Hj Ramlee Dua, Kadayan Journal
This issue of ALLAH being monopolised by Islam and Muslims is testimony to the poor understanding by some Malays of the world around them.
Their argument that the use of ALLAH by Christians could lead to confusion and loss of akidah by Muslims is a slap in the face to Muslims themselves. It would be akin to the Malay proverb “he who spits into the sky will have the spittle falling on his face” applies aptly here.
Let me mention what I know about the history of God, specifically ALLAH for those who may not be aware of this issue.
Ancient Arabs had many gods. The Kaabah in Makkah contained many idols, which were worshipped by people of the Arabian Peninsula for centuries. ALLAH was the chief god out of numerous gods.
The concept of a monoestic religion, which worshipped only one single god probably, came during the time of Moses. The Jews were among the first to incorporate this belief into Judaism. The holy book, the Torah (or Taurat) specifically mentioned only Yah-weh as the only God.
Christianity similarly preached the belief in a single god, although the concept of the holy trinity (god, the father, the son and the holy spirit) is all but the one god.
The single most glaring difference between Christian belief and Islam would be that Jesus Christ, worshipped as god by Christians, but is regarded as a prophet Isa Al-Maseh by Muslims.
In all three major monoestic religions that sprang out of the Middle East, the Old Testament is very similar in content and message to humans. The basic concept in these religions has always been the belief in only a single god.
The shift from believing in numerous gods into just one probably took decades. We learnt in religious classes that even at the time of Muhammad, the Kaabah still contained many idols. The people of Makkah did not take kindly to Muhammad and his new ideas. They were very much prepared to destroy Muhammad and his followers if they persisted in wanting to change the religious status quo. This led to the Hijrah-journey to Medina by Muhammad and his followers.
As we Muslims all learnt, Muhammad returned to Makkah triumphant and one of the first things he did when he arrived into the place of his birth was to circumambulate anticlockwise around the Kaabah seven times. This later became a compulsory ritual for Muslims from the world over when they arrive at Makkah for the Haj.
To put it simply, ALLAH was very much an Arabic term for god. Since he was the chief of all the gods worshipped then, the arrival and acceptance of a single god meant that other lesser gods disappeared from existence and later from the minds of people.
This concept of a supreme being called ALLAH is the basis of Islamic belief. Islam in Arabic simply means to submit. It would not be tenable for followers of this new religion to submit to many gods for that would be confusing (which of the many gods should they submit more to?).
The return of Muhammad to Makkah was tantamount to a victory of this new faith. Idols kept inside the Kaabah was removed and the building emptied. ALLAH became the all-seeing but invisible god. The Kaabah did not become the central focus of Islam immediately, however. When early Muslims gathered for prayers they faced Jerusalem. It was only later; when politics between the Jews, Christians and Muslims grew intense and seemed to be heading to a point of no return did Muhammad urge his followers to face the Kaabah when performing prayers. Muhammad had no enmity towards the Jews and Christians but found difficulties in convincing them that his preaching came from the same god.
The central tenet of the Islamic faith is the belief in ALLAH as the only god. The first pillar of Islam is the utterance “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger”. A Muslim would utter this sentence several million times in his life until he dies.
Therefore the concept of ALLAH being a monopoly of Muslims is what the issue we face in Malaysia today. It would seem that there is a fear that if Muslims were to stray from this important tenet, the religion will collapse. To allow Christians, Sikhs and followers of other religions to use ALLAH to mean their gods would seriously undermine what Muslims have struggled so hard to hold and believe in for the past 1400 years.
Obviously some Muslims cannot see the forest for the trees. They are much larger issues confronting Muslims that need to be addressed.
After more than 50 years of independence and more than 30 years of the New Economic Policy, why are the Muslims in Malaysia still fully dependent on non-Muslims for their daily survival?
The ulamaks who preach about the greatness of the religion do so using loudspeakers made in Japan, wears underwear made in China, reads his sermon from paper made by Germans, uses reading glasses made by Americans, goes to Makkah in a plane made in France.