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Al-Fatihah

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Can the Word "Allah" be Translated? - Part 2

I thought of writing this as a reply to the comments that I received on my posting entitled “Can the Word Allah be translated?”. However, I think it is better for me to post it as a new article as a continuation of the earlier posting as mentioned above.
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Readers may go to the earlier posting to read the comments from other readers.
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I have written an email to the editor of the Herald, Lawrence Andrew SJ asking him few questions and he had responded accordingly, which is appended below.
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It is obvious that the Herald only use the word “Allah” to denote “God” in their Malay publication. They do not use the word “Allah” in their English, Tamil or Chinese publication.
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So, it is obvious and safe to say that in this case, the Herald uses the word “Allah” in their Malay publication not on the basis that they believe in the story of Prophet Adam, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Musa and all other Prophets but they do so just because they claimed that the translation for the word “God” in Malay is Allah. If they really do believe in Allah and all those Prophets, they should also use the word “Allah” in their English, Tamil and Chinese publication.
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I do not have the dictionary as mentioned by the Herald Editor, so I am not really in a position to comment on that. However, since my primary 1, I was taught that the word “God” in Malay in “Tuhan” and never that I was taught that the word God” in Malay is “Allah”.
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Arah,
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I do not really understand the co-relation between the Qur’anic verses (Al-ankabuut:46 and Ali-imran:64) and the ban by the Malaysian Government on the Herald from using the word “Allah” in their Malay publication.
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In both verses, Allah mentioned ahlul kitab and not the non-Muslims. Who is ahlul kitab? Ahlul kitab is those Jews and Nasrani that lived during the Prophet Muhammad pbuh time and hold firmly on the teaching of the original Injil and Taurat and their descendants who also hold firmly on the teaching of the original Injil and Taurat. So, I do not see the relevance of the 2 verses that you mentioned with the current issue unless you consider the Christians as ahlul kitab, which should not be the case.
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Here are the Qur'anic verses mentioned by Arah: -
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All the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah including Prophet Muhammad were sent by Allah to the people to teach them about Islam and the oneness of Allah. So, I can safely say that the word “Allah” belongs only to Muslims and non-others. The fact that there are Christians and Jews who believe in other Prophets than Prophet Muhammad does not make them a Muslim, hence using the word "Allah".
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The fact that the Christians or non-Muslims in Arab countries use the word “Allah” does not tell anything. It does not make a wrong to become right. “Allah” does not belong to the Arabs. It belongs to Islam.
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This is the email from the editor of the Herald to me. The red denotes my questions and the green denotes the answers from the Editor. The contents of the email shall only be used as a reference in this discussion and shall not be used by any party for any of the purpose other than as mentioned herein: -
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From: Lawrence Andrew SJ editor@herald.com.my
Date: Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Herald - resendingTo: Rozaimi Mohd Said msrozaimi@gmail.com
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Dear Mr Rozaimi,
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Thank you for your e-mail. I will quickly respond to your questions. I noticed some words were repeated. So I am resending this. Thanks and sorry for the untidiness, LA
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When the publication uses the word "Allah" as a translation to "God", who are you referring to? Are you referring to Jesus?
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We are not translating. We are writing in Malay. The word for God in Malay has been for centuries ALLAH. In our prayers in Malay we use the word ALLAH to refer to God and this has been so for centuries. Look at the Malay dictionaries of the past and you will easily notice that the word for God in Malay is ALLAH.
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We normally say TUHAN Yesus Kristus.
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Apart from the fact that Munshi Abdullah, in translating the Bible into Malay language more than 100 years ago using the word Allah for God, do you have any other reasons for not using the word "TUHAN", which is the most accurate and direct translation for the word "God" in Malay instead of "Allah"?
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Even before Munshi Abdullah we have been using the word ALLAH to refer to God. We have a MALAY-LATIN Dictionary, even before Malaysia had a dictionary and the word ALLAH is Deus (in Latin and its English meaning is GOD). This Dictionary was printed in 1631.
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In our Holy Book Al-Kitab the word Tuhan denotes LORD. So when we say Lord God, we use the words TUHAN ALLAH.
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The current problem is politically motivated. Check the earlier Malay Dictionaries. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka began to shift the meaning unilaterally some time in the early 1980's. Check for the meaning of ALLAH in Kamus Umum (Indonesia).
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I have lived in Indonesia for four years. The citizens of Indonesia, both Muslims and Christians, use the word ALLAH for God.
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Do you use the word "Allah" in your English or Chinese or Tamil publication?
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We do not use the word ALLAH in English, Chinese or Tamil sections of HERALD. For your information the Al Koran in English uses the word GOD for Allah.
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I hope this has answered your questions.
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With every good wish and God's blessings,
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Yours sincerely,
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Lawrence Andrew, SJ

2 comments:

satD said...

Salam Rozaimi

have a look at JMD/Apocryphalist latest Post on the issue.


And have a look at mine as well

wass
satD

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Salam SatD,

Can't open JMD...is it about the petition to the pope?