This letter to the editor of the Star was not published. -- K.A.
CONTROVERSY OVER “Allah”-word
I would like to intervene briefly on the current controversy on the use of the “Allah”-word. With due respect to the scholarship of Dr. Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad of IKIM and the authorities he cited to defend the use of the word for Muslim God only (Star, Feb., 19; p. 20), I am not convinced. The word has been used by many religious communities before. It has already been used by pagan Arabs in Mecca before Muhammad. The Quranic verses 2: 62 and 17: 40, among any others, testify to these.
To clinch the matter, please see Surah 17, verse 110 of the Quran, which states: “Say, ‘Call Him Allah, or call Him the Most Gracious; whichwever name you use, to Him belong the best names.’” This verse means that the word “Allah” is not the proper name of God, and that God really has no name, He being Pure Spirit, “... the Ever-living, the Absolute, Who Exists by Himself ... “ (See Quran, 2: 255). This settles the matter conclusively. Strangely, Dr. Wan Azhar did not quote this crucial verse.
The word “Allah” is an Arabic word, (that has entered the Malay language) literally meaning “the God”, formed from the Arabic “ilah” (meaning “god” with a small letter) and the particle “Al” meaning “the”, thus the One and Only God. It should not be a matter for argument, except for some politicians and some fanatical Muslim clerics.
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