Hornbill Unleashed

January 1, 2013

Clearing the confusion on the use of Allah in Bahasa Bibles

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
  • For 15 centuries, Arabic Bibles have used Allah for God and Rab for Lord (predate Islam)
  • The first Malay translation of the Bible was made in 1612, and Allah was used for God and Tuhan for Lord in this and all the subsequent translations till today.
  • Malay-speaking (and Iban) Christians have used the term Allah for more than 100 years in Malaya and the Borneo states in worship, prayers and reading their holy scriptures.
  • Twenty million Christians in Indonesia have used Allah for years without any misunderstanding or objection.
  • English Bibles nor Bibles of other languages obviously do not use the Bahasa terms.
  • Forbidding the use of the term “Allah” by Christians not only infringes their rights to practise their faith but also leads to confusion. For example, is the “Tuhan” in Negara-Ku and Rukun Negara not the “Muslim God” or can Christians sing the Selangor Anthem where “Allah” is used?
  • Theological  meanings between Christianity and Islam  will always be different whether the term used is “Allah” or “Tuhan” or “God”.


  1. Allah being Arabic for one of the titles of God should be able to be used by the many people who have that word in their language, Arabic, Malay, Iban, Indonesian, Dutch or Flemish. Look into the old translations and you shall find Al Alah, Al La, Al Halla, Ya Allah in many places and particular in the Psalms.
    Not only in in Bahasa Bibles this word can be used, also in our language we should and can still use the word Allah because it is one of the titles of the most High, whose name is Jehovah. He is the Creator, God of gods and the God of Jews, Christians, Muslims, but also the Creator of all other people.
    Allah is not the sole right to the Muslims. He is the owner of the universe and all people should come to recognise Allah, the God of the prophets Muhammed, Jesus (Jeshua), Zecchariah, Habakkuk, Amos, Hosea, Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, a.o. as the Only One Elohim Hashem, and His Name Jehovah should become known all over the world, then the end shall come.

    Comment by Christadelphians — January 3, 2013 @ 8:16 PM | Reply

  2. Actually, if you say Halleluyah or Ya Allah over and over, you mean the same thing! You’ll audibly mean one and the same! Try it!

    Comment by audio hack — January 2, 2013 @ 5:16 PM | Reply

  3. Jakim said “ALLAH” is exclusively theirs but i wonder if Allah would say the same about them fake Arabs hypocrites?

    Comment by brian — January 2, 2013 @ 3:10 PM | Reply

    • A camel is more sexy than a phony Arab from UMNO! Or that sob syed mukhtar!

      Comment by abang long — January 2, 2013 @ 5:20 PM | Reply

  4. The fatwa issued by Jakim was unconstitutional and infringing on the rights of non Muslims. These are bigots working with UMNO to confuse the Muslims and to stroke fear and hatred at the same time. If Najib has no political will to denounce the fatwa and reprimand the culprits, we voters especially the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak must do the right thing by voting out the highly arrogant, corrupted, abusive, repressive and oppressive UMNO controlled BN in GE13.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — January 1, 2013 @ 10:10 PM | Reply

    • Jakim have overstepped their bounds and are in contempt of court.

      Comment by Medak — January 1, 2013 @ 11:33 PM | Reply

    • When Dayak YBs from BN begging us to give them one more chance or mandate to najib, just show them your middle finger and say “fuk you ” especially to Jabu, Masing and Mawan.

      Comment by Simon Reggie — January 2, 2013 @ 12:39 PM | Reply

    • Look at it another way lah!

      UMNO via JAKIM or whatever KIM suppresses Islam and all else! Their religion is Kuttuy Rasuah!

      Comment by abu keiser — January 2, 2013 @ 5:24 PM | Reply

  5. Paranoid

    Comment by edward, m — January 1, 2013 @ 10:06 PM | Reply

  6. Even Alexander The Great and the greatest prophet; Moses belongs to them.

    Comment by DJJ — January 1, 2013 @ 5:40 PM | Reply

  7. Only clowns and retard do not understand … as though everything belongs to them … so uncivilised

    Comment by tigeryk — January 1, 2013 @ 3:14 PM | Reply

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