Friday, October 18, 2013

Allah © 2013 — Malaysian Muslims clear up the confusion over who Allah is

A critic of mine recently wrote me the following:

Do you not realize that “Allah” is not a proper name? it is the Arabic word for “God” and it should be used, lest the Muslim teaching be distorted unfairly. Arabic-speaking Christians use the word “Allah” when they pray in Arabic, just as not Arabs use God. 
If you wish to read my full reply, you can find it here. In it I trace the etymological roots concerning "Allah," and present reasons why it should be thought of as a proper name for the Muslim deity (who, incidentally, may have started his divine career as but one of many Arab pagan gods prior to Muhammad's elevation of him). It's a complex issue, in any case, and well worth a read of my post.

Of special interest, therefore, is this ongoing case in Malaysia, where Muslims have now successfully won in court the exclusive right to use the proper name "Allah" when referring to their deity. No other religion, Christian or otherwise, can use "Allah" when referring to God.

In effect, the Malaysian Muslims have copyrighted "Allah." The Muslim deity's name could now be represented as:

Allah ©2013 (or just Allah©, for short).

I would wholeheartedly agree with the Malaysian Muslims on this, and I would urge Christians worldwide to respect the ummah's copyright of their deity's name, and cease using it when referring to God.


Because Allah© could not possibly be the same as the One True God, Who has self-revealed in human history as a Trinity of Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Because Allah© commands killing the unbelievers (which includes Christians and Jews, the 'People of the Book') and striking terror into their hearts, and smiting all their fingers and toes, etc. (see Koran 9:29, 9:5, 8:12, 8:60, 47:4, and so on), it should be obvious to any person familiar with both Christian and Muslim scriptures and teachings that Allah© goes completely, 100% against the teachings, example and gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore could not be the True God.

Because Allah© denies the Blessed Trinity, denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (even though the Koran calls Christ the "Word of God"), and even denies that Jesus Christ was crucified, Allah© is plainly wrong, and cannot be the True God. (See my article on St Gregory Palamas' theological deconstruction of Islam for more on these points.)

I could go on, but you get the point. In my book, Facing Islam - What the Ancient Church has to say about the Religion of Muhammad, I discuss ten specific proofs as to why Allah© of Islam could not possibly be the True God worshipped by Christians.

As to the court ruling in Malaysia, it certainly demonstrates what one Malaysian MP notes in the below article: “Malaysia is not prepared yet for such mature interfaith relationships, since the word Allah is still seen as very sensitive to Muslims.”

Source: TIME, via Pravoslavie — 10/18/2013

Muslim Demonstrators
Allah can no longer be used by a Christian newspaper in Malaysia to refer to God after a landmark court ruling on Monday, reversing a decision made four years previously that maintained the term transcended different faiths.

“It is my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religions to the followers of Islam,” said chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali, announcing the change.

The panel of three judges was unanimous in their decision that the use of Allah by the Roman Catholic Herald newspaper constituted a threat to the sanctity of Islam, as defined in the federal constitution. The Herald editor the Rev. Lawrence Andrew said he was “disappointed and dismayed,” vowing to appeal.

The issue is contentious. The previous 2009 ruling was followed by a spate of attacks on churches, and critics fear the issue is once again being used to stoke religious tensions in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation. “Narrow-minded and prejudiced people are creating an atmosphere of hatred,” Mujahid Yusof Rawa, an MP for Malaysia’s opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, tells TIME.

According to the Rev. Eu Hong Seng, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, “The Bahasa Malaysia–speaking Christians have been using the word Allah before and after the independence of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia.”

Plenty of academic evidence suggests that Allah has also been used by Christians and Jews in Arabia for generations. “And what about the 10 [million] to 12 million Arab Christians today? They have been calling God ‘Allah’ in their Bibles, hymns, poems, writings, and worship for over 19 centuries,” says Fouad Accad in his book Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam, which examines commonality between the different faiths.

Allah was common parlance even before the birth of Islam in the sixth century. “Arabs used the word ‘Allah’ for the supreme being before the time of Muhammad,” writes Kenneth J. Thomas, a United Bible Societies translation consultant based in New York. “Inscriptions with ‘Allah’ have been discovered in Northern and Southern Arabia from as early as the fifth century B.C.”

With Christians in the neighboring Indonesia still allowed to use the term, many ponder what is behind the Malaysian U-turn. Mujahid believes this latest ruling is part of a “dynamic” of Malay right-wing appeasement after Prime Minister Najib Razak was returned to power with a slim majority.

“Malaysia is not prepared yet for such mature interfaith relationships, since the word Allah is still seen as very sensitive to Muslims,” he laments. “But I don’t think Muslims are that weak that they are going to convert to Christianity by hearing the word Allah said by a Christian.”

Ethnicity has been a key facet of Malaysian politics since colonial times, and increasingly so after 1971, when affirmative action for the bumiputra, or “sons of the soil” as the Malay and smaller indigenous minorities call themselves, was introduced in the wake of bloody race riots.

Ethnic Malays make up around two-thirds of Malaysia’s 28 million people. Chinese and Indians control much of the wealth and make up around 22% and 7% of the population respectively. About 9% of Malaysians are Christian.