Jerry W A Dusing
Greelings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not be misled by the assurance uttered by certain quarters that we can use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in Sabah and Sarawak. It is more than just about a word; it is about the fundamental right to worship God in the way we have been doing for generations without hindrance.
The decision of the Court of Appeal against the Herald puts new restrictions on our human and constitutional right to freedom of religion. Nevertheless, we urge you to continue your friendship with your Muslim brothers and sisters and to extend love to them as you have always done’ We want to assure them that our court action is not against them or Islam but against the wrongful conduct of the Federal government and its officials. (more…)
Reza Aslan says Christians using the word Allah do not pose a threat to Islam. – Pic courtesy Wikimedia Commons / Roanoke College, October 22, 2013.A well-known American Muslim theologian has joined a long list of critics over the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah, saying it was a “political decision more than anything else”.
“This notion that Malaysian Muslims need to be protected by the court because you can’t think for yourself, you can’t make decisions on your own. We are laughing at you,” said Reza Aslan, speaking on BFM Radio’s Evening Edition programme yesterday.
“That you can control people’s ideas, their behaviour, their faith and their minds simply by trying to control the words that they use, is absurd. It is an embarassment to a modern, constitutional, democratic and deeply Muslim state like Malaysia,” he added. (more…)
Francis Paul Siah
Former US President Ronald Reagan once preached, “I recognise we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”
I read that quote recently from a video documentary made in Reagan’s honour after he left office. It was not a particularly famous quote and only one of many highlighted in the video.
However, it was one which struck me and left me deep in thought of its sublime message.
Although the message was aptly and suitably meant for all and sundry, Reagan made the statement when he was a political figure. So we can assume he specifically directed it at politicians and it is in the political context that the quote is analysed in this article. (more…)
Many quarters have expressed their shock, dismay and disbelief on hearing the recent ruling on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by the courts; adverse public reaction is still raging.
I do not wish to repeat these strong sentiments here but to offer my one sen’s worth of observation over this same issue. For this I quote the words as expressed by Justice Mohd Zawawi, one of the Court of Appeal judges.
He said that if the word ‘Allah’ is to be employed in the Malay version of The Herald to refer to God, there will be a risk of misrepresentation of God within Christianity itself. (more…)
The ‘Allah’ judgment means the rest of the Islamic world is all wrong. Wow, what a moment – Jakim/Umno have seen more light than the rest of the world!
Why don’t we have such charity shops in Malaysia? I wonder for the millionth time. The answer is, because we have such bloated, competitive egos.
What!? Use a blender that someone else has been using? What if the rice cooker still has undetectable germs that might poison your guts? Uggghh wearing second hand clothes – even if it is a well-preserved Yves Saint Laurent swanky leather jacket that costs 500 pounds which is now being sold at 29 pounds? (more…)
Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has warned Sabahans and Sarawakians of certain evangelist groups out to sour relations with penisula Malaysia by stirring up discontent in the two states following the Court of Appeal decision banning the use of ‘Allah’ by Christians.
Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman (left) urged bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak to defend unity and not to be taken in by certain groups, particularly Christian evangelists, who he said were taking the opportunity to sour East-West relations.
“We question whether these groups uphold the social contract as enshrined in the federal constitution. Or, do they have other agendas that go beyond the constitution?” Abdullah Zaik asked. (more…)
Malaysia’s ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by Catholic weekly The Herald has been described by a Sudanese-born writer with the United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian as not a religious issue but an attempt by the majority ethnic group to seize the national identity of the country.
In an article on the popular website of The Guardian, Nesrine Malik sympathises with non-Muslims, who she says are struggling to re-assert the country’s pluralistic national identity.
The ban is as ridiculous, Nesrine adds, as the UK passing a law saying that ‘God’ can only be used by Christians. (more…)
The Christian Federation of Malaysia
As the hearing date of 10 September 2013 ( Today ) for the appeal by the Government of Malaysia against the decision of the High Court of Malaya to allow The Herald newspaper to use the word “Allah” fast approaches, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) notes with grave concern the calls by various groups to “defend” Islam from being insulted and threatened.
In particular, we refer to a television programme in which untrue and unsubstantiated accusations were made about so-called Christian plots to convert Muslims, and to the official Friday sermon (khutbah) written by JAKIM (the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia or Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) and delivered on 6 September 2013, which called for “action” (“tindakan”) in defence of Islam by Muslims over the use of the word “Allah” for God by Christians, and that such defence was a “holy struggle” (“perjuangan suci”). (more…)
In January 2010, I wrote a column with an almost similar title. But then it was allegorical writing, and I would have thought that most of proponents of this “claim of intellectual and patent rights for the God-word ‘Allah’” would have understood the nuances of why we should not do it. Obviously, I am not as well-read as I would like to think. Therefore, those for whom: “tak makan cili dan tak rasa pedas“, please read the original column here.
The only difference between the original title and this one is that I now consider that there are many more such elephants and these animals have now come into our family rooms; but somehow we all cannot still see them clearly. (more…)
Religious rights are enshrined in the constitution
People who make a great deal of fuss about religious rituals and words are often seeking to draw attention away from the issue of whether they are actually practicing the religion itself.
They hope that by making a lot of noise about such outward matters they will convince people they are religious, when in fact they may be stealing and lying and a lot of other things utterly forbidden by the prophets, who were largely unconcerned by form and ceremony.
All religions are intended to civilise us, which makes it all the more of an affront when people do the most uncivilised things in the name of religion, like attacking other people or indeed attempting to deny them their legitimate rights to their own form of faith. (more…)
Anna Lee, via e-mail
This letter is written as a partial response to ‘Allah’ is for the whole of Mankind” by Zulaika. Zulaika wrote, “Now, the controversy arises as a result of the doctrine of Trinity held by the Christians, whereby God is referred to as The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost, which will not be accepted by the Believers of the Quran as the truth.”
Contrary to what Zulaika wrote, the trinity that the Quran finds unacceptable is not the Christian Trinity of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. (Christians today prefer to use the word “Holy Spirit” in place of the word “Holy Ghost” as the latter is an old English usage.) (more…)
Bishop Paul Tan
The reason why I write this short article is to dispel all doubts about facts, truths and rationality in the use of the word Allah, a non-issue really. It becomes an issue when it is being politicised which is the case in Malaysia. This article is not intended to be polemical.
First, allow me to make a few introductory remarks.
(1) I do not pretend to speak for every Christian, less still for everyone. I speak for many people who do not profess the Islamic faith in Malaysia and perhaps for a number of Muslims in and out of Malaysia. (more…)
Disputation in Malaysia over the kalimah Allah, the name of God, has not abated.
On the contrary, it continues to become ever more acrimonious and worrying.
These days we now even have some enthusiastic “idealists” who give advance notice of their readiness for a virtually premeditated amok — or to excuse others who might resort to that kind of intimidatory violence — in order, paradoxically, to uphold their notions of moderation, mutual acceptance and tolerance in interfaith relations.
A question of many parts
There are many aspects to this dispute, all of them requiring close and serious consideration. (more…)
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. (more…)
He said these are the notion and role of an Islamic state currently being promoted by BN/Umno and PAS but both ways are “problematic” as there is no real debate on the issues here.Well-known sociologist Syed Farid Alatas says that one of the greatest dangers facing Malaysian society is the rise of Muslim extremism – Wahabism and Salafism – or legalistic thinking that reduces citizens to rules and regulation.
“There is not much difference between Umno and PAS, except that the former gives excuses that we can’t have an Islamic state because we are a multiracial society,” said Syed Farid (left), an expert in the area of the sociology of religion.
“The correct point I think is that we can’t have an Islamic state because an Islamic state is not good even for Muslims. (more…)
Ng Kam Weng
Proposition 1: We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.
Proposition 2: We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.
Proposition 3: We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy.
Proposition 4: We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy
The official statement released by Pas Ulamak Syura Council (USC) on 13/1/2013 has caused confusion and concern. (more…)
Mohd Asri (picture) highlighted that Jews and Christians in the Middle East have been using “Allah” from long ago and continue to do so without any confusion — an argument adopted by non-Muslims in Malaysia, particularly the churches.
Muslims who dispute the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims are those confused about their own faith, popular Islamic scholar Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said in a recent lecture as the religious row on the subject continues to hog headlines nationwide.
In a 14-minute video clip posted on YouTube last Saturday, the former Perlis mufti explained that while the government has a right to restrict usage of the Arabic word for God, it should not use religion as an excuse because Islam allows for followers of other faiths the right to call their gods “Allah” if they are referring to the Supreme Being. (more…)
There is an insidious trend in some parts of the world, particularly in the West, where a significant group of people comprising differing social strata and affiliations voice their disbelief in the existence of God or that the universe is a product of divine design.
Some among these people demand the rights to marry the person of their gender, to choose when and how to have babies and the freedom to end their lives should they find lives too unbearable as a result of sickness.
They call themselves atheists or humanists. They are on a war path with the fundamentalist Christians and other believers who insist that things should be done in exact accordance with the precepts in the Bible or other sacred books. (more…)
The Council of Churches Malaysia criticised PAS for its about-turn to disallow non-Muslims from using Allah in holy books as a show of power by the majority.
The PAS Syura Council’s decision to ban non-Muslims from using Allah in their holy books have drawn fire from the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM).
Its secretary-general Rev Hermen Sastri said the controversies surrounding the issue were “a show of power of the majority”.
“If you say [the usage of Allah] would create confusion, then you teach your people how not to be confused. (more…)
The contention from various organisations and bodies such as Jakim, Umno and PAS that using the term Allah is the exclusive right of Muslims has no religious basis.
Many Muslim scholars and politicians fear that the Bible and related publications using the word “Allah” as God will influence and confuse “innocent” Muslims, making them susceptible to being converted to Christianity.
If a Muslim wants to stray from his faith, there are 1,001 ways to do it, including entering another religion or even sect. (more…)
Anas Zubedy, via e-mail
Here we go again… Every now and then, this matter will see the light of day. This time around, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng brought it up in his Christmas message. I personally agree with his sentiment. We should all share the word Allah and make it the universal name for God. As far as the Quran is concerned, this verse explains the universality of Allah clearly.
They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, – (for no cause except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause); – for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will) – Quran 22:40 (more…)
From Dr SK Teoh, via e-mail
Many Muslims and even some Christians have misunderstood the use of “Allah” in Bahasa Bibles. To clarify some of the confusion:
- The BM Bible or the Alkitab is not translated from the English Bible but from the original languages, i.e. Hebrew and Greek.
- The Hebrew word for God is El or Elohim (similar root as Ilah in Arabic) and YHWH or Yahweh for LORD. The Greek words are Theo for God and Kurios for Lord.
- Biblical translators all over the world have used the local language terms for Elohim and Yahweh e.g. God and LORD in English; Dios and Senor in Spanish, Shangti and Zhu in Chinese (more…)
Is it not imperative to emphasise the significance of the spirit of Christ in our hearts during the Christmas celebration?
Christmas is just around the corner and it may come as a surprise that many people never reflect on why they believe or do what they do during Christmas.
They basically do what the majority of the Christian faith does or what everybody else does because it is easy and the most natural way to follow.
To put it simply, Christmas is just another occasion and time to be together with families and friends for a feisty and food celebration. (more…)
I have to repeat some of the issues and themes that I have done in the past. Most Malays are at the stage where issues such as corruption, abuse of power, the rottenness of the system that UMNO upholds feature less in importance than the overriding issue – will Malays be all right?
They know the government is bad, deceiving, incompetent, and dishonest – but rationalize it anyway by saying, if others take over, they will do the same. No, it will never be the same, because last time UMNO did all the evils when people are less empowered. Any government straying from the straight path now will be neutralized by an empowered citizenry. That is why UMNO is finding it hard to earn legitimacy at the moment. (more…)
In Islam renouncing Allah is an act of treason of the highest order against God.
Malaysia, being a multi-religious country, will have to live with the differences in religious beliefs among the various races. Among the differences that have become issues of contention are:
- the pursuit by Muslim hardliners to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state;
- the supremacy of the Quran versus the Federal Constitution;
- the power of the syariah laws vis-à-vis that of the man-formulated (criminal) laws and principles of democracy;
- the jurisdiction of the syariah courts versus that of the civil courts; and
- an individual’s freedom of choice in religion or beliefs. (more…)
In the philosophy of science, there is one really big action word: Anthropomorphise; which is when one uses human traits, attributes or thought patterns, and frameworks to describe another object of focus.
Therefore when we talk about the ideal of ‘God’ as an almighty or spiritual being that exists independent of all human existence, it is always a very challenging concept to fully appreciate our tendency to ‘anthropomorphise.’
In human language therefore, we consequently often “reduce the very nature and being of God” into human ideas and ideals to better understand and appreciate such an entity bigger than our minds or hearts can fully appreciate or understand. (more…)