Editor’s Note: Roughly a decade ago, Apocryphalist was quite a name to be reckoned with in areas of discussions regarding the Allah’s Name in the Bible in the blogosphere. Now more than 10 years have passed, and there is a new court ruling about it. Let’s get into the psyche of this writer to see what his latest thoughts about the matter is.
Alpha: A Conflict Unwarranted
The case of putting the name of Allah to replace “God” in the bibles in Bahasa Malaysia originated as early as the emergence of the first bibles in the language during the colonial era, but it gained momentum only recently especially after some local Christians contested the 1986 government ruling prohibiting its use. Time does not permit me to give a thorough choronological narrative of the historical events which led to this ruling, but I would like to briefly share with you here my own experience in this matter in the dimensions of the internet, demonstrating how this issue takes on a different countenance in light of this modern technology of communications.
The issue came up profusely towards the end of 2008 where the Christian community started to challenge the government ruling, and before there was even a court case, the matter was already heftily tried in the court of armchair opinionists who grazed the blogs and discussion forums of the internet. I was quite active in issuing some of these ideas then, and this culminated in some of the bloggers/facebookers putting forward to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs then to do something about it. I got in touch with super blogger Rocky Bru through my friend Endy (Jebat Must Die) and he in turn passed the idea to Shamsul Akmar who was quite close to the powers that be then. One thing led to another and in the end about more than 10 of us were invited by the ministry then to discuss about the issue. Nuraina Samad of repute also joined in and Mamu Zainol Abidin who went by the name of Mahaguru58 also participated. I forgot who else were there but the meeting was amicable. The minister told an anecdote of how Nuraina Samad’s dad used to COOK once for him. We ended up submitting some of our writings, points and comments about the matter to the government legal representative.
There were a lot of writings, a lot of articles and arguments which I will not repeat here. Let’s move forward to the here and now. Perhaps in another time and space I will give some links on where some of these articles can be found.
Epsilon: The Reconciliatory Phase
Well now that the court has come to a ruling that it is allowable to have the Allah name in the Malay language bibles, the only sane thing to do now is to do a reconciliation between the elders of the two religions. And what do I mean by reconciliation? Well, I have five things in mind, basically, for the adherents of the two faiths to reconcile with the new rulings. Here they are:-
Goodwill offer by the government and the Muslim World
Instead of fighting about it, why don’t the Muslims of the World in general, and the people and the Government of Malaysia in particular, take a more positive and amicable approach and HELP the Christian community worldwide? By that I mean: since it has recently been proven by the courts that the bible contends that Allah is the name of God in the bible, why not we sponsor that ALL CHRISTIAN BIBLES IN THE WORLD BE REPRINTED WITH THE NAME ALLAH INSTEAD OF GOD, WORLDWIDE? I have no doubt that there are many, many billionaire muslims the world over who would be too happy to venture such an investment.
Now careful folks. I can think of NO REASON whatsoever that the Christian world would want to find this idea bad. If one part of your community says that the name of this God is Allah, then what reasons could there be to not use His name in your bibles? If you are saying that you are referring to Allah as a common noun, in Bahasa Malaysia there already exists a common name for God, and it is Tuhan. Why didn’t you want to use that but use the proper name of God instead? By doing that, you MUST admit that when Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all the biblical prophets mentioned God, they REALLY actually meant (and uttered) Allah. Not God, not Yahweh, not Elohim (hey by the way, the Old Testament DID mention Yahweh as the proper noun for God. Why don’t you use that?). In fact the common noun for God in Arabic is Rabb. And since it is mainly for the East Malaysian Christians who would use the bible, there already IS a common noun for God in Iban language: it is Petara.
Another reason why other Christians the world over might not agree with this idea is that THEY DON’T BELIEVE THAT ALLAH IS THE NAME OF THEIR GOD. Well in that case what we have done is demonstrated that there exists a dogmatic chasm within Christendom itself as to regards who God is, and that the wishes of a small community of Sarawak churches wishing to do so should be investigated, in reference to the general beliefs of the rest of Christendom, especially of their motives for the name inclusion.
The Pope’s Involvements and Global Endorsements
A massive bridging for the conflict between the two religions can come from a person no less important than His Holiness the Pope himself. You see, for the past two thousand years the entire christendom has fought to deny that the name of God that they worshipped all this while is Allah. To them, in the bible, none of the prophets have mentioned that name, and certainly Jesus (according to them) never uttered Allah also. So with this ruling it is NATURAL to suppose that the Pope has no problem in issuing a worldwide decree that says: “The Name of the God that we worshipped all this while is Allah”. Yup, that very name in which Crusades and conquests were made just so mankind DENY that very name.
It would also be interesting to note if SOME Christians DO like that the name Allah be included in the MALAY bible while maintaining that noooo… thank you … don’t put it in OUR bibles though. In this case, the mystery deepens as to the actual MOTIVATION. This can be ascertained by the Pope himself. When some Catholics here in Malaysia fought tooth and nail to use the name Allah, then the subsequent questions would be:-
- Is the directive of putting the name Allah coming from the Pope himself? If it is, can we get a written ruling from him in saying that yes, the MALAY bibles must contain the name Allah and not God. And if so, can we suggest to the Pope to agree that ALL the King James bibles worldwide be edited where each and every utterance of the word God or Yahweh be changed to Allah? If he doesn’t agree, then can he tell us why not?
- If it is not the directive of the Pope, then is the local chapter of the Catholic Church acting in direct disagreement to their Holy See? Were their actions ever endorsed by the Pope? Is the Pope agreeing that in the Malay bibles they teach that this God is Allah and for the rest of the bibles worldwide, this God is not? I mean surely the Pope cannot be involved in chicanery and deceit of a Grand Episcopal Scale?
But not only the Catholics. We must get similar endorsements from the elders of the Orthodox Churches too: The Greek Orthodox, the Coptics, the Russian Orthodox. Let’s get them to endorse the works of a tiny minor population of Christians in Malaysia who insist that the God that they worship is Allah. And not only that. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different denominations of the Protestant sect of Christianity, and THEY have Church Fathers and Elders of their own. Let’s get THEM to produce statements either for or against this ruling too.
Support by The Islamic Clergies
Now as a further token of reconciliaton from the Muslims, all Muslim Imams, Muftis, Clergies, Scholars must issue this statement of agreement that the God mentioned in the bible is actually Allah, and there is no difference between the Quranic Allah and the Biblical Allah. In particular, amongst others, consider the following:-
- That as stated in Genesis 32: 24-30, God is not quite strong. He became a man, and wrestled with Jacob and was beaten by him. The Muslim scholars MUST agree wholeheartedly that the name of the God who got beaten in this wrestling match is Allah.
- That according to Exodus 13:21 in leading Moses across the Red Sea, God travelled in a pillar of a cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night. The name of this God who preferred that mode of transportation is Allah. The Islamic scholars must sign on to that.
- Moses in Exodus 15:8 taught that this God departed the waters of the sea for the Israelites using a powerful blast of His nostrils. The name of the God who did this is Allah
- It is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:12-14 that God instructs that if the Israelites pass stool, they must dig a hole on the ground and cover the faeces because in the night God walks around the camp and do not want that his feet would step upon some shit. The name of this omni-hygienic God is Allah. The Islamic Muftis must declare that to be so.
- In Judges 1:19 it gives some insight of the limitations of this God. He could not drive out the enemies because they had chariots of iron. The name of this Ferro-phobic God is Allah. The sooner the Ustazs tell this to the masses, the sooner the reconciliations can be done.
- In 2 Kings 2:23-24 God sends two bears to kill 42 little children for making fun of Elisha’s bald head, and the name of this God is Allah. This could be taught in Tahfiz schools, kindergartens, primary schools, if the Islamic scholars endorse it soonest.
- God instructs to kill every male, kill every woman who has known man intimately and keep the virgin girls for consumption (Numbers 31:17-18). The name of this God is Allah and the Muslim scholars must declare that.
- God repents (Exodus 32:14), became grieved (Genesis 6:5), Lies (Chronicles 18:20-22) and nearly killed Moses (Exodus 4:24-26). The scholars must tell people that these are the characteristics of Allah.
- In Matthew 16:28 this God inspires Jesus to make a false prophecy. Jesus tells his disciples: “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” The people who were standing there all died eventually, and they never saw Jesus return to establish a kingdom. Islamic Clergies must tell people that the name of the God who issued these false prophecies is Allah.
Tomorrow we will continue with Apocryphalist’s suggestions on how to do reconciliations after this historic ruling, and read his conclusions on the entire matter that can pose win-win situations for both Christians and Muslims. – New Malaysia Herald
Note: The opinion expressed in this article is that of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.
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