Saturday, December 22, 2007

Allah refers to God - not just the Muslim God

Narrow-minded officials , or should I say "ignorant" - for this was a matter that came up many years ago - and it is a fact that the word "Allah" is used by Christians, Jews, Muslims and even Sikhs(if I am not mistaken).

Next, they may be saying that other than in Islam, nobody can pray in Bahasa Malaysia. In my church, we pray and sing in Bahasa Malaysia.

If "Allah" only belongs to the Muslims, then the question is whether non-Muslims should stop singing some of the state anthems which have the word Allah. If Allah is the Muslim God only, then it will be wrong for people of other faiths to pray and/or call on him. Allah, for me is the name of God - and it belongs to no person or people - it is universal as is God.

As an example, thePahang state anthem is as follows:-

Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa,
Lanjutkan Usia Duli Yang Maha Mulia,
Dirgahayu, Darul Makmur,
Aman dan Bahagia Sentiasa,
Ya Allah, Selamatkan,
Duli Tuanku Raja Kami
And as a loyal Pahang citizen, when I sang that song, I called upon my God(not the Christian God, not the Hindu God, not the Muslim God - but GOD) for long life for my Sultan, etc...

Catholic paper told to change word for God

Saturday, 22 December 2007, 08:41am

Praying©The Straits Times, Singapore

The word Allah in the weekly's Malay section is applicable only to Muslims, says official

KUALA LUMPUR - A CATHOLIC weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to drop the use of the word Allah in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit, a senior government official said yesterday.

The Herald, the organ of Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church, has translated the word God as Allah, but it is erroneous because Allah refers to the Muslim God, said Mr Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit.

'Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim God. This is designed to confuse the Muslim people,' he said.

The weekly should, instead, use the word Tuhan, which is the general term for God, he told the Associated Press (AP).

Religious issues are extremely sensitive in Malaysia, where about 60 per cent of the 27 million people are Malay Muslims.

The minorities have often complained that they do not have full freedom of religion, even though the Constitution guarantees everybody the right to worship.

The Herald, which has a circulation of 12,000 for its members, has for years been publishing reports in four languages - English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

The Reverend Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the weekly's use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims.

'We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah,' he said.

'This is not something new. The word Allah has been used in Malaysia for a long time. There is no confusion,' Rev Andrew told AP.

The use of Allah outside of Islam has previously stirred controversies in Malaysia, online newspaper Malaysiakini reported.

Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word God as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam's name for God. The ban was lifted after protests from Christians.

The 13-year-old weekly is still in talks to renew its permit, which expires on Dec 31, Rev Andrew said, adding it would appeal if the government refuses to budge on the issue.

Publishers in Malaysia are required to obtain annual permits from the authorities under a printing law that has long been criticised by rights groups.

There are more than 800,000 Catholics in Malaysia, according to Rev Andrew.

Mr Che Din said Christians do not use the word Allah when they worship in English, so they should not use it in the Malay language too.

The word is used by Arabic-speaking Christians in the Middle East as well as by believers in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.


'We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word 'Allah'. This is not something new.'

REV LAWRENCE ANDREW, editor of the Catholic newspaper

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