Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Response to Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka DG, Firdaus Abdullah's Comments on "ALLAH'

From "KL Confidental" Blog. Read for more


"....Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, the body that helped BASTARDISED the MALAY LANGUAGE.

They approved the word 'ori' to be put in our Kamus Dewan Bahasa. Why can't they use the word 'asli' instead?

And instead of 'Ketua Inspektor' they allow the usage of 'Cif Inspektor'.

Sorry (Datuk Dr) Firdaus, but your credibility is hardly one I would like to rely on...."


Note: The Malay translation of the Gospel of Matthew in 1629, is the FIRST non-European Christian scripture. Read here for more

The earliest recorded use of a Malayan language for evangelistic purposes was in 1629, when St. Matthew’s gospel in Dutch and Malay was published, the Malay translation being the work of Albert Cornelisson Ruyl (Cornelisz Ruil), a merchant in the employ of the Dutch East Indies Company.

A few years later, in 1662, ·Daniel Brouwer (Brouwerius, Brouerius), one of the Dutch ministers in Java, began a translation of the Bible, using roman letters in writing and printing it. Roman letters have been used for writing and printing the Malagasy and the Polynesian Malayan languages. But in the Malaysian islands, the Arabic letters having become naturalized long before the time named above, the use of the roman letters for writing Malay has not widely found favour. Read here for more

Should the word “Allah” be used exclusively in the Islamic context?

For Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general Datuk Dr Firdaus Abdullah, the answer is “yes”. “If you look at the word ‘Allah’, you find it has been used for years, exclusively referring to the Islamic notion (of God),” he told the Sun. Read here for more

This is coming from the body (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka) that helped bastardize the Malay language? They approved the word 'ori' to be put in our Kamus Dewan Bahasa. Why can't they use the word 'asli' instead? And instead of 'Ketua Inspektor' they allow the usage of 'Cif Inspektor'.

Sorry Firdaus, but your credibility is hardly one I would like to rely on.

Firdaus continued by saying, the Internal Security Ministry's ban on the use of 'Allah' in the publications about religions other than Islam should be looked at within the context of the historical and cultural background of this country. "I think they (the ministry) are making the decision within that context," he said.
Pay attention to the "historical and cultural background of this country". I will focus on this later.

On the other hand,
Christian think-tank Kairos Research Centre, Dr Ng Kam Weng, said "It is because of the linguistic affinity between the term ‘Allah’ and other Semitic terms, that Christian Arabs called the supreme God ‘Allah’ centuries before the appearance of Islam. "

"Arab Christians continue to use ‘Allah’ today," he said. He said that historically, Christians in Southeast Asia had used "Allah" to refer to the supreme God they worshiped. "The earliest Christian writing in Malay, Kitab salat as-sawai (Christian prayers), was printed in Arabic (in) 1514. Christian catechisms in Malay were published around 1545," he said. " ‘Allah’ was used in the printed version of the Gospel of Matthew in Malay (1629) and the complete Malay Bible (1731-1733).
There goes your "historical-and-cultural-background-of-this-country" argument, Firdaus.

'Allah' was used in the Malay Bible since the 1700s. And that's history.

Dr Feham Mohd Ghalib
Next, Dr Feham Mohd Ghalib (The Head of Quranic Language Division under the Center for Languages and Pre-University Academic Development at International Islamic University) agrees, saying that the ministry's decision in prohibiting the use of the word 'Allah' was because of Malaysia's cultural background and had nothing to do with the religion or language itself.
He says the ministry's decision was because of Malaysia's cultural background. What cultural background is he referring to? On top of that he says that it has nothing to do with the religion or language.

If it has nothing to do with religion, why is the Ministry saying things like 'it's a muslim word'?

Dr Feham concurs with Firdaus saying, although 'Allah' was an Arabic word, the meaning of the word used in Islam was different from that used in other religions. "In Islam, Allah means He is the only God and no other God," he told The Sun.
In one sentence he says that the usage of the word in Islam is different than other religions. Then he says that 'Allah means He is the only God and no other God.'

How is this different from the Christians?

I believe the meaning is about the same, right? Can you Christians verify this for me? ( I want a Christian's perspective) .
Political scientist and historian at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin, Germany, Prof Farish Ahmad-Noor said the word "Allah" predated the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and went way back to the pre-Islamic era. Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact.
Anything to say Firdaus? Obviously not. This guy (Farish Noor) actually did his research before opening his mouth, unlike Firdaus. He had facts backing him, he had his brain backing him. I can't say the same for the tong kosongs (loud empty drums) in the corridors of power.

Furthermore, (according to Prof Farish) the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic – in all its dialects – is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else, he said in his article posted on the online resource site, The Other Malaysia.

"One could also add that as ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word, it has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam," he said. "It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system."
He explained that like many non-Arabs, Malays only converted to Islam much later from the 13th century onwards. "Among the earliest pieces of evidence to indicate Islam’s arrival to the Malay archipelago are the stone inscriptions found in Malay states like Pahang, where the idea of God is described in the Sanskrit words ‘Dewata Mulia Raya’," he said.

"As no Malay spoke or even understood Arabic then, it was natural for the earliest Malay- Muslims to continue using the Sanskrit-inspired language they spoke then. Surely this does not make them lesser Muslims."
Malays actually used the words 'Dewata Mulia Raya' to describe God (Allah).

Wonder what Firdaus have to say about that. Probably they would say that the Malays who spoke Sanskrit were not real Muslims. (Normal right? They will never admit their mistakes).