Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Wall Street Journal – The Long Arm of The Evangelists?

The issue of the word “Allah” in the Malay Bible has now become a world issue, or at least, that’s what the Christians in Malaysia are trying to do.

It looks like they have already managed to do so, when they finally get the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which published an article on it, entitled ‘Between God and Allah’. WSJ began the article by stating that the Muslims in Malaysia have been using the word ‘Allah’ for ‘God’ since 200 years ago – which is only partly correct.

We sense a synchronized agenda of the Christians and WSJ, when both failed to acknowledge that the non-Muslims in the Peninsular have never used the word ‘Allah’ for ‘God’ because ‘Allah’ is not a direct translation of ‘God’.

The word ‘Allah’ for ‘God’ is only used in the East Malaysia and they can still continue using it without any restriction. There is no new regulation or law to stop them from doing so. There is no sudden change in the practice like what is reported by WSJ.

The restriction is only applied in the Peninsular. Again, this is not a new regulation or a new law, but has been written very clearly, ever since.

As far as Malaysians in the Peninsular are concerned, this should have never been an issue at all since Malaysia has a clear guidelines and law that disallow the word ‘Allah’ among few Arabic words, to be used by the non-Muslims in their religious documents, activities or practices. The word ‘Allah’ is strictly not allowed to be used to refer to other entity or being but ‘The One and Only God who has no son, nor father’.

Christians in Malaysia have never before questioned this Law until very recently when Father Lawrence Andrew decided to break it and challenged the court and the Sultan of Selangor by insisting on using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to Christian’s God ie ‘Father’ or ‘Lord’ in churches in Peninsular. Not enough of that, the Christians then strike again when the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) distributed bibles with the word ‘Allah’ in them.

Clearly, the Christians are asking for trouble.

The State Islamic Religious Department acted to the challenge and provocation by using their power to seize the bibles. Their raiding of the BSM’s premise took a turn on them when they are made to look like a bully and the Christians as the victim. The fact that it is BSM and Father Andrew who had broken the Law has somehow faded into thin air.

Since the case has been taken to court and since the Law is written very clearly, the Muslim do not see the needs to pay much attention to the issue in the first place.

However, it has become clear that Father Andrew and his followers are a bunch of troublemakers who just have problems abiding the law. They cannot let Malaysians of all religions live peacefully like we always do. They just have to pick a fight on the Muslims just for the fun of it. They must drag the world into their game, as spectators and judges.

There is no way to explain their stubbornness when they cannot give even one good reason why the Christians suddenly feel the need to give their God a name that is, the same name as the Muslim’s? In their argument, they say that ‘Allah’ is a common God to all religions and there shouldn’t be any issue on whatever we call Him.

Using the same argument, the Muslims asked, “if ‘name’ is not an issue why not just use any other name that does not offend anybody?”

And then the Christians argued that ‘Allah’ is the perfect Malay-translation for ‘God’.
The truth is, ‘Allah’ is an exclusive name not a general word for ‘God’ – the exact and perfect translation for ‘God’ in Malay is ‘Tuhan’.

These evangelists action makes the Muslims in Malaysia even more skeptical about the Christian’s missionary agenda. The Muslims are afraid that these missionaries will target the weak and ignorant Malay-Muslims to convert them into Christians by confusing them with the Malay-translated Bibles with the word ‘Allah’ in it.

For all we know, these missionaries can always spread Christianity just the same by using the word ‘Father’ or ‘Lord’. Therefore, it almost seems that these missionaries just want to prey on weak souls like cunning foxes.

Surely, it all will eventually come to a question of the strength of one’s faith, but then, the Muslims believe that opening the gates to let the weak souls out, will be a question needed to be answered by all Muslims. As such, might as well keep the gate closed as it will not offend or harm anybody, plus it will also help guarantee peace and harmony in the country.


Anonymous said...

We would like to dedicate the following essay to Father Lawrence Andrew, what ever it worths to him.

A mistake being practiced for centuries is still a mistake even though it has been so entrenched. 

The word Allah though not exclusive to Islam, carries the attributes of God the greatest, Allah. Allah is  the God of all mankind and the universe.  Allah is neither a matter nor energy! There are 99 attributes of Allah in the Islamic faith. Anything that you are able to imagine, perceive, see, touch, smell, taste or hear by our six senses is not God, definitely not Allah. Allah is the Alpha and the Omega. Allah is the Uncreated. The Uncreated cannot create another Uncreated!  I refer to the  Holy Quran, Surah Al-Ikhlas ...."Say Allah is One. Allah is the Master of the universe. Neither does Allah beget nor Allah begotten. There is none other like Allah for Allah is One and Only"  (Please note that I don't use gender to refer to Allah).  So if we pass this test we can use the word Allah.  No problem!

Judaism is more consistent with Islam. Like the Jews  we pray to the same God Allah and Allah's perfection. And there is no controversy whatsoever if the Jews want to use the term Allah. But Muslims like the Jews can't accept the  Christianity's Triune God..the concept of Trinity. Three in one....God, Jesus  and the Holy Spirit. The Uncreated created the God-man Jesus. God Almighty and Jesus the man are one.  God is not begotten but made. In Islam this is kufar...blasphemy. Totally unacceptable because the Uncreated cannot create the Uncreated!. 

The monotheistic religions (divinely revealed as compared to man-made religions) are more than just Islam, Judaism and Christianity. All of them have the same roots and revealed by Allah through the messengers of Allah. They have the same traditions. They had existed since the messengers of Allah and prophets Adam AS, Noah AS, Idris AS, Solomon AS, Abraham AS, to name a few, and Muhammad SAW  was the seal of the messengers (Rasulullah ) and he perfected it. These were messengers (Rasulullah) of Allah (there were 25 of them) and divine revelation  was passed through them. Both the Rasullah and the Prophets (Nabi) (there were by the thousands) were specifically sent by Allah for their own respective communities and the reach was not  universal. Moses was sent for the Jews and so was Jesus. But Muhammad SAW was sent  for the whole of humankind. Continue......

Anonymous said...

The issue now is within the realm of theology and politics. I have touched on the theological part as I have already explained above. If the Christians can embrace the concept of Allah as what the Muslims and Jews believe in, that is, God is one without the infusion of Trinity, then we are on the same side, and the use of the word Allah is most welcome. But if the fundamental belief of Christianity is still God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit or the Holy Trinity, then for the Muslims it is fundamentally blasphemous and unacceptable.

To stretch our discussion further, the Hindus are of the view that Hinduism too believes in one God, Krishna and other gods are manifestations of the one God, Krishna. And for the Muslims this is definitely kufar that is polytheism at its worst which negates the concept of unity and perfection of Allah.

I do agree with many that the issue is highly politicized in Malaysia which we shouldn't. And what we should do is  let the theological explanation takes the forefront. But unfortunately for us the mainstream Malay party and NGOs have taken not a so intelligent stand which further confuse the issue.  

But I am also curious why the Catholic Church is all out to use the term Allah when the term Allah isn't an integral part of the Christian faith  and the concept of Trinity is in conflict with the attributes of Allah. The Church argument is that the term Allah has been used for centuries in Sabah and Sarawak and translated from the word God, in the Alkitab..the Malay Bibles. And the term Allah is being used in Indonesia and the Middle East.

If I may express my opinion it is a mistake that the Christian missionaries in those countries and centuries translate the term God as Allah and it should be corrected. A mistake being practiced for centuries is still a mistake even though it has been so entrenched. 

Anonymous said...

I hope the Minister in the PM Department can clarify the issue with TWSJ.