2009 carried a news story reporting the lifting of a ban on a Catholic Malayan newspaper. The Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry insisted the newspaper could not use the word "Allah" for God. Jeremy Reynalds, reported that nine days after imposing a ban on the Malay-language section of the Herald, a Catholic newspaper, Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs lifted the ban - but "mandated that the publisher must not use the word "Allah" for God in its Malay section until the matter is settled in court“ (Correspondent for ASSIST News Service KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (ANS, emphasis added).
Reynalds recognized this is serious political business, but does it not strike your funny bone that any government, whether secular, Islamic, or Hindu) can control use of the word and franchise God? Lawrence Andrew, Editor of the newspaper, told the news service the letter made clear that the conditions set out by the government in an earlier letter still stand: “The publisher must print the word "terhad" ("restricted" or "limited" in Malay) on the cover page of the newspaper to indicate that the weekly can only be sold in churches, and is meant for Christians only” (emphasis added).
The Malaysian government has continued to prohibit that publisher from using the word "Allah" as the Malay translation for God, and the Catholic agency finds it expedient to comply with the local law. On the other hand, thinking that anyone can legislate, or franchise, or control, the usage of the word for God is, as suggested, “as simplistic as the British Bus Driver who refused to drive the bus that had a statement on the side of it saying there is no God.”
When people refuse to recognize God, Jesus reminded them, the very rocks will cry out in recognition of Him. In what was called a biblical version of a soap opera of suffering and diagnosing of God, Job found himself with more questions than he could answer when God finally resplied to him.
Job found himself needing to answer a few questions like,
1. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
2. Who stretched a measuring line across the earth’s foundations and measured it?
3. On what were its footings set and who laid its cornerstone?
4. Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?
5. What is the way to the abode of light?
6. Where does darkness reside?
7. Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Job did not have the answers, obviously. Truthfully, we know a lot more today than Job‘s generation. But, with all our scientific discoveries, we have a l-o-n-g way to go before we can either capture God, own the franchise, or control the usage of his name, authority, wisdom, or justice.
Whether one is a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, or whatever else there may be, we have very little chance of buying God’s franchise or exercising ownership of the words recognizing him. Simply put, he is not for sale. He cannot be copyrighted, nor can he be controlled for personal purposes. God is beyond the legal options of mere humanity.
Worth noting is the thought that while Christians believe in a very different “God” than the followers of Mohammed, Christians have as much right to the word “Allah” as does Islam. Allah is merely the Arabic word meaning God and there were many Christians using that word in their worship predating Mohammed, until he determined to revise the story, settle some scores, and take up the sword, which he did successfully, by recreating God and using the sword.
Something to think about is that while Mohammed became a devout believer in a system of beliefs “about” God, he never experienced the grace of God and never developed any concept of a merciful God of grace and forgiveness. Nor, did he ever gain control of the franchising of the name of Allah/God.