Allah is for Muslims Only

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the decision of Malaysia’s high court in which the court says that the use of the word “Allah” is for Muslims only. Below is an excerpt from the news report:

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia-Malaysia’s top court on Monday dismissed the Roman Catholic Church’s request that it be allowed to appeal a ruling barring it from using “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in its newspaper.

The high-stakes case, which dates back seven years, has provoked strong feelings in the Muslim-majority country at a time when advocates of conservative Islam have been growing in influence.

The Catholic Church first brought a case in 2008 to try to overturn a determination by Malaysia’s then-home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, the year before that prohibited the Herald newspaper from using the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God and argued it should be used solely by Muslims.

The minority Christian population had hoped that a win in the case would strengthen religious tolerance in a nation where Islam is the state religion.

An initial ruling in favor of the church in 2009 sparked mob vandalism and arson at both Christian and Muslim places of worship.

Last October, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s ruling which said the Church had the constitutional right to use Allah. It ruled that the use of the word ‘Allah’ wasn’t an integral part of the Christian faith and therefore overturned the lower court ruling which said the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word Allah.

A three-member judicial panel concluded, “It is our common finding that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ isn’t an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”

This decision by Malaysia’s high court proves what most people believe: that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are not the same God.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

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5 Responses to Allah is for Muslims Only

  1. BJ says:

    Allah is nothing more than the Arabic word for god. Yes, the Allah worshiped in Islam is not truly God but the use of the word to represent God is no worse than our using “God” instead of Elohim.

    The only thing that was “proved” by the Malaysian high court was that in regards to this case, that specific Catholic newspaper cannot use the word “Allah” when speaking of God without legal ramifications. No secular judicial court has ever legitimately been the final arbiter on theological matters.

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    • BJ,

      It is true that Allah is an Arabic word for God. In the Old Testament, the word El was a Hebrew word for God. El was also the name of the chief god in the Canaanite pantheon. Although the El of the Canaanites and the El of the Hebrews had the same name, they were different gods. This is the reason I say that the Allah of Islam is not the Yahweh of the Hebrew Bible.

      The Malaysian court’s decision is a way for them to say that Christians cannot use the word Allah because Allah is not the God Christians worship.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Claude Mariottini

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  2. Professor Mariottini, why do you say that the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are not the same God? Doesn’t Allah simply mean Father? Don’t we also share the ancestry of Abraham with Muslims descendants of Ishmael?

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  3. giavannabuonarroti says:

    Professor Mariottini, why do you say that the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are not the same God? Doesn’t Allah simply mean Father? Don’t we also share the ancestry of Abraham with Muslims descendants of Ishmael?

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    • Giavanna,

      The word Allah is the Arabic word for God. Although Muslims are descendants of Ishmael, they do not believe that their God became a man and died on the cross. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “God was manifest in the flesh.” It is the cross that makes the God of Christianity unique.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Claude Mariottini

      Like

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