Rabu, 20 Januari 2010

Understanding the "Allah" controversy

By Dr. Zaidi Ismail

By now, Malaysians are generally aware that there have been disputes between the Muslims and the Christians from among them pertaining to the use of the key term "Allah" by the latter.

Unfortunately however, it seems that of the whole controversy most Malaysians can be sure only of that much.

The rest, judging from the many viewpoints and contentions raised thus far, seems convoluted and confused to them.

Yet, if one is to be patient enough to gather and analyze with intelligence all the questions posed and answers accordingly offered, one may then be able to see a certain pattern of arguments, involving in turn several clusters of issues.

It is pretty clear that the issue revolves around the "use" of the key term "Allah," as it has been understood and used by the Malays in particular, to translate the word "God," as used particularly in the Bible and as understood by the Christians.

The issue as such pertains to the problem of CORRECT TRANSLATION and is thus primarily an issue of the CORRECT USAGE of a language---in this case, the Malay language in relation to the English language and, as Islam is also central to the discussion, the Arabic language. 

Comes then the next question: What kind of a term are the word "Allah," on the one hand, and the word "God" as used in English in relation to the Bible, on the other hand?

It is obvious that with regard to the way the Malays have been using the term "Allah" in accordance with what Islam has taught them, it is THE "PROPER NAME" FOR THE ONE AND ONLY GOD WITH ALL THE NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES NECESSARY AND PROPER FOR HIM and, just like any other proper name, it cannot be translated but rather should be basically maintained as such.

Hence, the sentence "Mr. Bush used to be the President of the United States of America," in a correct Malay translation, is very likely to be "Encik Bush pernah menjadi Presiden Amerika Syarikat" but not "Encik Belukar pernah menjadi Presiden Amerika Syarikat."

Similarly, the Arabic sentence "Wahid ismi," or "Wahid akhi," in all likelihood will not be translated into English as "One is my name," or "One is my brother," but instead will be rendered as "Wahid is my name," or "Wahid is my brother," respectively.

On that ground, therefore, one is fully justified to query whether it is correct to translate the respective proper name in the original Bible, if there is any, as "Allah," let alone if the name concerned is actually merely an appellative noun or a title or, worst still, a general noun.

         Furthermore, the very fact that the Christians themselves have not till today reached a consensus as to how to use the term "Allah," whether in their many translations and versions of the Bible or in their general usage of it, simply demonstrates how contentious and controversial such a usage---particularly pertaining to God's proper name---has been among them, totally unlike the Muslims who, regardless of sects, schools, race or language, have been unanimous in holding that "Allah" is His Proper Name.  

Regarding "Allah" as a proper name, one may further ask whether or not it is derived from any other more basic Arabic word.

Here, notwithstanding certain views which did not survive the rigorous intellectual tests throughout the Islamic Religious and Intellectual History, the established and verified position of the Muslims has always been that the term is not an Arabic derivative but is itself revealed by The One and Only God to humankind through His chosen messengers, Who knows Himself what His Name truly is and without Whom so revealing, man would still be in the dark as to how to correctly call and address Him.

It is therefore pertinent here that one be fully cognizant of the criteria for a term or word to qualify as a proper name, particularly when it concerns the fundamentals of a religion, especially God: (1) the term needs to be clearly stated in the primary source of the respective religion (as an example, the Qur'an and the Prophetic sayings in the case of Islam and with regard to the term "Allah"); (2) it does not entertain being plural, both in sense and in reference, in connotation as well as in denotation  (unlike "gods," for instance); (3) it has been used as such by all the adherents of the religion concerned (for example, the Muslims in regard to the term "Allah"); (4) it is exclusive to God and never others.

As to the argument that the term "Allah" had been used even before the revelation of the Qur'an and the dawn of Islam, the aforementioned position of the Muslims as it is is not necessarily opposed to such a contention.

Yet, since the contention is primarily a historical one, one cannot simply rely on logic to prove it but rather one should resort to established and authentic historical evidence to support it.

And such historical evidence should at least shed some light on (1) whether or not the term "Allah" was then used by Christians who shared more or less the same beliefs and practices with the present-day Christians, particularly in Malaysia, and (2) whether or not the term "Allah" was then solely used as a proper name.

Otherwise, the only historical evidence one can reliably rely on is the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) in which the term "Allah" is employed purely as a proper name.

As to the many versions of the earlier Malay translations of the Bible, which have been taken to be among the historical proofs to justify the term "Allah" being used as such in its present-day translation, it is particularly noteworthy that they were mainly attempted by the non-Malays---to be more specific, started by the colonialists---whatever their real intentions were.

And to regard as prototypical the usage of a term in a language by a non-native, let alone by one who colonized, in cases where it conflicts with the way the native speakers have been using it surely calls into question the validity of such a position, to say the least.

Unless the answers to all the aforementioned questions and issues vindicate without any ambivalence the position which certain segments of the Malaysian Christian community have been taking, the only sensible way forward in the Malaysian multiracial and multireligious context is for the parties who have committed such linguistic errors to correct them wherever applicable and appropriate.

Moreover, in dealing with such issues, it is indeed important that the parties involved, regardless of whether they are Muslims or Christians, abide themselves by the basic rules of correct reasoning which, needless to say, involve the law of non-contradiction and the law of the excluded middle, wherever relevant.

In addition, they also need to begin from what is clear and established.

It really defeats their purpose if they choose rather to start from what is ambiguous and contentious.

And despite some parties claiming that logic or reason has a very limited role in solving the controversy, I on the contrary believe that it can play a pivotal role in helping us delineate the main issues from the non-issues, identify the real problems from the pseudo---albeit distracting---ones, sort out the primary, secondary and totally unrelated matters, separate the fundamental questions from such which are trivial or, at best, non-essential.

Source: IKIM 


11 ulasan:

pemenang2 berkata...

xde masalah pon gamba tuh

xde masalah pon gamba tuh

..derang mmg sesat..sape suruh kite jadi buduh....gi caye wat pe derang tulis..

skrg BN izinkan plak penggunaan kalimah Allah di Sabah dan Sarawak

sape yg main politik sebenarnya?

pemenang2 berkata...

camne boleh dibandingkan kalimah Allah dengan Bush?

kenape tak persoalkan perkataan dosa, pahala, syurga

kan perkataan tuh berasal dari hindu?

maaf mungkin mantiq saye rosak

Awanama berkata...


Ya, anda mungkin pandai.. tapi anda tak pandai dalam feqh waqi'. Dan anda hanya pandai memikirkan keadaan diri sendiri yang pandai/atau golongan anda sahaja. Tanpa memikirkan saudara seIslam yang lain.

Kalau anda dah pandai..jomlah pakat bantu untuk mengembalikan mereka yang dah murtad kepad Kristian agar kembali kepada Islam tu..

Saya harap ada usaha yang sebegini. Dari sibuk membenarkan kalimah Allah itu digunakan dan kononnya bagus untuk dakwah kepada Kristian.

Awanama berkata...


Saya agak pasti kalau PAS diberi kuasa untuk menyelesaikan isu ini, tentu mereka jua akan dapatkan ilmuan2 neutral yang ada dlm blog ini untuk beri penjelasan bagi TIDAK menyokong penggunaan nama Allah.

Tapi kerana kepentingan mereka tidak dipenuhi, mereka akan tetap cuba menegakkan benang basah walalupun sudah terang, masih ingin bersuluh.

mereka perlu yakinkan pengikut2 mereka yang taksub macam anda, untuk terus mendapat sokongan. mereka sebenarnya pengecut, tidak berani mengaku telah berbuat silap dan akan terus bersikap munafiq.

anda setuju ke cadangan membenarkan pemimpin bukan Islam untuk memimpin masyarakat Islam spt yg ingin dibuat oleh PAS sedangkan jelas bersalahan dengan hadith.

Dalam negara majoriti Islam, selagi ada pemimpin Islam, walau zalim, perlu ditaati. Tapi bagi negara minoriti Islam, wajar taat pada pemimpin bukan Islam atas dasar siasah.

saya kasihan dengan anda dan mereka yang semuda anda yg belum punya keupayaan berfikir secara objektif, rasional dan berdasarkan ilmu yang tepat dan benar.

maaf ya.

pemenang2 berkata...

ok rileks2 saye mencari jawapan sebenarnye

ade dua isu tanpa nama bangkitkan
isu PAS membenarkan pemimpin kafir memimpin masy islam..tu saye x leh jawab....saye jenis suke mengkaji bukan menghukum sama ade pas atau rausyan fikir..tetapi dengan umngok saye mmg suke hukum

umngok ni agama ape? org nak wat undang2 kat kelantan trg x bagi....asal x bagi? kate terbuke..x terbuke pon

erm..isu yg saye persoalkan ialah

kenape nak bandingkan perkataan Bush dengan kalimah Allah? layakkah?

lagi satu ni mungkin keluar sikit dari tajuk ..bagaimana dgn persoalan
perkataan ugama, syurga, neraka, dan lain2 itu kan perkataan hindu...

sile jawab 2 soalan ini....

saye nak taksub pas ke ape ke itu masalah lain....

dalam isu ini tiada masalah PAS atau sebagainya

PAS bagi sy dah wat kenyataan yang baik....kalo boleh elak kenyataan yang mengelirukan

Awanama berkata...

nampak anda tak faham rupanya tulisan awal rausyanfikir tentang sejarah Islam dalam kebudayaan melayu. kalau anda baca, bagaimana bahasa Melayu telah diIslamkan, tentu anda faham kesuluruhan konteks yg sedang dibahaskan ttg isu kalimah Allah setakat ini.

mengapa tak cakap awal2 lagi yang anda tak faham. boleh kami bantu. nak belajar jangan malu. kalau tak faham falsafah pun, mengaku saja supaya dapat dibantu.

tentang PAS nak buat hukum seperti hudud, perlu dibincangkan lebih mendalam. byk faktor yg perlu dipertimbangkan. dia bukan soalan UMNO bagi atau tidak. kalau anda tanya ilmuan spt Yusof Qardawi pun, mungkin dia tidak rasa masanya sesuai.

cuba belajar letakkan sesuatu di tempatnya yang sesuai.

tapi saya puji usaha anda untuk berfikir dan cuba memahami... cuma mungkin belum rezeki anda untuk faham di tahap ini. teruskan belajar dan menimba ilmu dari sumber2 yg berwibawa, ok.

Rausyanfikir berkata...

Terima kasih pada Tanpa Nama kerana sudi jawap balas.

Pemenang, sila baca betul-betul artikel saya yang lama.

pemenang2 berkata...

baik2...jangan marah saye..

saye bace elok2

tapi saya x akan menipu pemikiran sy sendiri.....

Ahmad Humaizi Bin Din Mustafaha berkata...


Awanama berkata...

Saya telah membaca artikel sdra dan ingin memberi komen di sini supaya dapat dikongsi dan dibahaskan lagi.

ada seperkara lagi yang amat dikesalkan ttg sikap orang sekarang.
cepat menuduh tanpa terlebih dahulu benar-benar menshahihkan. contoh, menuduh hadith2 yang digunakan oleh Imam Ghazali dlm Ihya sebagai dhaif dan maudu'. sewenang-wenang mereka menggesa supaya pandangan hujjatul Islam ini ditolak atas dasar itu.

Mereka tidak sedar ilmu Islam itu luas sehingga Allah berfirman jika ditambah 7 lautan lagi dari yang ada sekarang sebagai tinta, tidak habis untuk ditafsir.

Mereka yang bersikap bergini, menyempitkan Islam kepada apa yang mereka faham, alami dan ketahui. Mereka mudah menolak apa yang tidak diketahui.

Sikap menyamakan ulama pada tahap yang sama. Ulama fiqh disamakan dgn ulama tafsir. Ulama tasawuf diukur dgn standard ulama hadith, dan lain-lain.

Begitu juga, amalan orang awam dijadikan landasan bagi orang khusus. Amalan orang khawas cuba difahami menggunakan ilmu tahap orang awam dan seterusnya.

Mereka sering lupa, syurga itu mempunyai banyak tingkat. Manusia mempunyai derajat-derajatnya. Maka ilmu yang dikurniakan oleh Allah s.w.t kepada orang2 tertentu sudag tentu tidak sama.

Contoh Nabi Khidir diberi ilmu yg tidak diberi kepada Nabi Musa walaupun kedudukan Nabi Musa lebih tinggi.

Malang, bila orang-orang yang tidak layak membincangkan ilmu-ilmu yang bukan bidangnya.

Sewajarnya setiap diri sedar dan mengakui keterbatasan dan memilih sikap tawadhuk dalam menerima ketinggian ilmu Allah s.w.t. Bukan sewenang-wenangnya mengkritik dan mencela. Waallhu 'alam.

Awanama berkata...

@pemenang, artikel diatas pada fahaman saya bukan nak membuat perbandingan total perkataan 'Allah' dan 'Bush'. cuma penulis mahu pembaca
mudah faham kerana ia berlandaskan 'maksud'langsung sesuatu perkataan, bukan persoalkan 'sifat' yang terperinci sesuatu perkataan itu.Sebab ada mungkin pembaca yang kurang tahap pengetahuannya yang dalam tentang agama, sepertimana yang kita semua maklum bahawa Allah itu tiada tolok bandingnya. ya saya akui kaum melayu islam sejak 500 tahun dahulu menggunakan/meminjam perkataan dari bangsa/agama lain. Islam tidak melarang selagi ia tidak membawa maksud yang merosakkan akidah.(sepertimana yang kita tahu, hindu bertapak di tanah melayu lebih awal dari kedatangan Islam sendiri)pandangan asas saya tentang isu penggunaan nama"allah" ini, jikalau sesuatu agama itu benar benar jujur dan berpegang kepada konsep menggalak keamanan dan kasih sayang, tidak mungkin ia membuat sesuatu tuntutan atau tindakan yang mengeruhkan keadaan disesuatu kawasan yang bukan anutan majoriti (mereka ini bukan bodoh dan sudah menjangkakan kekecohan akan berlaku, dan mereka gembira dengan 'result' sekarang yang memihak kepada mereka, percayalah ini semua sudah dirancang teliti)