“The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity. The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”
These were the remarks of the Chief Judge of a Malaysian Court while ruling that only Muslims may use the word Allah to refer to their God and Christians may not use it to refer to theirs. It is pertinent to note that the word Allah has been used by Malay Christians to refer to “their” God for centuries. It is also useful to note that the word Allah is a composition of two arabic words: “al” meaning ‘the’ and “ilah” meaning “God, deity”. So why, when referring to his God can’t a Christian call him Allah? Does a Christian, who happens to be Arabic speaking need to invent a new word in Arabic to refer to ‘his’ God? And why do Christians; followers of the Christ, need to be assured that their God is different from ours?
If I have read the Quran right, even Allah refers to himself as “rab ul alameen“; the God of all universes or the God of all that exists and not “rab ul muslameen“; the God of Muslims. So when our almighty Allah has refrained from such an absurd prohibition how can any one of us go ahead and impose such ludicrous restrictions.
This maybe the decision of an individual but it represents the mindset of many. In a way the Malay court’s ruling is as apt as can be because in fact only Muslims use Allah. How we have demented and distorted interpretations of Islamic teachings to suit our own petty interests is way worse than what this learned Judge has done. It is not a rare occasion when we have used the sacred laws of blasphemy to implicate innocent people in one of the most heinous of verbal or scripted crimes against Islam, often resulting in murder or massacre. From amongst us a class of Muslims holds education for women prohibited – motive therein being to keep them in invisible cages and not introduce them to reason or rationale. In our very country people have used Islam to marry their daughters to the Quran; a concept unheard of in religious teachings, for the sole purpose of keeping their priced ancestral properties within their hold. Many of us have seen an individual struck with a lust fueled urge to marry a second wife and deny his first her rights and use Islam to justify this injustice. And I am sure many of us have had the pleasure of meeting that one person who justifies all his/her derailments from the teachings of Islam with the popular Quranic verse from Surah Al Bakra part of which translates ‘there is no compulsion in Islam… ‘.
We need to be reminded that one of the most critical of battles against Islam is being waged from amongst its own followers. Yes! Islam does tell us to preach our religion so that others may follow the right path but to preach you need to first KNOW; a precondition most commonly and conveniently ignored.
While food and sleep remain the primary and basic needs for humanity’s survival, there are other secondary needs which kick in only when the primaries are fulfilled. Once alight, these urges as one may call them, seem no less important or indispensable than the basic needs. One such need is the need to have an opinion on everything. Unlike the pre requisite of a stomach to have the need for food, the urge to have an opinion is not conditional upon the existence of any ability like an average intelligence or intellect for instance – nor does it depend on whether one has sufficient information on a particular happening, person or notion. All you need to have this urge is a filled belly and a good night’s sleep.
A young girl – Malala – has become the source to satisfying many an urges to have an opinion. How this little girl has become the topic of so many discussions and social media statements consisting of so many opinions astounds me. I would rather not go into the merits of her ‘story’. Because if I side with it and claim the story is as genuine as it gets then I risk being marked a gullible western apologist and if I claim that it is all bogus and one of many acts in a well scripted play I would then be labeled backward, a jahil conspiracy theorist – thanks to bigotry; a habit quickly climbing the steps of evolution towards becoming another secondary need. So in order to spare myself from this most irritating of our social habits, I choose not to engage in the futile discussion on whether Malala is legit or is it all a facade.
I would rather discuss my ‘opinion’ on how this has further polarized an already polarized society. I have sat through plenty of discussions and read many a threads on Malala and almost always the opinions therein have failed to strike me, what struck me instead was the bigotry being displayed. Not just that we have to have opinions, we also have to demean all opposing opinions and those who dare hold them. Obviously there are two kinds of opinions on Malala: one that holds her to be a legitimate victim of Taliban and a symbol of struggle for education in general and women education in particular, and second that says she is a pawn in the hands of the west, an agent of anti Islam forces. The proponents of both these opinions seem to deem the opponents to be one of the causes for Pakistan’s destruction. Strong words, sentiments and not so subtle expressions are prominent parts of such interactions.
The worst of this came when I read at more than a few places that the sentiments against Malala are owing to ‘jealousy’, felt mainly by the youth in Pakistan! Now this was hilariously absurd and stupid. Ok! I don’t deny that some people may actually envy Malala for all the attention she gets, some may even be jealous but to label all the opinions against one’s own as words of the jealous youth is rubbish. Just like labeling everyone writing in favor of Malala as agents of the United States or India or Israel. Why can’t we digest the fact that the urge to have an opinion is not specific to your own inept mind? All inept minds feel this urge with the same intensity. AND NO I am not saying that all people who have an opinion have an inept mind (clarification given just in case you have a filled belly and have had a good night’s sleep before reading this).
“The gullibility of mankind would always keep the confidence of conspirators and propagandists on the rise. OH you stupid stupid people..how you make it so easy to play with your superiority and inferiority complexes” …
Eving Ellof Atim Fukinyoo. December 97, 2003348.
(Note: If you believe the date is correct you are a modern liberal sensible person, if you dont….I hate you you conspiracy theorist paindu!!!)
We believed that Jerry trained on a Cessna plane and was able to maneuver one of the largest aircrafts, while descending, at around four hundred miles per hour, into Tom’s tower that would look more or less like a needle from the cockpit. We believed that the consequent fire was so hot that it melted metal and caused Tom’s tower to collapse yet spared Jerry’s passport from its fury.
We believed that the big mighty Wolf had all the right to invade the little piggies’ house because there were Wolf Massacre Devices (WMDs) hidden somewhere inside the house. And after the Wolf massacred the piggies, raped the female piggies, butchered their kids and occupied the house he casually shrugged and admitted; “oops, there were no WMDs afterall” and we concurred “oops..”.
And we believe that a worldwide terrorist orgaisation, which is responsible for the assassination and killings of thousands of people and whose modus operandi is use of explosives (suicide bombings or timed devices) or indiscriminate firing of AK 47s suddenly chose to use a small caliber pistol when it came to killing a little girl…how very thoughtful of them. Taliban are sho shweet i tell you.
NO! am not going to end by saying ‘wake up people’ like most such pieces, because you guys are better off asleep. Sweet dreams!!!