Only Muslims Can Call God ‘Allah,’ Malaysian Court Says

Christians in Malaysia also call God 'Allah'

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A Malaysian high court ruled Monday that only Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God, despite the fact that many Malaysian Christians also call God by that name.

The decision overturned a 2009 ruling that Christians could also refer to God as “Allah,” BBC reports. That lawsuit was brought by a Catholic newspaper. Following the 2009 decision, dozens of churches and mosques were vandalized and destroyed.

The government appealed the 2009 decision and won. In handing down his ruling Monday, Chief Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said that “the usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity. The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”

Allah entered into the Malay language centuries ago through Arabic and became the word used by both Christian and Muslim ethnic Malays to refer to God. Malaysia, a former British colony, is home to sizable ethnic and religious minorities who have in the past clashed with a government dominated by the country’s Muslim majority.

The Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald, lamented the new ruling. “It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities,” he said.

[BBC]

266 comments
Joe Joka Kazhama
Joe Joka Kazhama

let every one there God in what ever way,so what about arabic christians in there own way what ll they cal God

Mohammad Danish Khan
Mohammad Danish Khan

Joseph, in my understanding as Muslim's believe in one single creator and to describe one single creator no other word than Allah can be use. I mean even grammatically. Like the word God has plural, but the word Allah has no plural. Then God can be used as Godly, Goddess, Godlike etc.. that mean giving a human characteristics. But with the word Allah you can never ascribe such humanly characteristics. Further Allah has 99 synonymous words too, like Rahim, Rehman, Kareem, Gafoor etc but no Muslim can name himself with these synonymous name of Allah. He has to mandatorily use the word Abdul as prefix to Allah's synonymous name. Abdul means Slave of.. So we name ourselves in the name of Allah as his slave.. My point is non Muslims refering there respective gods as Allah defeat the very nature of word Allah. Allah was never born nor he dies. But many Gods of non Muslim's took birth and died. Allah has no shape, size, gender etc but we know of many non Muslim gods who are either male or female and most of non Muslim have picture or idols. So if u call ur God as Allah then u got to be a Muslim, else u r principally wrong with ur religion. Hope u will take it in a right spirit.

harrith
harrith

I am a Muslim from Malaysia and currently living in Malaysia. I feel I have to clarify what’s really going on here and why this Allah issue came up. This issue is regarding the use of the word Allah for the Bahasa Malaysia version of the holy bible, and not on the Christians per se.

Before I go further, I wish to say that Malaysia’s official religion based on the constitution is Islam (please understand that Islam is the official religion of the constitution because of the majority ethnic Malays are Muslims) We are a multi cultural and multi faith country comprising of mainly 3 ethnicities: Malays (majority), Chinese and Indians, and also many others.

Although it’s a country with Muslim majority, we practice a very moderate (at times borderline liberal) view of Islam. Here Muslim women are free to either wear the head cover or not. They are also free to wear tank tops and mini skirts and there are no religious police on female dress code commonly found in other Muslim countries.

Now, for ages our language; the Bahasa Malaysia had always used the word ‘tuhan’ to describe god. While Allah, a word borrowed from Arabs is widely and commonly used to describe the god for the Muslim faith.

I’m only a layman in religion, like most other Malaysians. I could tell you that if Allah is used to universally translate the word god it would cause a whole lot of confusion. The reasons are that it is due to our language and cultural understandings.

Take for example the Americans and British understanding for the word ‘football’. In America football is commonly known for the game played on grid iron. While football in the UK is understood as the game known in the US as soccer.

Roughly, that is the kind of confusion if Allah is used to describe god. Hence because of the language barriers, it is better that in Malaysia Allah is used to describe the god for the muslim faith and ‘tuhan’ the word for God.

Even in our Priciples of the Nation it stated Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan (Belief in God) and not Kepercayaan kepada Allah (Belief in Allah) when Malaysia have every right to state so being a Muslim country. But the the word tuhan (God) is used instead because the word based on Bahasa Malaysia reflects diversity and tolerance.

This Allah issue is very recently sensationalised, like 5 years ago by a minority of hardlined Christians, and does not represent the entire Malaysian Christians. For the past centuries this had never been an issue at all.

I have deep respect for Christians and I quote from the holy bible from time to time. If Jesus was here in Malaysia would you think he approved the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia bible knowingly that it would cause tensions? Christianity teaches love and harmony

Sumandita Bora
Sumandita Bora

guess they don't have anything better to focus upon!

Marini Marissa
Marini Marissa

malay word for Allah is "Tuhan" not Allah. These people try to mislead and confuse people... by saying something like " Jesus is my Allah" you want to agree with that? I am sorry I cant. If you are Christian in other land, would you agree with this?

Syed Abdul Aziz
Syed Abdul Aziz

The question is they want to translate from English to Malay in the Bible. The. Malay word for God is Tuhan not Allah So use Tuhan

Muluken Anteneh Girma
Muluken Anteneh Girma

I'm from ethiopia,what is that from malaysia it is not good it increase the gap b/n two religions,it shame to hear this from higher court of malaysia.

Selma Moon
Selma Moon

so what will they do about His other 98 Names? smh

David Locklear
David Locklear

The Creator lived in darkness for a zillion years without a name, and suddenly some hairy primate on an insignicant planet decides what his name should be.

Max Kz
Max Kz

Illiterate Government! All I can say.

Sarah Sukumar
Sarah Sukumar

The word allah came from the old Persian word for moon god. Christians don't need to use the word allah...

Mario Calandrino
Mario Calandrino

I can't wait untill god comes back and shows you people who's world this is...

Oscar Prado
Oscar Prado

I love how the two-faced Americans are crying about "bring the boys home & lock up our borders" and the other side of their face is crying "look, everybody look at what's going on on the other side of the planet.

Elliott Diaz
Elliott Diaz

Muslims are far too intransigent. This only bodes ill for the future. If they want peace, they need to be peaceful.

Rana Matared
Rana Matared

That's beyond absurd! Politicians/Religious leaders are acting like Toddlers all over the world! I say that's enough! Grow up, and be a true representation of normal people..

Felix DaKat
Felix DaKat

Religion is poison. But people should have the right to take poison if they want to.

Marina Alexander
Marina Alexander

^ what do you mean by that? That a "well-rounded" christians know that Allah is not the "proper" name of God?

Melanie Bradford
Melanie Bradford

Allah is the Arabic word for "God". Nothing more, nothing less. Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God.

Ayotunde Afolabi Odunowo
Ayotunde Afolabi Odunowo

The court is right. Allah is the muslim god while Jehova Elohim is the god of the Jews whom xtians also call.

Nabil Shehadeh
Nabil Shehadeh

oh...what Freedom ...shoul,d we Support it as in Syria..

Robert Bate
Robert Bate

Religion is one of the main causes of violence and hate. It's really sad. Live and let live.

Leandro Cardoso
Leandro Cardoso

Malaysian still haven't learnt to live in this world!!! They believe in God or "Allah" teaching but is a crowd that don't live as God says!!! Stupid crowd

Gage Wright
Gage Wright

Muslim privilege makes me angry. Why do they get special treatment and protection from getting their feelings hurt? Why do they get to destroy free speech? Why does society give into them like a bad parent with spoiled children?

Aleks Eng
Aleks Eng

many christians who forgot to read the book thinks that.....

Peter Dormaar
Peter Dormaar

Allah is just the arabic word for God, and although many muslims use it, it ususally referres to Abrahamic god that Christians, Muslims and Jews worship.

Almon Dioni Campos
Almon Dioni Campos

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech is lacking in this court.

Jake Stahl
Jake Stahl

In German that's pronounced EGG. Bone heads!

Charles Graham
Charles Graham

For Sure "Allah" is an Arabic name for God. Malaysians are not Arabs but they are Muslim, still they describe God as Allah, so why should the stupid judge rule out the case in favor of Muslims? This is pure racist in religion, they have a clear motives cos they think that there brethren are converting to Christianity. Allah is God and God is Allah you fools!!!!!

Justin Andrew Mason
Justin Andrew Mason

I was under the impression that Islamic tradition states that God has ninety-nine names, and while traditionally people are not allowed to assume any of those specific names, I'm curious if those additional names are now also legally restricted from use in the lexicon of Malaysia by non-Muslims? To me, this sounds like a shameful attempt to turn Islam into a marketing brand... as if the Malaysian government has trademarked the name of God and have decided to exercise that license to determine who may or may not use their trademark. I must assume the action of the Malaysian government would be offensive to most Muslims.

David Conroy
David Conroy

Look, I'd had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was: "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah."

David Conroy
David Conroy

Did they have to file a trade mark application for that?

Masoud Arya
Masoud Arya

Allah belongs to all people around the world no matter who is or where is

TL Huff
TL Huff

"The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.” Never mind the fact that they have prayed to Allah for centuries. Who shall they pray to now that they have caused such a religious failure with this label? I would question my ability to have any understanding of the Creator *can I say that?* I would also start to wonder why the High Court can have such a monopoly on the Holiest of the Holy *can I say that?* and not be able to "control" a typhoon. Must have been a VERY High Court to ask His preference.

Claudia Angarita Rivera
Claudia Angarita Rivera

How about just loving God? Religion bring chaos and war. These people are out of control

SALDaMAN
SALDaMAN

It was Allah himself who revealed his name, idiot.