ALSO BY

By Lembu Susu

Let's go with restraint and respect on 'Allah' issue

I wish to share my thoughts with laypersons and have intentionally omitted quoting from both the Quran and the Bible, so as to make reading easy for both sides of the divide.

1. The word 'Allah' is meant only for Muslims and for all who hold the view that there is only one god, according to the PAS Majlis Syura.

This view resonates well with the majority of Muslims in Malaysia. Non-Muslims and Christians must understand that the reason that PAS does not allow the word 'Allah' in the Bible translation is because of theological reasons.

Christians hold the view that God is a trinity; their belief is in a triune god (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).

Christians maintain they believe in one god, but the concept of the trinity is unacceptable in Islam.

Hence, if Christians were to use the word 'Allah' for their God, then, it will not represent correctly the 'Allah' of the Muslim God.

2. Christians, on the other hand, have a problem if they use the word 'Allah' without qualification. The problem is that the 'Allah' of the Bible is not the same as the 'Allah' of the Quran.

For example, Christians believe the Bible teaches monogamous marriages, but in the Quran, polygamy is allowed, albeit with certain conditions.

Moreover, in the Quran, jihad also involves wiping out infidels, which is not advocated at all, in the New Testament of the Bible.

Hence, when Christians use the word 'Allah' for God, they have to clarify, that though the word 'Allah' is the same word being used for 'God' by both the Christians and the Muslims, yet, the 'Allah' revealed in the Bible is different from the 'Allah' in the Quran.

3. The bottom line is this: 'Allah' is just a word to denote 'God'. It is how you will fill that word with meaning. This is where the teachings in the Quran and in the Bible gives meaning to the word 'Allah' by each religion.

4. But if we were to look it in another angle, actually, Allah is greater than any human words can express. Allah cannot be confined to a word.

The word is only necessary to help man connect to Him, but He is greater than a word. In fact, there is no word that is sufficient to address Him. He is beyond words. He cannot be reduced to just a word, 'Allah'. He is greater than any words mankind can call Him.

5. So, on 'Allah's side, there is no issue for the Muslims and there is no issue for the Christians. He will never be confused by the Christians or by the Muslims.

6. As for Muslims and Christians, there is also no confusion with the word 'Allah', as the years have proven. It is how you fill the meaning of the word 'Allah'.

The teachings from the Quran and the Bible will give understanding and meaning to that word, according to each one's religion.

7. Every person believes his or her religion is the correct one. That Malaysia has existed in harmony all these years is because of the mutual respect shown towards each other's religion and faith.

8. In each religion, it is only normal for their religion to tell them that theirs is the only and correct religion. Others are not correct. In fact, they are false.

This is all right, because the constitution allows for freedom of religion. But what a person believes must only be confined to himself or herself.

They are not to extend what they believe onto others. If that is done, it will cause war.

9. Though Islam is the religion of the federation, the constitution allows freedom of religion. Hence, to stretch one's beliefs and impose it on others, infringes on the rights of a citizen.

10. Non-Muslims cannot impose on Muslims their beliefs, neither can Muslims beliefs be imposed onto non-Muslims. Instead, there must be mutual respect for each other's beliefs.

11. No one can tell another religion what word they can use and what word they cannot use. If this is allowed, it will break down the peace and harmony built and cherished all these years.

It will be the same as telling them, "you cannot practice your own religion, because your religion violates my religious beliefs"; almost every religion, if adhered fully, will violate another.

If this happens, then there will be provocation and war.

So, in conclusion, the authorities must not use their authority to impose one belief onto another, just because it is what they believe in.

Instead, restraint and respect regarding each other's faith and beliefs should be paramount and upheld.

Let the Muslims respect the non-Muslims faith and beliefs, and vice-versa.

If 'Allah' is consider a sacred word to the Muslims, then, keep in within the context of own religion. Don't impose it on others, who may not share the same beliefs.

The Christians have no intention to hurt or to confuse the Muslims. They are only asking for their right to practice their own religion, using a word that has been there and used all these years.