Sunday, January 26, 2014

Malaysia's ban on non-Muslims' use of word 'Allah' must be condemned

The Malaysian government's controversial decision to restrain non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah' for God, defies logic.

In the Holy Quran, the first surah, starts with 'Alhamdulillahi-rabb-il-alamin', which means, 'The God of the World', not the 'God of Muslims' alone.

It is 'aalamin' [for the entire world], not 'muslimin'. Clearly, there is no Islamic basis either to bar any community from using the word 'Allah' exclusively.

Secondly, words like 'Rab', 'Malik' or 'Khuda' are being used for centuries God in different regions by Muslims.

This is about local culture. Similarly, Christians or adherents of other religions who live in Malay-speak or Jews and other minorities in Arabic-speaking areas, have been using the word 'Allah' for ages.

Don't Muslims use the word 'God' quite often? In fact, the Malaysian government's succumbing to certain clerics' diktats, is surprising.

Also, the court order should have been reversed. It sets a bad example. It is not just against the principals of democracy but also in violation of Islamic spirit.

When a government in a country like Malaysia takes such a decision, then it is all the more disturbing. Its international image as a modern, progressive country would also be hit.  I fail to understand what drives the regime to take such a step or what are the fears of certain Ulema?

Do they feel that use of the word 'Allah' in sermons and prayers would attract Muslims towards Christianity.
If they have such fears, then it means that they have less confidence their own religion and community, and are more worried about propagators of other faiths.

Such bans are used to harass religions minorities and create religious tensions. It is a totally unjust and nonsensical ban. Further, it shows growing intolerance in the society. And it must be condemned. Hope that good sense will prevail and the decision would reversed soon.