Kuala Lumpur: A well-known Malaysian Mufti has shown reservations on the usage of word “Allah” by the non-Muslims in Malaysia to refer their gods and asked them to embrace Islam before using “Allah” as this word belongs only to Muslims.
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria also said that the Christian community in the country is intentionally provoking Muslims by pressing on with their demand to use “Allah” in their holy book.
He said, “The matter is already in the (Islamic) enactments of every state, they’re provoking Muslims on purpose so Muslims will melatah (over-react).”
“Christians should not interfere with Islam, they’d be better off taking care of their own religion. If they want to use Allah, convert into Islam,” he added.
The latest issue over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians to refer to god hit media headlines last week when Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng spoke on the issue in his Christmas message.
The DAP secretary-general triggered uproar when he urged the federal government to allow the use of the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian Bible.
He pointed out that this has been allowed in Sabah and Sarawak for the last 50 years and practiced in the Middle East for more than a thousand years.
Zakaria reiterated that the name should be exclusive to Islam to not confuse Muslims, a view shared by DAP’s partner PAS which insisted that Christians should not use it in the Alkitab as it does not reflect the actual meaning of “God” in the original text.
The mufti also warned Muslims to not easily play into the hands of Christians by over-reacting, despite stressing that it is important for the adherents to express their disapproval.
Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC) commented that it is unconstitutional to ban anyone from using the word “Allah”, insisting that the National Fatwa Council’s 2010 law on the word could not apply to non-Muslims.
In a statement, MGC President Jagir Singh pointed out that the council does not have direct jurisdiction over non-Muslims and could not issue fatwas to bar the community from using a specific word.
In Penang, State Mufti Hassan Ahmad criticized Lim for raising the issue and reminded him of the council’s 2010 law, where it had banned the use of the word by non-Muslims, along with 39 others.
But DAP Chairman Karpal Singh came out to defend his party comrade, reminding Muslims that those of other faiths apart from Christianity also use the word “Allah”.
As an example, Karpal said that the word “Allah” appears 37 times in the Sikh bible, while the orang aslis, the babas in Malacca and even the Bengali language uses the word.
On Friday, former council chairman Datuk Dr. Ismail Ibrahim was reported as saying that non-Muslims should stop demanding to use the word “Allah” as the Arabic word is fundamental to Islamic belief and therefore exclusive to Muslims.
He said, “Enough is enough, enough with all the other policies, including the ones enshrined in the Constitution that has been claimed for equality, to be granted equal rights... therefore the right to recognize the concept of the divinity in this religion, don’t grab, challenge and manipulate so. The name ALLAH is still something basic and fundamental to Islam.”
“The name Allah, from a philosophical point, its definition and concept is not equal with the name Tuhan, God, Lord and so on in the usage of other religions,” he added.