Allowing The Non-Muslims To Use The Name Allah For Their Gods

Question

I live in Malaysia where I am studying. You must have heard about the recent issue of the use of the word "Allah". The court has given its verdict that Christians can use the word "Allah" for their God as well. There is a strong reaction from the Muslim community. I am a bit confused on this. At one end I feel that the word Allah is an Arabic name for God and there should not be any harm in allowing its use by other religions. Whereas at the other end, there is a chance that Christians may use the word to deceive Muslims. And according to some locals here, it has happened in the past as well. Kindly throw some light on this issue through the Qur'an and Sunnah. My second question is regarding keeping a dog as a pet. I have read your answer on this at http://www.al-mawrid.org/pages/questions_urdu_detail.php?qid=1143&cid=0 but I am unable to grasp it completely that why keeping a dog just for the sake of having a pet is forbidden whereas one is allowed to keep a cat as a pet. And dog is a very loyal animal as well. Kindly explain.


Answer

Thank you for writing to us. We believe that the question about allowing the Christians to use the name Allah for their God we believe that it cannot legally be forbidden unless it is done on political basis for fear of unrest. Christians, Hindus and the members of other religious communities have been using the word Allah for God and it has not been forbidden them. Since Muslims believe that God of the Israelites and God of Muslims are the same and the Christians do affirm their belief in the same God, through with corrupted concepts, we cannot forbid them. If for example the non-Muslims of the days of the Prophet (sws) stopped Muslims from using the same name which they used for a supreme deity that would not be fair. We need to stop people from deceiving others but we cannot for example forbid a Hindu using the name for their concept of God.

As for the question of keeping dogs as pet I believe there is nothing wrong in doing that. It follows from the same arguments presented by the author of the article response you have referred to. I do not challenge his understanding but understand that if a dog is not that condemned to be used for hunting and the saliva of which can mix the prey and still the meat is allowable to eat and since God Himself told us that he provided the people of the Cave (Al-Kahf) despite the fact that they had a dog with them we cannot object to keeping the animal as pet.

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