The curious case of (the maybe) mad grab for political power in Sarawak (and perhaps Sabah, too)
By Ruhayat X
I didn’t want to say anything about the Allah issue since there are too many idiots on both sides as it is. But then the Klang church decided to conduct their BM services using Allah, but not their Tamil and English ones. I found that curious. And enlightening.
Because the word for God in Tamil is not Allah?
News flash: neither is it in Malay.
A question of motives
I question the motive and the timing. I will argue that the motive is dictating the timing, as we will see later. For now:
The argument that has become a familiar refrain is that the Christian natives of Sabah, Sarawak and Indonesia have been using Allah to refer to God for generations. Well, then, I’m sorry to say, but for those very generations, they have been terribly misled by their shepherds.
To bow to Allah is like bowing to Krishna. Both heretical gods to Christians.
Or as a Christian commenter to a blog put it:
“Allah is not simply the Arabic word for “god” – the word Allah in pre-Islamic times referred to the Moon God in the Arabic pantheon of gods. To suggest that Jews insert “Allah” instead of the words which we do use (HASHEM, etc.) is blasphemy in and of itself. We might as well use the word Zeus or Shiva! (…) His name is not, by any stretch of the imagination, “Allah”.”
It seems the bibles should indeed be amended to reflect the truth, yes, but that truth is not what they might think it is.
When Allah is not god
Perhaps a brief appreciation of semiotics and etymology?
In England, Hoover is a brand that has become so ubiquitous it is sometimes used as hoover – small h – as a noun to mean vacuum cleaners, or a verb (to hoover) to mean vacuuming. Here, Colgate became the same. Malay to child: “Gi kedai beli colgate skek” – meaning, any toothpaste will do, not just Colgate.
The Malays will sometimes say Tuhan when what they mean is Allah. “Tuhan je yang tahu” – in their hearts, they think of Allah.
But it is NEVER used the other way. The Malays would never use Allah as a catch-all for Tuhan. I have never heard a single Malay say, “Orang Buddha pun ada Allah. Allah dalam agama Buddha kata…” Never.
So I said, the Christian natives have been badly led astray. Lead them back to the straight path. Teach them: it’s Tuhan, not Allah.
An Arabic God, then?
You may then want to argue about the Arab etymology of the noun Al-Lah. The God. A seemingly generic term. So you want to transfer the language specific to the usage in one community, into quite a foreign context, thinking the same meaning ought to apply. How colonial.
But it doesn’t matter – you are on the side of the righteous. So you suddenly champion the voice of a renowned international Muslim cleric, who says Allah is a universal entity and all humanity can use his name. Fair enough. But my advice then is this: if you wish to take the words of clerics from foreign realms, than take the whole of their decrees, not only whenever it suits you.
Take what they say about the universal usage of Allah if you must, but don’t reject their words once they start imposing syariah on you. Cherry-picking to suit arguments ain’t the traits of a learned person.
But another big but
We borrow again from a Christian source to share with you this revelation: that Allah is not the generic term for God. Viz:
“In summary, ArabBible uses the definite, common noun, “al-ilaah” to refer to God, rather than the Islamic proper noun, “Allah”. We believe this is based on good Biblical and linguistic precedents.
Yet know that in Islam the different realms have traditionally been governed by indigenous authorities who have autonomous power. That’s why our laws have some variations, to take into account the special needs and traditions of a given people and their environment.
Thus, without denying the authority of Yusuf Qardawi, I stand by argument that the term “Allah” has specific meaning to the Malays different than in the Middle Eastern context. We have Allah, and we have Tuhan. Whereas to the Arabs, Muslim or otherwise, Allah is Tuhan is Allah.
Educate yourself a little. Read the Quran and see what characteristics this Allah – who calls himself such – ascribes himself. And then know what the Malays mean when they say “Allah”.
Christians who deny Allah
We’ve already had the strange phenomenon of non-Muslims suddenly championing a Muslim cleric to state the case for Allah. You realise it works just as well the other way around, too, right?
“The names of Allah reveal him as a distinct entity. Likewise, the names of the God of Israel, reveal Him as a distinct entity. The conclusion is that the two beings do not agree in their names and therefore do not agree in their personalities, purposes, character, attributes or essence.
–2008 Hannah Henderson
Hannah Henderson is an ordained minister and writer for Heavenly Manna.”
And I did say, didn’t I, that if you use Allah instead of Tuhan, your akidah sudah terpesong. This is from another Christian personality:
““Allah is an extremely powerful demon. He is a demon God. What Muslims are worshiping is actually a demon. They think they are worshiping God, they’re deceived, they’ve been fooled, so I don’t want to be hard on them, the Muslims have been fooled, they’ve been lied to, they’ve been deceived, they think they are worshiping the true God but they are worshiping a demon-god, this is according to the New Testament.”
See? Now set ’em back on the right path, Good Paderi Andrew, saviour of Christian souls!
And Allah for all…
While he’s on his crusade, we’re sure Paderi Andrew will sooner or later demand changes to both the Rukunegara and Negaraku, too. Yes?
Kepercayaan kepada Allah?
Rahmat bahgia, Allah kurniakan?
I will, however, accept the universal usage of Allah once the Vatican starts using it to refer the true God. Allah only for BM and Iban speakers? That’s hardly universal.
You know, if the Klang church had conducted services in all languages using the single term “Allah”, we wouldn’t even need to have this discussion.
It’s even stranger because a book store near my place plays Islamic ceramahs in Tamil all the time and guess what, they use Allah every time. So Allah exists in Tamil. Just not in church. And this is “universal”. Uhuh. Now we have to question the motive. Now we ask, wait, hang on a sec, what’s really going on?
The question of why
Christian natives in Sabah and Sarawak have been using Allah for ages with no big drama, nor does it raise even an eyebrow of their Muslim or other fellow citizens. So why now? And why such vehement insistence to extend its use on the Peninsula? For the sake of migrant Borneans? But they have been migrant here in drives for ages, too!
I can’t speak for all the Malay Muslims out here but frankly, I don’t like the stink of the motives. I don’t think he is sincere in wanting to use the “universal term” of Allah. I do think our pastor is dabbling in some pretty unChristian behaviour here.
So far there has been no big reaction from Putrajaya other than “Keep Calm And Remain Sane”. But whatever I might think of the Ah Jib Gor administration, I think he knows that the damage control he needs to do is not here in Semenanjung. But over there in Sarawak, and Sabah.
Because when you reflect on it to its logical conclusion – why is this happening = who profits the most out of it? – this is what the whole Allah campaign seems to be really about:
It hides the wedge of a knife into the BN honeypots of East Malaysia.
To risk disunity to wrest power, now that takes some special kind of crazy, don’t you agree.
How to fiddle in Rome
The tragedy is that could it be that Muslims are being pitted against Christians ostensibly so that some people could shake Sarawak, and maybe Sabah, and take power at the next General Election? If so, see what some people would do just to come to power.
At the Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh I first observed, how evil could be so mundane. A torture prison set up in the ordinary precincts of a school. Can you imagine? It’s hard to as you stroll through the leafy walkway outside. It’s just a school. Until you see the rows and rows of faded black and white photos of the men, women and children who had been “processed” through it.
This is true also of Machiavellian politics. They make you think of some grand agenda, a clash of civilisations, something romantic.
But in the centre of it lies something so mundane: a simple political power play.