Voices from East Malaysia 4: Should Christians drop the use of the word “Allah”?


I won’t be surprised that even some Christians in West Malaysia would easily buy into the idea of dropping the use of the term “Allah”, but again perhaps that reflects more of our ignorance and prejudice than anything else.  It’s time for some soul searching again. Please hear Pastor Solomon’s voice once again.

Much has been said also about dropping the term “Allah.  When I first heard this, it stretched my mind, and warmed my heart. Please read a beautiful post Haris Ibrahim wrote  describing his experience here in Do unto others as you would have done unto you, where he highlights a dimension that perhaps many people have missed.

I want to share with you about an encounter I had with three Malay youths outside the hall when I stepped out for a dose of nicotene.

After confirming that I moderate this blog, they wanted my views on this ‘Allah’ issue.

I told them that when I was in Batang Ai last year in the run-up to the by-election there, I had the opportunity to chat with some Dayak Catholics on this very issue.

I was told by these Dayak that “Allah” was integral to their recitations during the baptismal ceremony, during Holy Communion and in the Lord’s Prayer.

I was told that if “Allah” was not mentioned, then their prayers were nullified.

I asked the three youth if they were aware of this.

They all said ‘No’.

I asked them if they were aware that in the Christian Arab world, God was referred to as “Allah”.

All three said ‘Yes’.

I asked them to now imagine a country where the majority of the inhabitants were Christian who spoke Arabic and for whom, reference to God was by the name “Allah”. Imagine, too, a small minority of Muslims in that country who also referred to God by the name “Allah”.

The Christians in that country now want to ban the minority Muslims from using the name “Allah” on the stated reason that they fear such use of that name will confuse many Christians. They insist that this may lead to many of their Christians converting to Islam. This may lead to a breakdown in public order, they say.

Would this be fair to the minority Muslims, I now asked the three youths.


Then one chap said ‘No’.

If it would not be fair to the minority Muslims in that make believe nation, are we being fair to our minority Christian brothers and sisters in this real country of ours, I asked.

Again, silence.

If you want others elsewhere to be kind to your minority Muslim brothers and sisters in their midst, should you not be kind to minorities in your own vicinity, I asked.

More silence.

I told them that was my view on this issue. Do unto others as you would want done unto you and your own.

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
This entry was posted in Bible, Church, Malaysia, Religion, Theology, Video, World. Bookmark the permalink.

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