Senior lawyer says Allah ruling long overdue, consistent with spirit of Quran

Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos said nobody has a monopoly over a word.

He was responding to the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling which allows non-Muslims to use the word Allah as well as Baitullah, Kaabah and solat.

“It is a judgment that is long overdue. If you get confused over a word, what does that say about your faith?” asked Jahaberdeen.

“The judgment is consistent with Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution which states every citizen is free to practise and profess a religion of their choice.”

He said in this case, factually, non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak and some parts of peninsular Malaysia have been using the word Allah for the past 400 years.

“They should be accorded the constitutional right to practise and profess their religion as they see fit.”

Yesterday, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who presided as High Court judge, allowed the judicial review application filed by Sarawakian clerk Jill Ireland against the Home Ministry.

The judge said the directive by the Home Ministry not to allow the use of the four prohibited words, including Allah, is filled with illegality and irrationality.

Nor Bee allowed Ireland’s declaration and ruled that the use of the words would not disrupt public order.

Ireland had challenged the ban on the use of the word Allah, which had resulted in eight compact discs (CDs) she brought in from Indonesia 13 years ago to be confiscated as they bore those words.

Although the CDs had been returned, she proceeded to challenge the directive by the ministry over the prohibition of the four words, unless the word “Christian” is published.

Jahaberdeen said the decision was also a victory for common sense and as a Muslim, he believed it was consistent with the spirit of the Quran.

“Society should be mature enough or should be made to be mature enough to understand their own faith without being easily confused with some other basic definition of a word,” said Jahaberdeen, the founder of Rapera – a movement that encourages thinking and compassion among citizens.

“People need to understand different nuances and the way words are used.”

He said certain quarters would object to the ruling, adding those who did so were “immature”.

“A true believer would never impose religion on anyone as each of us has a different level of spirituality,” he added.