Abdul Hadi Awang saw it and he capitalized on it. Given how the Islamic party he is in positions itself in the Allah controversy, he took the next step and suggested that the first principle of the Rukunegara[0] be changed from belief in god to belief in Allah.[1] If Allah is a generic term for god and god is the generic term for Allah, then they are equivalents, right?

Except, that I take the change as more insidious in nature. Not that the Rukunegara is the law of the land — hence its importance is debatable — but execution of that suggestion is problematic for future discourse on the status of Islam in Malaysia.

Equalizing god and Allah is really a double-edged sword. On one hand, it appeals to unity, at least among the Abrahamic religions especially after the divisive Allah controversy. On the other hand, quite sneakily, it offers greater ammunition for Islamists in future debates regarding secularism and the Malaysian state. I can imagine how later down the line some Islamists would support their arguments by citing the Rukunegara while conveniently forgetting that context which that suggestion was made.

I am not impressed by that suggestion. Even if the word god and Allah refer to the same concept, it is far easier to stick with the status quo rather than wade through the controversy that the change might ignite. Besides, not everybody subscribes to the argument that god and Allah refers to the same idea. I have not heard of Hindus, for instance, referring to their gods as Allah, never mind that the concept of monotheism does not appeal to Hinduism.

Consider also the atheists and the agnostics. Where are they in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Hadi? Burnt at the stake?

I feel there are many Islamists out there who subscribe to the exclusivity of the word Allah to the Muslim community in Malaysia. There would not have been a controversy if these Islamists do not exist. If the word god in the Rukunegara is to be changed to Allah, I am sure they will take this in some way as an Islamization of Malaysia. They will see it as a good move. I also will consider it as an act of Islamizing Malaysia. Unlike the Islamists however, I will be compelled to protest loudly.

As a secularist myself, I am not at all enamored by the first principle of the Rukunegara. I plainly dismiss it but I realize that raising objection to it is really a worthless exercise. Really, it is quite petty. But if Mr. Hadi wants to start a public discourse on the matter, let it be known that my default position is the abolition of the first principle.

And I think, I am not alone.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

[0] — See Rukunegara at Wikipedia. Assessed March 22 2010.

[1] — KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) — Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on Monday suggested that the first Rukun Negara be amended as the word Allah was widely used by non-Muslims.

“I call on the government to amend the first Rukun Negara from belief in God to belief in Allah,” he said during the debate on the motion of thanks on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s speech, in the Dewan Rakyat.

Abdul Hadi said the Al-Quran did not bar followers of other religions from using the word Allah. [Hadi Awang Suggests That First Rukun Negara Be Amended. Bernama. March 22 2010]

2 Responses to “[2180] Of sneaky Hadi wants to sneak in Allah”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hafiz Noor Shams, UnscientificMalaysia. UnscientificMalaysia said: Ur not alone RT @__earth: my more measured opinion about replacing belief in god to belief in Allah in the Rukunegara http://bit.ly/aNvOEz […]

  2. on 26 Mar 2010 at 03:08 khensthoth

    No, you’re definitely not alone.

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