Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments

The Allah dispute is the focus of 3 court hearings this week. Taking the risk of committing the sin of boring repetition – here are 3 short arguments why Allah is not exclusive to Islam.

First, ﷲ Allâh (al-ilah) is historically derived from a common noun (ilah), which is not a proper noun/personal name (Nama Khas). It is just a common reference to a divine being in general or to the Most High God in monotheist culture, along with other related references in the Semitic languages – Hebrew el, eloah, Syriac alaha etc.  Sibawayh (the father of Arabic grammar), noted the etymology of the word was disputed but suggested a Syriac connection as al-Ilaah, Allah results when one attaches ‘al’ with aliha and alaha. More importantly, the word ﷲ Allâh was used by Christians and other Semites long before the emergence of Islam. Continue reading “Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments”

Christians as Convenient Collateral Damage in Political Contest between Putra Jaya and Selangor Government

BSM officials complied with an order to report to JAIS. After the meeting, BSM put the blame of the raid onto the Selangor government. BSM further suggested since Putra Jaya kept its word, therefore, Selangor must formally accept the 10-point solution to assure BSM of its concerns. Understandably, the Selangor government wants to wait for Putra Jaya first to publicly affirm its ongoing commitment to the 10-point before responding to BSM’s suggestion.

Instead of (re)taking public ownership of the 10-point, the Prime Minister who personally signed the 10-point in 2011 has chosen to remain silent. Furthermore, the de facto Law Minister’ Nancy Shukri put the problem squarely on Selangor state. In effect, Putra Jaya has abandoned the 10-point and abdicated from its original commitment.

It would be laudable if Putra Jaya first renewed its commitment to the 10-point, reprimanded JAIS for the raid, and then approached the Selangor government for assistance to ensure compliance of the 10-point. Continue reading “Christians as Convenient Collateral Damage in Political Contest between Putra Jaya and Selangor Government”

The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?

The raid of Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) by the Selangor Islamic authorities, JAIS (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) is a flagrant violation of religious liberty and a deliberate affront to the dignity of the Christian community. LINK JAIS’ action suggests that a threshold in inter-religious relations has been crossed, that is, the Islamic authorities have progressed from harassing to persecuting Christian minorities in Malaysia.

The raid is not unexpected, given the orchestrated agitations and provocations coming from Islamic authorities and NGOs in the last few weeks. The decree by the Sultan of Selangor which bans non-Muslims from using the Allah word was followed by a statement by JAIS new Director declaring that JAIS will be sending warning letters to all churches. Islamic NGOs followed suit with police reports against Herald and the Catholic Church. Next, the former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir accused Christians of irritating Muslims in using the Allah word, and the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin publicly supported UMNO Selangor in its campaign against the editor of Herald. Strangely, the Prime Minister has remained silent although he has personally guaranteed Christians their right to use the al-Kitab a few years ago. The ominous beating of war drums can only lead to hostile action against Christians. Continue reading “The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?”

Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah

Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word.

The PM’s assurance sounds feeble, wishful and arguably misleading when the Appeal Court judgment prohibits the Christian community from using the Allah word on grounds that the word is not integral to Christian faith, that any religious practice must be circumscribed or limited by Islamic sensitivity, and finally, that the prohibition is necessary for national security.

Be assured that officers from JAKIM and the Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran (The Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division) will be waving at Christians the Appeal Court written judgment when they decide in due time (chosen at their convenience) to raid a Christian institution and seize its publications or stop any activity deemed offensive to Islamic sensitivity. Continue reading “Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah”

Semantik Kalimah Allah

Semantik Kalimah Allah*

Kita mendekati pembahasan kata “Allâh“ dari sudut bahasa. Kata “Allah” berasal dari dua kata: al, dan ilah, Al adalah kata sandang (band, bahasa Inggeris; the), dan ilah bererti: yang kuat, dewa. Dalam bahasa-bahasa Semit,kata ini menunjuk pada kuasa yang ada di luar jankauan manusia, yaitu pada dewa. Sudah di masa pra-Islam, al-ilah disambung menjadi Allah. Dan dalam agama orang-orang Arab pra-Islam, kata ini digunakan untuk menunjuk pada dewa yang paling tinggi di antara dewa-dewa yang lain yang masing-masing mempunyai namanya sendiri. Namun kata Allah itu sendiri bukan nama, seperti di atas diterangkan. Dengan demikian, kata Allah sudah ada dalam zaman jahiliyya. Ia bukan ciptaan orang Islam ia juga tidak baru muncul dalam Al-qur’an Alkarim, melainkan ia merupakan kata biasa dalam bahasa Arab lepas dari ikatan dengan salah satu agama tertentu. Continue reading “Semantik Kalimah Allah”

Collated Resources: Christians from pre-Islam Arab Christians to Bumiputera Christians have the Right to Use Allah

Christians have offered well-documented evidence and cogent arguments to refute the claim that only (Malaysian) Muslims have the right to use the word Allah. However, the dogmatic assertions (notwithstanding the ‘scholarly garb’) from Muslim scholars in the current flare-up suggest that they have either chosen to ignore the evidence or are simple unable to follow an argument outside their logical Procrustean bed. Undoubtedly, their closed mindedness arises because they learned how to use Arabic without reflecting, much less analyzing the linguistic determinants behind Arabic.

I would like to invite readers who are new to the controversy to read some of my early articles given in the list below: Continue reading “Collated Resources: Christians from pre-Islam Arab Christians to Bumiputera Christians have the Right to Use Allah”