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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. 


How do we know said...

he he.. this is hilarious.. what will the Sindhis in Malaysia do now? They have been using the word "Alla" for centuries.. one of their most popular wedding songs is "Ik sone jo rupayyo, alla di alla" ..

lots of times, when I say the Sindhi "Alla", people mistake it for the Urdu "Allah!"

Imran Mulla said...

But why christans want touse the same word-Allah for God?? The basic purpose of name is to give identity. Dont you think that this will be creating confusion, Christians will be using the same word to convey the message of Christian religions & muslims might take it as their Allah"s word. But the same may not be true. Doesnt the same name cause so many confusions in our everyday life. In schools as well we keep calling with separate nicknames for persons having same name. Its not about the perogative of Muslims or for that matter any other faith. Tomorrow some other religious community might say that they want to call their sunday mass as Salat or namaz. They might put a poster that on Sunday pls assemble for namaz at 10.00 at Chruch. Wont it create confusions in both the communities. Hence to stick to your distinctive names

editor said...

HDWK: Thanks for coming to the blog after a long time :)

Imran Sb: Because it is the word they have been using for God in that country. Don't Christians use the word 'Ishwar' for God in tribal regions in India. Do you think someone will convert because of getting confused in this era. The 'conspiracy theories' take communities and societies towards negativity. And after all, citizens should have equal rights.

idstreet said...


urdudaaN said...

I didn't find the decision objectionable, as I could see their point. I think they ruled against non-Muslims translating other gods as Allah, which sounds reasonable as it is confusing. They didn't ban non-Muslims from referring to God as Allah. E.g. Neither Ram nor Jesus can be translated to Allah.