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Malaysian Christians permitted to call God "Allah"

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  • Malaysian Christians permitted to call God "Allah"

    Not sure if this is the best place for this, but here it goes.


    After a three decades long battle, Malaysia's High Court overturned a law prohibiting Christians from using the word "Allah" in religious publications. "Allah" has been used for centuries in the country as the universal term for "God" and is the term found in Arabic translations of the Bible all over the world.


    Source: Malaysia court strikes down ban on Christians using the word 'Allah' in publications


    After a decades-long legal battle, a Malaysian court has overturned a policy banning Christians from using the word "Allah" in publications in the Muslim-majority country.

    On Wednesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court deemed unconstitutional a 35-year-old government ban on the use of "Allah" and three other Arabic words by Christian publications.

    An earlier court ruling had stated that Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims, as the word "is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity" and could cause confusion among religious groups.

    Three other words — "kaabah" (Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca), "baitullah" (house of God) and "solat" (prayer) — were also banned in a 1986 government directive.

    This week, government counsel Shamsul Bolhassan was quoted as saying by CNA that the four words can now be used in Christian materials following the court’s ruling, as long as it clearly states that materials are intended for Christians only and a symbol of a cross is displayed.

    The case began 13 years ago when officials seized religious materials in the local Malay language from a Christian at Kuala Lumpur International Airport that contained the word "Allah."

    The Christian woman — Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a member of an indigenous group — then launched a legal challenge against the policy.

    On Wednesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court sided with her, ruling she had the right not to face discrimination on the grounds of her faith. The judge also ruled the ban on Christians using "Allah" was "unlawful and unconstitutional," her lawyer Annou Xavier said.

    "The court has now said the word Allah can be used by all Malaysians," Xavier said, according to The Associated Press. "Today’s decision entrenches the fundamental freedom of religious rights for non-Muslims in Malaysia" enshrined in the constitution.

    Christians in Malaysia, who make up only 9% of the population, have historically used the word "Allah" to refer to God, in their Bibles, prayers and songs. Though most Christians in the country worship in English, Tamil or other Chinese dialects, some Malay-speaking people have no other word for God but "Allah."

    Controversy over the use of the word "Allah" has been ongoing for several years in Malaysia, sparking tension between religious groups.

    In 2014, Malaysia’s top court denied a Catholic Church the right to use the word "Allah" in the Malay-language edition of a church newspaper. That same year, a church was hit with petrol bombs.

    In recent years, Islamic authorities have seized more than 20,000 Bibles that used the word "Allah," according to International Christian Concern.

    Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List ranks Malaysia as the 46th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution. In Malaysia, Christians have suffered from many forms of Islamic repression.

    According to Open Doors USA, which monitors persecution in over 60 countries, Catholics and Methodists are monitored by authorities in Malaysia, but nontraditional Protestant groups are more often targeted because they are usually more active in evangelizing. Open Doors reports that it is illegal to share the Gospel with Malaysian Muslims.



    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    Apparently the court reached this decision back in 2018 but has been repeatedly delayed as the parties attempted an out-of-court settlements before Covid-related lockdown took effect last year.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

  • #2
    They shouldn't be using that word for the name of God.


    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
      They shouldn't be using that word for the name of God.
      It is the word for "God" in their language. You find Middle Eastern Christians commonly doing the same thing.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        And it isn't like it is over

        Source: Malaysian court’s decision to allow use of 'Allah' by Christians heralds political, social tension


        A Malaysian court’s decision last week to overturn a decades-old policy banning Christians from referring to God by using the Arabic word "Allah" is unlikely to close the chapter on the saga, analysts say, with the government on Monday appealing against the ruling following pressure from conservative Muslims.

        With the country likely headed for fresh elections later this year, the resurgence of the issue -- and the possibility of rekindled tensions among Muslims and Christians -- might give embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yet another political headache, the analysts added.

        ...

        Malaysian politics observer James Chin told This Week in Asia the judge’s ruling was a "doubled-edged sword" given the long-running Christian-Muslim feud in the country surrounding the use of the word "Allah" to describe the Christian God.

        "On the one hand, Christians will celebrate; on the other, it will spur Jakim [the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia], the right-wing Malay groups, and the government to think of new ways to restrict and make Islam more 'exclusive'," said Chin, director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

        Christianity is practiced by about 10 per cent of Malaysia’s 32 million people, with a large number of worshippers living in the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo and hailing from ethnic groups such as the Melanau, Kadazandusun, Dayak, Iban and Bidayuh.

        Malay-speaking Malaysian Christians contend that they have used the term Allah and other Arabic-origin words for centuries to describe God.

        Among conservative Islamist groups, the key concern is that the use of Malay words by Christians would aid the conversions of rural Muslims.

        It is illegal in Malaysia to convert from Islam to another religion.

        ...

        Malaysia’s Solicitor-General Abdul Razak Musa on Monday told local media an appeal against the ruling had been filed with the Court of Appeal, following calls for it to be challenged last week.

        On Sunday, Pembela, a coalition of some 50 Muslim groups, expressed "shock and disappointment" with the High Court’s ruling, saying it went against a precedent set by the Federal Court -- the country’s highest judicial body -- which in 2014 upheld the 1986 government order and set aside the 2009 decision.

        Key members of the prime minister’s ruling Perikatan Nasional alliance -- comprising the Malay-only nationalist parties Umno and Bersatu as well as the hardline Islamist party PAS -- had also said the ruling should be appealed.




        Source

        © Copyright Original Source



        Not so sure just how high this "high court" actually is.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          It is the word for "God" in their language. You find Middle Eastern Christians commonly doing the same thing.
          It might be their word for God, which I knew already, but it blurs the distinction between the Christian God and the Islamic god. Which are not the same God.


          Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mossrose View Post

            It might be their word for God, which I knew already, but it blurs the distinction between the Christian God and the Islamic god. Which are not the same God.
            I agree they're not the same but I don't see it any different than our use of God to describe Yahweh and god to describe mythological and false deities.

            I'm always still in trouble again

            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              I agree they're not the same but I don't see it any different than our use of God to describe Yahweh and god to describe mythological and false deities.
              Especially since the original languages did not use capitals. Or used all capitals, depending on the century the manuscript was written. They didn't use spaces or punctuation for that matter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                I agree they're not the same but I don't see it any different than our use of God to describe Yahweh and god to describe mythological and false deities.
                There is a new translation of scripture coming out this year called the Legacy Standard Bible, and it uses Yahweh for every instance of the word. Nothing to do with this, but I find it interesting.


                Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  It is the word for "God" in their language. You find Middle Eastern Christians commonly doing the same thing.
                  Is it though? The language in Malaysia isn't normally Arabic. They speak Malay and English mostly. I would think their bibles would be in Malay. God in Malay is "Tuhan"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                    Is it though? The language in Malaysia isn't normally Arabic. They speak Malay and English mostly. I would think their bibles would be in Malay. God in Malay is "Tuhan"
                    you are correct---but

                    ---Christians have been using the word "Allah" for God in the Arabian peninsula even before Islam.

                    --- (?) I think around 1629...the malay NT translation of (Geek) bible used "Allah" for the word "theos"
                    1733, the complete bible (OT/NT) was translated and it used "Allah"

                    ---The use of Arabic words in Christian publications became controversial and 32 Arabic words (including Allah) were banned....
                    ---Christian Churches of the region unanimously decided to keep the term "Allah".

                    ---The Catholic newsletter "The Herald" was issued a warning....it is at this point that "Allah" became contentious---with the Christian side claiming right of use also....
                    ---In 2006 the newsletter was granted the use of "Allah".

                    ...and the rulings have been going back and forth since...the argument "against" stating it is not essential for Christian piety/worship to use "Allah" and the argument "for" stating that it is "essential" as it has been used for centuries...

                    In the background are several contributing factors...such as (apparently) Christian proselytizing missions misuse/misrepesentation of the term "Allah", the rise of wahabism/salafism in the region, economic and political "identity" concerns.


                    So why use "Allah" instead of Tuhan?----according to some arguments, the word "Allah" denotes a monotheistic God which is more appropriate for use in the bible.
                    (Allah was also used by the polytheistic Arabs so the argument does not really hold historically speaking)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by siam View Post

                      you are correct---but

                      ---Christians have been using the word "Allah" for God in the Arabian peninsula even before Islam.

                      --- (?) I think around 1629...the malay NT translation of (Geek) bible used "Allah" for the word "theos"
                      1733, the complete bible (OT/NT) was translated and it used "Allah"

                      ---The use of Arabic words in Christian publications became controversial and 32 Arabic words (including Allah) were banned....
                      ---Christian Churches of the region unanimously decided to keep the term "Allah".

                      ---The Catholic newsletter "The Herald" was issued a warning....it is at this point that "Allah" became contentious---with the Christian side claiming right of use also....
                      ---In 2006 the newsletter was granted the use of "Allah".

                      ...and the rulings have been going back and forth since...the argument "against" stating it is not essential for Christian piety/worship to use "Allah" and the argument "for" stating that it is "essential" as it has been used for centuries...

                      In the background are several contributing factors...such as (apparently) Christian proselytizing missions misuse/misrepesentation of the term "Allah", the rise of wahabism/salafism in the region, economic and political "identity" concerns.


                      So why use "Allah" instead of Tuhan?----according to some arguments, the word "Allah" denotes a monotheistic God which is more appropriate for use in the bible.
                      (Allah was also used by the polytheistic Arabs so the argument does not really hold historically speaking)
                      "Allah" sounds like you are talking about the Muslim God. Which is confusing. Since they are using a foreign word for God instead of their own native word, then why not use a word that is not confusing? Like "God" or even "Yahweh" or "the LORD?"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know how I feel about the translation mentioned above. According to Richard Bauckham, the early Christians would not use "Yahweh" because it was too sacred.
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          I don't know how I feel about the translation mentioned above. According to Richard Bauckham, the early Christians would not use "Yahweh" because it was too sacred.
                          But it IS the name of God, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't mind us calling Him by His name. Everybody calls Him Jehovah, and that's a made up word. Is that better than His actual name?

                          It's just how YHWH is pronounced in English, pretty much.


                          Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mossrose View Post

                            But it IS the name of God, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't mind us calling Him by His name. Everybody calls Him Jehovah, and that's a made up word. Is that better than His actual name?

                            It's just how YHWH is pronounced in English, pretty much.
                            You'll never know the effort it took not to link to Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al"

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                              You'll never know the effort it took not to link to Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al"
                              Good for you!



                              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                              Comment

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