JAKIM cited “scientific” research to back its assertion that Christians have no legitimate claim to the word “Allah”.
Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider
Federal religious authorities warned Muslims nationwide today of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same, prolonging the debate over the usage of “Allah” by Christians even as it drives a deeper wedge between the country’s two most dominant religions.
In today’s Friday sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) here, Muslims were told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act.
“It is very clear that, today, enemies of Islam are seeking to divert and undermine the Muslim community’s faith.
“They are united among themselves and are attempting, with their many tricks and ways, to stake their claim on the usage of ‘Allah’ in their scriptures,” the sermon said.
JAKIM insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims and is an exclusive right to those who profess Islam as it is clearly to prevent Muslims from becoming confused over the true identity of their God.
Citing unnamed academic research, JAKIM said that the word “Allah” was never found in the Bible as God ― to Christians ― exists as the Trinity of “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.”
The general term for the Holy Trinity, said the religious department, is “The Lord” which is the English translation of biblical text.
As such, JAKIM insisted that the National Fatwa Council’s 2008 decision on the matter was accurate in stating that “Allah” cannot be used by those of other religions and cannot be likened to the gods of others.
“We would like to say that as Muslims who believes in Allah and his messenger, then it becomes our responsibility to preserve the sanctity and defend the word ‘Allah’ in the best way possible, and should there be elements of insult and abuse, it should be stopped in accordance with provisions in the Federal Constitution.
“Muslims must be firm in protecting the sanctity and the identity of their religion,” JAKIM said in the sermon.
The authority also warned that painful punishment would await disbelievers in the afterlife, noting that these “symptoms” of Islam’s collapse would only destroy the glory and prestige of Muslims here.
The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed Election 2008, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.
Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang chief minister, called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.