Allah and Conversions in Malaysia: The Facts!
Muslim activists have claimed repeatedly that Christians in Malaysia refuse to drop using the word Allah because they want to confuse and convert Muslims, thereby posing a threat to national security. The claim is both groundless and insincere.
The claim is groundless as there is no evidence of large number of Muslims converting to Christianity. Based on my reasonably wide experience of churches in the Klang Valley, I can confidently say that 95% of Christians probably have not spoken to a Christian who was formerly a Malay/Muslim. This is just a ballpark figure since I am speaking from personal experience. Still, I am prepared to buy a halal lunch for anyone who can prove that I am wrong.
The claim is insincere since it is the Muslims who are converting large number of people from other religions. In fact, they have converted more than 100 000 non-Malays into Islam between 1980-2000.
Apparently, these conversions do not pose a threat to national security. It is therefore ridiculous to charge that the use of Allah along with the imagined conversion of Muslims to Christianity is a threat to national security.
I refer the reader to the tables given below. The facts speak for themselves.
(Explanatory note – the word ‘Muslim converts’ refers to people who converted to Islam/became Muslims).
The numbers of Muslim converts of the various states in Malaysia (1967-1975)
Kelantan & Terengganu not available
Sabah Sarawak not available
Source: Various state religious departments
Table 1.2 above is taken from Osman Chuah, Chinese Muslims in Malaysia (International Islamic University Malaysia 2001), p. 2. The table has been simplified.
Ethnic Groups of Muslim Converts in West Malaysia 1985-1995
Federal Territory K.L
|Grand Total(inserted by nkw)
Source: Pusat Islam, Malaysia
Table 1.6 above is taken from Osman Chuah, Preaching to non-Muslim Chinese in Malaysia (International Islamic University Malaysia, 2002), p. 8.
Number of Conversions from 1980-1990 in Malaysia
Source: Pusat Islam, Kuala Lumpur
Number of Conversions from 1990-2001 in Malaysia
Source: JAKIM, Kuala Lumpur
The above two tables 1.5a and 1.5b are taken from Osman Chuah Abdullah, Preaching to the Non-Muslim Chinese in Malaysia (International Islamic University Malaysia, 2002), p. 7.
Update on 14 Jan 2010.
I just came across a report that gives a much larger number of converts in Sabah alone – 117 579 conversions since the year 1970. I quote a report from Berita Harian (24 Feb. 2009).
Sabah&Sarawak: Syor bina pusat komuniti saudara baru di daerah
Oleh Mohd Azrone Sarabatin
KOMPLEKS Pusat Latihan Islam Kundasang yang dirasmikan oleh Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah tersergam indah di kaki Gunung Kinabalu di Kampung Mesilau, Kundasang, Ranau.
Kemudahan boleh tingkat syiar Islam, elak mualaf murtad
RANAU: Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah meminta Kerajaan Pusat dan negeri membina pusat komuniti saudara baru di setiap daerah untuk melaksanakan program dakwah dan memelihara kebajikan mereka.
Beliau berkata, dengan jumlah 117,579 saudara baru didaftarkan Majlis Ugama Islam Sabah (Muis) sejak 1970, pusat komuniti berkenaan penting bagi memastikan saudara baru bukan setakat memahami dan mencintai Islam, malah tidak kembali ke agama asal mereka.
“Pembinaan pusat komuniti saudara baru harus disegerakan demi kebajikan mereka,” katanya ketika berucap merasmikan Kompleks Pusat Latihan Islam Kundasang (PLIK), di Kampung Mesilau, Kundasang, dekat sini semalam.
PLIK adalah nama baru bagi Pusat Latihan Dakwah Kundasang (PLDK) yang dikendalikan Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) sejak 1987.
Hadir sama, Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; Menteri di Jabatan Ketua Menteri Sabah, Datuk Nasir Sakaran dan Ketua Pengarah Jakim, Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz.
See also report from Utusan Malaysia 25 Feb 2009 LINK
(Only partially quoted)
Amal sistem pengurusan Islam dalam pentadbiran
Oleh ZULHISHAM ISHAK
Yang Dipertua Negeri Sabah, Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah berkata, bagi memastikan hasrat itu tercapai, latihan pengurusan yang bercirikan Islam perlu dipertingkatkan….
Turut hadir Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim), Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz dan Mufti Sabah, Datuk Alawi Adnan.
Ahmadshah berkata, hasrat itu juga sejajar dengan hala tuju kerajaan Persekutuan yang menerapkan prinsip-prinsip Islam Hadhari dalam sistem pentadbiran….
Sehubungan itu, katanya, beliau berharap lebih banyak kompleks atau pusat-pusat komuniti untuk golongan itu dibina di setiap daerah yang akan berperanan sebagai pusat sehenti.
Pusat atau kompleks berkenaan, tambah beliau, akan berfungsi menjalankan semua aktiviti dan menjaga kebajikan golongan berkenaan yang dianggap begitu istimewa kepada umat Islam.
Jelasnya, dari tahun 1970 hingga kini, 117,579 saudara baru didaftarkan dan berikutan perkembangan tersebut, pusat khas itu amat diperlukan.
Added on 4 April 2017
Question – What is the number of Chinese who converted to Islam?
Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia, in 2000, the number of Chinese Muslims in Malaysia is 57,221 people (1% of the total Chinese population of 5.69 million people). This figure however dropped in 2012, to 42,048 people (0.66% of the total Chinese population of 6.39 million). The number of Chinese Muslims in only 0.24% compared to 0.45% Indian Muslims (78,702 people) of Malaysia’s total population of 28.33 million people in 2012.
Why are the number of Chinese Muslims becoming less when thousands of Chinese people have converted to Islam each year? One possibility is that they have been categorised as Malays when the census was carried out, as they take on Malay names which carry the “Bin” or “Binti Abdullah”. If you take a look at the Muslim population in Malaysia in 2012, the total percentage was 61.3% (17.38 million out of 28.33 million), compared to 60.4% (14.19 millions of 23.49 million people) in 2000, which is an improvement.
In his article, “Kami tidak masuk Melayu” (We cannot become Malays) published in the Malaysian Insider on March 4, 2013, Uthaya Sankar reveals the reality that Indian Muslims and Chinese Muslims prefer to call themselves “Malays”. This was based on the opinions he received from several non-Malays who have converted to Islam, on whether they wished to be recogised as a “Malay” or are proud to maintain the identity of their ethnicity.
Source: Am I Malay? – “A Non-Malay Muslims’ Identity Dilemma” by Johari Yap in the Malaysian Digest (22 Dec 2015). Johari is Chairman of the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA), Kelantan Branch
18 thoughts on “Allah and Conversions in Malaysia: The Facts!”
With the data enclosed, it clearly shows that its actually the Malays that have been soft-converting the others. How come this data is not shown in Utusan Malaysia and other leading newspapers? This will clearly show that there is NO attempt by other races to confuse the Muslims but its just a political game the rulers of the land are playing to confuse the ignorant masses…
On the other hand, bro Kam Weng, if you could provide a comparison figure of Christians converting out to Islam?
Not accurate, as lots of conversion to muslim are due to marriage requiremwent. Maybe u wanto to
use the Allah name as to avoid more conversion to islam as your god is also having the same name. So, we don’t want
that confusion as our muslim Allah is of different one from your Allah. Thus, this attempt
is actually to create more grey area that could improve the numbers of convertion to kristianity very very soon after it starts to be allowed, right.
So we will never allow that
hmm… forgive my ignorance.
evidence is tricky in this case. how are you supposed to have any verifiable, sizable amount of data on Muslims converting out seeing that apostasy isn’t legally sanctioned for them. Which Malay/’Muslim’ person is going to risk ‘coming out of the closet’ and profess his/her belief in e.g. Christianity in Malaysia, given the various laws that prohibit him/her from doing so, let alone getting into a lot of trouble. unless you have Malay-Muslims converting overseas, and then calling up the statisticians to help them out….that’s another matter. 🙂
It is interesting to note that the highest no. of conversions from Table 1.5a and 1.5b come from the states of Sabah and Sarawak, the two states where Christians are using the word “Allah”.
It is also a matter beyond just conversion, important though this may be.
It is this principle – “to give way is both ways” – that needs to be sincerely and rationally worked out. How? In a spirit of calm, non-emotionalism, goodwill, understanding, mutual acceptance, and public and private inter-faith dialogue.
It must be said that there is nothing wrong to agree to disagree amicably. In fact, it is very human, almost divine, to do so.
In a related note, the eloquent Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi urged readers to “find the middle path” in his articulate discourse in The Star (13.1.10). However, what evidence is there to show that BOTH parties have given way, or is it that almost always one party that is (or must) give way. To use an analogy, road bullies are those who always insist that others must give way to them. Do we like road bullies when we drive?
To find the middle path, maybe we can just agree both sides cannot convert anyone and if one side monopolise the use of the word ‘Allah’ then the other side monopolise the word ‘Tuhan’? Case closed. No one ends up as road bully…
How can one be sure the decided middle path be agreed by all parties?
Shad Faruqi, Not a Road Bully, David or the Hedonese are as usual demonstrating their diplomacy skill. I wish I have 10% of them.
What if the decided middle path is finally agreed upon by the minority “exclusive Allah” type of Muslims and the main stream churches but actually is not agreed by other parties, say other religions (who happens to have some recalcitrant members throwing stones)? Another middle path then need to be sought to solve the decided disputed “middle path”? This will lead to a infinite progression of threat and the ever-seeking for a middle path.
Let us assume if they decided according to Hedonese’s smart suggestion that the Muslim monopolise the word “Allah” and the non-Muslim monopolise the word “Tuhan”, how is the Malay Muslim going to explain “Allah”? Are they going to say “Allah adalah Allah” or “Allah adalah Tuhan”? But they cannot use “Tuhan” because that word is monopolised by the non-muslim.
Statistic provided here could not be conclusive on which religion is a real threat to the other religions. We all know that the Muslims in Malaysia has all the machinery and the restrictive law against the non-muslim to assist them in the propogation of their religion. That is a fact. However, statistic can also be interpreted that it may be a proof that many want to convert to Islam on the basis that it is a more “beautiful” religion.
I think it all boils down to the arrogant attitude or the self-imposed spiritual supremacy by certain religious people. One have to humble themselves and take cognisance that both Islam and Christianity is a missionary religion. They are commanded to propagate their faith. Any decided middle path that restrict any of them of their mission will cause not only for them to lose their religious identity but to make them “unfaithful” to their Supreme Maker.
Both will have to spread their “beautiful” message through love, deeds and intelligent words that can bring both logic and meaning to the hearers. To intentionally use a word (such as “Allah”) merely to confuse the people so that their religion can be propagated is the stupid thing one can ever imagine. Those who think anyone will intentionally use “Allah” to confuse their members cannot even be generously classified as stupid. The reason is that there are better ways to confuse a person.
For example, the spread of a false philosophy or the control of the media are methods that may confuse soneone’s faith. The hypocrisy of a pastor or an ustaz can be a stumbling block to their members and thus confuse them. How do we “deconfuse” them? Obviously by proper guidance and education, sprinkle with some love and care.
In conclusion, statistic data may cause us to infer something but it cannot be conclusive of why a person wants to convert. Unless we interview all of them, we will never know. However, this statistic presented here does demonstrate that more likely than not, the Islamic religion has more success in its propagation than the Christian’s. In other words, the threat of people converting to Islam is greater than the threat Muslim converting to Christianity. If it is true that there is a real threat from them, should any of their words similar to Christianity or their similar stories of the prophets be banned, since it may also confuse some of the less-informed Christian? Of course not. Likewise, one in this century should not stop the Christians from continuing to refer their God as “Allah”, of which they have been using since many centuries ago.
As SPLim pointed out, conversion cases with the highest rates come from the two states of Sabah and Sarawak where the majority of Christians use Allah in their worship.
As Christians, we worship a sovereign God Who does what and how and when and where He wills. God will save His people from out of every nation, language and tribe.
NO ONE CAN STOP THIS.
And so let it be.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and forever shall be; world without end. Amen.
If it is true that ‘conversion cases with the highest rates come from the two states of Sabah and Sarawak where the majority of Christians use Allah in their worship’ (Jason Loh), then it seems to imply that Christians from these two states are the ones who have been confused and NOT the other way round. Can anyone from East Malalysia verify this? If this is indeed true, perhaps Christians should think twice before using the word ‘Allah’.
Christian used the word ‘Allah’ as God because we also need to translate to the Chinese and Indians, since we all goes to Kebangsaan School, all the subject is in Bahasa Malaysia we only have one English book. The government should change all the school books to English for non muslim and only Bahasa Malaysia is allowed for Muslim, then in future there is no need any translation of words.
The Bible provides access to true knowledge of the revealed, authentic God who reveals Himself to His people. The Hebrew words are many for the true God of Abraham, to reveal His authentic nature, purpose, character, being. He is not limited by superficial human deception of imagined control over word use.
What good is a one-dimensional god whose human “name” is restricted by idolaters as followers who are insecure about their god and their future?
Jehovah witnesses is already available, when will be ‘Allah witnesses’? since we just get a brand new name of God!
God is One,called with different names – Rig Veda
Those who criticise Christian usage of the term Allah are totally ignorant of the history of Christianity in Sabah and Sarawak. Not only that, they are extremely insensitive to the feelings of Malay-speaking Christians. Christianity is not an English religion.
As for conversions, there has been an agenda to convert indigenous peoples in Sabah and Sarawak to Islam to increase the number of Malays and spread UMNO’s wings. In Sabah, you will find many Kadazandusun Muslims who have their race recorded as Malay on the NRD’s database. Even now, many Muslim Kadazandusuns do not practice much of their culture or wear their costumes during weddings and other functions. This is an attempt to Malaynise the entire population of Sabah and Sarawak. And it is working really well as more of them convert for marriage, promotions in civil service, and other perks and benefits. If the trend continues, by the year 2050, the races known as Kadazandusun and Murut will officially account for less than 5% of Sabah’s population.
And now, things are in overdrive, as they are trying to ban Christian use of Allah, cracking down on conversions out of Islam in Sabah, issuing edicts banning construction of non-Islamic structures in public places and so on. In Sabah the rights of non-Muslims have been relegated to the position of lower class compared to the period prior to 1969 and the period 1985-1994.
As for those non-Muslims who sit in the cabinet, they seem to be content as long as they have a steady income. After all who cares!!!
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