The bigotry of forbidding the use of an English word in the name of Islam

Source: www.catholicbiblestudyonline.com

Source: www.catholicbiblestudyonline.com

In the Malaysian Insider, Tuesday, 29 March 2011, I find this article:

Mufti says Islamic law bars release of Alkitab

By Syed Mu’raz Syed Putra

Selangor Mufti Datuk Tamyes Abd Wahid said the crux of the controversy is over the use of the word “Allah” in the bible, which is forbidden to religions other than Islam, as written in 1988 state enactment on religious propagation.

I am still of the view that they [the distribution of the Bahasa Malaysia Bibles] should be blocked, as this translation that contains the translation of the word “God” to “Allah” is dangerous and confusing, especially to the young,” the senior Islamic cleric told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

He explained that young Muslims who had shallow knowledge of religion and faith would be confused by the use of the word “Allah” by Christians, which to them meant “Allah has a son …that Allah has a wife … God is a father”.

“Certainly it is not fitting for the government to allow the Alkitab to be released, not because it is in Bahasa Malaysia but because the use of the word [“Allah”] contained inside that could twist the faith of Muslims and we do not want this to happen,” Tamyes said.

Make no bones about it anyone can see through this façade of imagined controversy. All of us know that there is no controversy at all over the use of the word ‘Allah’. What Tamyes meant was ‘Allah’ is a forbidden word to all of us who are not Muslims. Only Muslims can use this word ‘Allah’. Infidels like the rest of us are forbidden to use the word. To these narrow-minded Muslims an ‘infidel’ is a person who has no religion, like me, or whose religion is not Islam. To them even Jews and Christians are infidels.

But the word ‘God’ in the English Bible when translated to Bahasa Malaysia is ‘Allah’ who is God in the biblical sense or meaning. The reason why Christians are adamant and insistent that the word ‘Allah’ should be used in the National Language Bible is because Christians worship the same God that Muslims also worship irrespective of whether they worship in English or in Bahasa Malaysia. So what is wrong with Christians calling their God in English ‘God’ and the same God in Bahasa Malaysia ‘Allah’?

It is not the fault of Christians that the English word ‘Allah’ is spelt in exactly the same way in Bahasa Malaysia. When Bahasa Malaya, later Malaysia, came into existence the powers that be chose to use Roman characters – the alphabet used for writing Latin, English, and most European languages – for writing in the new Bahasa Malaya. Before the creation of this National Language, if I am not mistaken, the Malay language was written in Javanese. However it cannot be denied that the English language had been using the Roman alphabet since time immemorial – ever since the Roman Empire had extended to England up to Hadrian’s Wall. Our National language using the Roman alphabet was only created recently; in mid 1950s. They have also copied a lot of English words into the new language by treating the plagiarized English words as Bahasa Malaysia words. That being the case, they, therefore, have no right whatsoever to say that the English spelling of ‘Allah’ must not be spelt the same way in Bahasa Malaysia. Surely, it cannot be right for copycats to assume proprietorship over an English word which had existed in the English language since the sixteenth century? Shame on them!

If you have read my previous article about the desecration of the Bible especially the one in the Malaysian Insider, you will see this comment:

Amin

Please let me clarify an important point brought up by the writer.  In Arabic, the word Allah is spelled ‘Alif Lam Lam Hah’ and is pronounced as Allah! and not Alilah as mentioned by the writer. I would suggest that the writer clarify this with an Arab speaking academic. Thank you.

So I was wrong. ‘Allah’ was pronounced correctly by the English in the sixteenth century. But thanks to Amin, now we know the word is spelt in Arabic ‘Alif Lam Lam Hah’ and is pronounced ‘Allah’.

If ‘Allah’ is a forbidden word, whose fault is it then? Instead of copying from the English word ‘Allah’ the people who invented words for Bahasa Malaysia should have spelt ‘Allah’ correctly in Arabic. If they have done that, there would be no need to desecrate the Bahasa Malaysia Bible.

In any English dictionary the word ‘God’ with a capital G depicts the Christian God and the word ‘Allah’ in English means ‘a Muslim name for God’. But the God of the Muslims is the same God as the God of the Christians and the Jews whose God was the God of Abraham. In my book How to Judge the Judges, at pages xxx, xxxi, this is what it says:

I have recounted the … story of Abraham and his two sons from the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible. The story of Isaac and his descendants are told in the Old Testament. But the history of the descendants of Ishmael, the elder brother of Isaac, is not found in the Bible but we know from the Bible that God took care of him as he grew up and he will be made into a great nation. We can safely assume that the God of Abraham who was also the God of Ishmael and Isaac also gave the same commands to them. So that whatever precepts that might apply to the descendants of Isaac will, mutatis mutandis, apply to the descendants of Ishmael. So now we know that the Arabs and the Jews were descended from Ishmael and Isaac whose father was Abraham (Ibrahim); and the God of them is the same God. And God has marked them as His people by circumcision. It is therefore not surprising that the punishment of stoning to death for adultery and apostasy is found in the Bible and not in the Quran.

Before the time of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, the God of the Hebrew people, as depicted in the Old Testament, was a God of wrath who would severely punish those who have sinned against Him. But since Jesus Christ and 600 years later, from the Prophet Mohammed, God has been depicted as a God of compassion. But I can perceive a difference between the Old Testament on the one hand and the New Testament and the Quran on the other hand. The God of Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac are confined to their descendants – to the Arabs and the Jews. But, after Jesus Christ, the New Testament and Christianity and after the Prophet Mohammed, the Quran and Islam, God as depicted therein is for the rest of the World.

However, if you are not a Christian, you cannot call your god ‘Allah’ because you do not worship the same God as the Muslims and Christians.

Therefore the only perceived disagreement between the Christians and the Muslims in Malaysia is the misunderstanding on the meaning of the Trinity in Christianity. So it is now necessary for me to explain the Trinity in Christianity to those Muslims who think Christians worship three gods. Like the Muslims, I am not a Christian yet I can understand the faith of the Christians because, unlike the narrow-minded critics of Christianity, I took the trouble to find out about the religion. Actually, the Trinity is explained in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Trinity or the Holy Trinity

To understand what the Trinity in Christianity means we must go back to the time of Jesus Christ and the early Christians. In Landmarks in the Law, p 314, it says:

The New Testament is not accepted by the Jews. It is rejected by them. It has even greater influence than the Old Testament. It contains the life and teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ who was a Jew and of all the 12 apostles who were Jews and the letters of Paul who was a Jew.

Jesus Christ, his apostles and the early Christians because they were Jews lived in an era where it was very dangerous for a Jew to be a heretic against Judaism the religion of the Jews which was based on the Old Testament. Jesus Christ was advancing the belief that God is a Deity of love and compassion which is a belief that is contrary to the Jews’ belief in the Old Testament. Heresy at that time was punishable with death. Now you can understand why Jesus Christ, his disciples the 12 Apostles had tended to euphemism in teaching their belief to the multitude.

I have written for Loyarburok this piece called A glossary of the terminology in ‘But Allah is a word in the English Dictionary’. This is what it says:

The Trinity or the Holy Trinity

[A reader of this article] remarked that Muslims worship only one God and that is Allah. But Christians worship the Trinity – three persons.

If you know the English language well, you should know that the Holy Trinity is a euphemism for God. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning of the Trinity as ‘(in Christian belief) the three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that make up God’. The phrase ‘the three persons’ is used figuratively as a metaphor for God. God came to be identified euphemistically as the Father. Jesus Christ was identified euphemistically as the Son. And the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is God who came to be identified euphemistically as ‘God as a spirit that is active in the world’: see the Oxford English Dictionary, Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost).

Why is that so? Is there a reason for referring to the Deity euphemistically? In the book A Dictionary of Euphemisms by Neaman & Silver, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1983, it says in its Introduction, pages 1, 2:

The subject of the earliest euphemism was undoubtedly religious. Gods, whether benign or malevolent, were treated with respect amounting to terror. Since the names of gods were considered identical with them, to speak a name was to evoke the divinity whose power then had to be confronted. Such dangerous practices were reserved for priests … Even they were often forbidden to utter the real names of the powers. Consequently, priests devised indirect forms of reference to calm the spirit or avert the wrath of a deity.

Gods could be referred to by their attributes (the Thunderer), by their symbols or domains (the Rock), by their titles (the Lord) …

In another book, The State of the Language by Philip Howard, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1984, it says this, page 103:

… the Hebrew word for God, YHVH, still never spoken or written by a pious Jew, but vowelled by the rest of us as Jehovah or Yahweh. The English, a notoriously godly, and profane, and God-bothering people, have tended to euphemism in religious matters. The French, who never let their religion affect the rest of their life, have no embarrassment about saying Mon Dieu! Puritanism and euphemism are strong in the English, so we have devised hundreds of ways of mentioning the awful word without saying it.

[The] euphemisms for getting round naming Him Who Shall Be Nameless included such attributive sobriquets as the Almighty, the Creator, the Eternal, or the Deity. Jesus came to be identified euphemistically as the Redeemer, the Saviour, the Anointed, the Paschal Lamb, and so on.

At page 106:

Euphemism about naming names survives from the beginning of speech, when to know something’s name was to have magical power over it. We are still superstitious about naming God and the Devil, the Queen and Madam Chairperson.


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NH Chan, a much respected former Court of Appeal Judge, is a gavel of justice that has no hesitation in pounding on Federal Court judges with wooden desks for heads. Retired from the Judiciary to become the People’s Judge. Wrote the explosive “Judging The Judges”, now in its 2nd edition as “How To Judge The Judges”. Once famously hinted at a possible “case match” between lawyer and judge by remarking that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (see Ayer Molek Rubber Company Berhad & Ors v Insas Berhad & Anor [1995] 3 CLJ 359). We need more people like NH Chan. That is why you should buy PASOC and his book.

Posted on 7 April 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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28 Responses to The bigotry of forbidding the use of an English word in the name of Islam

  1. Uhun

    The term Lord is normally translated as "Tuhan" whereas the term God is translated to "Allah". I believe there are specific Christian theological difference between the two.

  2. TFan

    Umumnya orang bukan Islam boleh menggunakan kalimah Allah. sebagai contohnya di negara Arab dan Indonesia. Paling dekat untuk dijadikan contoh adalah kaum kadazan di sabah yang mempunyai istilah kinorohingan apabila merujuk kepada tuhan dan telah menggantikan istilah tersebut kepada istilah "Tuhan Allah" dalam bahasa Malaysia ketika mereka beribadat.

    the thing is, the practice of christians in using the term Allah is not widely known in West Malaysia. The objection made by the Muslims in West Malaysia does not mean they want to monopolize the term but in order to clarify the intention of the Christians in using the term Allah as it is not part of the general practice and understanding that other than Muslims can use the word Allah in West Malaysia. Islam itself recognizes the freedom of religion but there should be guideline to what extend this freedom is allowed. The main question that should be raised in this situation is actually to what extend the Christians are allowed to use the ‘kalimah’ Allah and not the issue of whether they are right or wrong in using the term as in the first place if the usage of Allah in their context is in lined with Islam then they would not have been practicing Christian. If the word Allah only defines as ‘Supreme Being’ then it can be accepted but it is very important to identify whether it carries any implied meaning as this would lead to the misuse of the term and will create misunderstanding.

    In the Parliament Report 1963, Tun Tan Siew Sin did mention that the Malay rights came before the independence of Malaysia where it is already existed in Malayan Agreement 1948 and this proves that the acceptance from other races about this has been practiced for a long time. It is devastated that the Christians claimed that their rights of freedom of religion in terms of practice have been infringed. Compared to other countries such as in France, the wearing of headscarf for the ‘Muslimah’ women has been a very controversial issue since 1989. On 22 June 2009, at the Congrès de Versailles, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the Islamic burqa is not welcome in France, claiming that the full-length, body-covering gown was a symbol of subservience that suppresses women's identities and turns them into "prisoners behind a screen." To certain extend in France the Muslims are discriminated in terms of jobs as opportunities are rarely given to them. Another example is in Turkey where the same issue has been raised. With the official declaration that Turkey as a secular state, the Turkish government has traditionally banned women who wear headscarves from working in the public sector. The ban applies to teachers, lawyers, parliamentarians and others working on state premises. The ban on headscarves in the civil service, educational and political institutions was expanded to cover non-state institutions in state premises.In Islam, wearing headscarf is mandatory and it is an obligation to the woman to cover her head. This practice has been widely known to the whole world and it has been practiced thousand of years ago as compared to the claim of the practice of the use of ‘kalimah’ Allah by the non-muslim in Malaysia. Looking at the practice of the freedom of religions in Malaysia, there are approximate 4,553 churches in East and West Malaysia, as for Hindus, Batu Caves Temple is considered one of Kuala Lumpur’s most frequented tourist attractions. Similarly for Buddhism that they have their own sacred temples for instance the famous Thean Hoe temple in Kuala Lumpur. All of these are preserved and they were even made as tourist spots. In addition the national holidays are fixed based on the religious or cultural background and by which of the Muslim, Indian or Chinese calendars is being used. This situation had never happened in the Western countries. Take England for instance where ‘Hari Raya’ is not declared as public holiday or ‘Chinese New Year’ as well. The celebration of ‘Hari ‘Raya’ by the Muslims in England is not even listed as a well known festival in Britain as compared to the Halloween festival. Looking at all these situations in other countries, the question is to what extend the non Muslims want to claim their freedom of practicing their religion has been infringed in Malaysia? (Im pretty sure all of us are aware about this.And i dont intend to 'berlagak pandai dan poyo' cuma hanya mengingatkan kembali)

    One sad point to be noted is that Muslims in Malaysia are useless. (no offence) as compared to the Christians, they are smart. The Christians used the history and the Islamic sources which they interpreted in their own way to suit their situation in using the ‘kalimah’ Allah and they have the orientalist who studies Islam regardless of his or her motives. This contradicts to the Muslim’s world as we are lacking of expertise to study other religions. While the Christians place great importance on the ideas and revelation from the Islamic sources, the Muslims have no idea of their importance and at times do not understand what they mean or they significance they hold for the sources from whom they were borrowed.

    the Home Ministry should do something and don't play safe. Come with a stand from a macro perspective.

  3. GMA214

    Allah is not God. Allah is a title for a god. I do not worship Allah. I worship God. Not the same.

  4. old skool rocka

    Nothing new, rather expected the response. Nowadays, a blatant lie, if it is repeated, becomes the truth. I pitty some here. They themselves have no language of their own, just plagarize words from other languages. Religion of their own, can some say their grandad's grandad's grandad's are of same religion as them not. 90% will be not. Culture, no need to say. Just cetak rompak. The problem is, they think they own the world. The real native of this country is the "orang asli" and not the group of assimilated people that came from indo china or Indonesia.Now just because they number more, its theirs. This country will still be in the dark ages if the British didnt bring the foreigners. The foreigners build this country and now they are asked by the dumb asses to leave the country. THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS OUT THERE.

  5. jentayu

    hello voster,

    your great, great, great….. grandfather/mother also learn christianity from these westerners. and these westerners never taught Allah as the Father to your ancestor. they used God or Lord. now u want to marah the westerners what for? cause they dont teach u that Allah is the Father? shouldnt u be grateful that they show the salvation path by Jesus?

  6. voster

    @jentayu

    The majority of Christians in East Malaysia are bumiputra. It is where they came from.

    It is the Western interlopers trying to control how they conduct their worship who are "outsiders".

    You would do well to remember that before using the "hey ,if you dont like it here, go back to your country/where you came from!" phrase.

  7. voster

    @Anon C

    This is why a referendum is unfair:

    1) Sarawakians have had bibles saying "Allah" even before independence. It is something that was there before "Malaysia" even existed.

    2) A majority in a modern referendum will be a Malaysian majority, not a Sarawakian majority.

    3) This would take away a right that Sarawakian have had even before Malaysia was formed and a right that nobody had said will be taken away BEFORE Malaysia was formed.

    4) So in effect, this will be Western Malaysians coming in and taking away old rights from Eastern Malaysians, rights that existed in Sarawak long before they called Western Malaysians their countrymen.

    5) It's no different from British colonialists coming in and suddenly changing the land-owning laws that conflicted with age-old 'adat' that they had before the British came and Perakians rebelled over it.

    6) The "majority" that Sarawakians will have to abide by is an artificial majority made from outsiders who have no inkling about other people's lifestyles, yet would like to exert control over it.

    7) It is as unjust as the Swiss minaret ban, but wherein those control building laws (which are present in every country), this ban exerts a monopoly on words.

  8. jentayu

    the tolerance of non muslim hv been taken for granted? what kind of bs are u talking bout? who bring up this issue other than holy father pakiam himself? and may i rephrase the word to you back:

    "hey ,if you dont like it here, go back to your country/where you came from!”. it suits u very well!

  9. old skool rocka

    Hmmm….building a minaret is one thing but claiming something yours which is not yours in the first place doesnt make sense. Its like, if the indians say, others should never used words from our language . We wouldnt have bahasa melayu( bashai-language in tamil, malai yur-land of the mountains) and most of its contains. What bunch of hypocrytes. Its ok to steal but not to share

  10. Anon C

    Old skool rocka

    Let's settle this by referendum. It's the most democratic way. After all Moslems have been prohibited to buil minaret and azan from there pursuant to the Swiss referendum. They abide by the will of the majority. Are you for it or suddenly become undemocratic. If yes, let's work together on this referendum.

  11. old skool rocka

    I think its just a matter of speaking up actually. The world "allah" existed even before islam . I think the non muslims tolerence have been taken for granted here. He who have no respect but for his own is just a pathetic biggot. Are you one, please judge yourself. Sengaja cari pasal? You got to be kidding. Im no Christian but my parents raise me well enough to respect people for whom they are and not for their skin or believe. Some are not as lucky as me I guess. When we wish to upheld our believes, its "cari pasal". What about serial numbers on bibles-that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase insensitive bastards. I dont want to mention Interlok,desecrating temples, calling the non malays as pendatangs and so on. I suspect one dumb fool is going to say"hey ,if you dont like it here, go back to your country/where you came from!". Yeah, the country was so developed that we can here as parasites to suck the wealth from the succesful locals here. For those who feel that, wake up. Get real.

  12. Batu Api

    Christians just wanna be 'Batu Api' lah.

  13. Allah is for MUSLIM

    CHRISTIANS & CATHOLICS are plain idiots. Why can’t they just stick to using the term “GOD” or “LORD” to refer to whoever they think is their Almighty???

    The term “ALLAH” had been used by the Muslims to describe their respective Almighty for so many years & out of nowhere suddenly all these ITCHY BACKSIDE CHRISTIANS & CATHOLICS wanna find fault with the Muslims by purposely using the word “ALLAH” to describe their own whatsoever Almighty. Isn’t this called “Sengaja Cari Pasal?”

    Suddenly of late, the CHRISTIANS & CATHOLICS in Malaysia had been very caught-up with local politics. Can’t these IDIOTS just stick to RELIGION itself without trying to kacau Politics???

    Typically NO BRAINERS bunch of idiots.

  14. shahi

    Inilah masalah, mengaku rakyat Malaysia tapi bahasa main hentam. Sejarah Nusantara dan Malaysia pun fail.

    I could not careless whoever who uses the name Allah, anyone could use for it is up to Him whether He likes it or not. It is a waste of time and money to stop someone from using His name.

    Problem/errors:

    1. Tuhan is God in Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia. Allah is a specific name for God. You want to worship Allah or use His name, go ahead.

    2. There is no such thing as Bahasa Malaya. It's either Bahasa Malaysia in a nationalistic context, but it would still be Bahasa Melayu or Malay.

    3. Javanese is a language. Malay is a languange. Malay can be written in Rumi (Latin Alphabet) or Jawi (Arabic Script). "Para" as shelf and "para" as in person cannot be distinguished in Rumi but if written in Jawi it is distinguishable. During Pre-Islamic times Malay can be written in Pallava,Kawi or Rencong all Sanskrit variants. Javanese is written in Javanese script a variant of Kawi.

  15. Nehru

    I am not objecting to the objectives of this article, merely its means.

    If the Muslims and Christians are allowed to share the use of the world Allah, I do not think it should be made under the belief that "Christians worship the same God that Muslims also worship irrespective of whether they worship in English or in Bahasa Malaysia"

    I am not convinced that "Christians worship the same God that Muslims also worship " , which i believe forms the crux of this article.

    My objections philosphical in nature.

    My disagreements stems from the fact that i believe the author has to have made the following presuppositions before coming out of the above above conclusions. These presuppositions, i believe, are :

    1) god has an identity

    2) the identity can be established and;

    3) having established the identity of god and having determined that the identity of god is similar (without any difference) in both the Christian and muslim interpretation, the god of both the traditions must logically denote the same entity.

    I contest the conclusions because i think that the above presuppositions renders the it invalid. The more reasonable presuppositions, are i believe the below:

    1) There is no demonstrable proof that god exists.

    by "no demonstrable proof", i mean that there has not been a single case in recorded history, whereby any one person has been able to convince another person in the existence of god without

    also providing at the same, the means whereby the other person will be able to refute the first person's claim. The importance of faith in most god believing religions ( including Islam and Christianity) underscores the lack of demonstratable proof in the existence of god. One is asked to believe in the existence of god by faith because the only method by which one man

    is able to convince another, which is reason, is from the offset presupposed by most founders of religion's to not be adequate in dealing with answering the question "Whether god exists."

    2) Without a demonstratable proof of existence, it is impossible to establish the identity of god (without leading to inconsistencies and contradictions)

    The story of the blind men and the elephant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant) is a fitting anology of the difficulty besetting such an endevour. Just as without knowing that such a thing as an elephant exist, none of the blindmen were able to accord the elephant an identity in any indisputable sense, the person who undertakes to the task of establishing the identity of god opens himself up to the exact set of problems, only magnified. Unlike the elephant, which at least some can see, since no man can demonstrate the existence of god ( based on presupposition 1), it would be impossible to independently verify whether his conclusions are true or merely an expression of personal beliefs. No matter how well intentional, whatever his findings then, would for all intent and purpose, be rendered useless outside of his own personal use.

    3) It is not possible to determine whether an entity is similar or or dis-similar with another entity, without at first, establishing the identity of both the entities.

    To do so would require one to build a foundation made out of hearsay, or rely on the integrity of man ( which is a trecherous task especially in the subject of proving such difficult concepts as the existence of god, for now not only is the witness required to be honest, he must also be wise in the sense that he must also prove the extent by which "he knows what he knows" and "knows what he doesn't know" ), and this is generally the path that leads to more questions than it does answers even in more pragmatic questions.

    Anyway, i believe the alkitab controversy is a legal matter, not a philosophical one. Therefore, it is my believe that the solution to the problem, (if there is a problem) would more easily be realised if the contesting parties stick within the legal framework and not expand the matter into philosophical speculations as well.

    A discursive argument does no one no favors, i believe we all can agree.

  16. oik

    If you ask a Malay speaker to translate "God" to Malay, most, if not all, will say "Tuhan". To the vast majority of Malay speakers in Selangor (since the article is disparaging the views of the Mufti of Selangor who was talking about a Selangor state enactment), Allah is a proper noun referring only to the God of the Muslims. If you were to tell them "Allah says ….", they will immediately assume that what you said came from the Quran. The potential confusion is real. Why is that so hard for NH Chan to understand?

  17. Mat Top

    For reasons best known to them, only the Umno malays have issues with the usage of the word 'Allah' being in the malay Bible. Ironically they and some Muftis don't have issues with their so called malay-muslim leaders plundering the nation's wealth through corruption and abuse of power and presently of publicly accusing a fellow muslim of indulging in sexual acts. These are very grave offences which are clearly forbidden and which punishment are clearly spelt out in the Quran.

    The Quran specially mentioned that Allah is the God for all mankind and not only of muslims. He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Ishmael, of Joseph, of Moses, of Jesus and of Muhammad. And what Prophet Muhammad is teaching and propagating to his followers is the religion of Abraham as stated in verse 95 Al'Imran: " Say, Allah speaketh the Truth; Follow the religion of Abraham, The sane in faith…". That is why Muslims have to mention the names of both Muhammad and Abraham in their daily prayers. And it is for this reason that Prophet Muhammad and the muslim Arabs have never forbidden other faiths to refer to God as Allah. In Islam only malay Umno muslims forbid others to use the word Allah. Ain't that funny? They think they know better that Prophet Muhammad and all those highly acclaimed Arabs muslim scholars.

    The Alkitab or whatever name christians want to refer to the Bible is only circulated amongst christians. And we have art.11(4) Fed Consti to deal with cases of proselyte. I think Pas's stand on the Allah issue reflects the thinking of muslims worldwide especially in the Arab world and of that of renowned islamic scholars.

  18. Anon C

    Another stupid article by NH Chan. In bm there is the word tuhan to mean GOD. Allah has always been used here to refer to Moslem’s god. (just like what it says in any reputable English dictionary). Shame on you.

  19. REFUSE TO BE CONFUSED – 070411

    There’s simply no sane reason to refuse
    Just to safeguard those easy to confuse
    When the correct actions are to educate and defuse
    Lest we want to offer ourselves for others to bemuse

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng
    http://motivationinmotion.blogspot.com
    Thur. 7th Apr. 2011.

  20. oneborneo

    zack,

    1.the alkitab that we use are indonesian translation

    2.linguistic terms are not exclusive to one particular race but are shared by people within the same geographical region and to some extent globally, e.g, Allah is used by the indonesian Christian & Muslim and when you cross the kalimantan border into sarawak,the ibans also used the same term to refer to God.

    3. by the way all human beings derives from the same family tree and spoke the same language before we spread out geographically and spoke our own language unique to ourselves in our geographical location but maintaining some of the terms inherited from our commnon languge before we spread out.

    4.historically the natives christians in sabah & sarawak have been using the term Allah in reference to God long before the formation of malaysia due to our proximity to kalimantan indonesia. the old folks of idris jala can testify to this.

    5. religious freedom including the choice of language and terminologies are gauaranteed to us when negotiating the terms of agreement prior to the formation of malaysia. this is no.1 in the list of 18 points but in the early 80's mahathir's government reneged on this agreement which was also guaranteed to us in the constitution.

    6. under the printing act we are not allowed to print bible much less tanslating it into bm (again another act of discrimating us eventhough we enjoy the same position with the malay under article 153). therefore the issue of translating God as Tuhan does not arise. by the way Tuhan is equalvalent to Lord in English, not God as you presumed.

    7.in the olden days the elders will transfer the knowledge of God or Allah by teaching it to their descendants like what Abraham or Ibrahim did to Ishmael or Ismail and Isaac or Ishak. this practise continues on till today. God or Allah wants to be known and worship by all people because all people come from Him. claiming exclusivity will not be of God or Allah's interest, would it?

  21. fs

    Being easily confused, maybe they should stop their neighbors calling their fathers "bapa" too.

  22. oneborneo

    Hi Loyarburok,

    Tou have done a good job in bridging the racial & religious divide. Please have this article translated into bm for the benefit of the larger but ignorant populace.

  23. Zack

    1) It's Bahasa Melayu, not Bahasa Malaysia. You still call it English even if it's spoken in the States, don't you? Or do you call it American?

    2) What's wrong with 'Tuhan'? In Malay, Tuhan also means God, can also mean Allah. Allah is not a Malay word, so it's perplexing why Bibles translated into Malay (or according to you, Malaysian) would not use a Malay word but an Arabic one.

    3) Can Christians in the country man up and not be such pussies and whine and cry all the time? Grow a pair.

  24. tan,tanjung bungah

    Hi everyone,

    It's not to be assumed that all those who vehemently oppose the use of the word "Allah" by another faith are not aware of above historical and lingualistic discourse! It's rather generally an intent to score political points, thereby invoke sentiments of the populace (certain lesser informed segments of Malaysia's electorates),to divide the people so that the elitists can continue to hold on to power!!

  25. GerryTan

    Why are the Malay-Muslims using Jewish names like Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Daud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Yakob (Jacob), Yahya (John),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and others with impunity, yet condemn the Jews and disallowing Christians from using the word Allah? It's stupidty to the hilt. Blind to spiritual truth. Only the truth can set them free. Amin.

  26. Very concisely and clearly laid out.

    The issue here never has been one of academic or historical fact. Rather, it's about power relations — those with more power compel those with lesser to submit, regardless of truth or accuracy.

  27. @ladymissazira

    Ah, an in depth explanation of the simple one (about Trinity) that I remembered from childhood. Thank you, NH Chan! ^_^ I find it a pity this is not published in Malay to aid the understanding of certain folks who disagree.

  28. It’s not to be assumed that all those who vehemently oppose the use of the word “Allah” by another faith are not aware of above historical and lingualistic discourse!

    As Upton Sinclair said, ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.’

    Of course fundamentalists and separatists are going to continue perpetuating the status quo. Because what’s the alternative? True equality among Malaysians regardless of religion? Why, that just won’t do, will it?