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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dear Mr. Mufti ...

REVISED and UPDATED

Dear Mr. Malaysian Mufti, is your theology without anthropology and philosophy?

by Azly Rahman

I am interested in discussing this opinion below, as reported by the Malaysia' new agency Bernama, recently:

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"Muslims will become INFIDELS if they let others use 'Allah' "
...

Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria today reminded Muslims in the country that they will become infidels if they allow non-Muslims to use the word 'Allah'.

He explained that if the Muslims allowed the word Allah to be used by non-Muslims, it meant that they condoned the acts of the non-Muslims to associate Allah with lesser beings.

"Thus, this consent also makes us (Muslims) to be infidels. We must be united in defending our faith," he told reporters after the official opening of the Damara Care and Herbs Sdn Bhd office in Ipoh today.

"We cannot accept and compromise with those who associate Allah with lesser beings," he said.

He called on the parties concerned to stop suggesting the use of the word 'Allah' in the Malay version of the Bible because this would challenge the patience of Muslims in the country.

Two weeks ago, Johor Islamic Affairs Council adviser Nooh Gadut said those who allow the abuse of the word 'Allah' can be considered as apostates and should repent immediately.

- Bernama


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I suppose Mr. Mufti has not studied anthropology nor philosophy of religion enough to know that names/concepts of "god" evolve with the develpoment of philology and linguistic sociology, and that the even in Christianity too these names used to denote "god" varies from culture to culture depending fundamentally on the countless "denominatons" of Christianity and variants of Catholicism framed cross-culturally, globally.

I suppose if the learned Mr. Mufti had ventured beyond the study of Islamic theology, history, philology, and even the evolution of ecumenical studies specifically on the topic of the history of the idea of "god", he would not have made that statement too generalizing to be accepted by those who could think critically, but too appealing and dangerous to be agreed upon by those who understands religion as "rites and rituals" only.

In Islam, the word "Allah" is generic and one can choose to use 99 other names ... but the use of it by this "denomination of Malaysian Christians" for that one denotative-connotative word they are familair with is their right; as they have understood what god means, historically and culturally.

What then is this continued controversy about? I hope these kinds of "pre-fatwas" are not tied to the demands of political idiocy.

I suggest we move on Mr. Mufti.

Humbly I submit this: We ought to have other muftis start reading anthropology, philosophy, or even transcultural history of religion in order to frame our religious dialogues kaleidoscopically.
And in leisurely calling Muslims who agree to the Christian use of "Allah" as "infidels", what are you saying about those world's Christians in the Middle East that have used that term
meaningfully?

The essential question remains: do Malaysians need opinions like yours as decrees -- any longer -- to move foward peacefully inter-religiously? Already we have a history of religious violence as a consequence of political idiocy: cowhead being dragged on the streets unashamedly, head of pigs thrown into suraus in a game of political conspiracy, a church being burned in the capital city, and now fascist-religious groups calling for the Christian Bible to be burned in an act of even desperate lunacy.

We can do better than these as a nation, Mr. Mufti. The greatest enemy, to me is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. In this case, I would say the greatest enemy is self-imposed hegemony -- due to the lack of the will to study philosophy.

-- azly rahman

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with anthropology, philosophy or history. It is just the resultant mindset engineered over 22 years of Mahathirism where reality and truth are irrelevant. It is more powerful than all the teachings of anthropology, philosophy or history! Fortunately for our beloved country, it takes hold only on the weak-minded and there are enough to see through it to steer our nation along the correct and proper path, God-Willing.

kampong lad said...

Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you - say, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us]." ali-imran 61

the verse was addressed to the christians. this proves that the christians too acknowledge allah is their god. tak perlu belajar 'logy' & 'phy'. if the christians use other term then they wudn't know what allah means or what is allah.

Annuar said...

I suppose we should also implement the Sharia law by The Book since Allah said that these are His laws..

Funny isn't it? Despite your PhD., the logics to the arguments you put across are never consistent and are rather selective.

For someone as learned as you, just think again, are society ever rational or are they mostly emotional? History has thought us well that it is mostly been the latter. So, even if Quran does not forbade the usage of Allah, is the Muslim society in Malaysia can accept it? Similarly, Hudud is not practiced here eventhough it is required in the Quran because our society is NOT READY. Geddit?

To prove one's intellect may not always be easy so as to side the popular view. To distinguish and argue out may be the best but not the easiest. Heh, but I'm only a degree holder, what much would I know yea doc?

Anonymous said...

Good God! We badly need some broad-based,multi-disciplinary,cross-cultural general education(American University-style)for our citizens at all levels, before it's too late! Yet it seems our present government's education policies are heading the opposite direction!

Anonymous said...

do they know the verse in surah alfatehah? Alhamdulillahi rabbil 'alamin which means something like - Gracious to Allah god of the universe..(God forgive me if this is wrong).. and then they say - everything (seen and unseen belong to Allah...so even the kafirun belongs to Allah. My question is : Allah belongs to you or you belong to Allah? In which surah of the Quran was it mentioned that Allah belongs ONLY to the Malay-Muslim?

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