Hornbill Unleashed

October 17, 2013

Allah – perception of confusion

Ravinder Singh

The various religious faiths in Malaysia have lived side-by-side for hundreds of years without anyone being confused by the teachings of a religion other than their own. So why all the confusion today?

History, it is said is important. Let’s go back to the pre-Merdeka (Independence) days and see the Islam of that era in Malaysia. Malay-Muslim parents who wanted their children to get an English education sent their children to English medium schools.

Almost all government English medium schools were in the big towns. These towns also had missionary schools like the convents, La Salle Brothers’ schools and Methodist schools. The mission schools were also found in semi-rural and rural areas.

Some of the Malay-Muslim children were educated in the mission schools. They were immersed in Christianity. They lived with Christianity day in and day out. Somehow they did not get confused about their own religion or about Christianity.

Some of these children grew up to hold high positions in the government and some became leaders of the country. They never cried “confusion” and to my knowledge none of them converted to Christianity.

Why were they not confused? The answer is simple – they were not being “brainwashed” by anyone, let alone their parents or even religious teachers of the time. So they went to Christian schools to study, and learnt and practiced their own religion at home.

Thus while practicing their own religion, they learnt to respect other religions.

What this goes to show is that if persons who have influence over other persons do not abuse their position of trust to sow seeds of “confusion” about religious beliefs, no one will be confused.

The issue of the word “Allah” is an excellent example of creating perceptions, and hiding behind those perceptions to justify actions on the subject.

The issue could be settled very easily if any Muslim scholar could point out the verses in the Koran where the Prophet has commanded that the word “Allah” is reserved for the exclusive use of the Muslims, or maybe Muslims in Malaysia.

In the absence of empowerment from the Holy Prophet, can some human beings professing the religion of Islam, in total affront to the teachings of Islam, take it upon themselves to quarrel with others who also use the same word in their holy books and prayers?

It all boils down to one simple question – can man-made courts presided over by human beings override what the Prophets have taught us?

It is my very humble opinion that the sole authority on this issue is none other than the Holy Prophet Himself. He is not here to appear as a witness, but He bears witness through His teachings as recorded in the Holy Koran. Why is His word in the Holy Koran not being given the respect that it must be by all those claiming to be His followers?

No amount of arguments before human judges by humans claiming exclusivity for the use of this word can make any difference to what the Holy Prophet has said or practiced. The word itself was not introduced by the Holy Prophet. He Himself had “borrowed” it from those already using it before Him.

The bottom line is that people do not get confused until their leaders start confusing them. Muslim children in Mission schools did not get confused because there were no leaders confusing them for political gains or any other reasons.

What is at stake is neither the sanctity of the word “Allah” nor of Islam itself. At stake are political positions. Religion is a sensitive matter and when it is used to arouse emotions, problems arise.

Should the same people who are creating the perception that the use of the word “Allah” will create confusion have a change of heart and start telling the people that the Holy Prophet never forbade anyone from using this word, the “confusion” will just fade away.

So, people can either be made to become confused, or be de-confused.  It all depends on the objective of the leaders.

The position of religion is way up above that of politics. So religion should never be politicised. If the Holy Prophet Himself used this borrowed word, and did not forbid anyone from using it, no human should try to override Him.

So please have respect for the Holy Prophet and His teachings. He did not create discord among people of different beliefs living with and around him. Do correct me if I am wrong.

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