Dr Asri says Muslims should not object if ‘Allah’ is used to refer to God

By Leslie Lau, The Malaysian Insider

Influential Islamic scholar Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin stepped into the “Allah” controversy today by pointing out that Muslims should not protest against non-Muslims using the word “Allah” to describe God.

“Man should refer to the one true God as Allah. This proves the teachings of Islam in referring to God as Allah. Therefore all of mankind regardless of their religion should say that Allah has created the world, that Allah tells us to do good and so on.

“These words are the truth. It is not appropriate for a Muslim to protest when he hears a non-Muslim says such things,” he wrote in a posting on his blog today.

Mohd Asri’s remarks come amid an uproar among some Muslims over last week’s High Court ruling that the Catholic church had a constitutional right to publish the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of its Herald newspaper.

The government has decided to appeal the ruling today, bowing to demands from Muslim groups who say they fear the ruling would result in confusion and that non-Muslims would abuse the usage of the word “Allah.”

Mohd Asri, who is also the former Perlis Mufti, suggested guidelines instead for the use of the word “Allah”.

He said that the word “Allah” could not be used except to refer to the one, true God. Therefore stones or idols could not be referred to as “Allah”.

The Islamic scholar said that if non-Muslims accept that Allah is the one true God and refer to Allah in their worship then Muslims cannot interfere in the matter of other religions.

“Even though in Islam we dispute their faith but the freedom of worship is the right of every religion,” he said.

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