PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said Islam does not prohibit people of other faiths to use the kalimah (the word) ‘Allah’ in their practice, although it does not reach the original meaning of the Quran.
Saying he regretted that the Umno-BN government is making this a polemic issue by using the mainstream media, when they (Umno and BN) do not understand and this had resulted in a strain in the relationship among people of various faiths.
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said that they have reached a consensus on the issue and wanted Abdul Hadi to explain it further.
Abdul Hadi said the PAS stand is consistent in the issue as based on his media statement on Jan 4, 2010 which he had forwarded to the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) where the word ‘Allah’ in the original meaning of Al-Quran (dia sahaja tuhan yang maha esa; He is the only one lord – cannot be translated exactly in any other languages.
“Hence, the word ‘Allah’ should not be abused by other faiths towards Muslims, resulting in further confusion on the issue (kalimah Allah tidak wajar disalah gunakan oleh pihak lain terhadap masyarakat Islam sehingga menimbulkan kekeliruan). Hence, Muslims of various practices would not translate ‘Allah’ in their own language when they are performing their prayers.
“Despite this, Islam does not prohibit people of other faiths to use ‘Allah’ in their practice, although it is not within the scope of the original Al-Quran language,” he said.
Abdul Hadi also cited verse 64 in the Al-Imran chapter, meaning “Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords besides Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).”
Today however, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department issued a statement where the Sultan has decreed that all non-Muslims in the state are banned from using the word ‘Allah’ as it is a holy word exclusive for Muslims.
No comment on Sultan’s decree
When asked, Abdul Hadi said he does not want to comment on the Sultan’s decree as the statement is clear.
“The statement is sufficient and I do not want to comment further,” he said.
When pointed out that Allah can be used in Sabah and Sarawak as well as Peninsular Malaysia, Abdul Hadi said: “We are not the government. The statement is clear and for that matter, you have to ask the government”.
When pressed on the Mais statement, Anwar said Mais is independent from the Selangor government.
“Their stand does not represent the stand of the Selangor Pakatan government. Hence, the banning and criticism is only directed at Pakatan and not to Umno.“This includes on a leader having stakes in (Manila-based beer brewer) San Miguel, but has not been criticised by the religious counsel,” he said.
Asked whether this stand would be seen as going against the ruler, Anwar said the statement made by PAS is clear and it is up to people to interpret on this issue.
Anwar welcomed the stand by PAS as this is the united stand by Pakatan and hence, does not prohibit the use of Allah. He wanted it to be clear that all parties including churches and non-Muslims are to respect this issue and how the Muslims place Allah on another pedestal (muliakan nama Allah).
The ‘Allah’ protracted issue has been a contentious issue ever since the matter had been brought to court following the confiscation of books and VCD’s conducted by the Home Ministry over the usage of ‘Allah’ in Christian books.
The word had been widely used among Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, and even among the Sikh community.
On Dec 31, 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled the ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ to other faiths as illegal.
The matter is still pending appeal at the Court of Appeal.
Last lap in GE13
Lim Kit Siang also reiterated that they will move on from this episode saying that the opposition coalition is moving into the last lap of the general election which had been delayed for so long.
“Never before in the history of the country that elections had been delayed so long. If the parliament is not dissolved earlier, it would be dissolved on April 28, five years after the meeting of the parliament. All honour requires that the parliament should be dissolved on March 8, which means there are 59 days left.
“I think this is something the prime minister must decide, especially as he does not have a mandate of his own. This is the last lap and I call on the parties concerned to conduct a free, clean election as this is important to show the world that Malaysian democracy has matured,” he said.
This, he said, is the time that Malaysians can prove to the world that there could be a change of government without any problems or disturbances.