Friday, December 28, 2012

Muslims, Christians, the Word Allah and the Bible.

Here we go again… Every now and then, this matter will see the light of day. This time around, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng brought it up in his Christmas message. I personally agree with his sentiment. We should all share the word Allah and make it the universal name for God. As far as the Quran is concerned, this verse explains the universality of Allah clearly.

They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause)except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will) – Quran 22:40

Then what is the real issue here? As I have written in my book Can we use Allah in the Bible?, it is about TRUST. Below is the excerpt of the conclusion of Chapter 2 from my book that can be downloaded here.

“It is clear that it is only permissible to use the term Allah to refer to God in the Bible, it is exactly what the Quran wants us to do. What an irony.

I would like to thank my Christian brothers and sisters in their effort to make Allah the universal name of God and wanting the name to be the preferred reference to God in the Bible.

But, you must not stop there.

You must also strive hard to ensure that not just the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia Bibles use the term Allah but all the other translations in the world regardless if they are in Japanese, English, Russian or Hindi uses the same term. Malaysian Christians can lead the world of Christianity to make Allah the universal name of God with the solid support of their Muslim brothers and sisters. Anything that can bring us closer together must be supported. A shared universal name to call our God Allah seems a most appropriate place to start.

Failing to do so will create mistrust because the correct term for God in Malay is Tuhan. The Muslims will question your consistency and sincerity. Because the real issue here is Trust. Not the technicality of the term Allah, Tuhan, Elohim, Elah etc. This is where we need to focus. This is what we need to pay attention to.
There are three levels of trust missing.

Firstly we do not trust each other. The Muslims perceive the inconsistency of Christians wanting to use the term Allah in the Malay bible and not the other translations as a plot to convert Malay Muslims to Christianity. And, the Christians perceive the Muslims rejection to the usage of the term as another strategy to block the spread of the Christian faith to Muslims in Malaysia. This feeling is deep in the Christian psyche as they find the lopsided law on conversion in Malaysia to be unfair (Check what the Quran say about this at 83:1-3 and 5:8).

Secondly, we do not trust ourselves. The Muslims lack confidence of fellow Muslims and feel that just by using the term Allah, their faith towards Islam can be shaken. The Christians lack confidence that being Christ-like is enough to attract others to the faith. That when you turn the other cheek, you win.

Yet the deepest rot is the lack of trust in Allah or God or Tuhan or any other name you want to call upon Him! Both Muslims and Christians fail to trust that Allah will be with those who are true and love those who trust Him. If we do so, we have nothing to fear and nothing to grieve. Failing to trust Him, we become weak, insecure and misguided.”

So to solve this issue, we must focus on TRUST between Muslims and Christians. I would be very happy if Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng can be the Christian leader to get the ball rolling and strive to ensure that Allah is not only used in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible, but all the other translations around the world as well. If we extend our efforts to ensure that the Bibles in all languages use the term Allah, I have a strong conviction that Muslims will be able to see good in this effort and do not see this as a ploy of converting Malay Muslims to Christianity.

The word Allah is universal and I believe it should be universally used by all Muslims and Christians alike. When Malaysian Christians take the lead to make the word Allah universal and fight for its usage internationally, Muslims will have no reason to be suspicious; they will TRUST Christians more. And I reckon this is one way how TRUST between our Muslim and Christian communities can be nurtured.

Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye:
this is a Way that is straight – Quran 19:36


Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur


pak yeh said...

It is not the USE of the word Allah that is the issue. It is the MISUSE or ABUSE of the word Allah that is the issue.

Note that the Injil as statetd in the Quran is the old testament in Hebrew and NOT the Gospels. the Gospels are biography of Jesus by many authors and as such, it is not the word of God.

There is no problem, although it is a miss translation, to replace Yaweh, the Biblr god, with Allah. The two are the same god. But there is a problem when replacing Father or Lord in the Gospels with Allah, as Allah would then have a son, and become a trinity, which would become a FALSE ALLAH.
Allah and Yaweh being a trinity is a lie.

We do not stop Christians from lying about their god Yaweh, but we Muslims should stop them from telling a lie about our god Allah.

Although you have shown Quranic proofs that Allah was used in Arabia, this is only for correct usage only.It does not include incorrect usage,lies and mistranslations.

Read more @

Anonymous said...

Do you agree Christians use Allah to say He has a son and is a Trinity.???

Anonymous said...


You said, "But, you must not stop there.

You must also strive hard to ensure that not just the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia Bibles use the term Allah but all the other translations in the world regardless if they are in Japanese, English, Russian or Hindi uses the same term... Failing to do so will create mistrust because the correct term for God in Malay is Tuhan."

You are absolutely right in pointing out that the correct term for God in Malay is Tuhan, hence, for a Malay to use any other non-Malay term is akin to language importing in all cultures & traditions. Malays mix Sanskrit, Chinese, Hindu, Arabic and many more into their daily usage.

For Muslim Malays, they have chosen the Arabic word "Allah", instead of other possibilities. The same is happening to the Ibans, Kadazhan, Bidayuhs & all the pribumis of Sabah & Sarawak. These Bumiputeras had chosen the word "Allah" for centuries. Why must a certain bumiputera be preferred over the other bumiputeras that one is allowed to use term of their choice but not the other? Or the condition be set that they must cross borders to ask Japanese, Russian...etc to use the same?

Kay said...

Thank you for your feedback on this issue, Mr. Anas Zubedy. However, some of your points overlook some very important facts concerning the use of Allah in the Al Kitab:

1) The fact that the name Allah has appeared in the AlKitab loooong before the formation of Malaysia in 1963. To be precise, the first appearance of the term 'Allah' was in the 17th century translation of the AlKitab. The Term has been used in subsequent translations of AlKitab's ever since. The usage IS NOT a recent phenomenon, and certainly not something the Christians recently thought of a few years ago.

2) Secondly, the Christians of Sabah & Sarawak have been using the word Allah long before the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Until recently, there has been little hoo haa over this. If it has not been a problem before, it should not be made into a problem now.

A lot of people from Semenanjung are still unaware of how things are in Sabah & Sarawak. Our idea of these two states are still a mashup of stereotypes of 'Kinabalu', 'blowpipes', 'Bakun dam', 'timber', 'headhunters', 'spears', 'Penan', 'oil & gas', 'orang utans', 'longhouses with no electricity', and maybe 'Sipadan'. But over there, a man with a Arabic sounding name like 'Idris', 'Rizal' or 'Salleh' could be a Christian, and a person named 'Rosario' could be a born Muslim. Just a few days ago, I learned there are Foochow Chinese families in Sabah that are officially classed as 'Bumiputras'.

I think there is a lot that we all can, and need to, learn about our cousins across the South China Sea. I know you are a reasonable man open to learning about new things, Mr. Anas Zubedy.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Even KTEMOC a athiest can understand the issue better.refer..

By the Way, are you a trinity.??? Muslim,kah,kah,kah.

How come you do not publish comments???
One way teacher.???
A believe in ISA like Mamak Kutty