Hornbill Unleashed

January 22, 2013

Constructive dialogue way to resolving ‘Allah’ issue

Ng Kam Weng

Proposition 1: We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.

Proposition 2: We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.

Proposition 3: We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy.

Proposition 4: We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy

The official statement released by Pas Ulamak Syura Council (USC) on 13/1/2013 has caused confusion and concern.

The statement affirms that: Kalimah Allah adalah kalimah khusus yang Allah menamakan diri-Nya Allah.

Kalimah itu tidak boleh diterjemahkan ke dalam mana-mana bahasa dunia kerana tidak menepati kehendak sebenar dari kalimah ini.

Demikian juga tidak boleh kalimah asing hendak diterjemahkan kepada kalimah Allah.

Oleh kerana itu, menterjemah kalimah God atau Lord dari mana-mana kitab agama bukan Islam kepada perkataan Allah tidak dibolehkan kerana ianya salah dari segi makna dan salah guna, tidak menepati kehendak sebenar yang boleh membawa kekeliruan yang nyata. Oleh kerana itu ia hendaklah dicegah.

Translation: “The holy word Allah is used specifically by Allah himself to name himself “Allah”.

The word cannot be translated into any language in the world because it does not meet the real requirements of this word.

Similarly other foreign words cannot be translated into “Allah”.

Therefore, translating “God” or “Lord” from any non-Muslim religious books into the word Allah is forbidden because it is wrong in terms of meaning and use, does not fulfil the actual requirement and can bring confusion. Therefore it must be prevented.”

It is noted that Abdul Hadi Awang, the President of PAS earlier stated that Islam cannot prohibit non-Muslims from using the word Allah (‘Penggunaan Kalima Allah’ dated 7 Jan 2010).

He cited a few Quranic verses (Surah Luqman 31: 25-26; Surah Az-Zumar 39: 38; Surah Az-Zukhruf 43: 9, 87) to demonstrate that even the Quran assumes that both Muslims and non-Muslims use the same reference to Allâh even though there was theological disagreement:

“Perkataan Allah disebut oleh orang Arab atau pengguna bahasa Arab yang menganut berbagai agama, sama ada penganut Yahudi, Kristian dan penyembah berhala sejak dahulu kala. Al-Quran menyebut secara jelas bahawa penganut agama-agama itu menyebut dan menulis perkataan Allah.”

He concluded, “Kesimpulannya, kita tidak boleh melarang mereka menggunakan perkataan Allah di kalangan mereka sendiri, dalam ibadat mereka dan amalan mereka, walau pun salah maksud dan maknanya yang asal mengikut bahasa kita” (In conclusion, we cannot prohibit their use of the word God among themselves, in their worship and practices, even though the original purpose and meaning is wrong according to our language).

Hadi Awang added, “Demikianlah keterbukaan Islam terhadap kebebasan beragama dengan batas sempadan yang tidak menegangkan hubungan dalam masyarakat berbagai agama” (Such is the openness of Islam towards religious freedom with boundaries that do not strain relations in a multi-religious society).

It seems there are inconsistencies between the USC and president Hadi Awang. Clarification from PAS should be forthcoming.

PAS rights respected

Meanwhile, should the Malaysian church respond to the present confusion?

1) We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.

The USC has spelled out clearly its position and this deserves respect.

Still, our response is that with all due respect, we do not agree with its theological interpretation of the word Allah. PAS is entitled to hold the view that only Muslims have understood and used the word Allah accurately.

But by the same token Christians are also entitled to hold to their view of God and to use the word Allah accordingly.

The issue is not that Christians and Muslims hold different views of God.

Religious difference has existed since the dawn of mankind. The issue is whether we are prepared to respect the right of people of other faiths to uphold their own religious conception of God.

2) We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.

Muslims have every right to interpret the Quran and profess their faith in any mother tongue, whether it is Arabic, English or Malay.

Likewise, Malay-speaking Christians should have the same right to interpret the Malay Bible (Alkitab) and profess their faith in Malay in their mother tongue.

Muslims will not accept and rightly feel offended if Christians were to tell them how they should profess their faith.

Conversely, Christians have the right to reject any Muslim telling them how they may profess their Christian faith.

Freedom of religion is an inalienable and fundamental right. Freedom of religion is authentic precisely because people are entitled to uphold different belief systems.

Muslims have every right to believe that the word Allah is specific to the God of Islam and that people of other faiths are not using the word Allah rightly if judged according to criteria internal to Islam.

By the same token Malay speaking Christians have the same right to use the word Allah in the Malay Bible (Alkitab) even though their idea of God may not be consistent with Islam.

Muslims have the right to disagree and even critique those who hold to different ideas of God or Allah.

For example, PAS statement explicitly critiques and rejects the Christian concept of God as unsuitable when used with the word Allah.

However, Christians take no offence at the critique as intellectual integrity entails a critical reception of truth claims.

However, religious differences must be addressed with sensitivity.

There should be no misrepresentation of the beliefs of another religion.

It is desirable that leaders from both the Christian and Islamic community meet together and exercise their statesmanship to resolve amicably their difference through fair and frank discussion.

3) We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy

Both Christianity and Islam are rich religious traditions that require nuanced and careful understanding.

This being the case, it would be inappropriate to rely on public pronouncements, fatwas and press statements to help believers from both sides to arrive at mutual understanding.

Indeed, the brevity and generality of such pronouncements means they are easily misunderstood.

Regrettably some politicians have exploited the controversy for their political agenda.

4) We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy

It is imperative for religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim community (regardless of whether they represent Umno or PAS) to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the Allah controversy in a spirit that is consistent with the ethical and spiritual aspiration of their respective religious traditions.

Leaders from the Malaysian church would readily welcome dialogue with Muslim leaders.

Hopefully, such dialogue would restore good will and harmony to our beloved nation.

Sura 29:46 al-ankabut (The Spider)

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): But say “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” (Yusuf Ali translation).

1Peter 3: 15-16

Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.



  1. The High Court ruling on Allah, amongst others, has been ignored because the judiciary is weak. I expect that a Pakatan government will uphold the rule of law and an independent efficient judiciary. They have promised to do so and I must trust in that, because one thing is for sure, there is no way BN will obey the laws of this land and undermine the judiciary at every turn. PAS will not get 2/3 majority to introduce any national laws based on Islamic law, which under the constitution can only be implemented at state level and must never apply to non-Muslims im any case. A stronger PAS leadership will prevent ill-considered actions by PAS members at state level. If PAS don’t control their members and more incidents of this sort occur, we can vote them out next time and repeal any laws we don’t like with the next government! That is how democratic countries should operate, and that is how Malaysia should operate.The power must return to the people! ABU!

    Comment by Sammy Boy — January 22, 2013 @ 12:44 PM | Reply

  2. Bahasa Melayu Holy Bible – BURN! BAKAR! TAK BOLEH BACA! HARAM!

    Bahasa Iban Kitab Al-Quran, Buku Yasin – BAGUS! EDARAN PERCUMA! DIGALAKKAN!

    Religous freedom kah ini macam Hmmmmmmm???????

    Burn ‘Allah’ Bibles, Perkasa chief to Muslims
    by Athi Shankar, Free Malaysia Today, January 19, 2013

    Proclaiming he is not instigating communal tensions, Ibrahim Ali says it’s the only way to stop non-Muslims from stirring sensitivities

    PERMATANG PAUH: Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali has called on Muslims to seize and burn copies of Bibles which contain the term “Allah” or other Arabic religious words.

    Stressing that he was not instigating communal tension, the Pasir Mas MP insisted that it was the only way to stop non-Muslims from stirring the sensitivities and sentiments of the majority of population in the country.

    He said certain non-Muslim groups were out to provoke the Muslims by using the term “Allah” or any other Arabic religious words in the Bible.

    Under the Non-Islamic Religion (Control on Expansion Among Muslims) Act 1988, he said non-Muslims are prohibited from using several Arabic religious terms, including Allah, in their prayers or scriptures.

    “Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those Bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the term Allah and other Arabic religious terms, and burn them.

    “This is the way to show our anger against disrespect to our sensitivity,” he told a press conference after delivering his presidential speech at a Perkasa convention here today.

    ‘Pre-election tactic’

    Held at UiTM campus, the convention was on ‘Economic and Education Transformation of Penang Malays’.

    Ibrahim was referring to a police report lodged by Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang this week alleging that two men have distributed Bibles to Muslims pupils at the entrance of a secondary school in Jelutong town on the island.

    He said it was wrong for non-Muslims to distribute Bibles to Muslims as such activities were also banned under the 1988 Act.

    He said certain non-Muslim groups dared to infringe the law to stir Muslim religious sentiments merely to fish for votes in the forthcoming general election.

    He claimed that their pre-election tactic was to provoke Muslims to be busy in a polemic among themselves on religious issues, such as using “Allah” in the Christian holy book, Bible.

    “This is a deliberate attempt to divert the Muslim attention from political issues,” said Ibrahim.

    Al-Quran pertama dalam Bahasa Iban
    Salhan K Ahmad, MalaysiaKini, 30 Disember 2009

    Terjemahan pertama al-Quran dalam bahasa Iban akan mula diterbitkan tahun depan bagi membantu golongan penutur bahasa tersebut memahami kitab suci Islam itu.

    Projek penerbitan itu dimulakan dengan terjemahan edisi muqaddam, kemudian diikuti teks lengkap al-Quran pada 2011, kata pengerusi kumpulan syarikat PTS.

    Terjemahan itu berpandukan naskhah terjemahan paling popular dalam bahasa Melayu Pimpinan al-Rahman terbitan Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim), kata Ainon Mohd lagi.

    Beliau juga berkata terjemahan tersebut akan menjadi naskhah lengkap terjemahan al-Quran dalam bahasa etnik terbesar di Sarawak.

    “Terjemahan ini menggunakan bahasa Iban laras halus, sebagaimana yang digunakan oleh penutur aslinya. Belum ada lagi naskhah sedemikian,” katanya kepada Malaysiakini hari ini.

    “Justeru, individu keturunan Iban yang berminat mengetahui isi kandungan al-Quran memang mengalami masalah tiada bahan rujukan.

    “Bukan semua orang Iban mampu membaca dalam bahasa Melayu atau bahasa Inggeris. Lagipun membaca dalam bahasa ibunda lebih mudah difahami,” kata bekas pegawai Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) itu lagi.

    Tambahnya, sasaran utama bagi penerbitan yang diusahakan PTS Darul Furqan Sdn Bhd itu antaranya golongan muallaf yang bertutur dalam bahasa tersebut.

    “Iban adalah bahasa kaum bumiputera yang terbesar di Sarawak, oleh itu kami dapati ada pasaran niche bagi buku-buku dalam bahasa Iban,” katanya dalam wawancara melalui emel.

    “Golongan yang akan mendapat manfaat paling baik daripada penerbitan buku ini nanti adalah individu keturunan Iban yang sudah memeluk Islam, atau mereka yang mungkin akan memeluk Islam kerana mempunyai rancangan berkahwin dengan pasangan Islam.

    “Namun kita yakin, masyarakat Iban yang tidak berminat dengan Islam pun tetap akan mendapat manfaat apabila membacanya kerana mereka akan dapat memahami dengan betul perbezaan-perbezaan pelbagai aliran agama di Malaysia.”

    Ainon menunjukkan satu contoh terjemahan al-Quran itu seperti dimuatkan di blog peribadinya Universiti PTS.

    Ayat 1 dan 2 surah al-Asr dalam bahasa itu berbunyi: “Enggau nama Allah petara ti pemadu manah serta ti pemadu penyayau. Allah petara ti siko besumpah enggau ari. Semua anak mensia nyadi rugi.”

    Ainon menjelaskan, projek dengan kos percetakan RM30,000 itu akan meluaskan penyebaran al-Quran dalam apa juga bahasa di dunia.

    Tambahnya, 3,000 naskah muqaddam dan 3,000 lagi teks al-Quran bagaimanapun belum diluluskan oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) dan juga Jakim.

    “Pihak KDN dan Jakim boleh menubuhkan kumpulan penyemak dengan menggunakan khidmat guru agama keturunan Iban, ahli akademik, dan pendakwah lulusan aliran pengajian Islam yang boleh membaca dan mamahani bahasa Iban,” katanya lagi.

    Naskhah terjemahan tersebut akan dihantar kepada KDN dan Jakim untuk semakan sebelum proses percetakan, tambahnya.

    Yasin dalam Bahasa Iban Terbit
    Roziyah Mahamad — 02 Sep 2010 11:36 AM
    pts. com. my /index.php/berita/yasin-dalam-bahasa-iban-sudah-terbit/

    Yasin dalam Bahasa Iban yang diterbitkan oleh PTS Darul Furqan Sdn bhd sudah mula dicetak dan masuk gudang.

    Editor Penerbitan PTS Darul Furqan, Tuan Faris Hasbullah berkata Yasin terjemahan dalam bahasa Iban ini merupakan langkah permulaan PTS Darul Furqan bagi membantu saudara baru agar lebih memahami isi kandungan Al-Quran.

    “Ini merupakan usaha kerdil kami dalam memberi kefahaman tentang Islam kepada saudara baru,” jelas beliau.

    Projek terjemahan Yasin dalam Bahasa Iban ini juga hasil kerjasama Islamik Information Center dan Urusetia Saudara Kita(USK) Baitulmal Sarawak.

    Menurut Tuan Faris Hasbullah, sekiranya surah Yasin terjemahan dalam bahasa Iban ini diterima masyarakat di sana, PTS akan mencetak buku terjemahan Yasin dalam bahasa Iban ini dengan lebih banyak agar lebih ramai saudara baru dapat memahami isi kandungan Al-Quran.

    Buku Yasin dan Ayat-Ayat Lazim dengan Terjemahan Bahasa Iban ini akan diedarkan secara PERCUMA ke Sarawak oleh Islamik Information Center khas buat kaum Iban bagi memberi pemahaman dan memberi peluang kepada saudara baru yang terdiri dari suku kaum Iban mendalami isi kandungan surah Yasin tersebut.

    PTS Darul Furqan Sdn bhd yang merupakan salah satu anak syarikat PTS sentiasa bertungkus-lumus menghasilkan buku-buku terjemahan bagi memberi kefahaman kepada saudara baru tentang isi kandungan Al-Quran dalam bahasa mereka sendiri.

    Buku Yasin dan Ayat-Ayat Lazim dengan Terjemahan Bahasa Iban menjadi langkah awal PTS Darul Furqan kepada saudara baru yang sentiasa dahagakan buku-buku terjemahan seperti ini.

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — January 22, 2013 @ 11:39 AM | Reply

  3. Ibrahim Katak said he’s fighting against the rich Chinese tycoons (eg.Vincent Tan) that dominate our economy which is dangerous to the Malays
    “…Look at how Vincent Tan became successful – he took over the privatisation of Berjaya-Toto…Looking at what they got, is it not a form of assistance, ‘affirmative action’ for the Chinese taukes? How can we compare what they got with the two sen small contracts given to the Malays. That is why I say what they got, two million Malays can benefit from. This is what I am chastising them about.”

    Then, RPK exposed Ibrahim Katak himself as one of the beneficiary / director in one Vincent Tan’s associate companies
    “Ibrahim Ali through his Perkasa is fighting against Chinese like Vincent Tan who are supposed to have robbed the Malays of their rights and who have reduced the Malays to hamba di negara sendiri (slaves in their own country). But then Ibrahim Ali works for Chinese like Vincent Tan.”

    And what was the reply from Ibrahim Katak? HA, HA!
    “”Is it wrong if I say Vincent Tan got a lot of benefits from government even if I’m his Group CEO. Ha ha,”

    This is pure hypocrisy and a lunatic lah HA HA HA

    Fakes and shamans
    Malaysia Today, Friday, 12 March 2010
    malaysia-today . net / index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30596:fakes-and-shamans&catid=20:no-holds-barred&Itemid=100087

    Ibrahim Ali through his Perkasa is fighting against Chinese like Vincent Tan who are supposed to have robbed the Malays of their rights and who have reduced the Malays to hamba di negara sendiri (slaves in their own country). But then Ibrahim Ali works for Chinese like Vincent Tan.

    NO HOLDS BARRED Raja Petra Kamarudin

    Ibrahim Ali is a Malay nationalist who fights for Malay rights and privileges. Ibrahim Ali is concerned that the Chinese are dominating the Malaysian economic scene while the Malays are being reduced to second-class citizens in their own country. And that was why Ibrahim Ali formed Perkasa, so that he can fight against the Chinese and prevent them from taking over this country.

    But how many people know that Ibrahim Ali is linked to Vincent Tan of Berjaya? The same Vincent Tan who has robbed Malaysia of billions of Ringgit. The same Vincent Tan who paid Hee of Perak RM25 million to jump ship. The same Vincent Tan who is helping to finance further crossovers through his ‘special draws’.

    Ibrahim Ali through his Perkasa is fighting against Chinese like Vincent Tan who are supposed to have robbed the Malays of their rights and who have reduced the Malays to hamba di negara sendiri (slaves in their own country). But then Ibrahim Ali works for Chinese like Vincent Tan.

    Do the supporters and members of Perkasa know the other side of Ibrahim Ali? Do the supporters and members of Perkasa know that Ibrahim Ali who fights against Chinese like Vincent Tan actually goes to bed with Vincent Tan?

    Well, let the document below speak for itself.

    By the way, Zahrin Mohd Hashim, the PKR Penang Member of Parliament who left the opposition to become an ‘independent’ was in London recently. He went to London with his entire family (his wife, three sons, daughter and daughter-in-law) and stayed a week at The Leonard Hotel and Apartments on Seymour Street. The hotel and airfare came to more than RM50,000, above and beyond what they spent for shopping in Oxford and Regent Street.

    Zahrin’s son had enrolled in a flying school in UK, which costs about RM250,000, while his daughter is enrolling in a UK university at a cost of another RM350,000 over three years.

    Can you now see why Zahrin had to leave the opposition? He badly needs the money to pay for all his expenses.

    Dato’ Ibrahim Bin Ali
    (Independent Non-Executive) Director
    2003 Annual Report, Dunham-Bush (Malaysia) Bhd (associate company of Berjaya Sports Toto group)
    http : // img412.imageshack . us/img412/3441/report7s.jpg

    Ibrahim Ali laughs off link to Vincent Tan
    by Hazlan Zakaria, Malaysia Kini, Mar 12, 2010
    malaysiakini . com/news/126403

    Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali today laughed off allegations questioning his integrity as a Malay activist because of his links with Chinese tycoon Vincent Tan.

    The allegations surfaced on the internet four days after he hit out at Chinese corporate figures, including Tan, whom he called ‘taukes’ and that have “dominated” the economy and thus causing “political instability” and “social chaos”.

    Internet political pundits however are trying to call Ibrahim’s bluff, by pointing out his links to one of Dunham-Bush Malaysia, a company once owned by Tan.

    On a posting by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin on his website Malaysia-Today, a copy of the company’s 2003 annual report was posted showing Ibrahim as one of its directors.

    In a text message reply to questions posed by Malaysiakini, Ibrahim said there is nothing wrong in his business dealings with Tan because it does not dilute the fact that big Chinese businesses dominated the economy.

    “There are other shareholders in Dunham Bush. It is an air conditioner company. So what? I was talking about macro economy and issues in a bigger picture. Even if I did business with lots of Chinese friends and have a Chinese partner. So what?”

    “Is it wrong if I say Vincent Tan got a lot of benefits from government even if I’m his Group CEO. Ha ha,” read his text message.

    “I just want to prove, a lot of big company belonging to these groups who got monopoly business, subsidies and the rest. So don’t say get rid with little brothers (protection for the Malays) and go ahead with brutal competition as said by Francis Yeoh.”

    Durham-Bush Malaysia is the Malaysian subset of Durham-Bush, a refrigeration specialist which deals in air-conditioners, industrial cooling units and environmentally sustainable technologies.

    However, the company has since been sold to Dutch company Agromash Holdings B.V. in 2006.

    Ibrahim Ali, did you work for Vincent Tan?
    Saturday, 13 March 2010
    Wong Choon Mei, Harakah Daily

    PAS leaders have called on Perkasa chairman Ibrahim Ali to clarify a news report that he had worked for Chinese gambling king Vincent Tan, who has become the latest Malaysian to join the Forbes’ list of billionaires.

    “If this report is true, then Ibrahim Ali must explain to Perkasa members, in fact to all Malays, why he keeps harping on the Chinese overtaking the country and yet quietly, he works for them,” PAS central committee member Dr Syed Azman told Harakahdaily.

    “What is this if it is not double standards and hypocrisy? He is going to give Malays a bad name if he continues to play his racist card and Umno continues to sanction him.”

    On Friday, news portal Malaysia Today splashed out a 2003 annual report of manufacturing firm Dunham-Bush Malaysia, which was then controlled by Vincent and his brother Danny.

    In the annual report, Ibrahim is listed as an independent non-executive director and also a member of the firm’s audit committee.

    Slamming tycoons like Vincent

    Of late, Ibrahim has ruffled racial feathers more than any other political personality. He has denied being a racist, yet in the next breath, he has slammed the non-Malays for demanding equal rights.

    He has also warned his community that Malaysia was in danger of being controlled by the other ethnic groups in particular the Malaysian Chinese.

    “Look at how Vincent Tan became successful – he took over the privatisation of Berjaya-Toto,” Ibrahim said in a recent press interview.

    “The Genting group succeeded because of its monopoly on gambling. Ananda Krishnan rose to the fore because of his monopoly over Astro and the Maxis 012 license

    “Looking at what they got, is it not a form of assistance, ‘affirmative action’ for the Chinese taukes? How can we compare what they got with the two sen small contracts given to the Malays?”

    Praising the NEP

    However, what Ibrahim did not say about the affirmative action plans in the New Economic Policy is that they have actually done very little to spread wealth amongst the Malays, particularly those in the rural areas.

    Instead, the NEP, which originally aimed to eradicate poverty and help backward groups get a toehold in the economy, has been severely abused through the decades by Umno leaders.

    In the name of protecting the Malays, Umno’s elite leadership granted huge economic largess and government contracts to unscrupulous cronies, resulting in widespread and endemic corruption.

    “The NEP benefits only the Umnoputras and not the ordinary folk. This is something the Malays themselves are very well aware of,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar said.

    “So Ibrahim should stop playing the race card as if no one can see through his tactics. In fact, everyone knows of his connection to Umno stalwarts like Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Najib Razak. He should stop taking Malaysians, especially the Malays, for fools.

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — January 22, 2013 @ 11:38 AM | Reply

  4. Most of them are hypocrites, because they worship “Money” God

    Comment by tigeryk — January 22, 2013 @ 7:14 AM | Reply

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