Allah

‘The High Court has ruled that the Catholic weekly The Herald can use the word “Allah” in its articles to propagate Christianity among its followers.

Judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan said the use of the word was constitutional as long as the periodical was confined to educate the followers of the Christian faith.

She said the usage of the word was in accordance with Articles 3, 10, 11 and 12 of the federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land.’ (New Straits Times Friday, January 1 2010)

The Sun, Monday January 4, 2010, gave the reaction of Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim, former National Fatwa Council chairman, to the decision of the court.

There is a difference between the concept of Allah as believed by Muslims and that believed by Catholics, former National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said.

This has prompted the Muslims to protest against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision last week in allowing the Catholic weekly newspaper Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publication.

“In fact, the name ‘Allah’ specifically refers to the God of Muslims in the context of the One and Only Allah. This is the concept of God in Islam,” he told the Sun.

“Muslims cannot share the same concept of Allah with the non-Muslims, including Christian followers who believe in the trinity concept, because Muslims believe Isa or Jesus is not Allah’s son.”

Ismail, who is also the holder of the Syeikh Abdullah Fahim Chair in Universiti Kebangsaaan Malaysia, said it is not the intention of the Muslim community to challenge the court’s decision.

“It is not our intention to challenge the court or question the legal process simply based on sweeping sentiments, but the prospect of appeal according to the law is still wide open,” he said.

He said based on the concept of unity in diversity and agree to disagree, Muslims in the country have never disrupted the non-Muslims in terms of their religious practice and faith.

In addition, Islam also recognises freedom of religion based on the policy that “for you your religion and for me, mine” as said by Allah in the Al-Quran.

“However, the usage of Allah by non-Muslims, to refer to the God they believe in, could create a lot of confusion, especially among the young Muslim generation these days,” he said.

However, Ismail said Muslims must accept with an open heart whatever decisions made by the court and whatever perceptions made by the general public on the word Allah and its different concepts.

What do Christians think of the above tolerant opinion? But even more important, what does God, the Father of Jesus Christ, think? The future course of the church in Malaysia might depend upon our finding out His answer!

One Reply to “Allah”

  1. I think there can be a simple solution to avoid confusion among the Muslims:

    The Herald has to put a qualifier/caveat every time it uses the word Allah (which is defined as the triune God by Christians and disctinct from the Allah referred to by Muslims).

    To all bahasa-reading Christians, we must be clear that changing the word Allah to Tuhan does not change our foundational understanding of God nor our spiritual walk with Him. It is a question of religious worship and familiarity for many East Malaysians who are used for decades in calling God Allah.

    Since the government banned the word, the licensing issue can only be settled by the High Court. However, the social, cultural and constitutional controversy should be discussed in interfaith dialogues.

    I hope the points as written By Jeremiah will be of relevance in these dialogues:

    http://jeremiahliang.blogspot.com/2010/01/online-allah-debate-opens-up.html

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