Posted by admin (Malaysia today)
Friday, 06 February 2009 15:51
By Syed Akbar Ali
Firstly there is an interesting opinion written by the Blogger Demi Negara about the fuss over the usage of the word Allah.
There is a link to Demi Negara to the bottom right of my Blog page. Demi Negara does get to the point rather quickly.
It is true that in the Middle East, the Christian Arabs all say ‘Allah’. Its their language. I used to have Maronite Christian Lebanese friends in college. They had names like Musa and Amin. When I greeted them in the Arabic ‘Kaifa hal?’ (How are you?) they would reply ‘Alhamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah).
Its no big deal in the Middle East. Someday perhaps it will be so here too. But there is a more obvious reason why the Catholics are insisting on using the word Allah here in Malaysia.
Obviously they want to get through to the Malay Muslims who – under the laws of this land – must remain Muslims if they are also Malays. If you are a Malay you must be a Muslim. This is written in our Federal Constitution. This is also the reason behind the objection. Do read on. We cannot ignore our recent history.
But the Federal Constitution and our written laws came later. And the Constitution and our laws were written by the Mat Sallehs. When the Federal Constitution documented that a Malay must be a Muslim, the Constitution was capturing not just the aspiration or religious persuasion of the Malays, it was actually enumerating something that was a solid fact among the Malay community at that time. The Malays were Muslim, almost down to the last man.
Despite hundreds of years of Portugese, Dutch and English rule the Malays remained Muslim. Very few converted to Christianity. Not just in Malaya but all over the world the conversion of Muslims to Christianity has been in small numbers. Indonesia, Aceh, Minadanao and large swaths of India are evidence to this fact.