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Dec 29, 2007

The 'privatisation' of Allah?

dipetik: uzairsawal.blogspot

The Internal Security Ministry had prohibited the word 'Allah' to be used by non-muslims as 'Allah' refers to the Muslim God. The Herald, published by Malaysia’s Catholic Church, has translated the word God as 'Allah' which is refused publication by the Internal Security Ministry. According to the ministry,

“Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim God. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people,”

Is this really the case where 'Allah' is only for the Muslim god? Let’s have a look at Farish A. Noor arguments - What 'Allah' means?

For a start, the word 'Allah' predates the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and goes way back to the pre-Islamic era. Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact. Furthermore the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic - in all its dialects - is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else. One could also add that as 'Allah' is an Arabic word it therefore has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam. It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system. If one were to abide by the skewered logic of the Minister concerned, then presumably the language of Christianity (if it had one) would be Aramaic, or perhaps Latin.

A poster in Lim Kit Siang’s blog pointed out 3 very good points,

1. The term 'Allah' was in use long before there was Islam religion in the world.

2. The term 'Allah' was used to refer to God by Arabic-speaking Christians before Arabic-speaking Muslims existed.

3. Malaysia is probably the only nation where the use of the term 'Allah' by Christians to refer to their God is prohibited, whereas its use to refer to Christian God has never been prohibited in many countries in the Middle-East and the Americas.

In his Chirstmas speech, Abdullah reminded Malaysians not to allow extremist tendencies to take root and undermine interracial harmony in the country. In fact UMNO has the most extremists and narrow-minded ministers trying to 'reserve' and 'privatise' the word 'Allah' for Muslims.

How could they claimed 'ownership' of the word 'Allah' when Christians are the first to use the word 'Allah'?

When the Malays first reached Tanah Melayu, they unrighfully claimed the ownership of this land, ignoring the true Orang Asli of this land
“I am the first to reach this land, therefore this is my land”

When it comes to the word 'Allah',
“I am not the first to use this word, but this is still my word!”

They privatised God this time!


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