Friday, December 28, 2012

Muslims, Christians, the Word Allah and the Bible.

Here we go again… Every now and then, this matter will see the light of day. This time around, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng brought it up in his Christmas message. I personally agree with his sentiment. We should all share the word Allah and make it the universal name for God. As far as the Quran is concerned, this verse explains the universality of Allah clearly.

They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause)except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will) – Quran 22:40

Then what is the real issue here? As I have written in my book Can we use Allah in the Bible?, it is about TRUST. Below is the excerpt of the conclusion of Chapter 2 from my book that can be downloaded here.

“It is clear that it is only permissible to use the term Allah to refer to God in the Bible, it is exactly what the Quran wants us to do. What an irony.

I would like to thank my Christian brothers and sisters in their effort to make Allah the universal name of God and wanting the name to be the preferred reference to God in the Bible.

But, you must not stop there.

You must also strive hard to ensure that not just the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia Bibles use the term Allah but all the other translations in the world regardless if they are in Japanese, English, Russian or Hindi uses the same term. Malaysian Christians can lead the world of Christianity to make Allah the universal name of God with the solid support of their Muslim brothers and sisters. Anything that can bring us closer together must be supported. A shared universal name to call our God Allah seems a most appropriate place to start.

Failing to do so will create mistrust because the correct term for God in Malay is Tuhan. The Muslims will question your consistency and sincerity. Because the real issue here is Trust. Not the technicality of the term Allah, Tuhan, Elohim, Elah etc. This is where we need to focus. This is what we need to pay attention to.
There are three levels of trust missing.

Firstly we do not trust each other. The Muslims perceive the inconsistency of Christians wanting to use the term Allah in the Malay bible and not the other translations as a plot to convert Malay Muslims to Christianity. And, the Christians perceive the Muslims rejection to the usage of the term as another strategy to block the spread of the Christian faith to Muslims in Malaysia. This feeling is deep in the Christian psyche as they find the lopsided law on conversion in Malaysia to be unfair (Check what the Quran say about this at 83:1-3 and 5:8).

Secondly, we do not trust ourselves. The Muslims lack confidence of fellow Muslims and feel that just by using the term Allah, their faith towards Islam can be shaken. The Christians lack confidence that being Christ-like is enough to attract others to the faith. That when you turn the other cheek, you win.

Yet the deepest rot is the lack of trust in Allah or God or Tuhan or any other name you want to call upon Him! Both Muslims and Christians fail to trust that Allah will be with those who are true and love those who trust Him. If we do so, we have nothing to fear and nothing to grieve. Failing to trust Him, we become weak, insecure and misguided.”

So to solve this issue, we must focus on TRUST between Muslims and Christians. I would be very happy if Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng can be the Christian leader to get the ball rolling and strive to ensure that Allah is not only used in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible, but all the other translations around the world as well. If we extend our efforts to ensure that the Bibles in all languages use the term Allah, I have a strong conviction that Muslims will be able to see good in this effort and do not see this as a ploy of converting Malay Muslims to Christianity.

The word Allah is universal and I believe it should be universally used by all Muslims and Christians alike. When Malaysian Christians take the lead to make the word Allah universal and fight for its usage internationally, Muslims will have no reason to be suspicious; they will TRUST Christians more. And I reckon this is one way how TRUST between our Muslim and Christian communities can be nurtured.

Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye:
this is a Way that is straight – Quran 19:36


Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Have a Meaningful Christmas - tomorrow in The STAR

 Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)
"Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on

Back to Basics – Know ourselves, Listen.

Nations, organisations, businesses, and individuals must stop from time to time and reflect. We must cultivate habits of on-going reflection and self-evaluation.

When we reflect, we must ask questions both from our head and our heart. Intelligence alone is insufficient, we must also use wisdom. Intelligence may give us the facts, but wisdom helps us find meaning. Ignatius of Loyola advocated self-evaluation to achieve one’s higher goals in life. 

There are two good ways of doing this. One is listening to feedback; it is through feedback that we discover our strengths. Two; practice deliberate self-doubt. Just in case we are wrong. Just in case we are blind to something that is important.

When we listen to feedback and practice self-doubt we discover new roads to our journey, new avenues for our discovery, and new strengths for our triumphs. If we refuse to listen and practise self-doubt, we are too arrogant for our own good. And this arrogance will be the main cause of our downfall. We are not suggesting that we ignore our weaknesses. Bad habits that stop us from performing must be cured. But, it is through focusing on our strengths that will give maximum impact.

Reflections can help us know where we are. When we know where we are, we can then move forward. In reflection we can find out what we are doing or failing to do that stops us from achieving our potentials.

In moving forward, we must work from our strengths. One can perform only from strength. We must spend time identifying our core abilities, our forte. We must put ourselves where our strength can produce results.

We must find the time to ask; 

What are our strengths as a nation? Are we performing from our strengths? Is our strength Unity in diversity? What are the bad habits that hinder our performance? Are we a nation of complainers and whiners? What about our organisations? What about our businesses? What about us as individuals? 

This Christmas Holiday let us reflect and find some answers. But to get to the answers, we must be willing to listen. We must be willing to practise deliberate self-doubt.

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind. 

Let us be first and foremost Malaysians. 

Let us add value,
Have A Meaningful Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Every Little Step Counts - Monthly Key Tasks

Your yearly career objectives can be broken down to monthly segmentations that will organize your journey and progress. Your Monthly Key Tasks acts as a frame that governs your weekly progress and Daily Things To Do List.

Your Monthly Key Tasks work hand in hand with your Daily Things To Do List; the little tasks that you do everyday are actions on your monthly objectives, while they steer you into achieving your yearly goals. 

Here are some tips on penciling your Monthly Key Tasks: 

1. Do it early – Plan your Monthly Key Tasks before the next month comes e.g. on every 25th. Your Monthly Key Tasks for December 2012 should be ready by 25th of November 2012.

2. Sync with your team/department – Sit down and discuss with your teammates on your targets as you are most likely working on project together. Make sure you progress together as if one party lags, the rest of the team will find it difficult to move along. 

3. Reflect your organization’s mission and vision – As you are the clockwork of your organization, your goals should be parallel with it. If they are not, mutual understanding and co-operation at your workplace is at jeopardy. Also, it hinders your growth in the company as you might be perceived in a less favorable light.

4. Update your progress – Do it on a weekly basis. Chart your progress on every Friday, for example. This way, your will have a clear picture of how far you are moving along, and what tasks you need to catch up on. Cross out completed items or finished projects to avoid clutter. 

5. Categorize – Separate your Monthly Key Tasks into groups of tasks and duties that you need to complete. Examples of task categories are communication, administration, and training. You can also expand your Monthly Key Tasks to include personal objectives such as how many books you want to read for the month or how much weight you want to lose.

Every zubedyan is required to plan their Monthly Key Tasks and we find it to be very useful in helping us stay focused on our objectives and progress. Here are what some of us have to say about Monthly Key Tasks.

"MKT is a useful tool that provides me direction and setting performance expectation towards achieving my objectives for that month. It helps me to organize and cascade my multitasking work and personal matters accordingly. Through MKT also I can review and monitor my performance." – Azlawati Fahmi, Manager

"By preparing the MKT, I am able to better focus by setting up a framework in how I go about my month. It helps create a sense of discipline and professionalism; and the ability to better align myself to the company’s needs and expectations." – Aizuddin Arshad, Communication & Public Relations Executive.

Following through with your Monthly Key Tasks is an achievement on its own too, because it feels good to be able to check things off of your list. As you complete your goal plan, you realize that you are moving closer to attaining your career as well as personal targets.   

"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."- Paul J. Meyer

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why Opposition did well in GE12 & may not do the same in GE13 - by Chuang Tzu

When an archer is shooting for nothing, 
he has all his skill. 

If he shoots for a brass buckle, 
he is already nervous. 

If he shoots for a prize of gold, he goes blind or sees two targets - 
He is out of his mind! 

His skill has not changed. But the prize divides him. 

He cares. He thinks more of winning than of shooting- 

And the need to win drains him of power.

Chuang Tzu (c.360 BC - c. 275 BC)

Don’t wait till debt takes you apart by By Shahanaaz Habib - The STAR

Check on spending: Koid believes parents should teach their children to appreciate the value of money.Check on spending: Koid believes parents should teach their children to appreciate the value of money.
Free advice and help is available for those who are facing bankruptcy.
MALAYSIANS are too busy earning a living, doing their work very well, spending most of their time researching and improving on their work that they have no conscious management of their finances, says Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) CEO Koid Swee Lian.
These days, after people graduate and start working, they want to buy a car straight away, and banks are also quick to offer them a credit card.
Koid says students should bear in mind that the minute they graduate, most of them would have a student loan to pay off.
“So ask yourself Do you really need that car' and Can you afford it?' We are not saying don't buy a car but maybe don't buy it until you are financially more stable. It shouldn't be your priority. Try taking public transport for a while.
“Or if you buy a car, buy a small one or a second-hand one and be mindful of usage because petrol costs money. Don't spin it around the city like there is no tomorrow,” she advises.
She has also noticed that when young couples get married these days, they want their house to be fully furnished, and so they buy all their household furniture and utensils on credit.
And if they can't pay in full at the end of the month, that would incur interest payment and finance charges, which Koid says are “unnecessary additional expenses.”
“Youngsters buy on credit. Maybe it's peer pressure but they will buy something like six pairs of shoes in one go with their credit card which will take up their salary for a month. What they should be doing is spend within or below their means and be comforted (by the fact) that they are financially stable.”
Koid also believes parents have a role to play in educating their children to appreciate the value of money.
“Youngsters tend to be self-centred. Parents have a role to play to manage their children's expectations. Parents are so used to financing the children that they don't know when to stop and the children are so used to taking money from their parents that they too don't know when to stop,” she says.
Parents have to look after the welfare of all their children and not just one, and they also have to save up for their own retirement, she adds.
AKPK, which Koid heads, is a Bank Negara subsidiary that offers service and advice for free to people on how to manage their finances and debts. It also has a debt management programme to assist financially distressed consumers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is Our Constitution Balanced for a Multicultural Society?

As part of our Contact Talk series, a talk about Malaysia's Federal Constitution by Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi was held on Saturday, 1st December 2012 at zubedy's office.The event started from 9 a.m. and lasted until 12 p.m. Attendees were zubedy's clients, students from local law institutions, and the public.

This talk addresses gripping issues about our Constitution. Prof. Shad Faruqi's key points are:
  • The concept and ideas behind nation-building and the different approaches to nation-building such as the ‘melting pot’ and the ‘mosaic or rainbow’.
  • The Malaysian Constitution is balanced in its approach towards inter-communal harmony and moderation. According to him, “The Constitution is replete with safeguards for the interest of other communities (other than the Malays)”. 
  • Prof. Shad Faruqi explained furthermore than the Constitution grants personal liberty, protection against slavery and forced labor, protection against retrospective criminal laws and repeated trials, right to equality, and freedom of movement; among many other rights and freedoms.

  • While Islam is the official religion of the Federation, the country is not an Islamic state. He said, “The syariah does not apply to non-Muslims. The syariah courts have no jurisdiction over non-Muslims”. 
  • As quoted from his book, “…the Malaysian legal system is neither fully secular nor fully theocratic. It is hybrid. It permits legal pluralism”. 
  • All religious communities are allowed to profess and practice their faiths in peace and harmony. Funds and grant of land is often given to other religions, as a way of support by the state.
  • Religious competition over the hearts and minds of the people is evident all over the world. Prof. Shad Faruqi shed some light about freedom of religion and issues of proselytization in Malaysia.
  • Commentary on the American Constitution; its silence on social economy unlike Malaysia's. For instance, basic necessities for the people such as water and land is covered in our Constitution.
  • The special position of the Malays, as well as its limitations intended by the Constitution as opposed to what is practiced today in broad. Prof. Shad Faruqi said, "The Constitution did not use the term "Ketuanan Melayu", but the term "Kedudukan Istimewa".
  • The roles of the government and the people in upholding the Constitution. As said by Prof. Shad Faruqi, "The law is as good as those who administer it".

According to Anas Zubedy, moderator for the day, the purpose of having this event is to encourage the culture of knowledge exchange and open dialogues. He said, “As the title of the talk suggests, we want to promote the spirit of moderation to all Malaysians. This talk is aimed at making the public understand that our Constitution is one of the most accommodating charter and that it takes into account all races and religions of Malaysia”. He added, “The backbone of this nation rests on two; the people and the Constitution. That is why we have to pay attention to these two”.

Prof. Shad Faruqi's session was followed by an open discussion with the public about the Constitution. The participants took part and the discussion turned out to be a lively one. Afterwards, the participants were served with a light meal before the event ended.

Anas ended the event by saying, “We are happy with the turn out today and how well the talk went. We are definitely holding more of these events in the future”.

To watch the full video, please click here