “Jesus/Esa in the Quran is a prophet and he did not die on the cross.” (REFERENCE HERE)

            Thanks!

  2. arah says:

    Some of the biggest misconceptions about Islam have to do with the word “Allah”. For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” – and there is only One God. Let there be no doubt – Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus – peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims – like Jews – reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn’t mean that each of these three religions worships a different God – because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be “Abrahamic Faiths”, and all of them are also classified as “monotheistic”. However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.

    http://www.islamawareness.net/Allah/whois.html

    • Ellese says:

      Should we start the debate again. In a nutshell it’s between Christians in Sarawak and Sabah who have used the word Allah for decades (not centuries as Christianity was introduced in both these states are fairly recent) against the practice of majority Muslims who has used it for hundred of years.

      Why don’t we resolve this issue democratically by having a referendum. Why [casting aside the values and sentiments] of an overwhelming [number of Malays] is beyond comprehension. Why you want to refer to Arabic value and culture is also beyond comprehension. We have our own culture value and customs. Otherwise wemight as well we adopt the Arab culture in toto.

  3. Ellese says:

    Why did you not publish my comment? A later comment was published. Why allow a one sided view?

    • Deborah Loh says:

      Dear Ellese and all other commentors,

      Please excuse us for being slow in clearing comments. As you know if you have read our comments policy, we moderate each and every comment to ensure they follow the policy guidelines. As such, the shorter the comment, with proper spelling, and correct use of language, the faster the comment will be cleared.

      We hope all readers can help our small and understaffed team publish your comments more quickly by keeping comments short (less than 300 words). This will help us keep the debates on each article going.

      Thank you.
      Deborah Loh
      Assistant News Editor
      The Nut Graph

  4. Radix says:

    Framing the question is key to understanding why the different parties are talking at cross purposes.

    For one group, this is about the exclusivity of their religious terminology. For others it’s their fundamental liberty to practice their own religion as enshrined in the constitution. I suspect that many arguments made are effectively answers to different questions.

    Solving this issue via a referendum is problematic because our media has not done its part in highlighting all the material facts on the issue. In addition, a deeper problem is our understanding of how Malaysia operates as a democracy – too often this is flattened to only ONE dimension i.e. majority rules. That’s a fallacy. We don’t need democracy if it’s only about majority rules – that’s the “tyranny of the majority” as Tocqueville has highlighted over 200 years ago.

    But this is a digression. The whole point of this article is to highlight the double-speak and inconsistencies in our administration. None of the comments so far (mine included) have addressed this point.

    • Ellese says:

      Dear radix,

      To the contrary. I think we have become too polarized and partisan. Thus we have firm and unwavering positions. The Allah issue is simply that. Let’s get over it with a referendum as it’s the most explosive issue breaking the fabric of our society. Everyone can have their say and thereafter must respect the outcome.

      It’s been done in the west.

      On debating the inconsistencies of the administration, don’t you think it serves no purpose. There are also inconsistencies of Allah’s position in PAS and PKR and these are among the top echelons. But what’s the purpose of debating these inconsistencies.

  5. arah says:

    My dear Ellese,

    Sorry, we can resolve this by referendum. It is an issue of true or false. Christians believe Allah has a son or some Christians even believe Allah is Trinity which is great blasphemy (shirik) in Islam. Our Muslim cultures are based on Islam and Al Quran, the belief of One Almighty God the Creator name Allah. Jesus can’t be God since he mentioned the following in the Bible.

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).

    He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

    How can Jesus be God if he is just God to the Israel and not to the whole world?

    There is another statement mentioning Jesus ask to preach to the Gentiles, doesn’t that contradict with “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Matthew 15:24

    • Anak Laut says:

      Dear Mr. Arah,
      I agree with you 100% about when Jesus commanded “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).

      But when it came to Prophet Mohammad he changed some of the words/sentences in the Bible and he made his own book “Quaran”.

  6. Anak Laut says:

    Continue -

    This shows that the name of the God of the Prophet Mohammad, or Islam’s God, is different from that of the Christian God.

    No doubt Christians have been using/calling “Allah” as their God in Bahasa or the Iban Bible, because the person who translated the English Bible to Bahasa Bible was a Moslem man. If he had asked an Iban, the name of God in the Bible should be a different one, surely not Allah.

    Same thing to Arab Christians who also name their God as Allah because before the birth of Islam/Mohammad (Pre Islam) the Arab people had been using/name Allah as their God.

    Dear Christian friends, to me it was not the Government of Malaysia who banned Allah for Christians, but the Christian God for HE knows we have been preaching about a different GOD.

  7. Farouq Omaro says:

    How Christians and Muslims believe in God should not be the point of debate here. The fact is that Sabahans and Sarawakians who are Christians have been using Allah in the Malay language long before Malaysia was formed, and this is unique to Sabah and Sarawak. When Malaysia was formed there were no conditions attached that Christians in these two states must drop the word Allah! And now that Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians are working and studying in Malaya, it is only normal for the churches to cater to them. If Malayans don’t want this, then they are welcome to kick Sabah and Sarawak out of Malaysia just like they did to Singapore. Plain and simple!

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Farouq Omarosan

      Well, if Malaysia “kicked” Sabah & Sarawak out, then there would be no Malaysia, wouldn´t there? But maybe this is what those bigots want, a return to Tanah Melayu — rhymes nicely with “ketuanan Melayu”. Sedapnya bila disebut. And they can all relive Bukit Kepong forever and ever while most of the world moves on.

      Farouq Omaro, please stop perpetuating the self-centered fallacy that Sabah & Sarawak “joined” Malaysia or Malaya. Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, and Malaya formed Malaysia.

    • gua says:

      Why must Umno cause a rift between the Malaysian Christians and Muslims ? “My PAS friends are asking me why is Umno not allowing the Christians to use Allah ? What’s wrong with them ?”

      Umno is politicising Islam to gain votes from simple-minded Malays, many of whom are supporting PAS.

  8. Anak Laut says:

    @Firdaus,

    Before I also like most Christians in Malaysia, once this issue was highlighted in the Malaysian media and so forth, then I searched for it in the Internet. For I want to know why the government of Malaysia wants to ban “Allah” for non-Muslims. I don’t want to expose it here, I only give you a clue to search the Internet on the [origins] of the word of any religion in the world, and gradually you will get it. If I expose it here I might be marked or chased by our authorities.

    Now I know so I side the Government to ban Allah for non Muslim.

    For our peace and harmony better for Christian not to use Allah as their God in Malay Bibble.

    • Adam says:

      Anak Laut,

      Why worry about the authorities if it is the truth. I am sure everyone wants to know the real reason, be they Muslims, Christians or others.

      Let there be sensible open discussion.

    • arah says:

      My dear Anak Laut

      It is the same God who created
      and sent those prophets and messengers.
      He is the Creator of all humans, all
      animals, and all objects. It is this ONE
      TRUE GOD who created the whole
      universe (including nature) and all it
      contains. He is the Creator of life, death,
      and life after death.

      The Oneness of this true God, the
      Creator, is clearly evident and easily
      traceable in the holy scriptures of the
      Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others.

      YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD HIS
      VOICE NOR SEEN HIS FACE.
      (John 5: 37)

       NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN HIM.
      AND NO ONE CAN SEE HIM. (1
      Timothy 6: 16)

       NO ONE CAN SEE ME AND
      STAY ALIVE. (Exodus 33: 20)

      The One True God in the Bible
      (The Old Testament):
       Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is
      one Lord. (Deuteronomy 6: 4)

       Has not the One God made and
      sustained for us the spirit of life?
      (Malachi 2: 15)

       You may know and believe Me and
      understand that I am He. Before Me
      no god was formed, nor shall there
      be any after Me. I, I am the Lord,
      and besides Me there is no Savior.
      (Isaiah 43: 10-11)

      The One True God in the Bible
      (The New Testament):

       One came and said unto him, Good
      Master, what good thing shall I do,
      that I may have eternal life? And he
      (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest
      thou me good? There is none good
      but one, that is, God.
      (Matthew 19: 16-17,

      in King James Version)
       Now this is life eternal, that they
      know you, the only true God, and
      Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
      (John 17: 3)

      Worship the Lord your God, and
      serve Him only. (Matthew 4: 10)

       Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is
      One Lord. (Mark 12: 29)

       For there is one God and there is one
      mediator between God and men, the
      man Christ Jesus. (1Timothy 2: 5)

      The One True God in the Qur’an
      ( The final Testament)

       Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the
      Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor
      is He begotten; and there is none like
      unto Him. (112: 1-4)

       There is no god but I; so worship
      Me. (21: 25)

       They disbelieve who say: Allah (God)
      is one of three, for there is no god
      except One God. If they desist not
      from their word (of blasphemy),
      verily, a grievous chastisement will
      befall the disbelievers among them.
      (5: 73)

      Indeed, this message concerning
      the Oneness of God (i.e.,
      Tawheed in Arabic) is the
      essential theme of the Qur’an.

       Can there be another god besides
      Allah (God)? Nay, most of them
      know not. (27: 61)

       Can there be another god besides
      Allah (God)? High is Allah above
      what they associate with Him.
      (27: 63)

       Can there be another god besides
      Allah (God)? Say, ‘Bring forth your
      proof, if ye are telling the truth!’
      (27: 64)

  9. Subliminal says:

    This whole issue is just unnecessary. It’s only in Malaysia where a word that’s been widely used in the middle east is unusable here because it would cause confusion.

    Funny thing is, doesn’t that make those they are protecting from this “confusion” look stupid? I do think my fellow Muslim bros and sis would be able to tell the difference right? Unless there’s a lack of education…oops!

    I think to politicize this whole issue would simply cause more damage even to the Muslim community here as it would paint a very negative picture; which would also thus lead to more query and criticism not only towards the government but also on how much Malay Muslims know and understand Islam.

  10. Farouq Omaro says:

    When did I ever say Sabah joined Malaysia? Please read carefully in future Mr.Kong (if that is your real name). I know my history very well. I assume you must be Malayan, so you do not understand how we in Sabah see the problem!

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Farouq Omaro

      I may have jumped the gun a little, but when you said that “if Malayans don’t want this, then they are welcome to kick Sabah and Sarawak out of Malaysia just like they did to Singapore. Plain and simple,” you are insinuating that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia.

      It completely coloured your comment.

      Maybe it was through inadvertence, or your own subconscious conviction that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, that made you make that statement.

      But either way: (1) You appear (from your comment) muddled about the history you claimed to know very well, because you contradicted yourself by first saying that “Malaysia was formed” (i.e. I would presume that you meant “formed in a union”) and then going on to say that Sabah and Sarawak can be “kicked” out of Malaysia. There would be no Malaysia if the latter happened. The Federal Constitution would have to be amended. (2) You are inadvertently perpetuating the self-centred fallacy that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia.

      If you are neither of the above, then please write carefully in the future, Omarosan.

      FYI: Sabah is none of my business. What Sabah is facing today, she asked for it. I see her going down the same path, again. Some States, having a second-chance, never learn.

      p.s. Of course, “Kong Kek Kuat” is my real name — buatan Malaysia yang bermutu tinggi.


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