Certainly, this is a big issue.
One that has a lot of implications.
As we all know, on December 31, High Court ruled that The Herald is permitted to use the word Allah in their publication.
Some of us stood aghast upon hearing the ruling.
There are arson attempts by I-Don't-Know-Who, which put Malaysia in bad light after what we have built in these fifty plus years of independence. I see this act of vandalism as provocation to inflict more conflict and misunderstanding among us.
I, for one, am confused.
What should my stand be on this matter.
Much has been said.
Scholars, leaders, writers, bloggers had expressed their views.
Below, I state some of them ( in my word) . Some are interconnected, some are completely distinct.
1. The word 'Allah' is practised by Christian Arabs even before revival of Islam. The same goes now. There is basically nothing wrong with the usage for all Abrahamic faiths. The 'Syahadatain' is our indicator of a muslim.
2. For every problem, lies opportunity. This is what happened in America after 9/11. The effort put by Muslims there to educate people about the true face and value of Islam has been rewarded with Islam being the fastest growing religion. As this case reflect, the controversy against Islam will open more doors for daawah. What these group of people need is more explanation about Islam. Isn't it that having them saying the true god, Allah as their god a good first step?
3. This involve our identity as as a Muslim in a unique country of Malaysia. Just imagine if the word 'Allah' is used in their religious rituals. The khat Allah, is written large in their place of worship. The word is written on their cross. Isn't an insult to us?
4. This case is seen by some as the pinnacle after series of challenges thrown to us, Muslims in this country. After Lina Joy case, Memeluk Islam forum, there are several other issues that test our limit. In the name of religion pluralism, backed by some 'liberal' leaders, they seem to stand a point.
5. We have more important issues to look upon. Core issues; that while we protect the name of Allah, we neglect using the Law of Allah to govern ourselves, our family, and our nation. We didn't put necessary attention and effort to cultivate this to ourselves and our circle of influence. Action , or rather, lack of it, speak louder than words.
6. This case should be resolved in Syariah Court. Civil courts have no right to preside over matters pertaining our religion. This reminds me with the case of unfortunate Natrah, in the 1950s who was forced to revert back to Christian as the secular law used was not our side.
7. Some issue wake up call to our sultan, and Yang Dipertuan Agong as head of religion affairs to act accordingly in order to save this very fundamental word from being associated with impure elements.
8. This is more of a political ploy than a religious issue. They are quarters who 'play up' this issue, craving support from the mass. They are the opportunists who see chance everywhere.
Of course, I have deep respect for all the views.
In My Mind
I think this issue really involve conflict of interest.
In Malaysia, as our Perlembagaan Malaysia has approved, 'Melayu is Islam'. I add to this that 'Islam is Melayu'. Without doubt, this don't reflect the whole picture as Islam is a universal religion and thus not restricted to Malays, but I think the context is relevant in Malaysia. This is as if saying even a person of whom parents are Malay is not considered Malay unless he adheres to Islam. In other words, Malays 'are nothing' if they set themselves free of Islam.
We are curious of the underlying motives that after all this while, the Christians want the usage of the word Allah not to be exclusive for Muslim. Their hidden agenda open secret to change the connotation 'Melayu is Islam' is apparent. The change from God to Allah surely will enable them to ease the acceptance of the young generation of Malays.
There will be articles entitled 'Marilah Menyembah Allah Yang Sama', ' Ke arah Cahaya Allah', etc by the Christians. While this title bear no wrong in itself, the contents can confuse the muslims, if they are not appropriately educated to understand it.
Oh, you might say that I am biased...but this is what we feared most. In these days of kecacamerbaan influx of ideology, beliefs, and social diseases, we, the young generation of Malays might don't have what it takes to go through all of these. We need some kind of buffer system for ourselves and our children of tomorrow.
Having said this, I realised situation is quite different in Sabah and Sarawak. They have use the word Allah for God even before the formation of Malaysia. But, the ruling passed by the court will be effective in the whole Malaysia. The effects, massive and comprehensive, can be seen soon after if it is really implemented.
And I do acknowledge that we live in a multiracial society which have different cultures and faiths. It is clear that there is no compulsion in religion ( 'Laa ikraaha fiddin'). But, having Islam as our 'agama rasmi Persekutuan' does show that Malaysia is, 'negara umat Islam', at least. That speak volumes of some supremacy and priority in a way that it does not oppres other religions.
We, Muslims often win in expressing our anger , but we score badly in expressing our thought, and rationalising reasons behind our actions. Aggression will only fuel their hate and exaggerate their false views about Islam. We are sometimes seen as not matured enough to handle difference in faiths and love to label those who disagree with us as 'The Others'.
We have to go back to basics.
Edit our iman.
Learn, read more.
For it will change our world view.
Elevate our vantage point.
And, more importantly, bring us closer to Allah Rabbul Alamin.
We may not achieve success today, but let this 'gruelling and compelling' effort starts now.
Marah itu tanda sayang, tapi bukankah melanjutkan ia dengan fikir itu lebih bijak?
Ayat ini untuk kita fikir semula.
"Say: O people of the book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than God. If then they turn back, say: bear witness that we (at least) are muslims (bowing to God's will)"
- Ali Imran 3:64
This shouldn't escape our notice.