It is unfortunate to see how this country is undergoing yet another major crisis. This time it does not stem from racial conflicts or political outrage, but through religious terminologies. The Malaysian court has decided to permit the Catholic’s Herald Weekly’s usage of the Arabic term ‘Allah’ in the terminology of their Godhead. The reason behind this decision is that Christians in the Arabian Peninsula have used the term ‘Allah’ since the time of Prophet Muhammad S.W.T (May Peace be Upon Him).
This controversial verdict has now divided the country into two differing opinions. On one side, you see Malaysian Muslims welcoming the usage of ‘Allah’ by Catholics, and on the other, many are outraged by it. Furthermore, it is truly disheartening to note that the verdict has the backings of some in PAS, notably the ‘Tok Guru’ Nik Abdul Aziz and the parliamentary member of Shah Alam, Khalid Abdul Samad. The justification of the usage of ‘Allah’ among Christians by the Catholic Herald is a fallacy. It shows how ignorant they themselves are of the historical perspective of Christianity.
In the early beginning of the religion, Christian was not written in Arabic, Hebrew or even Yiddish. The birth of Jesus around 4BC and the earlier preaching’s of Jesus up to AD 30 centered more towards the Jewish community. The language spoken by the community at that period of time was Aramaic. Jesus and his disciples spoke the language as well. Aramaic was the lingua franca of a region extending from the Levant coastline eastward into Mesopotamia, what is in the present day Syria and Iraq.
However, Jesus himself never wrote any account of his teachings. Most of his followers were illiterate and there is no known document written by an eyewitness of Jesus’ life. Educated Greeks, outsiders of Judea and Galilee between AD 70 and AD 100, wrote the four canonical gospels of Christianity theses attributed to Maric, Matthew, Luice and John.
The language of God evolved again after Paul of Tarsus went on a campaign against the Nazarenes and Ebionites, who regarded Jesus as the Messiah but not as divine. Being the early followers of Jesus, they professed him but continued to follow the Jewish way of life and refused to believe that Jesus was given birth by a virgin.
On the road to Damascus in AD 70, Paul claimed that Jesus appeared in a vision berating him for his persecution. The dramatic conversion of Paul changed the teachings of Jesus and eventually, the language.
Jesus had no education other than what he had absorbed from the synagogue. He was from the region of Galilee, which was rural and remote, untouched by the Greeks. Paul, on the other hand, a Roman citizen brought up in a Greek-speaking city, was at ease with urban life. He was well educated and aware of the two compelling cultures of the Greeks and the Jews. The Torah of the Jews was split into two languages, Hebrew in the original version, and in the Greek version, Septuagint. Not Arabic.
Paul, who was considered to be the first Christian, dominated the history of Early Christianity. He transformed the spiritual Jewish prophet of Galilee, Jesus, into the crucified Christ (Christos ‘The Anointed One” in Greek). The seven letters of the supposed Pauline epistles of the New Testament were all in Greek: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Thessalonians, and Philemon. Most of the early translations of his letters were translated into Latin, Syrian, Coptic and Georgian.
No later than AD 180, Chartaval in Africa was the largest city in the west after Rome. This was where the first reference to Latin-speaking Christians came into existence. By the 4th century AD, a split occurred again between Christians, this time between the Greek-speaking and the Latin-speaking Christians, which by this period was fast becoming established. As a result of the Edict of Emperor Constantine in AD 315 and his ‘conversion’, all imperial laws were issued in Latin, the language of the day.
Furthermore, by AD 325, the assembled Christian bishop had issued and passed the Creed at the ecumenical council in Nicaea. The creed was then amended at the Council of Constantinople (AD 381), which became the core of the Christian faith, famously known as the Nicene Creed. It runs as follows: -
“We believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and all things, seen and unseen; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten by his Father before all ages, Light from Light, true God from the God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through whom all things came into existence, who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens and become incarnate by the Holy spirit and the Virgin Mary and became a man, and was crucified for, under Pontius Pilate and suffered and was buried and rose again on the third day in accordance with the scriptures and ascended into heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead, and there will be no end to his kingdom.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Life-giver, who proceeds from the Father, who is worshipped and glorified together with the Father and the son, who spoke by the prophets.
And in One holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: We wait for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the coming age.”
This runs contrary to the Abrahamic and Muslim God “Allah” which is defined in the following verse from Surah Al Ikhlas (Pure Faith): -
“ In the name of ALLAH, the most benevolent ever merciful, say : HE IS GOD. The one, the most unique. God, the immanently indispensable. He had begotten no one, And is begotten of none, There is no one comparable to Him.”
The Nicene Trinity defined three divine forces, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit as the three in Majesty, Power, Glory, Splendor and Divinity. To the Muslims, it’s a blasphemy as in Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism): -
“Oneness of the Lordship of Allah. To believe that there is only one Lord
for all the universe and he is, its creator, organizer, planner, sustainer, and
the Giver of security.. and that is Allah
Oneness of the worship of Allah. To believe that none has the right to be
worshipped (e.g praying, invoking, asking for help from the unseen,
swearing, slaughtering, sacrifices, giving, charity, fasting, and pilgramage)
"Oneness of the Names and Qualities of Allah”
(Extract from the Noble Qur’an, a summarized version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and ibn Kathr)
Allah is a truly universal God to the Muslims, knowing no chosen people, racial discrimination or any hint of theological division of unity. Even the name Jesus is a Greek form of the Hebrew name ‘Yeshua’ or ‘Joshua’. The Muslims were taught to not discriminate other religions but to only believe that ‘there is no God but Allah.’ It clearly states so in Surah Al-Kafirun (The Unbelievers): -
“O You Unbelievers,
I do not worship what you worship
Nor do you worship who I worship
Nor will I worship what you worship
Nor will you worship who I worship
To you be your religion and to me, my religion
This article was being donated by the Binshahab Clans for a thought to the blog