His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong XIV Tuanku Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badli Shah made it clear that kalimah “Allah” is exclusively for Muslims only.
Agong says ‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims, cites 1986 fatwa
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong today said several words including “Allah” were the exclusive rights of Muslims, citing a 1986 decree by the National Fatwa Council on their use.
Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, who is also the Sultan of Kedah, said that religious sensitivity must be observed and the status of Islam as the country’s official religion must be respected.
“Confusion and controversy can be avoided if all parties abide by the law and judicial decisions,” he was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying in his speech during an investiture ceremony at Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar, today.
The ceremony was in conjunction with the Sultan of Kedah’s 86th birthday.
The Sultan’s speech was read out by the Sultan of Kedah Council of Regency chairman, Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah.
The Sultan, who is presently the head of Islam in Malaysia, said the public should respect religious and social sensitivities, including on the “Allah” issue, to preserve peace and stability in Malaysia.
“Mutual respect of religion and race in Malaysia’s multiracial society has long been the pillar of stability and peace in the country.”
“Without stability, the state and country would descend into a state of chaos. It is also feared that enemies from within would seize the opportunity to implement their agenda.”
He also urged Muslims to reject all other Islamic schools of thought other than Sunni to preserve the interests of the ummah.
“This is of paramount importance to avoid civil war breaking out among Muslims, like what is happening in other Muslim countries,” the Agong said in his speech.
The Sultan’s speech comes against a backdrop of rising religious tension between Muslim and Christian groups in the country over the use of the word “Allah” by Malay-speaking Christians.
Yesterday, Minister the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nancy Shukri insisted that Putrajaya remained committed to the 10-point solution signed with Sabah and Sarawak, allowing Christians to use “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible.
The 10-point solution was announced in April 2011 to resolve the issue on the use of the word “Allah” in Bahasa Malaysia Bible used by majority of Christians in East Malaysia.
Among others, the agreement, drawn up by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, allows Bible of all languages to be printed locally or imported into the country.
The controversy boiled over again early this month following a raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) at the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), seizing some 300 copies of Malay- and Iban-language Bible and detaining two BSM officials.
Christian and Muslim groups have been at loggerheads after the October 14 ruling by the Court of Appeal, barring “Allah” to the Catholic Church.
The “Allah” row dates back to a 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Catholic Church’s constitutional right to use the word in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly Herald, and has its roots in laws prohibitng non-Muslims from using the Arabic term.
The legal dispute between the government and the Catholic Church is still pending before the Federal Court, which will hear the case on February 24 to decide on whether it would hear an appeal by the Catholic Church. – January 19, 2014.
His Majesty said this is his titah commemorating his 89th birthday, which was read by Chairman of Kedah Regency Council HRH Tunku Tan Sri Annuar Sultan Badlishah at Istana Anak Bukit, Alor Setar, Kedah.
This is reference to the 1986 National Fatwa Council definition. In 1988, almost all states rectified the Enactment for Propagation of Non Muslim Religions. This is direct reference to existing provisions to safeguard the interest of Malay-Muslim majority as per enshrined by the Federal Constitution Articles 3(1) and 11(4).
This is the highest level titah for HRH Rulers on the definition of kalimah “Allah” exclusively for Muslims only after HRH Sultan of Selangor’s titah on the same matter 6 January 2013.
In his 2012 Christmas Day message, Chinese Chauvinist DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng demanded that Christians be allowed to use kalimah “Allah” in place of God.
The matter of Catholic Church Malay publication Herald to challenge in court Minister of Home Affairs decision to ban the use of kalimah “Allah” in 1986 has been used as a matter of contention to provoke the sentiments of the Malay-Muslim majority. In the same stroke, the matter is used to systematically challenge the sanctity of Islam as the Religion of Federation and position and role of HRH Rulers as Constitutional Heads of Islam.
This had been part of the ‘politics of hatred’ strategy to demonise the authority, which is mainly under the watch of Malay-Muslim power base, to portray the example of ‘The majority oppressing the minority’ when decisions or actions are taken against them. It doesn’t matter is these decisions or actions are within provisions enshrined by the Federal Constitution.
This decree by His Majesty Seri Paduka Yang DiPertuan Agong should provide some bearing on how interpretations of the kalimah “Allah” contention should be made, once and for all.