Friday, December 21, 2007

What in God's name ...

Virtually everyone knows that UMNO and PAS are perpetually locked in holier-than-thou battles, a combative struggle for the hearts, minds, souls and most important of all, the votes of the faithful.

That had been the one of the principal reasons why Malaysia has jumped the divide from Tengku Abdul Rahman’s secular Malaya/Malaysia across to what it is now, an Islamic Malaysia with the national ideology of Islam Hadhari (plus ‘somnambulant’ governance).

The struggle for Allah and/or* God is never ending.

* use ’and’ if you believe your Almighty is different from the others

Therefore it was hardly surprising when we learnt from Malaysiakini that Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum declared that
only Muslims can use 'Allah'
to refer to their Almighty.

He claimed the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, because it’s an Arabic word and therefore by default a Muslim word – ‘copyright reserve’ so to speak!

He said that its use by other religions will confuse people. But he didn’t say which people?

For example, kaytee is not in the least confused.

The organ of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, Herald, is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - and has a circulation of only 12,000, for Al...God's sake.

Because the Herald had used the ‘Allah’ word in referring to God in its Bahasa Malaysia section, it has been
facing problems renewing its publishing permit.

The publishing permit known locally as the PPPA is a government tool to punish newspapers who haven’t or won’t toe the line. I've heard of one blogger who actually supports the PPPA - can you imagine that?

OK, so the ministry has instructed the publisher of the Herald to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the publishing permit will not be renewed when it expires in two weeks.

Malaysians have been educated in Bahasa Malaysia for eons, and the minister wants that BM section of the Herald excluded. How in the world will the BM-educated Catholics read the Church’s publication then? Why not just instruct the publisher not to use the exclusive word again instead of such a heavy handed punishment?

Indeed, when Johari was asked why the Herald has been being told to remove its Bahasa Malaysia section - rather than not to use the word ‘Allah’ – he couldn’t comment, saying he wasn’t sure. Hardly surprising – the entire cabinet doesn’t know sh*t.

Johari actually confessed:
“I’m not sure about it, I have to check again.”

And who do you think he’s going to check with? His boss, the Swami of Somnambulation, or his subordinates, the Swarm of Sciolism?

All Johari could mutter was that, as far as he knows (he 'knows'? hahaha) the Herald had naughtily used the word ‘Allah’, and sure as hell (excuse the blasphemy) he won’t allow that.

Look, kaytee wants to be fair so I must ask the publishers and editors of the Herald why they had to use the ‘Allah’ word when an alternative and more commonly used word ‘Tuhan’ exists?

Yes, yes, we can go into semantics and argue that Allah is used by Christian Arabs ... yadda yadda yadda ... but my point is why use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God when we can easily anticipate the claim staking of the Almighty's name?

Some religious names are not unlike protest rallies – some people think they have a monopolistic propriety right to them (names as well as protest rallies).

Then Johari regaled us with his sad knowledge. He said that other publications, such as Buddhist magazines, do not use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to God.

Minister, puhleeeze lah, it would be better for you not to say anything and let people think you are ignorant rather than open your mouth and let them know it!

Buddhists don’t have a ‘God’ which has been why they don’t need to refer to monikers like Allah, God, Tuhan, Krishnan, Siva, Brahman, Thean Kong, Zeus, Manitou, Odin, Jupiter, etc.

But one would have imagine that it wouldn’t matter by what name the Almighty is called, because what is more important should be the piety of the believers.

For example, Minister Johari, have you shown goodwill towards your fellow men? Have you been charitable? That sort of stuff would be what the Almighty is interested in.

In closing I offer you my little piece on
Magic of the 100th name of God:

I had a hundred names
with only 99 known.
Trust Isis and her wiles,
yes, a woman
and a lovely one too,
to pry the 100th out of me.

I now have a new one but
minus an 'L' as if that
would mean someone else,
like Odin, Manitou, Zeus,
rather than ole me, you
know who, don't you?

I call out to them, they
in the red and blue corners.
The names' the same, it's all mine
of course, whose did you think?
Butt out, sneered one;
Yes, the other concurred;

But they're all mine, those
names you're fighting over.
So what, did you patent them
like mapped gerome of langsat
and petai for exclusive use?
No? Then, buzz off!

Why fight over my names
when I am the same Bloke
for all of you guys and gals?
Hellooooo, didn't we say
to butt out of our turf wars,
on exclusive use of THE name.

Only she knew my 100th name
that bestows the most powerful
magic on those who know.
She was privy to my secret (100th)
name called Compassion, sometimes
known as, would you believe,

Also do read my blogging mate Lucia Lai's post herald, allah and the use of BM.


  1. K Temoc,

    Johari just attested that UMNO incites hatred amongst Malaysians, as was mentioned by a Gerakan Youth leader today

  2. In Buddhism, there is no such things as God, except enlightenment and Buddha. And anyone can achieve the enlightenment to become Buddha.

    Johari should go fly kite than speaking nonsense.

  3. Muslims have no right to comment about Buddhism.

    Wow I feel good cos usually I hear comments the other way round !!

  4. this johari fella is no less judas with the betrayal of his once "godfather" Tun. and how he wash his hands to let a few of the senior cops, that supported him in the fight against the IGP, to rot. RPK has a great story on this. truly a man you wouldnt want to associate with.

  5. 'Allah' (Arabic: Allāh) is the standard Arabic language word for "God", nothing more, nothing less.
    In Bahasa Malaysia the standard word for God is 'Tuhan'.

    The term Allah, is most likely derived from a contraction of the Arabic article al + ilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God" (ho theos monos); another theory traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alāhā.

    While the term Allah is best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God *, it is used by Arabic-language-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews in reference to "God".

    The term Allah was also used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

    Note:* This Western misguided belief is also held by some uneducated persons in Malaysia, such as Malaysian Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum.

    The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) though differed from tradition to tradition.

    In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was not the sole divinity, had associates and companions, sons and daughters. There was also a kind of kinship of between Allah and the jinn (spirits).

    In Islam, Allah is the pivotal essence of the Muslim faith, Allah is only, the one God, all-merciful and omnipotent, transcendent creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind.

    The Arabic-language-speaking Christians today use other words besides Allah for 'God' other than 'Allah', they for example use terms Allāh al-ab meaning God the Father, Allāh al-ibn means God the Son, and Allāh al-ruh al ghodus meaning God the Holy Spirit.

    There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Qur'an and the Hebrew Bible (Toarh). The Torah and the Qur'an however both reject the Trinitarian (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) conception of God as three persons in one substance.

    (Information sourced from Wikipedia and elsewhere.)
    God=Allah=Tuhan, etc. you can use such terms as you like, none is exclusive or reserved for use by any particular religion or belief.

    So Johari, what are you creating unnecessary disharmony for? Perhaps for a few UMNO gold stars?

  6. Somewhere it is said that allah means moon.

  7. mental jog

    ya i read some comments somebody also made the remark "no kidding! allah has been copyrighted by malaysian muslim??" LOL

    i will be very disappointed if herald does not get the permit to publish since i contribute articles to herald.

    it would be very silly of the gomen to ask herald to stop publishing its bahasa section all together! i understand the bahasa section is just starting to get popular.

  8. A Muslim said...
    The term Allah was also used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

    So, Che Din & Jo Bahrum must be doing the Christians a big favour, by preventing them from committing blesphemy, heresy or whatever you callit, right?

    Despite (supposedly) being Catholic myself, I don't quite understand why the Catholic church can't give up the name, when the name of the God (despite not having a name)along the line of Isaac/ Jacob is YHWH.

    I definitely don't fancy myself to be fixated on Allah of the Ishmaelites, Mohamed and Muslims.

    I really don't see why they need to stubbornly hold on to Allah, just becos the Arabs and Indon translation of the bible used it.

    This was a problem waiting to happen.
    I've highlighted this matter to the church authorities about a year ago- but nothing was done.

  9. Cruzeiro has put in words what I was think as I read the article.
    It would be a good time to breakaway from these mistakes of the Dutch who originally translated the Bible into malay. If the malays desire to be arabs then, let it be so.
    Christians have really no business propagating heresy if they believe in Christ. Their `Allah` is not the same as that of the muslims.
    Just as the Christ of christians is not the same as that of the muslims.

  10. Oh for God's sake, ask any Arabic-speaking Christian and they'll tell you they have been using the term 'Allah' in their Arabic language bible to for the longest time to refer to God. Ask Hanan Ashrawi, ask Boutros Boutros-Ghali, ask Suha Arafat.

  11. The word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and NOT any OTHER religion." -Malaysian Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum.

    It is a mark of the lowest form of intellect for a Malaysian political leader to pontificate that the word "Allah" is a monopoly of Muslims.

    The perception of the monopoly of Muslims on the Arabic word for "God" might be so in the parochial minds of Malaysian Muslims like the Deputy Internal Security Minister.

    And, one might even accept such idiocy would come from extreme right wing tunnel-visioned religious fundamentalist groups of Christians and Muslims alike.

  12. Hanan Ashrawi,Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Suha Arafat ect would be seized by body-snatching religious police and forced to be buried as muslims were they to die in malaysian territory

  13. A month later she developed an extremely painful lump on her head.

    At first, she thought she had an abscess, but then it wriggled.

    At the Hospital for Tropical Diseases they recognised the problem straight away - it was the living maggot larva of a botfly.

  14. But isn't it funny when in malay publication they use the Hindu (sankrit) words of Syurga and neraka. May Hindu should ask Johari to bam those hindu words as well

  15. The last straw for me, however was when I saw a two new signages being installed at the main entrance of Penang Free School, one on the left and one on the right. One is in English, and the other is Jawi. The one in Jawi is totally written in Jawi except for the name Syed AIdid Murtaza whom I think is the person donating this signage.

    The question is..why?? Penang Free is not a islamic school. It is a premier secular school with proud traditions. Further, why Jawi?, aren’t we suppose to use Bahasa Malaysia??

  16. May Hindu should ask Johari to bam those hindu words as well -posted above

    No no cannot. Since it is in Bahasa aleady, hindus should ban it. If they persist, they should immediately be ISAd. How dare they use malay words.

  17. Jeff Dunham and his friend Achmed perform a very special rendition (get it?) of the time-honored Christmas classic, “Jingle Bombs.”

    Jeff Dunham - Achmed the dead terrorist - “Jingle bombs”

  18. hey dude,
    you can't use that word here..
    You forgotten? You're not Muslim.

  19. excerpts from :
    Johore state anthem : "Allah peliharakan Sultan.."
    Selangor state anthem : "Allah lanjutkan usia Tuanku.."

    and I can go on pasting lyrics from anthems of the remainder states with Sultans.

    I am sure the Sultans of all states would not discriminate amongst their subjects, and would like ALL subjects to be sing to their respective state anthems with pride and love. Hmmm.. now perhaps, they can't and shouldn't, especially if they are Catholics.

  20. What are the Sikhs going to do? Their holy scriptures actually use the word 'Allah' and in their everyday conversation they also speak of 'Rabb', 'Malik', etc.

    Funny thing is that a debate about thsi occured more than 20 years ago when it was clearly stated that the word 'Allah' shopuld not be used to denigrate Islam e.g. using it instead of a word like 'Cheers' in a pub. But nothing is new as the loonies have again appeared out of the woodwork in the land of semua boleh. Cheers.

  21. a similar perspective:

    Believing in 'Islam' Would Make You Stupid and Vulnerable?

  22. i wrote this on the previous blog and cant help to rewrite it so just gonna copy and paste

    Hmm hai ..., let me explain why Catholics do not use the word Tuhan for the word God. Catholicism, similar to Islam, is very strict in their Bible and services protocol translations to other languages. In the Bible or in the mass (Catholic service), we have phrases like
    “The Lord our God”
    which in Malay is
    “Tuhan Allah kita”
    So in this context, Lord and God is not interchangable and has a slight disctinction. Besides, it’ll create further confusion to say
    “Tuhan Tuhan kita”
    Besides this translation work has been done for decades and has rooted in the Malay region for a very very long time, way before Malaysia was created and the Malaysian constitution saying that Malays are those who practices Malay culture and are Muslims. Back then there were many Malays who practices other religion and also other races who have Malay as their mother tongue. It is also way before DBP or some guy in the Internal Security Ministry decreeing that Allah is a term to be used as a proper noun and can only be used in a Muslim context.
    Is it fair that some guy, without even checking the history and culture of the Catholic people in Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak especially), suddenly banning the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Catholics, who have been using it for ages for religious purposes???

    And I can't believe Cruzeiro said 'why not just give up the term 'Allah' ...'
    as a Sabahan, I was brought up using the term, my parents learn the Bible with that term, My grandparents Malay Bible has that term. And suddenly some guy from the Internal Security Ministry comes over and ask us to stop using a term we've been using for ages just for some ridiculous though he owns the Malay language.
    And you ask to give up that?

  23. But I'm sad to see that the main stakeholders, the Sabahans and Sarawakians, are losing out in this, and yet we seem to be the least vocal of all...