Those looking for "God" should look no further, but not if an Indonesian religious council has its way.
A 42-year-old from East Java has evoked the wrath of the country's highest Islamic clerical council (MUI) after a Facebook post of his state-issued identity card titled "God is from Banyuwangi" went viral this week.
The council has since said that he cannot use the name Tuhan, Indonesian for God, but the man says he is not willing to change.
"It was my parents' gift," he told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday. "Besides, if I change it I'll have to change all my documents ... my identity cards, marriage certificate and school diploma." "[Besides] I'm not that God, I'm just Tuhan ... I'm just an ordinary person. Everyone knows that I'm just a carpenter."
After 42 years, the MUI wants it changed as soon as possible. "As a servant [of God], the name is unethical," Abdusshomad Bukhari, the chairman of MUI's East Java chapter, told Kompas.com, adding that civil registration officers should cancel Tuhan's identity card so he cannot access government services. "It is better [the name] be replaced, or another added because it is always going to cause controversy," Achmad Yamin, the chairman of MUI's Banyuwangi chapter, said. Yamin told AA that government agencies are strict with those who give such names to their children. "Names such as this are obviously unethical from the beginning, so there is no need to even debate them."
Tuhan, a Muslim, said he has no idea why his parents, Jumhar and Dawiyah, gave him the name, and it was too late to find out as they are both dead. His elder siblings – Tuhan is the youngest – are named Juni, Aisyah, Halifah, Ainan, Nasiah, and Isroli, none of which has any such divine significance in Indonesia. He said to avoid complications most of his neighbors call him the abbreviated "Toha," although his wife, Husnul Hotimah, seems to enjoy the notoriety. "People often make jokes ... that I am married to God and God's house is in Kluncing village, Banyuwangi," she told AA.
MUI's East Java chapter has suggested that Tuhan change his name, or take on another as a prefix to change the interpretation.
In many Muslim cultures it is common to name boys after one of the many Arabic-derived names of God, but with a prefix.
Bukhari mentioned the name "Ghofur," a name of God that means the giver of forgiveness. He said that people with this name add the Arabic word "Abdul," so it becomes "Abdul Ghofur" – "a servant of the forgiveness giver." Not everyone in the world's most populated Muslim country, however, agrees that a name change or addition is the best option. Ulil Abshar Abdalla, a prominent Muslim scholar and vocal critic of the MUI, tweeted: "The MUI should be grateful. This is proof that Tuhan [God] really exists."