'Allah' part of Iban prayers


Religious freedom: ‘Allah’ part of Iban prayers

Source: The New Straits Times 2009/04/06

VIEWS attributed to influential personalities, including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims are very disturbing — including for those of us whose mother tongue is Iban. Islam is the official religion of this country. No one questions that. Similarly, the Constitution guarantees the right of religious freedom.

Followers of different faiths worship in their own ways and there is always some sensitivity attached to religious issues. Thus, I will not touch on matters of theology or religious doctrine. Moreover, this is more a question of language.

I am told that “Allah” is a standard Arabic word for God and is also widely used in the Middle East by non-Muslims.

Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) in the Sarawak government, noted that the word had been used by the followers of the Sidang Injil Borneo in Sarawak for more than 50 years.

Furthermore, the Majlis Islam Sarawak does not think that Muslims in Sarawak are confused when non-Muslims use the word “Allah” in their liturgy (Borneo Post — March 9).

My parents and family members were baptised into the Catholic faith in 1947. As a 6-year-old boy, I was taught to pray to “Allah Taala”. The Creed, the acclamation of faith in the Christian prayer, when rendered in Iban begins as follows: “Aku arap ke siko aja’ Allah Taala, Apai Ke besai Kuasa, Ke ngaga Seruga enggau dunia.

In my own immediate family, through inter-marriage, there are Muslims, Christians and Hindus. Once a year, at Gawai Dayak, we visit the family longhouse. When the prayer leader reads excerpts from the Iban translation of the Bible, the words “Allah Taala” are an integral part of the prayers.

After the Gawai, when we return to Kuala Lumpur, the grandchildren continue to attend mengaji lessons. There is no hint of confusion among the Muslim members of the family.

Ahmad Zahid is no ordinary individual. He received the highest number of votes among the three newly elected vice-presidents in Umno. Going by tradition, it may be expected he will be appointed to a senior and important portfolio in the new cabinet line-up.

One hopes when he is given wider responsibility, as different from aspiring to a post in Umno, he will recognise that those of us who use the word “Allah” or “Allah Taala” in our Christian prayers and publications have no other agenda but to practise our faith in our own language.

How can that be made illegal?

DAP, please do not interfere with our adat

This post is in respond to Iban told to rediscover fighting spirit posted at Malaysiakini.

Voon said Iban people live simple lives and are never demanding and that “it is their culture to respect and be obedient to their elders and the tuai rumah”.

“If the Iban people want meaningful change for themselves, they should no longer be dependent on their present leaders and their tuai rumah. Instead, they have to take the lead themselves, throw away their present leaders and change the government.”

1. Who are the DAP to ask the Ibans not to respect and be obedient to our elders and Tuai Rumah (village chief). It has been our adat to choose among us in the longhouse, and to appoint that person as our leader and that person shall hold the position as a Tuai Rumah.Cukup belik mai runding ke enda patut-patut.

2. The Batu Lintang state assemblyperson Voon Lee Shan has no rights to tell us not to give respect to our Tuai Rumah. Please do not interfere with our Iban adat and customs. There are many other issues that you can speak highly of but certainly not our adat and belief.

3. Urang bansa tu mih ke mecah ke kitai bansa Iban. Sida sigi rindu meda kitai pecah serta enda bebasa ke apai indai.

Rindu kita maca utai ke dipansut ke DAP nya?

Uchu Keling says: The only way for the Ibans to hop onto the CHANGE bandwagon is for them to CHANGE themselves. Badu mih kitai ngemuan mentality NGARAP serta NGANTI. Taja bakanya, we should not disrespect our Tuai.

There is no political parties that can move us unless we kick our own butt and CHANGE. Sapa-sapa ke menang ba pengawa bepilih pan enda ulih ngubah kitai, enti kitai empu enggai berubah, enggai meransang diri empu, enggai ngereja pengawa nya diri empu, serta enggai ngubah runding ngiga cara ke tau di kena kitai ngemansang ke diri empu.

Sari tu, laban kitai agi ngemuan runding NGARAP serta NGANTI, dia mih kitai di peda urang lemik dalam maioh hal.

Enti kitai ulih muai semua runding nya, we will be the DECISION MAKER because we make up the figures. Otherwise, we are, as it is today. So, do not blame anyone else, including, the leaders for what we are. Those who have CHANGED should share it with the rest of the Ibans, but not through politics.

Iban language keyboard chart

This is an interesting typing practise to work with. Firstly, we need to ‘pronounce’ it in our mind, then secondly mapped our mind to our mouth and down to our fingers and exceute the correct keys.

So, my fellow Ibans, let us start to speak Dr. Bromeley’s Iban slang to use this keys. No Undup, no Sebuyau, no Batang Rajang, no Paku, no Layar, but definitely Rimbas Iban .. hehehehee

Iyo kati ko deh!