Sunday, 23 December 2007
The word 'haram' is very effective because Malays are constantly bombarded with the words 'haram' (forbidden) and 'halal' (kosher) from the day they are born. Malays grow up questioning everything 'haram' and 'halal' because they have been indoctrinated and conditioned to do so. This is within the Malay psyche and culture.
Interest is haram, so you must borrow money from an 'Islamic' bank, not from a 'kafir' (infidel) bank. Okay, the Islamic bank charges you a fixed 'profit' rate of, say, 10% per annum. Interest may actually be lower than that, so your borrowing cost from a 'kafir' bank can actually be lower than that from an 'Islamic' bank. But the 'kafir' bank charges you interest, which is haram, while an 'Islamic' bank charges you 'profit'. So this is not haram even though it may be higher.
Can you see how the choice of a word determines whether you get to go to heaven or hell even though the act may be the same? Killing for the sake of profit ensures you hell while killing for the sake of religion ensures you heaven. Committing suicide because of desperation ensures you hell while committing suicide because of religion ensures you heaven. You need to play with words to ensure that you get rewarded with heaven and to ensure you avoid getting sent to hell. Unfortunately, swine that is slaughtered the proper Islamic way is still haram in spite of the method used in killing the animal complies to the Islamic shariah.
So, the choice of a word is extremely important and therefore using the word 'haram' after the word 'perhimpunan' gives Malays the feeling that anyone who indulges in any gathering or assembly of more than four people, and in the same process does not have a police permit, is committing a very serious crime. Okay, you may say that the government is pulling the wool over the eyes of the Malays and are taking them for suckers by calling gatherings or rallies 'perhimpunan haram'. Well, if the government can also pull the wool over God's eyes and take Him for a sucker by replacing the word 'interest' with the word 'profit' and then call the entire usury system 'Bank Islam', then I suppose bluffing the Malays is small potatoes by comparison.
Another word that has been declared haram is the word 'Allah'. It is of course not made haram for Muslims. Only non-Muslims may not use that word. But this is only in Malaysia. It makes one wonder whether Malaysia has filed a copyright for the exclusive use of the word just like how Harley Davidson has patented the sound of their exhaust. That's right, Harley Davidson has sole use of the sound that is emitted from the exhaust pipes of its motorcycles and the Japanese, Germans, Italians, etc., may not build motorcycles that produce the same sound as the Harley Davidson motorcycle. That is like Britney Spears patenting the sound of her fart. Can you imagine no one being allowed to release a fart that sounds like hers?
Allah is in fact the Arabic word for 'God'. It is said that the term is most likely derived from a condensation of the Arabic article 'al' (the) and 'ilah' (deity or god). So Allah would mean 'the (or 'sole') God' (the one and only God, so to speak). There is another theory that traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alaha, and Aramaic was the language that Jesus Christ used.
No doubt, while the term is commonly used by Muslims as a reference to God, it is also used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, in reference to 'God'. Therefore, Arabs of the Jewish and Christian faiths also refer to God as 'Allah'.
During pre-Islamic times, the pagan Arabs also referred to their creator-god or their supreme deity (number one God) as Allah. So the word 'Allah' is not quite an Islamic word for God. It was also a pre-Islamic word for God, although the Arabs then believed in 360 different Gods. Allah, in pre-Islamic times, was not the sole divinity. He had associates and companions plus sons and daughters. There was also a kind of kinship between Allah and the jinn. But Allah was the boss of all Gods to the Arabs then.
So, gatherings and rallies are haram. Now, the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims is also haram. Gatherings and rallies are of course not haram according to Prophet Muhammad's Islam. It is only haram according to Hadhari's Islam. And the use of the word 'Allah' is not haram according to the Prophet's Islam. It is only haram according to Hadhari's Islam.