The media of the Catholic Church published an article to lampoon my historical argument about the expression “Ħaqq Alla”. This media maintains that I have written that when a person uses this expression, the person is praying!
In my article, I never wrote that it meant the person using “Ħaqq Alla” is praying. As is often happening these days, I am attributed words which I have never written. This time, interestingly enough this falsehood comes from the media of the Catholic Church. It is also clear that whoever wrote the article is not versed enough to know the difference between to pray and to invoke and nuances thereon
I simply wrote and I here repeat what I wrote:” Ħaqq Alla is not blasphemy. It is the construct state of the phrase “il-ħaqq ta’ Alla”. Incidentally, the person who wrote this article for Newsbook, Monique Agius, did not contradict what I wrote by bringing any historical evidence to substantiate her argument. Instead, he wrote that Godfrey Wettinger used to say that this phrase is derived from the Arabic word “aħraq” which in Arabic is considered a blasphemy.
I used to follow Wettinger’s lectures and I am proud to have also been one of his students. What I can say here is that Wettinger was always cautious in the way he wrote and expressed himself. If it is from the Arabic ‘aħraq’ then one needs to explain how the consonant “r’ has fallen out of use in this phrase. This needs to be explained by similar linguistic processes in the Maltese language.
Incidentally, the phrase used by the Arabs – and if I am not mistaken, is to be found written even in historical documents – is “Aħraq Dinek’ and not “Aħraq Alla”. If one wants to use the word ‘aħraq’ (which is in the imperative) with the word God, then the phrase has to be Aħraq ‘l Alla and not Aħraq Alla. In the latter, you are asking God to start blaspheming which I do not think that this was the case. This shows the stupidity of the argument presented by the Church’s digital newspaper.
But it seems that the Church’s digital newspaper has even forgotten how to write and speak correct Maltese or Arabic in this case. Arabs, whether Christians or Muslims, would never use such a phrase with “Alla”. The Church’s newspaper should remember that blasphemy is not common among the Semitic people. They do not blaspheme against God. This is something common among the Latins. The Catholic Church should carry out some historical soul searching to get to know why this is common in the Latin West. Therefore, before Newsbook seeks to poke fun at me, it needs to show that it knows history and linguistics well. Also, I would like it to give me the references from Medieval texts where the phrase “aħraq Alla” is found documented. I wish to repeat that grammatically, the phrase does not make sense. Should Newsbook produce the historical evidence, I will accept that this phrase is derived from the said expression or Arabic word.
In conclusion, Newsbook, being the Church’s digital newspaper, should start learning Maltese history well and should also quote Wettinger correctly. I wish to remind Newsbook that Jews and Muslims go to sacred places to pray and in their prayers, they ask for the blessing or the curse of their enemy. The fact that this expression has been fossilized in Maltese and is considered today a blasphemy is because it was widely used by individuals, in particular, from the lower strata of society to curse those who used to inflict injustices on them. Thus, the elite, who were mostly afflicted by these curses, asked the Church for assistance.
Now if one wishes to read this from a Marxist perspective, they, the elite, started to put pressure on the lower strata in order to stop them from their continued cursing, by declaring that this was blasphemy. It became such an obsession, that even the word “Ħaqq” on its own started to be considered a blasphemy. I still remember as a child being reprimanded for using it.
Undoubtedly, this requires further historical research but I am certain that the origins and continuation of this phrase are not related to the Arabic word “aħraq” but to the phrase “il-Ħaqq ta’ Alla”. If the bishops’ media believe that, in the spirit of Catholicism, they can catch me on the wrong foot, I stand by what I have written and repeat that “Ħaqq Alla” is not a blasphemy but a construct state of the phrase “il-ħaqq ta’ Alla”. To disprove my argument, the bishops’ media must produce historical and linguistic evidence to substantiate its assertion to the contrary proving that it derives from the Arabic word ‘aħraq’!