Vidal Yudin Wei
The raging ‘Allah” issue has left this writer wondering if Jakim and National Fatwah Council clerics who can both “see and read” are “blind”.
When I was young, my teacher told me that if I want to study facts I should take up archaeology, but if I want to find out what truth is all about I should choose philosophy.
I ended up somewhere in the middle and discovered that between scientific evidence and logic, there are matters that require a 3rd element called faith – to believe and accept in the absence of facts and figures. And religion is one such matter.
Let me give an example: Many people will ref use to switch-off the life supporting machine attached to a loved one who is in a comatose even though their religion tells them that there is a better place on the other side.
Because nobody dead has ever come back to tell the situation, no one still living is willing to believe in the notion of a good life after death.
It requires a lot of conviction, anguish, tears, and faith to believe in something non-existent to the naked eye.
Fact is, you must first embrace in order to reject later.
Twenty-five years ago the archbishop of Canterbury wrote in a book that the reason he wanted his children to learn about Christianity when they were young was because he wanted them to know exactly why they are rejecting the faith when they grew up in the future!
This statement of his was, of course, very convincing in logic. But at the same time the message within was also causing a lot of alarming confusion and distress when read between the lines. Why? Because, it came from a man who was at the pinnacle of the 2nd largest Christian denomination in the world af ter Roman Catholicism.
Anglicans were asking why the top shepherd of the Church of England is subliminally telling the flock to abandon Christianity.
They fail to understand that he was actually telling them that they are infected with the mental malady identified as ‘blind faith’.
God and religion are two
Many people today, like those who had lived in the last two millennia, do not know or understand the difference between God and religion!
Seeking a God and embracing a religion are two separate matters.
According to an Indian sage, God has no religion.
Let me give another example: In the 3rd Surah of Al-i-Imran or The Family of Imran of the Quran at verse 19, it was written “The Religion before Allah is Islam [submission to His Will]”.
Notice that the phrase does not read “the religion of Allah is Islam”?
Coming back to the Christians: It is written in the Bible that when the Prophet Moses asked God f or
His Name, God replied in Exodus 3:14 “I AM THAT I AM” (King James Version).
I can think of two possible explanations for such answer:
1) Maybe God does not have a name at that material time; or
2) God does have a name but it is none of Moses’ business to know!
To paint a satirical picture of the latter possibility, let me just share a hilarious incident that happened in Sabah more than 10 years ago.
A Chinese tycoon (now fallen) with an Arabic-sounding name was featured on the front page of a local daily sinking a knif e into a roasted pig.
The following day Majlis Ugama Islam Sabah (MUIS) asked him for an explanation as to why as a Muslim, he was seen cutting up a pig which in Islam is forbidden (haram)?
He denied that he was a Muslim to which MUIS asked him about his name.
Anyway, on the last day of the parody, the local paper carried his retort: “My name is my business”!
The joke was on MUIS.
Are Malaysia clerics ‘blind”?
Like all the other states in Malaysia, the Islamic authorities are conf used. In their minds an Arabic-sounding name must necessarily mean that the person is Muslim.
Tareq Aziz, the f ormer Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, was never a Muslim and neither is US President Barack Hussein Obama!
Back to the Christians. . God said to the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 42 verse 8 (World English Bible): “I am Yahweh, that is My name”.
Now that God’s name was finally revealed, why do Christians in Malaysia still insist on addressing God as “Allah” when He has already said that His Name is “Yahweh”?
The Jewish people have always addressed God as “Yahweh”.
The New Straits Times on 31st December 2012 reported that JAKIM reiterated that the word “Allah” is a holy word that belongs only to Muslims and Islam.
It said the word cannot be used by non-Muslims and other religions.
The JAKIM director-general said that the decision was reached in a National Fatwa Committee meeting in 2008.
He also stated that it is mandatory for all Muslims to protect the word from insult or abuse.
He said statements were made by certain quarters to create racial and religious disharmony just for the sake of gaining political mileage and that all quarters are to return to the rule of law.
Firstly, I want to know how these clerics arrive at their distorted analysis.
Did they really study and appreciate the theology of their own religion?
It was written clearly in the 2nd Surah of Baqara or the Heifer of the Quran at verse 143: “For Allah is to all people Most surely full of Kindness, Most Merciful”!
So, why is JAKIM claiming copyright on something that belongs to all mankind?
I have heard of blind clerics who cannot see, but to have clerics who can both see and read and yet who do not understand scripture in plain and simple language, now this is my 1st time.
Is there something wrong with their intelligence?
What insult, Jakim?
Secondly, I would like to know how can a unilateral decision by a band of Muslim clerics be binding and enforced on non-Muslim people who were not represented in the meeting?
Is this not a breach of natural justice?
Would another round of certiorari be needed again?
And why is it that they cannot have the decent courtesy to consult the Christian clergy and other non-Muslim religious organizations to arrive at a unanimous resolution?
Why could they not emulate our Prime Minister Najib Razak who flew into the Vatican City to visit Pope Benedict XVI…!
Thirdly, the Christians are using the word “Allah” to describe their God which also happened to be the God of the Muslims as well.
What insult or abuse is JAKIM talking about? Is there also something wrong with their lunacy?
Fourthly, if the director- general is referring to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, I will have to agree with him as far as gaining political mileage is concerned.
But, as for drumming up racial and religious disharmony, I do not think so.
Lastly, if the director-general is serious about upholding law and order, I suggest he reads the judgment of Justice Lau Bee Lan delivered on 31st December 2009 in Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur –vs- Menteri Dalam Negeri & Kerajaan Malaysia in which the learned judge ruled that Christians in Malaysia are entitled to use the word “Allah”.
Before ending my piece, I would like to share my final finding.
I will assume that the Quran is authentic because it was claimed to be revealed by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad.
After reading all the 114 Surahs, I find the word “Allah” cited not less than 3,048 times but there was no mention that God specifically said that “Allah” is His Name unlike that of Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8 of the Christian Bible.