Usman Bello Balarabe
Usman Bello Balarabe

Notes from Hindustan: Is Arabic version of the Bible an ‘Islamic’ Bible? By Usman Balarabe

NEWS DIGEST – There are millions of Islamic books written in different languages including the Muslims Holy Book (Koran) which has its English Language version, French version, Hebrew version amongst others.  Just like how the Hebrew version of the Koran does not symbolize Judaism and Christianity by making it ‘a Jewish Koran’ or ‘a Christians Koran’ so also the Arabic version of the Bible does not make it an ‘Islamic Bible’. Perhaps, the Plaintiff failed to understand that Language is used as a symbol of communication not a symbol of religion because not all Arabs are Muslims. In the Middle East there are other religions that speaks Arabic such as:  Druze, Christianity, Samaritanism, Zoroastrianism, Yazidims and Judaism amongst others. Does that make them Muslims?

Ajami is the usage of Arabic alphabets to write out Hausa just like how English alphabets which are from the language of the Christians were used to write out Yoruba, Igbo, and even the Hausa inscriptions on some of the naira notes. Does that make it a Yoruba, Igbo, or Hausa naira? Because these are not the only ethnic groups in Nigeria. Why the fuss about Arabic inscriptions (ajami) which remains a scripting language in some parts of the country amongst the populous Hausa communities?

Surprisingly, the cross is the principal symbol of Christianity as well as a symbol to Christ himself and his followers. Does that make the Red Cross emblem which is a generic emblem for medicine associated with first aid, medical services amongst others as a symbol of Christianity? Does that makes some of our Hospitals, and Healthcare volunteers carrying the Red Cross Inscriptions as ‘Christians’ Hospitals or ‘Christians’ Healthcare workers? If that does not symbolizes Christianity why would the Arabic inscriptions (ajami) on naira notes symbolize Islam?

The Arabic inscriptions (Ajami) on Naira notes dates back to 1973 and was inscribed on our currencies by the colonialists who were even more closely associated with Christianity and were more extreme in propagating the gospel of the bible because Protestantism and Catholicism participated as the state religions of the European colonial powers. If that Arabic inscriptions (Ajami) symbolizes Islam why would they ever inscribed it on our currencies?

In India, apart from Hindi and English languages, more than ten languages such as: Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Assamese, Telugu, Punjabi, Nepali, Marathi, Urdu amongst others from the most popular ethnic groups were used in the country’s currencies to represent and appreciate the multi-diverse identities of its citizens. The usage of any of these languages does not symbolize one ethnic group as superior than others or does not signify any threat to India as a secular nation.

This is sequel to a suit filed against the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation by one Lagos-based-lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo who started the miasma over Arabic inscriptions (Ajami) on naira notes which is supposed by some, often non-Muslims, to symbolize the religion of Islam and argued that it is a threat to Nigeria as a secular country. However, it is unfortunate to recall the myopic basis upon which this controversies premised on, especially at a time when Nigeria is striving hard to restore its shattered peace and unity as well as disintegration which erupted as a result of multi-diversity and ethno-religious sentiments.

It is necessary for the Plaintiff to jettison his fussy claims and educate himself about the position of Arabic inscriptions (Ajami) and usage of language(s) on banknotes as well as reflect and relate with the various analogies presented above in order to declared his suppositions as ‘intellectual’ bunkum and balderdash for the same reason why the Arabic version of the bible cannot be tagged as “Islamic Bible”.