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The word “Allah” is exclusively for Muslims only – Datuk Harun Taib

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KUALA LUMPUR  –  PAS Dewan Ulama chief Datuk Harun Taib has reiterated that the word “Allah” is exclusively for Muslims despite calls from a party colleague that non-Muslims be allowed to use it in their holy books.

Harun’s stand, which is supported by conservatives within Pas, contradicts that of party deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who was reported as saying that non-Muslims have the liberty to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. As it is, some senior Pas members are upset as they feel the party is not stern enough in addressing issues involving Islam.

They are of the view that the party leadership is more interested in pacifying its partners in the opposition — Parti Keadilan Rakyat and DAP — rather than tightening its stand on issues involving Islam. Harun stressed that other religions, like Christianity, did not have any right to use the word “Allah” on any occasion, including using it in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible.

“In Christianity, they refer to God as Jesus and not Allah. As far as I am concerned, the word ‘Allah’ is only for Muslims because in Christianity, they have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

On why there were contradictory statements from Pas leaders as some were reported to have supported the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims, Harun said there might be “certain leaders who think they were above ulama leaders in the party”.

“Maybe these people think that they have more religious knowledge than the ulama leaders.”

Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu, recently said: “The Pas president (Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang)  had issued a statement in 2010 to not forbid any religious adherent, who are not  Muslims, to use the word ‘Allah’. Pas maintains that stand.”

Hadi, had in January  2010 said: “In conclusion, we cannot forbid them from using the word ‘Allah’ among themselves, in their worship and practice, even though the meaning deviates from the original according to our language.”

However, controversy surrounding the use of the word “Allah”  resurfaced when Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in his Christmas message demanded that the government allow  Christians to use the word in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible.

Former Penang Pas Youth chief Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin said the most powerful body in Pas — the  Syura Council — must take a firm stand on the matter instead of allowing party leaders to issue individual statements.

He said since 2010, the council had not issued any  official statement or decision although this matter involved the question of faith and religion.

“On behalf of the party grassroots in Penang and Malaysia, we are waiting for a firm decision by the Syura Council, which has the most credibility to determine such a crucial matter.

“The longer it takes for the council to decide, the more confused   members will become, especially when non-ulama leaders, like Mat Sabu, make a statement.”

In an immediate reaction, Mohamad  said he was only referring to the statement issued by Hadi three years ago where Christians were allowed to use the word “Allah”.

“I never referred to Guan Eng’s statement, but merely mentioned what the president had said before.”  –  MD