Why non Muslims cannot use the word Allah.

Dr Khalif Muammar

1-There is no nas qat’i (conclusive/definitive evidence) from the Qur’an and the Sunnah on this matter. All the evidences put forward by those who permit it, do not show that it is permissible for non Muslim to use the word Allah. Since there is no conclusive evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, this matter falls under zanniyyat, something which is based on human discretion. Muslim scholars need to base their argument on historical, epistemological, theological and semantic analysis. There will be right and wrong opinions depend on who has the strong argument. Definitely wisdom and in-depth analysis must be stressed, and not just literal interpretation. Although there is no conclusive evidence this does not mean that we cannot reach certainty in dealing with this issue. In this short but compact paper I will provide conclusive arguments which will demonstrate that non Muslim should not be permitted to use the word Allah in any ways to refer to their God even in their publication for their own community. As long as they live in Muslim country they have to respect their Muslim neighbors.

2-The fact is that the word Allah even though it was used before Islam, it has been Islamized, the meaning of it is no longer the same as before. By permitting non Muslim to use it we actually doing deislamization. We are reverting the course which was done by our Prophet. Hence, we will be responsible for making more Muslim become confused.

Professor Wan Mohd Nor says the context of Arabs and the Malay world is different, non Muslim in our land especially did not use the word Allah before this, there is no such word in their language before, in the original work they called it Yahweh, why not they call tuhan Yahweh. Therefore, it is evident that this issue is brought to confuse the Muslims.

They wanted Allah become the name of other gods as well. The fact is that our God is not the same as the god of Christianity, their god can have son, it is a humanized god.

3. We cannot equate God with Allah. Because the word God is generic and the word Allah is a proper name. Therefore when we say la ilaha illallah it is not there is no god but God, this does not make sense, rather it means there is no god but Allah.

When we analyze the use of Allah in the Qur’an there are two forms: general and specific. The verse in surah al-Tawbah: 30 only tells that Christians say messiah is the son of God or Jews say that Uzayr is the son of God. Other oft-quoted verse regarding this issue is..”if indeed thou ask them who it is that created the heavens and the earth, they would be sure to say, “Allah.”(al-Zumar, 39:38). Here the word Allah cannot mean the true God because they don’t know who Allah is simply because no prophet was sent to them. Therefore, the use of Allah here is to mean God in general. Therefore there are two usages of Allah in the Qur’an, the general one and the specific one. The spesific use such as that “verily the religion before Allah is Islam” (innaddina indallahi al-Islam), (Ali Imran: 19). Allah here is not just god but the true God.

4-The spirit behind this issue is religious pluralism. They are saying that Muslim God is the same as God in other religion. They wanted to convey that we, Christians and Muslims, have the same God. This is against Islamic creed. Our Aqidah tells us that other god is not the true God (La ilaha ghayruh). When we renounce religious pluralism, it does not mean that we also reject religious tolerance and religious diversity. In fact Muslims are the one who introduce these concept to the world. The charter of Madinah is the conclusive evidence on this.

5-Prof. Wan Mohd Nor also said there is limit of meaning for each word we use, the word wahyu is not the same as revelation, we cannot say that I receive wahyu, but you can say that in English. “I got revelation last night”. Obviously they don’t differentiate between wahyu and ilham (intuition).

Every word that has been Islamized is understood in the framework of Islamic worldview. Words such as Allah, masjid, salat, wahyu, rasul, ulama, are some words that cannot be used by other religious community and vise versa. Therefore we cannot call our ulama as paderi and masjid to become temple. In masjid you don’t just ask from God, and you don’t worship idol in it. So what we do in a masjid is substantially different from what they do in their holy place. The main reason that you came to masjid is to submit yourself, to obey Him. Therefore, sujud (prostation) is a symbol of submission, this is what sujud means of which the name masjid is derived from.

6-God before Islam is not only Allah, there is a lot of god during the jahiliyyah period. Allah was a general word. The specific names for their god are al-lata, al-uzza, al-manat etc. when Islam came it give new meaning to Allah. Islam did not introduce new word so that it will be easier to teach people about God. The word Allah before Islam is no longer the same compared to the one used after Islam has been established in the Arab country. Allah became the proper name and official name of the true God. Like the word Islam, literally it is submission but it become the official name of a religion.

Non Muslim may acknowledge that God is the Creator, this is in the Rububiyyah level, but they deny the Uluhiyyah part when they commit shirk and believe in polytheism. A Muslim is the one who submit to Allah in the level of Uluhiyyah. At this level Muslims believe only Allah is the true God. They only follow His guidance.

7. If Muslims in other country permit non Muslim to use the word Allah it is a mistake. Muslims in these countries usually do not have the power to stop it. In Indonesia, liberalization of Islam and secularization of Muslim community has long been in place. We in Malaysia are lucky to have a government that takes this matter seriously. Therefore, we must strive hard to prevent the use of Allah by other religious community. And the non Muslim community must understand it is not a quarrel for the sake of a name, but it is about the protection of the Islamic Creed (Aqidah), and this has nothing to do with religious tolerance or intolerance. This is about respecting other religion.

Malaysian Government and its subsidiaries are put on pressure if they do not allow the use of Allah by the Christians. The government will be accused of violating freedom of expression. Evidently, freedom of expression become the highest principle, above all considerations including religious and the interests of the people. The question is do we have to submit to the liberal values propagated by the West? As an independent and sovereign state, we should disregard what others will say if we can prove academically that what we do is the best for our community. As Muslims we should base our values on our religion, why should we let the West dictates their values on us. Certainly they are not superior in matters such as values, ethics and morality. Even if they do, we have the right to have our own values, our own identity.

2 thoughts on “Why non Muslims cannot use the word Allah.

  1. if non-muslim want to use the word Allah, they must first understand the true meaning of ‘ALLAH’. They must subscribe to the faith of ‘Only One God’. The question will be..are they prepared?, and if they use the word ‘Allah’ and subscribe to the above faith, they must also acknowledge Quran as the sole book of faith..this is because it is only in the Quraan the word ‘Allah’ is clearly defined. By doing so, they must also admit that Muhammad SAW is a Rasul, the one who brought Quraan to the World. In conclusion, the non-muslim must embrace Islam as their faith..and..they become muslim.. are they dare to do so? clearly the intention to use the word ‘Allah’ in their publication is to confuse muslim, particularly in Malaysia and hoping that muslim will convert to Christianity..which clearly deny the principle or the faith of ‘ONLY ONE GOD’!!!

  2. Article yg bagus, bolah saya dptkan link utk article ini? ramai kawan2 non Muslim yang keluarkan bukti untuk membenarkan mereka guna perkataan Allah berpandu undang-undang dunia dll. Jadi memang article ini diharap dpt membantu saya memperjuangkan serta menegakkan yg hak dan mengalahkan yang batil. terima kasih

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