Malaysia court rules non-Muslims cannot use ‘Allah’

Epigraph: Say, ‘O People of the Book! come to a word equal between us and you — that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ (Al Quran 3:65)

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Source: BBC

A Malaysian court has ruled that non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah to refer to God, even in their own faiths, overturning a 2009 lower court ruling.

The appeals court said the term Allah must be exclusive to Islam or it could cause public disorder.

People of all faiths use the word Allah in Malay to refer to their Gods.

Christians argue they have used the word, which entered Malay from Arabic, to refer to their God for centuries and that the ruling violates their rights.

One Malaysian Christian woman said the ruling would affect the community greatly.

“If we are prohibited from using the word Allah then we have to re-translate the whole Bible, if it comes to that,” Ester Moiji from Sabah state told the BBC.

‘Disappointed and dismayed’

The 2009 ruling sparked tensions, with churches and mosques attacked.

It came after the government said that a Catholic newspaper, The Herald, could not use the word in its Malay-language edition to describe the Christian God.

The newspaper sued, and a court ruled in their favour in December 2009. The government then launched an appeal.

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19 replies

  1. The Muslim Times is appalled at the small mindedness of the Court in Malaysia.

    Their decision does not help their religion, politics or economics.

    The Quran invites the Muslims to be the best people to rise to the service of mankind, by saying:

    You are the best people raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in Allah. (Al Quran 3:111)

    And here are some of them, sinking to lowest level of intellect and understanding.

    The Court should consider, what was the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David, Solomon, Jermiah, Ezra, John the Baptist and Jesus, may peace be on all of them?

    I like the analysis of BBC, when it says:

    Some Malaysians believe the governing Malay-Muslim party is using the case to boost its Islamic credentials among voters, the BBC’s Jennifer Pak reports from outside the court in Putrajaya.

    Malay Muslims make up almost two-thirds of the country’s population, but there are large Hindu and Christian communities.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak’s coalition won elections in May, but it was the coalition’s worst result in more than half a century in power.

    Once again politics has spoiled a simple and straight forward religious issue.

    This was an occasion to educate the public, but, it seems the government has taken a self serving short cut.

    It is time to educate the Muslims about topics like:

    God of Islam: God of Nature and the Creator of our Universe

    Is God the Father the Creator, the Trinity as a whole or are there three Creators?

  2. An other sign of God’s Wrath…just wait and watch..I wounder how long God can tolerate…He is about to pull the leash.May God Bless our hearts and gives us a vision to understand and respect other religions.

  3. If the Malaysian government only follow the real Islam than this childish behaviour will not occur. What happenned to the teachings of islam and holy quran? did we forget we (the muslims)are to protect the churches temples synagouges and all other places of worship??? are we not violating our religion when we ban others to use the word of Allah. did the mullahs across the world not do enough damage to islam by offering this solution to other contries like pakistan,bangladash,indonesia and the list goes on. this is a humble appeal to the muslims to read the holy quran and to accept islam before making such decisions which may damage the human race and cause cahos for no reason

  4. Qoran argue is then why Allah teaches us in Holy Quran in very beginning?
    [1:1] All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,
    According to these Malaysian Muslim This first verse of Holy Quran should as
    ” All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the Muslim”

  5. I seriously doubt the qualifications and mental states of those judges who passed the rulings. I could not believe the news in first instant. Such pathetic and retards have become custodians of justice. Idiots! the word Allah was used by Jews and Christians before and after advent of Rasool SAW and Allah ST and His Rasool SAW never stopped them from use of this word.

  6. This kind of ruling by judges and courts indicates the narrow mindedness of them, Or may be they are afraid of the so called mullahs or may be their religious knowledge is so weak that they are unable to see what is right & wrong. May Allah guide them towards the right path.

  7. Apparently the “court” is barring non-muslims from using the word Allah but if one thinks more clearly it is actually depriving Allah from His right to identify Himslef for His creation with this name. If He says He is Allah and this is His name and “the court” prohibits anyone from calling Him with this name,what other meaning can be given to this act of the “court”? If any court in a Jewish or Christian majority country decides that as per the Quraanic admission prophets before prophet of Islam PBUH had been using this word and it is their monopoly and Muslims cannot use it, has this “court” not provided a justification that they demand that this word be deleted from the Quraan?
    Actually this is a mindset which is found in every form of distorted religion, be it Islam or any other religion. In the recent history Pakistani Supreme Court used this “logic” to bar Ahmadis from using Islamic terminology. Malaysian court has just imported this “logic”!!! Actually some enemy could not see Malaysia progressing and same was the case with Pakistan. This is worst kind of using religion for political ends. Allah forbid, if Malaysia continues in the same line following Pakistan the results would also be the same. All muslim countries should learn lesson from the situation in Pakistan and not religion from there. Islam is found in Quraan and not in Pakistan.

  8. This is one of the dividends of the Pakistan Constitution when it made it a criminal offence for an Ahmadi Muslim to practice Islamic teachings.

    I am afraid that the time may not be far when some christian majority country may prosecute its non-christian minorities for using the English/christian word “God” or “Jesus”. And perhaps even for speaking English which is otherwise mostly spoken by Christians.

  9. As we know it very well the trend is developing highly populated muslim countries which are overall poor. Even Malaysia has oil wealth but it never reaches to majority of population by any means. In these countries the hundred of thousands of mosques lower class mullahs are used to divert the attention of public to be very religious on the basis of hate. This hate can change from time to time, like against another minority sect or minority non muslims or made non muslims. In these countries the lower courts of justice specially and overall all courts are always under pressure from government and mobs politics. You can see it in Pakistan, these courts work in cooperation with popular trend of leaders, mullahs and the government. The governments are corrupt and will bend under any pressure created by apposition and mullah trying to black mail the government. So in this case nothing is surprising.

  10. I think they have crossed the limit of stupidity. Neither a court nor a country can say Allah is solely their property.

  11. Very sad to read the news which shows the corrupt mindedness of the people who are at the helm of affairs. They only deserve to be punished through Allah’s wrath but at the same time, Allah the Almighty is highly merciful. He gives them respite lest they may correct themselves.

    Being a humble follower of Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W., we pray that Allah the Almighty may show them the right path because they don’t know Him.

  12. No wonder our young people are turning their backs on such organized Religion and hair splitting reasoning.Who needs it ? Yes it is stupid and small minded. At least we agree for once.

    The use of the word Allah I believe existed long before the Muslims came to Malaysia. Yet they seem to think they have the franchise.

    Who cares? God the Father is in his Heaven and I’m sure has a sense of humour.

  13. Non-Malay Muslims like most of the commentators here may not understand the psyche of the Malay race, which, rather than a biological construct, is a constitutional construct. The only race of its kind in the world. This is why, Mahathir Mohammad, whose father is Indian, has been able to refer to himself as a Malay and also rule Malaysia as a Malay.

    The Malay in Malaysia are by constitutional construct also Muslim. You cannot be a Malay in Malaysia and yet be a Christian. This Malay race wants so much to be in the centre of the Muslim ummah. In “defending” the name of Allah, basically something that they have found wanting in the religion for so long has been put right. You see, as a race, the Malays have not contributed towards the annals of Islamic History. They need so desperately to want to be part of the Islamic History of the world. what with Islam spreading now in the West and America, the Malays might be completely left out.

    Today, however, they stand alone as being the only ones to have defended Allah. (You have to understand, the Malay has learnt to read the Quran by rote. He can recite it, but he may never understand it, except of course for the few who have bothered to study Arabic.) They have taken the term Allah and converted it into a pronoun giving the Muslim God a name. Allah! Just like Paul is my name. Not being adept at Arabic, or for that matter, English, they are probably blind to this.

    You have to also realise that as a community, they are among the most recent converts to Islam, like maybe less than a thousand years. They are also a little insecure in their understanding as well. They cannot seem to see the insult they bestow on Islam itself when they take the position that they need to defend Islam that has withstood all kinds of offenses against it since its beginning. They actually do seem to think that they are stronger than Allah himself and only they can provide him protection.

  14. Well Paul

    Won’t it be a total revelation to them one day when they wake up and find out how stupid they have been? Like lemmings surging towards the cliff.

    I understand full well that people and culture,religion and society and history etc plus are intricately woven. You have to work from the inside out to understand them as opposed to from outside in.

    However I know from living in 5 different countries and 5 diverse cultures, which includes my own country that I grew up in, that you need to eat a bag of salt with people.

    This is why I take delight in hoisting puffed up Muslims who ride upon their high horses. Especially as it is so easy to press their buttons and wind them up. They take their own pomposity so seriously.

    When the Malays realize that everyone will be using the ‘Allah’ word they will soon get the message that you can’t set limits to something that is essentially boundless. They will be mocked and laughed at until they come down to earth and realize thats not the way to gain superiority. If at all you ever need to feel superior.

  15. As a fellow Malay Muslim, I agree with the judges. I’m not saying that Muslims are the sole owner of the name ALLAH but do bear in mind that ALLAH is a very, very, VERY sacred name for us Muslims and plus, our beliefs on God are totally different which means if the usage of ALLAH is allowed on the paper, it might hold a different meaning, using the sacred name of our God. call me old-fashioned, conservative, whatever…i am definitely no conservative Muslim but this one? I won’t gamble the sacredness of my God’s name in any way.

  16. Nothing else I want to pray, ‘Rabbi Zidni Ilma’ –May Allah help us to increase with knowledge that benefits (20:115). Ameen.

  17. Based only on the information from this news article, I would understand the comments about the court decision. Typical western media, a lot of information has been left out, making more sensational news.
    If you dig deeper, you will learn that the court ruling was against one Catholic newspaper (The Herald) for its publication in the local Malay language in Peninsular Malaysia. If you have lived in Malaysia as long as I have, you would also know that almost 100% of Malays in Peninsular Malaysia are Muslims. Questions have been asked on the purpose of using ‘Allah’, which even globally, would refer as the name of God which Muslims worship, instead of ‘Tuhan’, which means God in the Malay language.
    Indeed, this case has been highly politicized and sensationalized by people with vested interests. The alarming cases of Malay Muslims being proselytized did not help.'s-ruling-on-Allah-does-not-affect-East-Malaysia-Sabah-ministers-17285-0-1.html

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