“We believe in a tolerant and progressive Islam. Freedom to worship other religions is guaranteed by the Constitution.”
(BN Manifesto 2004)
Only Muslims can call Allah’s name.
This affects not only the Catholics and other Christians, but also the Sikhs. If even the shared name of Allah is not allowed, would faiths that believe in the commonality and convergence of religions like the Bahai Faith or the De Jiao Hui (Moral Uplifting Society) be declared unlawful in the future?
Now. Read what Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, the think tank head of the “extremist” PAS has to say:
Mind Boggling Islam Hadhari’s Position on the use of the word ‘Allah’.
Nor less disturbing is the continuing furor over the use of the word ’Allah’. The Islam Hadhari’s government is again about to pit adherents of various faiths at loggerheads with one another on emotive issues like this. The writer is very anxious that this doesn’t degenerate into a religious-ethnic divide, again with Umno/BN walking away grinning, while leaving others fiercely locking horns.
“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word. It’s from (the Arabic language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” does sound hollow, naive and inappropriate, especially for a Hadhari’s government which supposedly is savvy to the need of a truly plural society of ours.
“It was only proper for other religions to use the word God and not Allah when referring to their God in respective beliefs,” the prime minister added.
For centuries, Sikhs have used the words ‘Allah’ to refer to God as well as the Arabic terms ‘iman’ and ‘ibadat’ for faith and worship. “We have used the terms Allah and Rahim (Most Merciful), for example, extensively in our writings and in our prayers to refer to the One God. The word Allah is used in our main holy scripture.”
Besides, it is a well-known fact that believers of other faiths in the Middle East, Indonesia and East Malaysia have been using the term Allah from time immemorial. Barring the claims on ‘proselytizing’, I don’t see what the fuss all about. But is the government able to say things outright and not embroil the whole nation into this Islam Hadhari’s controversy?
This writer deliberately didn’t want to join this polemic earlier. Perhaps it is now fair to just quote a verse of the Holy Quran, where the Almighty Allah clearly enunciated that He is invoked in all the places of worships.
From the Chapter of the Pilgrimage or Al-Hajj, verse 40:
“If Allah had not check and repel some of you through others (of their excesses and injustices), monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques would certainly have been destroyed, wherein the name of Allah (yuzkaru fiha ismu Allah) is commemorated”.
The verse citing.. ‘wherein the name of Allah is commemorated’ is categorically clear that Allah, the One and Only God is worshipped by the adherents of these heavenly religions as well. If Allah is making it abundantly clear that he is praised and worshipped in all these places of worship, who is the deputy internal security minister from this Islam Hadhari’s government or even the premier himself, to limit the use of the word Allah only as the exclusive right of Muslims? As for PAS, it is a non-issue. So, what is the issue? The central issue to PAS is ‘when all sins of excesses and injustices are committed and ‘institutionalised’, do you still want to bring this nation back on the dark alley of self-destruction?
Could we put this polemic to rest and reduce our suspicion and apprehension towards one another, please? There are surely more pressing and fundamental problems confronting this nation and deserve our urgent attention.