No disrespect meant against the Malay Rulers, but does the law that makes the Rulers Heads of Islam mean the the Rulers are experts on Islam? I always thought that the Rulers being heads of Islam was more a symblic position.
Has this changed? If the Malay Rulers are considered like the Caliphs of old, then why are the Islamic councils the ones making all the rulings and public statements etc and not the Rulers?
Here's the latest from the Herald
Only rulers can decide on ‘Allah’, Islamic councils argue
Published on August 28 , 2009
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR : The state Islamic councils argued in the High Court today that only the Malay rulers and the King could rule on the use of the word “Allah.”
The councils were making their submissions in chambers on why the Catholic Church should not be allowed to challenge the Home Minister’s ban on Christians using the word “Allah” to refer to God in a non-Muslim context.
The respondents argued that the use of the word “Allah” could only be subjected to the “absolute discretion” of the rulers and the King as the heads of Islam and the issue therefore could not be evaluated by the court.
“The court has no jurisdiction but only the King and council of rulers do,” said lead counsel Mubashir Mansor.
The counsel pointed out that the King is also the Head of Islam in states with no rulers such as Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak. The King’s jurisdiction includes the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.
The respondents are asking for the court to strike out the judicial review with costs.
The respondents are the Home Ministry, Malaysian government, Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association and state Islamic councils of Pulau Pinang, Terengganu, Kedah, Perak, Malacca, Johor and Federal Territories.
The High Court had allowed the state Islamic councils to intervene in the church’s suit against the Home Minister on the basis that their legal rights as advisers to the rulers, who sit as heads of Islam in their respective states, would be gravely affected by any decision taken by the court.
The 70,000-strong association, headed by Datuk Mustapha Ma, had previously argued that it was also an interested party because allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” to refer to any God but the Muslim one, would confuse its members.
However, a counsel for the Church, Annou Xavier, argued that this was a non-Islamic matter.
“But I am of the opinion that the rulers and Yang Di-Pertuan Agong are the head of Islam in their state and in Malaysia but that does not give the rulers the power of authority to govern non-Islamic issues,” Xavier said.
The church filed for a judicial review against the Home Minister in early February after receiving several letters warning it against publishing the word “Allah” outside the Muslim context in its multi-lingual newspaper, The Herald.
The Home Minister threatened to shut down The Herald by taking back their annual publishing licence if the weekly insisted on using the word “Allah”.
The church will be filing their submission in chambers on Sept 14.