Of Herald, Allah (on Malaysiakini) and my chat with Indonesians
I picked up from Malaysiakini, a news from AFP with the title ‘Herald defies gov’t ban on ‘Allah”.
The editor of the Herald newspaper, Father Lawrence Andrew said this week’s edition uses the banned word and that he intends to continue doing so until the courts rule on the issue next month.
I am a Catholic who buys the Catholic weekly, The Herald (for RM1) from my church. For those who haven’t read this weekly before, let me give you an idea what it contains. Basically, we have the English section, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil section. In each section, there are world news, news from Vatican, weekly happenings in our churches around Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak and some reflections. There are sections for youths, touching on modern day happenings like movie reviews, new album releases and section for kids with colouring pages and etc.
As Christians, we do not incite hate because our faith is centered on LOVE. Love in Christian term, is not the ‘I love you, you love me’ kind of love. Love is God. Love to us means being able to put others above of our own needs.
When the issue on the banned term Allah was blown into the media, I got the curiousity to find out exactly why Christians are using it. I asked for a copy of Bahasa Malaysia Bible or the Alkitab from my church priest. I even asked Father Fabian to bless it or rather, bless me so that I am enlightened enough to be able to judge sensibly. I want to see for myself how the Allah term is used.
I see that Allah is not used when we are talking about the Son of God, Jesus. In the Alkitab, Allah is used only when God is referred in the highest level. In Christianity, God to us come in three facets, or rather the same Almighty but at different times, they have different references. Let’s not go into the Holy Trinity concept or this post may explode into another debate.
As you all know, I have quite good command of Bahasa Malaysia and I do speak Bahasa Malaysia with a loghat Penang. So when I have the Alkitab, a lot of things suddenly make sense to me because when I read in Bahasa Malaysia, I immediately understand the meaning. I am a product of teaching BM in all subjects in school except Bahasa Inggeris.
Now, let’s fast forward to a conversation I had with a couple from Indonesia. They are Protestants from Indonesia. They look every bit Indonesian. Sometimes, I meet Indonesians who are Chinese and it is easier for me to relate Christianity to them. When I meet Indonesian who looks like Malay, I need a little bit of getting used to. I have that cautious feelings that I am really talking to a Christian.
While chit chatting, they were so surprised that the word Allah is banned in our publications here. They told me, in Indonesia, they have public holidays for Good Friday, Easter and Christmas. Indonesians are free to convert as they like. In their conversation, they used Allah too. They talked about their faith in Allah, and how they depended on Allah in their sickness. The husband is suffering from end stage cancer.
Being a Malaysian, I was rather confused and blur when I keep hearing the word Allah popping from their mouths eventhough I know they are Protestants. So, I realised, over here in Malaysia, it is all political. The term Allah has been made into a political tool for politicians to gain mileage. Since Hamik Kaynui comes into the scene, suddenly Allah becomes haram for us Christians.
Therefore, I pray that God will bless our politicians with wisdom.
And for those Catholics who wrote in to The Editor of The Herald to ask us to step back and give way, I hope they have the wisdom to know that it is not a simple matter. Now, they try to stop us from printing Allah in The Herald. What about the future? Are you going to allow humans to stop us from using the term Allah in the Alkitab too? Don’t we all know what was the last few sentences in Revelation? In particular, Wahyu 22:19
Jika seseorang mengurangkan kata-kata nubat di dalam kitab ini, Allah juga akan mengambil balik hak orang itu untuk makan buah pokok sumber kehidupan dan haknya untuk tinggal di kota suci itu, seperti yang digambarkan di dalam kitab ini.
The term Allah has been used in the translated High Malay Bible since the 1800s.
“Munshi Abdullah, the father of modern Malay literature, translated the Bible into Malay in 1852 and he also translated ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ so there is strong historical proof of what we have been using for centuries,” said Andrew.
In conclusion, it is all political. In particular, Malaysia ruling political party. This issue has nothing to do with the Divine. All faiths lead to only goodness and the same God comes to us in different form. That’s all.
AND NO ONE GETS TO COMMENT ANYMORE BECAUSE I SAID SO.