Thursday, January 10, 2013

Royal fatwa on Allah word - has HRH been let down by advisor(s)?

The often referred to 3 'R's has been about the fundamental skills of education involving 'rithmetic, 'riting & reading,  In Malaysia, there is undoubtedly a lack of the third, namely, reading skill as can be observed from the comments at blogsites, wakakaka.

RPK has lamented on this, which I detected in one post of his where a visitor challenged him on issues he had actually explained comprehensively in that post, wakakaka.

I too suffered front the same experience. In my posts Now, who are the Arab wannabes? and The Church & Allah I wonder at Malaysian educational standards and/or the lack of reading (and comprehension) skills of my visitors, including those who read my posts published by Malaysia-Today, when they sermonized to me (wakakaka, excuse the unintended pun) about the etymology and history (during Dutch colonial Indonesia) and the Court's ruling in the use of the word Allah, without reading that I had actually written, as follows (extracting from the two posts mentioned):

Given the experts’ etymological and historical clarifications on the Allah word, I am in no doubt that Father Lawrence Andrew is on strong legal grounds to use it ... and indeed we know that the court has supported his stand. […]

Legally, High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan had ruled as unconstitutional the Malaysian government’s ban of the use of Allah as the Bahasa equivalent of the word God in the Catholic Herald. […]

I'm afraid on a personal basis, kaytee isn't all that supportive of the Church’s insistence on using the Allah word to represent/indicate/describe their Christian God in the Malay language. […]

But I have always believed that religion is about faith and morality and not legality or for that matter, political approval. Thus I find it unfortunate that the Father Andrew and the Catholic Herald had taken the issue to the courts. Surely on a matter of religious faith and knowledge, there are numerous other names of God it could have use beside Allah. I view its arguments for the use of Allah as seemingly based on obduracy and legality rather than any plausible unavoidable reason.

I then went on to detail my challenge to Father Lawrence Andrew’s arguments.

Apart from shooting down Father Andrew’s arguments that the Allah word is vital because the Tuhan word is inadequate for serving the message in some biblical passages, I also voiced my sympathy for the Muslim community’s concerns for the reason I know the Christian Church has an evangelistic mission ...

... and endowing it with a Bahasa version of the Bible (al Kitab) which uses the Allah word to refer to the Christian god would be akin to asking lil’ Johnny to mind the cookie jar to ensure it’s not raided, a totally unrealistic expectation.

I have been and still am deeply concerned that the potential (and actual realization) of the issue of Christian proselytizing of Muslims, will destabilize further the already shaky politically-affected inter-communal relationship, with all its attendant unpleasant consequences, ...

... of which we obtained an ugly glimpse of when a mufti sms-ed his followers to stop a fabricated case of a church in Perak proselytizing Muslims.

On New Year’s day I had a chitchat with my matey, Ong Kian Ming whose Malaysiakini article Allah row - what's the name of the game? I had challenged.

Kian Ming was his usual gentlemanly self where he kindly took on the task of explaining to me the logistical problems involved in switching from al Kitab’s Allah word to what I have suggested, to wit, Yahweh, Elohim and a host of other Hebraic appellations that the Christian god is better known by in the Christian world.

I've been impressed by Kian Ming’s masterly grasp on the logistic issue, though it must be noted too both of us didn't touch on the Church’s evangelistic angle. Unfortunately due to pressing prior engagements I was not able to continue discussion with him on the topic.

But nonetheless, the point I wish to make is that while I didn't and still don’t support the Church’s intention to use the Allah word, I have never questioned its legal rights (thus far, until the government’s appeal is known) to use that word in its newsletter, the Catholic Herald, and al Kitab.

I am taking the trouble to reiterate this because (a) of the poor reading skills of some visitors wakakaka, and (b) the thrust of this new post.

This new post refers to an article in The Malaysian Insider, namely, Non-Muslims must not use ‘Allah’, says Selangor Sultan.

HRH Sultan Selangor

MAIS informed us HRH Sultan Selangor has decreed that the word Allah is a sacred word specific to Muslims in a fatwa gazetted 3 years ago, and thus must not be used by any non-Muslim religion in Selangor.

Look mateys, there must be no doubt that while HRH is a constitutional monarchy, he has a role which entitles him to issue direct decrees, that is, those on Islamic affairs in his state of Selangor, as he is the head of the Islamic religion in Selangor.

And on such Islamic issues, it has been claimed that he would be advised by the Menteri Besar (MB).

It has been precisely this factor, that of the MB of a state or his deputy advising HRH on Islamic affairs, that in March 2008, immediately after the general election, we saw Khalid Ibrahim, then appointed MB of Selangor, tap dancing away from appointing his deputy.

DAP, the second largest component of the informal (winning) coalition in Selangor, had nominated sweetie Teresa Kok to be the deputy MB.

But Khalid Ibrahim did not deal courageously with the triple political whammy (to him) candidate proposed as his deputy, one who was/is a Chabor (woman), Chinese and a Christian (all rolled into one), a triple-C factor which sh*tted him ...

Teresa Kok

... whilst the neighbouring State of Perak also saw HRH Regent sidelined Ngeh Koo Ham of DAP (the Pakatan party with the most number of ADUNs) and picked instead Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS (the Pakatan party with the least number of ADUNs) to be the state’s new MB. Mind you, HRH's choice, for whatever reason, turned out to be a serendipitious one for us.

It was alleged that Muhammad Munir Bani, the Selangor sultan’s private secretary, had advised Khalid Ibrahim about the palace's ‘preference’ for a Malay (and, alas, not a Malaysian) deputy MB.

However, Muhammad Munir denied reports that HRH wanted ‘a deputy from a particular race’ (meaning 'Malay'), although he added the sultan was the religious head for Islam and Malay culture, and thus the MB has the task of assisting in these duties, which in his absence would also have to handled by his deputy.

In that most unbelievable zigzagging explanation, Muhammad Munir, after denying HRH wanted a Malay deputy MB, in the same breath averred that it was only proper a Malay (not a Malaysian) be the deputy MB.

Following that, Malaysiakini reported in Expert: No legal need for Malay deputy MB that Prof Abdul Aziz Bari, a constitutional expert who lectured law at the International Islamic University Malaysia, was consulted on the matter.

Professor Aziz Bari

Prof Abdul Aziz dismissed Muhammad Munir’s claims that the deputy MB should ideally be a Malay to assist the MB in Islamic and cultural duties.

The Prof said: “The Sultan of Selangor does not need the menteri besar or the deputy menteri besar in matters pertaining to religion and Malay custom.”

According to the Prof, the sultan, as the head of Islamic matters and the Malay adat, is the person in charge of such matters in the state, and not the MB or his deputy.

He said: “Matters cited by the palace are entirely within the sultan's jurisdiction. As the sultan may act on his own discretion on these matters, the constitution provides that a council may be appointed to assist him. This is what is commonly known as religious councils or majlis agama, which looks after the religious department or the jabatan agama. In the other four states and federal territories, the Agong will have the same establishment.”

Prof Aziz also commented that a prolonged delay in the appointment of a deputy MB was unnecessary and might even be unconstitutional.

But when asked whether the appointment of a Deputy MB had been postponed or scrapped altogether, Khalid Ibrahim side-stepped the issue by stating the need to explain the matter (what?) properly to the people (who?), and that he would do this after the executive councillors had been sworn-in (why?).

Khalid Ibrahim

Nonetheless, out of respect for HRH, regardless of whether the allegations attributed to him were true or otherwise (as some Malaysians have a bad habit of dropping big names including HRH's for their own agenda), the triple-C (Chabor, Christian and Chinese) Teresa Kok was not appointed as deputy MB.

In HRH’s latest fatwa, which has been entirely within his royal prerogative as the head of the Islamic religion in Selangor, that non-Muslims must not use the Allah word, I wonder whether HRH was advised by MB Khalid Ibrahim, or MAIS, or that HRH had acted on his own?

While no one should question HRH and his royal prerogative on matters Islam, I need to ask a simple, question: Since it's only on matters Islam that a constitutional monarchy has any direct say or right to issue decrees, how is his 3-year old fatwa, notwithstanding his recent reminder, to be applied to non-Muslims such as Christians and the Church, or for that matter, the non-evangelistic Sikhs whose holy book is not even in Bahasa?

According to The Malaysian Insider, MAIS secretary Datuk Mohd Misri Idris said HRH had instructed MAIS and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department JAIS to take stern action against any Muslim or non-Muslim who questioned or belittled the edict issued and gazetted according to Selangor laws.

But just how will JAIS or MAIS do that to non-Muslims when neither has any jurisdiction over non-Muslims?

If I may be so bold as to add, alas, while we respect and love HRH, unfortunately his Islamic fatwa cannot be applied to non-Muslims. If I am constitutionally and legally wrong on this point, please correct me immediately and I will apologise most profusely and humbly implore HRH for a royal pardon.

Then, this constitutional point effectively means that the Church can continue to legally use the Allah word without any fear of violating HRH's command, which is only applicable to Muslims and Islamic institutions in Selangor.

Now, whoever has advised HRH on this matter, whether it's Khalid Ibrahim or MAIS, and if my take on constitutional law is correct, then that advisor (Khalid Ibrahim or MAIS, or both) has/have provided bad bad bad advice to HRH, who undoubtedly loses face as the Church group, quite legally, insists that despite royal decree, Protestant churches say will keep using ‘Allah’ - and we haven't even come to the Catholic church yet.

Off with their heads?

Hmmm, I wonder whether sweetie Teresa Kok as a triple-C deputy MB could have done better in advising HRH on this issue?


  1. .


    Whether the laws stopping the christians are

    in effect matters not.

    Why ?

    The chinese and the kelings regard the

    laws of this country merely as a suggestion

    they can willy nilly disregard at their


    Yes, I am a racist. My mother, grandmother

    are chinese...

    I have to pass through The Dynasty Hotel and

    a short length of Jalan Ipoh where it connects


    a Madura supermarket. On one side patrons to a

    chinese restraunt will park/double park their

    cars presumably to eat at a mee /yam seng

    restraunt there.

    At the end of a km stretch, the gomen has

    installed the AES camera to catch all and

    sundry who

    'run' the traffic light. In theory it will also

    catch other traffic offenders. If one come


    the other side one will meet congestion at the

    traffic light area because there is a keling

    supermarket and the patrons will park illegally

    in front of the supermarket.

    It was reported that DBKL had spent RM 600

    million in

    the Jalan Ipoh improvement program. And the

    result is nothing more than a man-made

    congestion thanks to motorists who ignored

    the traffic laws!

    I am not surprised that the chinese

    and the kelings

    have allways ignored the gomen laws.

    And the gomen opisers do not seriously enforce

    any penalty

    at all -or the can always be depended to

    kau-tim! succesfully for unofficial exemption!

    In education

    gomen ministers keep shouting - Base Malaysia

    for schools.

    But do the chinese follow?

    Of course not. And I had my children educated

    in chinese schools purely because I choose to


    a bm education would leave them disadvantaged .

    And chinese schools system to their credit has

    always disregard

    the education ministry ' bahasa ' policy.

    So , as expected the chinese and the kelings

    will once again disregard the 'order'

    with/without a kau-tim effort on the side!




    khong khek khuat



    1. Why on earth would the Chinese and the Indians would respect this government if it busy excluding them from many benefits that the Malays enjoy by citing the Bumiputera classification? We didn't ask for this classification of citizens as Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera and we also did not ask it to be used when screening applicants to institutions of education, bidders for government projects, appointments to government agencies(remember the outcry when a Chinese woman was appointed the director of PKNS, temporarily), the eligibility for Contractor licences(Class F and so on), the eligibility for PKK registration. As for Sekolah Cina and Tamil, the reason why non-Malays go there is that they are sick and tired with the racist teachers in National schools okay. When I was in school, I had only one racist teacher but now looking at the reports, they are plenty. Plus the racial preference the government shows when it hires teachers is also a factor. If the government practices preference and is racial then its got no moral authority to preach racial unity. The Malay officialdom is with the mentality that non-Malays are group of people who should forever be controlled.

  2. Can the muslims object if I called my cat, "cat" or any other name. Same thing with God. Anyway, there has never been any problem until now. For 400 years, the christians in Malaysia has been using this word and no muslim has been confused, why now. "Allah" is an arabic word for God and not a malay word. Arab Christians have been using it before Islam was birthed. And the arab christians did not forbid muslims from using it. Yahweh or Elohim are Hebrew words and arab christians are not Jews. So how did the arab christians called their God all this while. Their holy book is in arabic and so it is full of the word "Allah". Don't tell me to tell arab christians to call God "Tuhan" a malay word which they cannot understand.

    1. Bro, why don't you re-read and comprehend what KT had written, rather than making a fool of youself with a silly argument.

  3. KT,

    Back to yr reading skill ability, let’s start with yr take of using any other names than Allah in the Al Kitab.

    Here’s a quote that should twist yr thinking cap;

    ‘What could be more natural than the choice of the word Allah? Just look the words — linguistically they share similar roots and sound similar. The simple reason is they are cognate languages or dialects within the family of Semitic languages. They share similar sounds as these linguistic communities have existed side by side for millennia. In the same way, words sound similar but also slightly different when one compares Hokkien, Cantonese and Hakka since they all are dialects within the Chinese language. Any reasonable person who acknowledges the historical background (and not dogmatically write them off as times of ignorance, jahiliyyah) would agree that it would indeed be an unnatural decision not to follow the historical-linguistic trajectory (Hebrew words ēl, ĕlōah (Hebrew) or ĕlāh (Aramaic) or allahu (Syriac) into Allah (Arabic or Bahasa Malaysia) and adopt the word Allah.’

    How’s that for yr dodgy logic of ;

    ‘But I have always believed that religion is about faith and morality and not legality or for that matter, political approval. Thus I find it unfortunate that the Father Andrew and the Catholic Herald had taken the issue to the courts. Surely on a matter of religious faith and knowledge, there are numerous other names of God it could have use beside Allah. I view its arguments for the use of Allah as seemingly based on obduracy and legality rather than any plausible unavoidable reason.’

    BTW, for all yr readings, ALL religions r proselytic in nature. It’s inherent in the nature of all religions to separate their god’s words!

    So, yr ‘I have been and still am deeply concerned that the potential (and actual realization) of the issue of Christian proselytizing of Muslims, will destabilize further the already shaky politically-affected inter-communal relationship, with all its attendant unpleasant consequences, ...’ could be a silver of yr imagination, caused by the excessiveness of the DownUnder boos.

    1. incorrect that all religions proselytize; For modern religions, I believe only Christianity, Islam, Bahai and Mahakari proselytize

    2. Modern religion?

      You write well KT, but trust me on this, as far as the "Allah" issue is concern I think really feel your assessment is flaw. You didn't mention or stressed the how this whole thing blown out. You touch who are the people will be affected most if the "Allah" ban is enforced. Because of that I find you have not equipped yourself with proper research.

      Your articles on "Allah" issue is a failure by your own standards.

      Do you notice that RPK didn't write much on this issue?

    3. Takbir Hallelujah6:34 pm, January 11, 2013

      From my experience, at least some branches, off shoots, whatever you call it, of all religions engage in "marketing" their religion to non-adherents. So Christianity and Islam are not alone in proselytizing, though they are admittedly one of the few that still engage in it on a massive scale. I have met agressive purveyors of Buddhism, Hinduism, even Druidism and Atheism (just another faith in my view) in various corners of the world.

      If a believer holds profoundly that their faith offers THE understanding of life, happiness, sadness, death and after-death, it would seem perfectly logical that they would want to spread the Good Word to many others, does that make sense ?

  4. The objection to the use of "Allah" by Christians using Bahasa is illogical and irrational since the word had been used for century by non-muslims.

    Here are my brief comments:

    1. The current situation is a political plot by the govt with an agenda especially targeted at the Malay muslims who are poorly educated and easily go "amoh" with emotion.

    2. If my god is called "XXX" I would be very proud of my religion if Muslim or any other religion adopting the name.

    3. Malay Muslims must be weak in their faith and poorly educated to be easily confused (conned).

    4. This issue is uniquely Malaysian and may explain the state of our Govt's ability to rule since there are so many pressing problems facing the country. I will education at the top of the list.


    1. 3. Malay Muslims must be weak in their faith and poorly educated to be easily confused (conned).

      it's very very true. when i asked them why muslims are obligated to pray 5x/day, the response was allah's command, and how bout ramadan fasting? the answer was to instil compassion or sympathy towards the poor. doesn't it sound familiar? if one were to read the quran, fasting is made obligatory to all muslims regarless of whether they are poor or wealthy except on certain situations & conditions. most of them don't really know & understand what they are doing. let's close this issue which doesn't benefit anybody at all for there are many problems (everyone knows what are they) that need immediate attention & positive resolution. peace to all.

  5. posting on behalf of Bangla Mal (edited by kaytee):

    The statement from the Selangor Palace is certainly a retrograde move and a throwback to "Ketuanan" mentality rather than Islamic law per se. The evidence is still mixed whether it is a case of narrow-minded Palace bureaucrats or the Sultan himself is still stuck in the Dark Ages mentality.

  6. All this fuss over a word that is in the first place spelt using an alphabet system that is not Arabic nor the language of Islam.

    We, Malaysians, have lost our minds! There are more important matters to focus on in life, for instance, have you told your loves ones how much you love them and appreciates what they are doing for you and the family?

  7. As if your brain is better than the Sultan.
    You read books to write with no real experiences.
    Sultan depends on his advisers.
    Both of you clever to insult others.
    Both of you talk cock.

    1. Some asked why all the fuss....there are more important matters to focus on etc etc. But if you guys read comments the likes of Anon 2:02 PM, ( "As if your brain is better than the Sultan.
      You read books to write with no real experiences.
      Sultan depends on his advisers.
      Both of you clever to insult others.
      Both of you talk cock." ),........then you'll know WHAT'S the fuss's all about. These BTN-nised bawah tempurung masses ( and there's millions and millions of such here, plenty lah ) whom the power-to-be have targetted to get all roused up to PROTECT islam and guess who these 'REAL' muslims would vote this GE13 ?