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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Request Jakim to interpret the meaning of 'azan' in the Koran

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Malaysian Department for the Advancement of Islam (Jakim), Prime Minister's Department, to interpret the meaning of azan (a Muslim call for prayer by a muezzin) in the Koran.

A religious issue is often very sensitive, more so in a multi-religious society such as Malaysia. Hence, we have to handle it with extreme care.

On 27 September, 2005, I spoke in the House on the complaints by non-Muslims of azan being too loud especially the call at dawn. Then, some newspapers carried the news with titles such as 'People should not raise the azan issue' (Bertita Harian).

On 30 September, 2005, Berita Harian said that Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department rejected the perception of Tan Seng Giaw, a member of Parliament, as baseless. The MP claimed that azan affected the image of Islam as well as interfered with local residents so much so that little children of different faiths were distrubed.

On 28 September, 2005, The Star carried the news as "House astir over 'azan' proposal". It quoted:"I (Dr Tan Seng Giaw) have received complaints from people in my constituency, which has a majority of non-Muslims, that the azan for subuh (dawn) prayers is too loud and wakes them up abruptly. I hope the Government will regulate this," he said to objections and shouts from several MPs.

Today (25 October, 2005) while debating the budgetary allocation for the Prime Minister's Department such as RM225,905,000 for Jakim, I asked the department to interpret azan which arises from a revelation through a dream.

Azan is from al-i'lam (announcement) or an-nida (call). I hope Jakim will interpret the term as it appears in the Koran such as Surah IX Repentence,3; Surah XXII The Pilgrimage,27; Surah V The Table Spread, 58; Surah XVIII The Children of Israel, 110 and The Story of Bukhari and Muslim.

Surah IX Repentence, 3: "And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage.....". Surah XXII, The Pilgrimage, 27: "And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage....." Surah V, The Table Spread, 58:" And when ye call for prayer....." Surah XVIII, The Children of Israel, 110: Say (unto mankind): Cry unto Allah, or cry unto the Beneficent, unto whichsoever ye cry (it is the same). His are the most beautiful names. And thou (Muhammad), be not loud voiced in thy worship nor yet silence therein, but follow a way between."

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