Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What's in the name?

I was baffled with all the big hoohaa in Malaysia about the government and royalties prohibiting non-muslims to use the word Allah.

I converted from Christianity.  During my "Christian time" I had always used the word Allah.  Allah is the God of Abraham, of Moses, of Daud and God of all the prophets mentioned in the Bible.  I had never been confused about the meaning of Allah nor who He was.  He is the creator of the earth we are living now. All Christians in Indonesia have been addressing God of Abraham as Allah since long long time ago.  Allah is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible.  Having the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesian Muslims never prohibit Christians or Catholics to use Allah.

Since I was a little girl, whenever I prayed, I always started my prayer with "Allah Tuhan kami di surga" or in English "Allah, our God in heaven".  I had always prayed to Allah.  So when I converted to Islam, it was not difficult at all... I still pray to the same Allah whom I had been praying to since I was a little girl.  The only different is the ending... I used to end my prayer with "Dalam nama Tuhan Yesus kami berdoa. Amien." or in English "I prayed in the name of Jesus Christ. Amien."  Now I don't end my prayer with that line anymore.

For the past 2 years, there has been a debate in Malaysia on prohibiting non-muslims to use the word Allah.  I find it very strange considering that Islam and Christianity came from the same root.  When mentioning Allah, Christians refer to the God of Abraham, the Creator of Adam and Eve, the Almighty.  This is exactly the same with Islam. 

Fortunately Indonesians don't need to go thru this debate or else all the millions Christians and Catholics would have to change the name of God to something else.  What name should they pick? Yahweh? Jehovah? It would feel very weird to have to change your God's name, wouldn't it? 

Being a Muslim convert allows me to understand both Islam and Christianity.  These two religions are very similar to each other.  Both shared the same prophets and teachings. Surah Al-Baqarah of Al-Quran mentions several times about the confirmation of Allah sending Torah (Taurat) and Injil (Bible) thru Moses and Jesus.

Instead of emphasizing the similarities, people keep on arguing on the differences of these two religions and on which one is the best.

Being a convert, I received broadcast messages (blackberry messangers) from both sides, from my Christian and Muslim friends, attacking each other.  The messages were meant to create anger and provoke the readers to hate the other religion.  While I usually deleted and ignored such messages, I do have a lot of friends who trully believe those messages and forward or broadcast them to their contacts.  I pitied them for completely believing the messages blindly without bothering to check the facts.  In this internet age, information flows freely... It is our duty as a brain-owner to filter any information going into our brains or else our brains will be clogged with rubbish.

Wars have been made in the name of Allah and Jesus as if Allah and Jesus are war lovers.

It really saddens me.... I long to see people from all different religions live side by side in harmony, SINCERELY accepting the differences...

When I was young I couldn't understand the lyrics of John Lenon's Imagine.  I always thought that he was a rebelious atheist who didn't like people having religions.  Now I understand it better... He saw how religions created wars, thus he imagined if there were no religion, there must be no war...

Don't get me wrong... I understand his thinking but it doesn't mean I agree with him.  I still believe in the importance of religions. Religions should bring the good and eradicate the evils of their followers.  They should provide guidelines and bring peace to the people....

Science investigates....
Religion interprets...
Science gives man knowledge which is power...
Religion gives man wisdom which is control....
Martin Luther King Jr.

I believe religion should be personal, not forced.  It is a very intimate and beautiful relationship between a human and its creator.  It is up to us on how we want to name our creator in our prayers, just like it's up to us on how to call our father : papa, papi, daddy, dad, pap, bapak, ayah, abah, or whatever it is.  Everyone calls his/her father with different name but it points to the same role.

Usually I avoid this kind of writing... about religions and such.. But this time I really can't stand it.. I am just tired of reading all the arguments, fights and attacks on people of different religions.

"One's own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one's Maker and no one else's." - Mahatma Gandhi.