I am always of the opinion that if we could sit down, discuss and settle an issue at hand among aggrieved parties, there is absolutely no need for us to go to court and let it settle for us. It is of course easier said than done. Using the law to decide who is right and who is wrong is only mandatory for cases which are criminal in nature.
Asking the court to make the decision on what we can or cannot call our Creator is a short-term solution with long-term dire implications.
The Malaysian Court of Appeal’s verdict which disallows non-Muslims from using the term “Allah” to refer their God in their Holy Book and during prayers have got communities abuzz. The international media picked up the news with much glee. And recently an Islamic scholar has labelled the verdict as not only a political decision but laughable as well. You can read his take here. I found his arguments clear with a logical train of thoughts and illustrated with several analogies.
The difference between the scholar and others like him when they opine that Allah is not exclusive to the Muslims, is that they think and they consider the issue in a much broader perspective. Those who support the verdict and oppose the use of Allah by non-Muslims, while thinking to a certain extent, they are more distracted with the potential confusion of Muslims about their God whom they also refer to as Allah. They embrace a narrow and more emotional consideration. When you become emotional in your arguments you are not likely to see the wood for the trees. Your thinking becomes fuzzy, and your conclusions limited.
The issue will not settle till kingdom comes as it involves faith. No man-made authority should make “fatwa-style” directives on such a sensitive matter seeing that ours is a multi-cultural society.And need it be reminded that this is the Twenty-first Century?
The court really has no business in this issue because its specific ruling will not satisfy both parties and following that, due to its legal ramifications, the lost party could be subject to actions that would further strain inter-religious harmony in this country. The recent seizure of the Bibles in Selangor, is a case in point. Someone nonchalantly said that the Islamic Religious Department merely acted according to the law. And yet it is not as simple as that. In fact, people who justified the seizure of those Bibles as lawful, have simply stopped thinking.