I have had a lot of fun raising awareness of the violence being incited by the Catholic establishment through their pursuit of the use of the word Allah in their Malaysia-wide publication, the Herald, over the last couple of days. People need to be made aware that the continued insults and denigration of Malays in Malaysia will have its repercussions, and we are at the moment fortunate that whilst the majority are angry, only a few churches have had to suffer damages.
I suppose now that I am laying blame on the Catholic establishment for inciting this anger, even more people will be angry towards me, but such is the cost of revealing truth. If there is anything I have learnt from the comments to my past 2 postings, it is that too many non-Malays don't even understand the issue as seen through Malay eyes. In fact, confusion is rampant, e.g. many think this is an 'East Malaysia issue', when the Herald, is distributed nationally, with a KL office!
Anyway, I have had to focus on work since yesterday, so I would like to refer Muslims, especially liberal ones who think it is all 'ok' to share 'Allah' with everyone (and that includes you Marina Mahathir) to this timely reminder by the astute JMD. In addition, I also publish here (uneditted other than punctuation and capitalisation) a write-up by a much wiser man that may shed further light on the issue as seen through educated and rational Malay eyes:
The head of the Catholic church in Malaysia, in an article in the Herald, argued that the Catholic church has a right to use the word Allah as it predates Islam and therefore by implication is not specific to Islam. If this is so why is the name Allah not in the Torah or the Bible? These were the religions that predate Islam. Why was God called Yahweh in the Torah and Deos in the Bible and not Allah? I fail to see the reverend’s evidence for this in the religions that predates the prophet Mohamad (saw)
The reason it (Allah) is not in the Bible or the Torah was that the Torah was revealed to Moses in Hebrew and the Ingil revealed to Isa in the Aramaic and the Aramaic word for God is Elah as the prophet Isa calls him. Allah is in the Koran because it was revealed in Arabic. Is the reverend suggesting that Arabic was widely used before Islam? In my humble knowledge of the middle Eastern history the widely used language then as the equivalent of English today is Greek. That is why the first written Bible was in Greek. The universal name for God before Islam was Theos not Allah.
The word Allah is of Arabic origin. If its use predates the Koran it was confined to the Arabian peninsula, not even Syria or Iraq nor Egypt. Before Arab conquest of these land each had its own language and God is named in their respective languages. Hence it is ridiculous to suggest that Allah was widely used before Islam.
It boggles my mind that the Catholic Church would insist on using the Arabic name for God that was used by the prophet Mohamad (saw) but chooses to ignore the Aramaic name Elah as used by the prophet Isa (puh). Is the Church suggesting that the name Mohamad (saw) used is more important than that used by Isa’s in the hierarchy of God’s name?
This would be my argument to the High court had I been the lawyer that represented the Government.
The reverend further suggests based on his first premise that because the word Allah is part of the Malay language the Church has a constitutional right to use it in a Malay language publication. I would ask the reverend the same question. Was the word Allah part of the Malay language before Islam came to the Malay peninsula. Before that date Malays were either Hindus, Buddhist or just plain Animist. Where is the evidence that shows Allah was the word for God in the writings of the preislamic period in the Malay peninsula.
Allah was introduced to Malays by Arab traders and only became part of the Malay language when Malays adopted Islam as their religion. In the lexicon of Malay words Allah was specific to Islam and refers only to the God of Muslims not the God a Malay prayed to before he become a Muslim. Hence to argue that Allah is a general Malay word take no cognizance of its Arab origin and ignores its Islamic origin in the Malay lexicon. That will be my argument to the appeal court.
I have heard many arguments by both Malays and Christians that in the Arab world Allah is used by Christians as it is in Indonesia. If Arabs and Indonesians don’t object why should Malays. Allah is an Arabic word hence its general use in the Arab speaking world is understandable.
The practice of Islam in the Arab speaking world is not standard. Some are more liberal and others stricter. There are parts of the Arabian peninsula where the presence of a non-Muslim is regarded sacrilegious and a man could loose his head for saying Allah has a son. Why was that not used as a comparison.
It is certainly mischievous or pure ignorance to use the Arab speaking world as a norm. Which country would you choose? Some people accuse Malays of thinking they are more Muslims than the Arabs. Of course we are! We are stricter than the liberal ones like Egypt, and Lebanon and of course more liberal than the very strict one like Saudi.The Arab norm used by Malays from the beginning was the practice of the Arabian peninsula where the first Muslim missionaries came from, not the larger Arab speaking world. For quite sometime in Malay history an Al Azhar graduates was not acceptable as religious teacher only a Madina or Meccan graduate would appointed for such post because of the conservative norms of the latter.
Like wise what the Indonesian norm is, is their choice to make. It is certainly not the norm used by Malays. Because the word Allah is allowable for non muslim religious service there, does not mean it should also be practiced in the Malay peninsula. If we Malays accept that argument than the next Indonesian practice that will be demanded will be of Christians marrying Muslim without converting as a constitutional right. I also have Indonesian acquitances who eat pork when they are abroad, something a malay would not do.
Should that also be the standard for Malays. If an Indonesian norm is to be compared to Malays it would be closer to Aceh than Java. Ultimately Malays have their own standards for Islamic practice and the Indonesian have theirs so let that be. Lakum dinnukum waliyadin. To you your religion to me mine.