allah in Malay

Slavomír Čéplö bulbulthegreat at
Tue Jan 1 01:19:52 UTC 2008

Dear Dennis, dear all,
as for entry 958, the main definition is "Ar Tuhan (Yg Esa)" ="Ar(abic) God (That who is only one)". The word "Tuhan" seems to bethe general word for "God" used in the context of monotheism( For polytheistic gods there'sthe word "dewa" (Sanskrit, if I'm not mistaken). Thor, for example, isa "dewa", not "Tuhan" ( InIndonesian, Ahura Mazda is "Tuhan"( In Malay, however, heis - just like the god of Manicheism - a "dewa"( It seems we're on atricky theological ground here :)
Tuhan is also used in Malay translations of the Quran alongside"Allah". For example, Quran 1:2:
1:2 Segala puji bagi Allah, tuhan semesta alam( Segala puji tertentu bagi Allah, Tuhan yang memelihara danmentadbirkan sekalian alam ( Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
However, Tuhan here translates رب [rab] = "Lord", "Master", not الله [allah]
Same seems to apply to translations of the Bible, e.g.
1:23 Jawabnya: "Akulah suara orang yang berseru-seru di padang gurun:Luruskanlah jalan Tuhan! seperti yang telah dikatakan nabi Yesaya."1:23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voiceof one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "
The rest of 958 are idioms:- allah azzawajalla <- Arabic عز و جل = "Great and Mighty"- allah subhanahu wa taala -< Arabic سبحانه و تعلى = "Blessings uponHim and may He be exalted"Both of these are standard formulas used in conjunction with the word"ِAllah" in Arabic. I've seen them in Islamic as well as Christian andJewish texts, so I would consider them non-specific, but whetherthat's really what they are in Malay as well I cannot say.- kerana allah - an idiom, literally translated "because of God" whichmeans something along the lines of "by the will of God" or "in vain".
Entry 959 is a complicated idiom, I'm afraid my knowledge ofMalay/Indonesian only goes so far. But again, nothing religiouslyspecific either.
Frankly, I am not suprised that some less than enlightened people inthe Malay government came up with the idea that "allah" can only mean"the God of Islam". Some months ago, our local neocon wingnut scumpeddled the same nonsense, insisting that anyone who prayed to "Allah"has de facto converted to Islam, Eurabia, dark hordes, be afraid etc.etc.My response back then was essentially the same as Alexander's here,with two more items to be entered into evidence:
Exhibit A: this is the beginning of the Gospel of Mark in Arabic. The first isthe phrase "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,one God". The first line under the picture of Mark says "Thus beginsthe gospel of Jesus the Messiah, son of God, as written by". The wordfor God is "Allah" (الله).
Exhibit B: - from aJudeo-Arabic translation of the Targum to Canticles (North Africa,printed in 1854-1855), 1:1. The underlined word is "allah". The wordhere appears as the translation of יְיָ which is the Aramaicequivalent of the Tetragrammaton.
Happy new year, everybody!

On Dec 31, 2007 9:40 PM, Dennis Baron <debaron at> wrote:> Here are the two entries from the Kamus Dewan, the official Malay> dictionary.  Can anyone on the list translate?  I'd appreciate knowing> whether the reference is general, Islam-specific, or not really specified:>>> 958.>  allah Ar Tuhan (Yg Esa); ~ azzawajalla Tuhan Yg Maha Baik dan Maha Mulia; ~> subhanahu wa taala terpujilah Tuhan yg Maha Tinggi; kerana ~ a) oleh> kehendak Allah; b) dgn percuma (utk mendapat pahala sahaja);>>> 959.>  allah dibuat kerana ~ menjadi murka ~ prb dilakukan dgn maksud baik,> disangka orang kurang baik (menjadi tidak baik).>> url:>>> Best,>> Dennis (aka Denesh)>>>> Dennis Baron>> Professor of English and Linguistics>> Department of English>> University of Illinois>>>> 608 S. Wright St.>> Urbana, IL 61801>>>>> office: 217-244-0568>> fax: 217-333-4321>>> www.!>> read the Web of Language:>>>>>>

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