毫不留情∶A Christian 'anointed' Muhammad as Prophet

出处∶Malaysia Today
原题∶No Hold Barred∶A Christian 'anointed' Muhammad as Prophet

The hypocrisy of Muslims is so mind-boggling that sometimes I am ashamed to admit I am a Muslim. Stupid Muslims do and say stupid things while those who know better keep quiet and pretend what is being said and done by these stupid people is correct. Their silence and inaction in opposing and correcting transgressions and violations to Islam make these people guilty of complicity. Those who remain quiet are as guilty as those who commit these crimes against Islam.

According to Islamic history, Muhammad was a 'restless soul' who used to withdraw from society to contemplate all alone in a deserted cave for days on end. In this isolation or 'solitary confinement', Muhammad would ponder in search of the Creator. One day, the Angel Gabriel descended to earth to command Muhammad to read. Muhammad replied that he was unlearned and could not read whereby Gabriel repeated the command to Muhammad who continued protesting that he was not capable of reading. Gabriel finally grabbed Muhammad and shook him with such great force that he was compelled to obey the command lest his very life get shaken out of him.

Muhammad was greatly disturbed and in utter shock. He ran back to his wife, Khatijah, and jumped under the blanket while relating to her what he had just experienced. Khatijah, who was older than him and probably quite intelligent considering she already owned a successful business enterprise before she married Muhammad, decided to go see her cousin. Some accounts say she brought Muhammad to meet her cousin. Suffice to say, whether Muhammad did or did not go along, Khatijah did go see her cousin and there appears to be no dispute on this point.

Khatijah's cousin had much earlier converted to Christianity and was an ulama or learned person. When he heard what Khatijah had to relate he said that Muhammad was destined to become a Prophet and he prayed he would still be alive to see this happen. He also predicted that Muhammad would face much trials and tribulations in his God-given mission to spread the word and to bring the Arabs out of the darkness of paganism in the period that Muslims call the era of ignorance or jahil.

Yes, it was a Christian who in a way 'anointed' Muhammad as the Prophet of Islam when Muhammad himself thought he was going mad and told his wife so. But Khatijah's cousin, the learned Christian, convinced Khatijah that Muhammad was not going mad but had been chosen by God as the next Prophet and that she should go home and inform Muhammad of this. Muhammad would probably never have returned to that cave and would instead have asked Khatijah to commit him into a mental asylum if not for her learned Christian cousin.

That, in a nutshell, was the relationship between Muhammad and Christianity in the days when Muhammad had not yet 'seen the light'. And it took a Christian to convince Muhammad that he was not going mad but was in fact a Prophet. And, yes, the Christian cousin of Muhammad's wife was an Arab, as was Muhammad, and the Arab Bible was in Arabic, the language of Islam, and the Arab Christian God was called Allah, as was the God of the pagan Arabs who also had 360 other Gods alongside Allah -- which about 21 years later were all 'sacked' in favour of just the one God, Allah, the same God of the Jews and Christians of the Arabian Peninsular of that era.

This controversy about banning the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible and banning the use of the word Allah in the Bible is not new. Of course, more than 1,500 years ago in Arabia, the Arabic version of the Bible was not banned, nor was the use of the word Allah in the Bible. In fact, there was already an Arabic Bible long before there was an Arabic Quran and the Arab Christians already called God Allah long before Gabriel commanded Muhammad to read.

Malaysian Ministers are expected to be learned in matters of religion and Islamic history. And if they are not then it is expected that those from Pusat Islam and the Religious Department who are would be able to guide the Ministers on what is right and what is not. But ignorant Ministers make stupid statements and come out with stupid policies while learned Muslims from Pusat Islam and the Religious Department, who are there only for the salary and not because of Islam, shut their mouths and do not dare make a squeak.

The hypocrisy of Muslims is so mind-boggling that sometimes I am ashamed to admit I am a Muslim. Stupid Muslims do and say stupid things while those who know better keep quiet and pretend what is being said and done by these stupid people is correct. Their silence and inaction in opposing and correcting transgressions and violations to Islam make these people guilty of complicity. Those who remain quiet are as guilty as those who commit these crimes against Islam.

I give up on Muslims who are all bloody hypocrites. These people are more concerned about young people who hold hands in a park or about whether the clothes they wear are too 'sexy'. These people do not care whether there are injustices to Islam perpetuated in the name of Islam. Islam is being put to ridicule. And our government and Prime Minister say one thing but do the opposite.

Badawi asks Malaysians to adopt moderate path

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 26, 2007 : Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has again criticised the narrow-mindedness and intolerance propounded by a small group of people and has urged his countrymen to adopt a moderate path.

"Over the last few months, narrow-mindedness and intolerance, propounded by a small group, have served to test our faith in each other," he said in his Christmas message.

Malaysians should move forward and put the country's interest before any narrowly defined demands," he was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper Wednesday.

Malaysia has been in the news following a protest rally staged by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which claims to speak for the Indian ethnic community, who form eight percent of the country's 27 million people.

Hindraf organised a rally Nov 25 that attracted an estimated 10,000 people. Although it was peaceful, police dispersed it using water cannons and tear gas.

Thirty-one protestors were prosecuted, while five of the Hindraf leaders are in jail for two years under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

Malaysia rejected concerns raised by India and the US, terming it 'interference in its domestic affairs'.

Noting that there was a lot in common between Islam and Christianity, he said: "Despite all the rhetoric, the great religions of the world practised across Malaysia share many universal beliefs.

"If moderation does not take centre stage, extremism will take the place and we will all be dragged into it, whether it comes from the basis of religion, race or groups," he warned.

"This is what we should watch out for, this is what it give us problems," said Badawi in his speech at a Christmas tea party organised by the Christian Federation of Malaysia and hosted by Kuala Lumpur's Archbishop Murphy Pakiam.

He also called on the people to uphold the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect that they had been practising in a multi-racial community. --- IANS

Sabah church sues PM over book ban

Soon Li Tsin, Malaysiakini | Dec 24, 07 4:46pm

A Sabah church has sued the government and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his capacity as internal security minister for not allowing the import of Christian literature from Indonesia containing the word ‘Allah’.

Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church president Pastor Jerry Dusing filed the suit on behalf of the church at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Dec 10 after six titles for their Sunday school education for children were banned from being imported.

The church is also asking the court to compel the minister to return the consignment of materials that were ‘unlawfully detained’ by customs officers at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal on Aug 15.

According to letters from the ministry, the books were banned because the Bahasa Indonesia publications contained various words that are exclusive only to Islam.

The words in contention are ‘Allah’ (God), ‘Baitullah’ (House of God), ‘Solat’ (prayer) and ‘Kaabah’ (The Sacred House).

The letters state that the ministry is allowed to stop any propagation of religious doctrine or belief to Muslims in accordance with Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution allowing certain words to be restricted and prohibited from use.

The ministry explained that the prohibition was due to the uneasiness felt in the community during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the issue has become sensitive and been classified as a security issue.

It also stated further that the publications can raise confusion and controversy in the Malaysian society.

Dursing’s affidavit rebuts several of these points including the use of Alkitab - the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible - where the word ‘Allah’ appears.

“The Christian usage of ‘Allah’ predates Islam. ‘Allah’ is the name of God in the old and the modern Arabic Bible.

“The Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia translations of the Holy Bible have been used by Christian native peoples in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak for generations,” it stated.

Educational purpose

He also noted that the publications was for educational purposes within the church and was not for sale or distribution outside the church.

“The publications will not be made available to members of the public and in particular to a person professing the religion of Islam.

“The publications contain nothing which is likely to cause public alarm or which touches on the sensitivities of Islam,” the affidavit read.

A range of constitutional provision were also raised by the applicants. The hearing for the application for leave in the Kuala Lumpur High Court is scheduled to take place on Dec 27.

The controversy over the use of ‘Allah’ in non-Islam publications recently surfaced when Herald - the largest Catholic newspaper - was facing problems when renewing its annual publishing permit because of the word ‘Allah’ was used in referring to ‘God’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ministry has told the publisher to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the permit will not be renewed when it expires next week.

Asked for an explanation on the matter, Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum said the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion.

The Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has a circulation of 12,000.

Bible Ban Shock in Southeast Asian Democracy

By Patrick Goodenough

CNSNews.com Pacific Rim Bureau Chief

April 17, 2003

As Christians around the world prepare to mark their most important holiday, hundreds of thousands of believers in southeast Asia face the prospect of celebrating Easter without free access to the Bible.

In a decision indigenous Christians in eastern Malaysia have found incomprehensible, their government in Kuala Lumpur - which considers itself one of Asia's more successful democracies - has banned the Bible in their native tongue.

The Iban, the largest of 27 indigenous ethnic groups in Sarawak province on Borneo island, have since 1988 had access to the entire Bible in their own language, published by the Bible Society of Malaysia.

But now the mainly Muslim government's Home Ministry has named the Iban-language Bible as one of 35 publications it is banning because they are considered "detrimental to public peace."

Among the other books listed are Christian books in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the national languages of those two countries.

They include translations of books in English by well-known Western evangelical authors J.I. Packer and John Stott. Others are books on Islamic subjects.

The books were listed in a ministry statement that cited various publication laws and said the "printing, import, production, reproduction, sale, circulation, distribution and possession of books listed under the schedule are banned in the country."

Anyone found guilty of breaching the ban faces up to three years in jail, fines of up to $5,200 or both.

About 9 percent of Malaysia's 23 million people are Christians, and most live in the east of the country. Iban is spoken by more than 400,000 people, members of a Borneo tribe that was once feared for its head-hunting.

Many have converted to Christianity, while some still practice traditional religious rituals.

Islam is Malaysia's official religion, although the federal constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to profess, practice and propagate their religion.

That freedom is subject to another clause saying that laws "may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam."

Critics say this provision provides the authorities with a loophole, for example by identifying publications they can claim cause confusion among Muslims.

With the approach of Easter, an umbrella group called the Association of Churches in Sarawak issued a statement saying Christians in the province could not understand why their Bible has been banned.

"To find Bup Kudus [the Iban-language Bible] banned now has caused confusion, fear, anxiety and alarm among the Christian community in Sarawak," said the group, which comprises Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and others churches.

"Without the Iban Bible, we cannot conduct the church services," said the association's chairman, Pastor Lawrence Banyie.

'Muslims may be confused'

A local paper quoted a senior official in the ministry's "publications control" division, Elias Mat Rabi, as saying the banned books breached guidelines for religious books.

They used several terms that were also used in Islam, which could confuse people, he said.

Reached by phone in the Sarawak capital, Kuching, on Thursday, Elias declined to comment, or to explain how the Bible and other books were considered dangerous.

The secretary-general of the Malaysia National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, the Rev. Wong Kim Kong, said from Kuala Lumpur there had for some time been difficulties over the fact that some words used in Islam were also used in Christian publications.

Some Muslim leaders thought this could perplex Muslims who picked up such books.

Among the words that cause concern is "Allah." It's the word Muslims use for the deity they worship, but the Arabic word pre-dated Islam and is also used by Christian Arabs when referring to God - despite the considerable differences in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic conceptions of God.

The Iban translation of the Bible uses the term "Allah Taala" for God, while the other banned Christian books, in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, also use "Allah" for God.

This is thought likely to be one of the problem areas for the Home Ministry.

Kong said it was wrong for a specific religion to claim monopoly over certain words. "Terminology or language doesn't belong to any particular religion. It is universal property."

If the government was worried some Muslims may be confused, it was the government's responsibility to tackle the problem through educational programs aimed at Muslims - not by banning Christian books, he said.

"In a multi-cultural, multi-religious society like ours, it is important for the government to go through a process of what we call 'natural justice' - it should consult or discuss with the organizations concerned before making a decision affecting them."

Kong and other Christian leaders have scheduled a meeting with a government deputy minister later this month to discuss the ban, he said.

A representative of the Bible Society of Malaysia, Dr. Victor Wong, said Thursday the publishers were flabbergasted at why the government had chosen to ban the Iban translation 15 years after the first edition came out.

The Iban version was now in its eighth edition, and a run of around 5,000 were printed about every five years, he said.

Wong declined to comment further, saying the Society was "watching to see what happens" before taking further action. He noted that a number of Christian bodies had protested the government action.

The Christian community has also won support from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a secular opposition party, which said the ban should be lifted.

DAP lawmaker Teresa Kok called the ban arbitrary and unjustifiable, and asked the government to "explain why it considers the books to be detrimental to public health."

Stung By Outcry, Malaysia Gov't Reverses Bible Ban

By Patrick Goodenough

CNSNews.com Pacific Rim Bureau Chief

May 01, 2003

An outcry from Malaysian Christians has prompted the government of the predominantly Muslim country to reverse its ban on Bibles published in the language of an indigenous ethnic group.

The decision was announced by acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who said banning the Iban-language Bible would spark anger in the Christian community.

The edition was banned last month, 15 years after it was first published to serve the needs of a community of erstwhile headhunters on Borneo island, many of whom have converted from animism to Christianity.

The decision to ban the Iban Bible, plus 34 other religious books considered "detrimental to public peace," was attributed to officials at the Home Ministry, acting on the advice of the Department of Islamic Development.

The department's main gripe was that the Iban translation of the Bible uses the term "Allah" for God.

The contention was that this could confuse any Muslim picking up the Iban Bible.

Among the other banned books were several Christian books by well-known Western evangelical authors, translated into the Malaysian and Indonesian national languages, and also using the word "Allah" for God.

Other books were on Islamic subjects, but not deemed orthodox.

Announcing the reversal of the ban, Abdullah said the Department of Islamic Development had felt use of the word "Allah" was inappropriate and that the Iban Bible therefore breached official guidelines for non-Islamic religious books.

He said his subsequent consultation with church leaders revealed that "the word had been used by the community as a reference to God for a very long time."

It was therefore not necessary to ban the Bible, Abdullah said, but added that it was important to ensure that religious books available in Malaysia did "not touch on the sensitivity of other religions, especially Islam."

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 23 million people are Muslims, and less than 10 percent are Christians.

About half of the 400,000 Iban, who live in Malaysia's Sarawak province on Borneo island, are Christians.

The Bible Society of Malaysia has since 1988 published the entire Bible in the Iban tongue. It also prints Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese, and two other minor languages.

The decision to ban the Iban edition drew widespread condemnation, lead to heated debate on Malaysian online news portals, and prompted the launch of a petition that was signed by 1,400 people within a week.

Judging from comments on online forums, some Malaysians clearly felt the issue had less to do with semantics than with politicians pandering to their ethnic constituents ahead of elections later this year.

Church leaders, both Iban and others, appealed for it to be lifted.

'Violated constitution'

Ong Kian Ming, the Malaysian who organized the petition and conveyed it to the authorities via "informal channels," is a Christian and senior policy analyst with an independent think tank called the Socio-Economic Development and Research (Sedar) Institute.

He said Thursday he had taken the action because the Bible ban clearly violated the article in the federal constitution guaranteeing religious freedom for all Malaysians.

Ong attributed the ban to overzealous bureaucrats who wanted to monopolize the word "Allah" for Malaysian Muslims, "without realizing that Arab speaking Christians use the word Allah to address their God."

Theologians say Christians in the Arab world used the word "Allah" for God before the founding of Islam in the seventh century, and still do today, even though Muslims and Christians have substantially different conceptions of "God."

Ong welcomed the announcement that the ban was to be lifted, saying it was a positive sign that religious freedom would be upheld when Abdullah becomes premier. Veteran Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is retiring in October.

"It assuages some of the fears many Christians here in Malaysia here have in regards to the increase of religious intolerance," Ong said.

To prevent a recurrence, Ong said the Sedar Institute recommended the establishment of an inter-religious council under the prime minister's department, comprising representatives of all religions and designed to discuss government decisions affecting all religions.

He also questioned the decision to leave the ban on the other books in place.

'Exact science'

According to Dr. Victor Wong of the Bible Society, there are no plans at present to change any words in future editions of the Iban Bible.

The matter may be discussed in some future forum, he said from Kuala Lumpur Thursday, but there could be "theological implications" to changing words.

"Bible translation is quite an exact science," he said.

Asked whether the Iban language had another word that could be used for "God," Wong explained that as a formerly animist tribe, the Iban had "all sorts of gods" and care had to be taken not to cause confusion through bad translation.

Wong said there had been an upside to the controversy, as it focused attention on the Iban Christians and an edition of the Bible that many Malaysians had not known existed before now.

It had also resulted in "a very good show of solidarity" among Christians in Malaysia.

"The important thing, though, is that the Iban come to know God, through having the Bible in their own language."

Wong described the Iban as a tribe renowned in the past for fierceness in battle, but which at the same time was also fearful because of the many gods it acknowledged.

He knew of cases where an Iban would refuse to leave the house after hearing the cry of a bird, which was interpreted as a bad omen.

Christianity had helped the Iban to leave behind this fearful existence, Wong said.

"Their lives were changed because of the word of God."