Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is The Church Playing Politics?

Hantu Laut

This is a sensitive subject among Muslims and Christians.

As always it is the Abrahamic religions that caused turmoils and segregation of the human race more than any other religion, be it Islam, Christianity or Judaism, they all shared a harrowing and brutal past. They still could not see eye to eye and bent on destroying each other.

All three religions came from the same root and shared many of the same prophets, but the mistrust, distrust and hostility among the theocrats, the hypocrites and among the pretenders of religious piety had been the mother of many holy wars, religious violence, genocides and pogroms. 

The Nazi's Holocaust and the Russian pogroms of the Jews in Europe stemmed out of ethnic and religious prejudice and bigotry are well documented in the history books, which, unfortunately, had not been made into textbooks in schools to teach the younger generations not to make the same mistakes as their forefathers. 

I am going to express my opinion on the issue and controversy of using the word "Allah" as conscientious as possible, without pride and prejudice. 

Though I am a Muslim I do believe the word Allah is not strictly confined to Muslims, as in the Arab worlds, the Arab Christians also used Allah to refer to their God, but that's where it ends. 

Why would the Christians in Malaysia be adamant in using the word Allah as their God, they are not Arab Christians.

In Sabah, as far as I can remember for yonks the Malay speaking Christian Kadazans and Dusuns have been using "Tuhan" to refer to their God. Even we Muslims, except the pretenders and hypocrites, occasionally, used the word "Tuhan" to refer to "Allah" in our daily conversation. As I speak English at home with my family, I tend use the word "God" more often than Allah. Would that makes me less Muslim and a sinner? It is the intention that matters, the word is just another proper noun.

In Judaism, the Hebrew word for God is "Yahweh" used in the Bible, but hardly spoken as the Jews think it is too sacred to be flogged around. Just as much as the Muslims revered the Koran as a sacred book and view any desecration of the Koran as unforgivable grave mortal sin, likewise, the Jews believe Yahweh should only stay in the Scripture.  

Allah is synonymous name for the "Almighty", why fret so much over which one you should use? Would you be less Christian if you use Tuhan, or less Muslim if you use God?

The word "Allah" came into widespread use in Malaysia when the Christian church started importing Bibles from Indonesia for the Malay speaking Christians. 

Christianity is a minority religion in Indonesia and the faithful are Malay speaking, hence, the Dutch had to introduce Bibles in the Malay language for the Christian converts. The Old and New Testaments were translated into Malay by two Dutchman named Melchior Leiddekker and Peter Vander Vorm. There have been many other earlier partial translations by other authors, but the complete works were done by the two.

As you can well judge it is not the Christians in the streets that are making all the noises, most are quite happy with "God" for the English speaking and "Tuhan" for the Malay speaking. Some Christians, particularly the English speaking ones find it repulsive to use "Allah" as their God, but no one wants to speak out as the Church had gone to the fore to challenge the government on its usage. 

It is the problem with all religions, once you challenge a religious edict, no matter, for good or for bad, you would be ostracised. In Islam you would immediately be branded a murtad, an apostate. Christianity, viewed apostasy in slighly different light today, as compared to 500-600 years ago.

It is the religious and political leaders from both sides of the two faiths that have caused this perturbing issue by turning it into a national dispute and politicians jumping on the bandwagon using it for political mileage and expediency. 

As I see it, both sides are politicising the issue at the expense of the people.It was never a major issue before and I don't quite understand why is the Church adamant on its usage in the Bible. 

In my family we have Christians, Buddish and non-believer relatives through inter-marriages and religions had never been an issue.There is great mutual respect for each other religion and we don't even talk about it when we meet at gatherings.  

Would the Christian God be less divine if it is called "Tuhan"? I don't know. Maybe, my good Catholic priest friend should tell me.

Somebody, told me the other day it is about freedom of religion and freedom of worship, which got me a little confused. 

Malaysia did not ban Christianity or any other religion as you can see from the number of churches and temples in the country and its congregations. If anything to go by it should be Muslims, who should be angry with the government as the government has banned Shiaism, which is considered one of the branches of mainstream Islam and nip in the bud deviant sects that mushroomed from time to time, which have saved this country from act of terrorism by religious extremists.

There should be sense and sensibility on this issue, the argument that if the Arabs used it for both religions, we must follow suit, is really not holding water.

Here, the Church is questioning the Sultan of Selangor decree on the use of Allah in his state. 

Here, the Protestant Church says it will, in spite of the ban, continue the use of Allah in the Malay language Bible as they have been using it for centuries.



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 110%.Politics is a dirty world and people bent on playing political games are just in it for the votes . Its shamefull to see people in malaysia stooping so low ,

Anonymous said...

"nip in the butt" should be "nip in the bud" as in nipping buds of flowers or plants

abdooss said...

With all due respect; You have been dwelling in Sabah for too long.

If not, surely you will know that in your neighboring state, it is part of the Iban language, as well as used in time immemorial by the Sikhs.

Proofs; 1. http://jamesjg.com/community/allah-part-of-iban-prayers
2. http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Allah

Gram Kong said...

Anonymous,6.42,

Thanks,typo error,corrected!

SM said...

Bro HL,

I'm not sure about Sabah, but the Sarawakian Christians have been using the word Allah for yonks. And so have the Bruneian Christians. In a Country like Brunei which is a "real" Islamic Country, Christians can use the word Allah, yet in Malaysia there's a problem?
The problem is not with the Christian Church playing Politics. The problem is the UMNO Racists & Bigots thinking that they are the only real Muslims in the world! They think they can corrupt & buy everyone (e.g. the BR1M fiasco). Now they think they can own Allah?!
Another reason to vote them out!

Purple Haze said...

The following article is attributed to Pak Sako. Everyone should read it.

+++

There are major contradictions in the claim that the word 'Allah' belongs only to Muslims and Islam and does not apply to non-Muslims and other religions (JAKIM), and in the insistence that non-Muslims must convert to Islam to use the word 'Allah' (Perak's mufti Harussani Zakaria).

The contradictions are as follows.

1. If we disallow non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah', are we implying that Allah has no relation to the non-Muslims, that Allah did not create the non-Muslims, but to whom Allah must belong if He is the Creator of all things?

2. If we say Allah is not the god of the non-Muslims, does this not imply that besides Allah there must exist a second god specifically for the non-Muslims, the former god of Muslim converts? Does this not clash with the Islamic concept of tauhid, which proposes that there cannot possibly be another god apart from Allah, and that no being can perform the work of a god other than Allah?

3. If we maintain that 'Allah' has no relevance to other religions, who then ultimately created these religions if not Allah, the Creator of all things? Are we suggesting that Allah got it wrong before unveiling Islam? But if tauhid is to stand and Allah is the sole Creator, and if Allah is infallible, perfect and all-knowing, does it not mean that Allah happily created, with no games intended, all the variety of religions and religious philosophies including Christianity and Hinduism?

4. Therefore how can it be wrong for a Hindu, a Christian or a freethinker to refer to 'Allah' as our one common god? Must Sikhs, who are not Muslims, stop using the word 'Allah', though 'Allah' appears numerous times in their holy book, which is not the al-Quran?

5. If non-Muslims must convert to Islam before referring to 'Allah', is that to say Allah was not their Creator prior to them converting? But how can that be if Allah created everything and there is no god other than Allah? If we say non-Muslims are non-believers who do not recognise Allah, then why deny them the use of the word 'Allah' to recognise this Supreme Being and Ultimate Cause?

The restrictions on the use of 'Allah' conflict with the core tenets of Islam. They conflict also with those of other religions.

Therefore we need an open and respectful discourse involving all the affected groups in this matter.

This is to attain a better understanding of Islam, of other religions, of the nature of religion and god in general, and of the reality of living in a multi-religious society.

It is not enough for Islamic religious officials alone to convene and make decisions. Blindly accepting this or that authority's unilateral interpretations or decrees cannot be the way to go. A resolution can only be found collectively.

It is thus necessary for each of us and all of us to question, discuss and learn widely to get closer to the truth. This is an essential counsel in Islam and in other religions.

It is clear that the exclusivist mentality of “this is for us, not for them, we are not the same so we cannot share” is not sustainable. It must be discarded.

We cannot escape from pursuing a broad-minded vision of religion that celebrates diversity and emphasises the shared values and other similarities across faiths.

Anonymous said...

anon @ January 10, 2013 8:58 AM

yeah the problem is this tribe cinapek sepet sengkelet wants to turn Malaysia into a christian country and the flag change is symbolic of greater singapore where the chines christians rule

Anonymous said...

SM is the personification of a communist minority wanting to rule the benign majority.

The "Allah" issue is a pre-requirement for a mass conversion of Malay Muslims into Malay Christians so that the arrogant chinese christians minority can rule and accumulate as much wealth as they can from this blessed land Malaysia.

Not gonna happen - just like the communists were wiped out so will the chinese christians be silenced