Monday, August 29, 2016

AN EVENING OF POETRY RECITAL


AN EVENING OF POETRY RECITAL
By: Kassim Ahmad
29 August, 2016

            Almost a month ago, I was admitted to Kulim Hospital because of complications of my left lung. Unbeknown to me and perhaps my friends in Kuala Lumpur wanted to present a fiat accomplice to me, they  arranged an evening of poetry recital for me. Due to pressure of my friends, I appealed to my doctors to allow me two days off. They relented after extracting from me a promise to return to the hospital.
            My son spirited me in his powerful car to the promised avenue to reach sharp at 2.30 on that Sunday 7th August. There were present about 60 people, including some friends, in the small hall. Without much ado, the Chairman introduced me, and then after a gentleman sitting on my right spoke his stuff, he passed the microphone to me to start reciting my poem “Sidang Ruh” (= Human Souls in Session).
            I called for music.There was none. So, deliberately, slowly, in a sombre  voice, I recited:- [1]


I

                        perlu satu-satu diperhitungkan kembali
                        hari ini kita dewasa
                        tanpa tuhan tanpa impian
                        kerana besok mungkin terlalu lewat
                        bagi kiamat yang telah ditangguhkan.

                        bukan aku sinis
                        jangan kau mengateis
                        beritaku dari mereka yang lupa bagaimana untuk hidup
                        maka demikian perlu kata-kata
                        supaya maut kita jangan kerana bisu.

                        kalau kau percaya kepada manusia sejahtera
                        jangan kau bergembira menurut hukum
                        (kerana kemenangan)
                        kalau kau percaya kepada manusia bebas
                        jangan kau berkata menurut hukum
                        (kerana taat-setia)
                        kerana tidak ada hukum yang akan berlaku
                        (namun digubal dalam pi bi bi)
                        yang tidak berperlembagaan di hati.


II

                        sudah datang berita yang paling kejam
                        bagi mereka yang lagi hidup kerana bisa berharap
                        dunia ini penjara
                        nasi kita akan cukup di syurga.

                        di atas belakang Dajjal
                        telah diperdagangkan hidup
                        gelak dan hilai bukan kerana bahagia
                        gelak dan hilai kerana papa.

                        akan bersidang segala roh
                        anakmu hari ini makan apa
                        nasi atau beer
                        ketawanya palsu tangisnya tanpa suara.


III

                        nanti akan padamlah dengan sendirinya
                        lampu dari menara tinggi
                        kerana di bawahnya orang kian mabuk
                        dan Tuhan sudah mati.

END

            I heard my voice booming across the room. The audience applauded me when I finished the recital. I asked them if they wanted me to explain it stanza by stanza. They replied, “Yes.” So I did. Again they applauded me. I stood up to acknowledge their applause.
          Then came questions and answers. One asked me a question I did not expect -- what I thought of religious scholars. For some reason, I shot out a cryptic answer, “Cari makan,” meaning they were  merely earning a livelihood. To my surprise, none asked me to explain what I meant. Back at home, I thought I should have been fairer. Then I would have to tell them that most of them were as ignorant as the next man! And I would enumerate their errors: the second syahadah annulled in the Quran (63: 1), on the so-called Hudud punishments, the once-a-year practice of the pilgrimage to Mecca, cramming two million people into the small place, causing over-crowing and at times many deaths, when the Quran stipulates that the hajj can be performed in anyone of the four sacred months. Not only that. Only those who are healthy and financially able should  perform the hajj, once in a life-time. The rural folk especially would rake their life-time savings to do the hajj. A woman’s hair is not her ‘aurat or nakedness that needs to be covered. Their religious scholars – where are they?  Why do they not tell them the truth from the Quran? 
          At the end, many came forward to ask me to autograph my books in their possession and to take photographs  with me..
          I must say I enjoyed every minute of the evening.

KASSIM AHMAD  is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com    
 



[1] This poem was written in August, 1960 and published in Utusan Zaman.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SURAH AL-FATEHAH


 TAF1:060394


BAHAGIAN  I

SURAH 1: PEMBUKAAN (AL-FATIHAH)
 (Mekah, 7 Ayat; Wahyu ke-5)

MAKLUMAT PENTING

TEMPAT & TARIKH TURUN WAHYU:
Di Mekah pada zaman awal Mekah dalam  masa lima tahun pertama antara 12-8 B.H (610-615 T.M.) Wahyu ke-5. Tujuh  ayat.

TUJUAN:
Doa agung untuk orang mukmin.

NAMA LAIN:
Fatihat al-Kitab atau Pembukaan Buku, Umm`ul-Kitab atau Induk Buku, Surah al-Du`a atau Surah Doa, Al-Hamd atau  Pujian, Al-Kanz atau Khazanah, dan Al-Syifa atau Penawar.

AYAT PENTING:
“Engkau semata-mata kami sembah dan kepada Engkau semata-mata kami pohon pertolongan. Bimbingilah kami ke jalan yang lurus.” (5-6)

TAJUK

A. PUJIAN KEPADA ALLAH (2-4)
B.  IKRAR  MUKMIN (5)
C.  DOA (6-7)


-----------

1. Dengan nama Allah,[1]Yang Maha Pemurah lagi Maha Pengasih. [2]

2. Segala puji bagi Allah, [3]  Tuan Semesta Alam.

3. Maha Pemurah, Maha Pengasih.

4. Raja pada Hari Pembalasan.

5.  Engkaulah kami sembah dan kepada Engkaulah kami pohon pertolongan.

6. Bimbinglah kami ke jalan yang lurus;

7.  Jalan  mereka yang Engkau restui, bukan  mereka  yang  Engkau murkai, dan bukan  mereka yang sesat.


*****






















































[1] Saya telah menggunakan perkataan Allah untuk perkataan Arab yang sama dan perkataan tuhan untuk perkataan Arab ilah, kerana perkataan Allah memang  telah masuk ke bahasa Melayu. Contohnya dalam frasa-frasa “ya Allah!”, “demi Allah”, “hamba Allah”, “insya Allah”, “kerana Allah” dsb. Tetapi pendapat yang mengatakan bahawa perkataan Allah khusus untuk nama Allah itu dibantah oleh Quran sendiri dalam ayat 17:110 yang berbunyi: “Katakanlah, `Serulah Allah atau serulah Yang Maha Pemurah. Apa jua nama yang kaupakai, milik-Nya nama-nama yang paling  indah.’ ” 

[2] Ayat ini, yang dikenal sebagai Basmalah, menduduki suatu tempat yang istimewa dalam Quran. Ialah kenyataan pembukaan semua surah, kecuali Surah 9, dan ia merupakan asas mukjizat matematik angka 19 Quran. (Lihat lampiran I)
  
   Basmalah terdiri daripada 19 huruf Arab, dan tiap-tiap huruf itu (Bism, Allah, Al-Rahman, Ar-Rahim) terdapat dalam Quran dalam angka ganda 19: 19, 2698, 57 dan 114 kali masing-masing. Dengan demikian, pembaca telah pada awal-awal lagi diberikan tanda-tanda bahawa ini bukan buku karangan manusia.

    Banyak fenomina matematik dihubungkan dengan ayat ini. Umpamanya, ketiadaan Basmalah dari Surah 9 digantikan sembilan belas  surah kemudian dalam Surah 27 yang mengandungi dua Basmalah (Lihat Lampiran .... dan Nota ....) Dengan demikian, jumlah Basmalah genap 114, atau 19x6. Apabila kita campur nombor-nombor surah dari surah ketiadaan Basmalah (Surah 9) ke surah kelebihan Basmalah (Surah 27) [9+10+11+ ... +27], jumlahnya 342, atau 19x18. Jumlah ini pula bersamaan dengan bilangan perkataan di antara kedua-dua Basmalah Surah 27!

    Sepertimana yang diperincikan dalam Lampiran I, kod matematik Quran ini begitu luas dan begitu halus sehingga tidak ada kuasa di bumi ini yang boleh menirunya, apalagi membuatnya, seperti yang ditegaskan dalam ayat 17:88.

[3] Perkataan Arab rabb memang bermakna “tuan”, dalam bahasa  Inggeris diterjemahkan dengan perkataan  lord.  Makna ini kekal dalam bahasa  Melayu dalam perkataan-perkataan  “tuanku”, “tuan hamba”, “Yamtuan” dan “Yang Dipertuan Agung”.  

THE TRUE MEANING OF INDEPENDENCE


THE TRUE CELEBRATION OF INDEPENDENCE
By: Kassim Ahmad
28 August, 2016

            This is the 60th year of our independence. We spend millions of ringgit yearly to celebrate this auspicious day of 31 August with parades and the like, with every citizen flying or waving the national flag. We have been doing this year in and year out.
Is this the true spirit that we want to inculcate in our citizens? Of course the parades and such like have their uses. But independence must mean more than that. It must mean the acting out of freedom in our souls. We must act freely to realize our place in the several countries that we are in and in the world -- the just and peaceful world that everyone wants.
In this sense of the word independence,  we are far from it in the several countries that we are citizens of and in the wider world.  We suffer hardships of various kinds and magnitudes. The ultimate hardship would be a Third World War, using nuclear weapons. So far we are in stalemate, one bloc fearing destruction at the hands of the opposite bloc – the so-called mutual assured destruction, the MAD of human madness!
            That means our independence is hollow and a fake. That means we are not at peace with ourselves, the OTHER being no more than ourselves. This is a scary and disastrous discovery. Where have we gone wrong?
            To answer that question, let me bring two pointers from the Quran. In Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 30, God informs the angles that He wishes to create a human being to rule and change the earth, to which the angles protest, arguing that the human beings would spread evil and shed blood. God simply replies He knows better.
            Humans have of course shed blood in the two World Wars.
            But he is also a creator civilizations, the good side of him that God refers to.
            The second pointer is from the first Surah, the great human prayer to his Lord. Verses 6-7, states, “Guide us in the right path, the path of those whom You blessed, not of those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers.”
            Let us analyse these two verses. Those whom God bessed are clear. They are the true believers. Those who incur His wrath are also clear, that is the deniers of God and their ownselves. The strayers are those who think that they are believers, but are in actual fact disbelievers.
            So those who are actually free are those who live in this blessed state of freedom, happy with themselves, happy with their environment and happy with their Lord. They are in the abode of Paradise.
            This is the true meaning of freedom.


KASSIM AHMAD is aMalaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com    

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ON PROPHET MUHAMMAD

ON PROPHET MUHAMMAD
By: Kassim Ahmad
29th July, 2016

   I am writing this article to clarify once and for all my position on Prophet Muhammad. My detractors accuse me of belittling him. I never did. In fact I was like them before, repeating parrot-like, their mantra on him (“May God bless him and may peace be on him”) every time his name is mentioned. This I inherited from my ancestors. However I felt uneasy, though amazed and perplexed, at Muhammad superelevated position.
   Truth to tell, I began to study the Quran at the age of seventeen. Every year I would repeat it, comparing one translation with another for thirty-six years till I was 54. That was when I wrote my book re-evaluating the Hadith in 1986. The book, in Malay, was discussed in all print media for two months. Half the readers supported me; half opposed. ABIM (the Anwar-led Muslim Youth Movement) invited me to discuss it in a dialogue at the end of which they arbitrarily pronounced it as  deviant. That brought the ban by a fatwa (religious edict)
   At the University I studied Arabic as a subsidiary subject and continued to study it later. By then I had collected 13 Malay as well as English translations of the Quran, including what I consider the best modern English translation by Dr. Rahsd Khalifa.
   Yesterday was a hectic day for me. In the morning, I visited the Grand Old Man of Malaysia (GOMM) in his office in Putrajaya. Sadly I found him not to be his old confident self any more. Not only age has taken a toll on him, but he has also made peace with conservative Shafi’e school of thought and has distanced himself with the new forward-looking young Malaysians Although I am nearing 83, I feel as young as ever.
   I raced to a sumptuous launch appointment given by my young niece in an Arab restorant in Petaling Jaya. By time it was over, it was already 4.15 p.m. My son took to my last appointment at a Starback in Setia Impian in Shah Alam, scheduled for 5.0 p.m. Fortunately, the persons I was to meet were also late. There I met a young Hungarian Muslim lecturer, teaching economics at one of our advanced  institudes of higher learning. We had a very frutful discussion for more than three hours. I am happy to record that he and I shared similar views on all topics.
   To continue my story, Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of God, beginning with Prophet Adam, through prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, teaching the same religion of monotheism to their national communities, with the exception that Muhammad was sent to the whole world, delivering the divinely-protected Quran. Hence he is called “a mercy to the world” in the Quran
   Muhammad was an intelligent and honest seeker of the truth. When young he and his friends formed an organization to oversee the peace in Mecca, where he was born. When he reached the age of 40, the age of spiritual maturety, he received the Quran. He was strictly ordered to deliver the Quran, and nothing but the Quran, thus making the the hadiths ascribed to him as fabrications.
   The correct Muslim declaration of faith (the syahadah) is found it the Quran in 3: 18. The fabricated and false second syahadah is found in 63: 1.     
 ---------------------------------

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysia author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

PM NAJIB SHOULD RESIGN

PM NAJIB MUST HONOURABLY RESIGN
By: Kassim Ahmad
24th July, 2016

            After the indirection mention of his name with two others related to him by the United States Department of Justice two days ago, it is best that Prime Minister Najib honourably resigns. There can be no use whatsoever for him to continue to hold office, seeing the financial scandals that have surfaced involving him and his cronies. He should own up and ask for forgiveness from the Malaysian people. The Malaysia people are known for their magnanimous treatment of repentant wrongdoers.
            The UMNO supreme council should call into session an extraordinary UMNO general assembly which will accept his resignation and recommends the calling of the 14th general elections. Our Parliament should convene and call for the general election.
            An UMNO general assembly should also elect new delegates and a new supreme council. This new general assembly should pass a resolution to root out corruption completely from the party and the government. If Singapore can do it, why cannot we?  A system of cadre-and-leader training must be instituted to bring about a zero corruption system by giving rise to principled politicians. Our people must not and should not accept less than that. We should base ourselves on the shining example of Prophet Muhammad, the leader who wrought an exemplary vessel of statecraft.
            Our Federal Constitution should be changed to reflect a just system of governance, as ordered by God in the Quran. This would better suit our constitutional stipulation that “Islam is the religion of the Federation.” With due respect to the famous jurists of the Reid Commission which drafted our constitution, they seemed unaware of the Prophet’s seminal constitutional document, known as the Medina Charter, the first written constitution in the world.[1]
            It should be noted that the Medina Charter assigns the autonomous administration of religions to their respective its adherents, thus at one stroke of the pen eliminates religious conflicts. The state does not concern itself with religion.
            Government, as are other affairs,  is carried out through consultation by the community. This is far more satisfactory than the Western concept of check and balance. It is strange that the two hand that God gave us is made to fight one another! Why can they cooperate to enjoin good and prevent evil? More over this check-and-balance theory has not been able to prevent the rise of colonialism and the creation of the Zionist State of Israel, a clear illegal and unjust occupation of Arab Palestine. 
      
KASSIM AHMAD is an Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com




[1] See Kassim Ahmad,A Short Note on the Medina Charter, in the Internet, 19 Org.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

MANKIND'S PRAYER

THE PRAYER OF MANKIND
By: Kassim Ahmad
21 July, 2016

The title of this essay will no doubt bring to mind Jesus’s “The Lord’s Prayer”. The Lord’s Prayer goes: “Our Father which art in heaven./Hallowed be thy name./Thy kingdom come./Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven./Give us this day our daily bread./And forgive us our debts, as we forgive out debtors./And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil./For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen./ [1]
Note that the Lord’s Prayer is in three parts. Firstly, it is praise to the Lord. Secondly, it refers to the Lord’s perfect kingdom. Thirdly,  asking  for man’s daily food. Fourthly, imploring against evil and temptation in the Lord’s perfect  kingdom.
In comparison to the opening chapter of the Quran, which I have called “Mankind’s Grand Prayer”, it is divided into four parts. Firstly, it is praise for the Lord of the worlds (Note the plural form).  Secondly, it acknowledges that this Lord is the final Judge of mankind. Thirdly, only this Lord deserves to be worshipped and only this Lord is mankind’s helper. Fourthly, it is mankind’s  prayer to be shown the right path as distinguished from the various deviating paths of error. [2]
Let me quote the this short seven-verse opening chapter in full, using Dr. Rashad Khalifa’s translation:-
1.     In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
2.     Praise be to God, Lord of the universe.
3.     Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
4.     Master of the Day of Judgment.
5.     You alone we worship; You alone we ask for help.
6.     Guide us in the right path;
7.     The path of those whom You bless; not those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers.
There is also a very important difference. The stark materialism of the Lord’s Prayer is entirely absent from this Mankind’s Prayer, at once placing it on a more ethical and spiritual level. Food and other material requirement are implied in the fourth part.  The deviating ways are quite clearly spelt out: the path of those whom God is wrathful with, and those who stray without meaning to stray.
Quranic methodology is that every verse interprets one another. At the same time, one should note a very important pointer: the muhkamat verses (clear by themselves and acting as the determining verses), and the mutasyabihat or allegorical verses. The danger in the allegorical verses is that those who have diseases in their hearts may give a wrong interpretation and thus cause confusion and disorder. None knows their meanings except God and those who have profound knowledge. The meanings of the allegorical verses must not contradict the clear (muhkamat) verses, which control the interpretation of the allegorical verses.
I have had occasions to discuss with religious scholars as to the meaning of the right path in contradistinction with the erring paths. I find that they were unable to give me a satisfactory answer. That sets me to seek my own answers. I prayed to God and implored His guidance to give answers to the most important  questions of life and of creation, always mindful that among my many teachers, God is the first and last teacher.
Fortunately, I studied philosophy. So I consulted epistemology, the science of knowing – how do you know? As always the case, the Quran nonchalantly answers by giving the three methods of knowing: ‘ain’ul-yaqin (sensory evidence), ilm’ul-yaqin (rational or logical evidence), and haqq’al-yaqin suprasensory/ supralogical  evidence). Combine these three methods into a whole and you have opened the door to inexhaustible knowledge!
That is the reason why the angels were ordered by God to prostrate to Man, His vicegerent in the Universe. Man has the ability to know when no other created orders have.

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com    
   



[1] See The Holy Bible (Authirise King James Version); Matthew, 6: 9-14.
[2][2] See The Quiran – The Final Testament, Translated by Dr. Rahsd Khalifa, published by Universal Unity, 20000.  

Saturday, July 02, 2016

MUSLIM DECLARATION OF FAITH

SYAHADAH OR DELARATION OF MUSLIM FAITH
By: Kassim Ahmad
2nd July, 2016

            The syahadah or the declaration of Muslim faith is an important pillar of faith. Customs or what one inherits from one’s ancestors is almost always different from what is taught by God and his Prophet. This pillar is stated in Surah 3, verse 18. The full verse goes, “God bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge, truthfully and equitably; He is the absolute god, there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.”
Among the sectarian Sunnis, they add: “I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” This so-called second syahadah is, however, rendered null and void in Surah 63: verse 1 by God and His messenger. Those who declare it are hypocrites!
            To prove that what we say is correct, we have to quote other verses. One of them goes, “When God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned besides him, they rejoice.” (39: 45). More. “You shall know that there is no god besides God.” (47: 19). Also 4: 87; 40: 65; and 27: 44 (syahadah of the Queen of Sheba[1]. Also the correct syahadah of the Pharaoh of the time of Moses, but was not accepted by God as he was doing that only when he was drowning! (10: 9). Also the sincere syahadah of Pharaoh’s magicians (7: 121-122) when they lost their contest with Moses; and the syahadah of Abraham and his descendants. (2: 131-133).
            So was all Jewish prophet-mesengers’ declaration of faith. Had it been different, it would have made Islam not one religion, but many. This is impossible.
            Yet, truth to tell, the entire Muslim world practices two syahadah. Or most Muslims do. They read the same scripture, the Quran, but their understanding of this most important pillar of faith is different. How do you account for it? The answer is contained in verse 2 of the second Surah. The verse goes, “ This is the scripture, no doubting it, is a guide for the conscientious.” Who can give guidance? Only God can, and no one else; not even Prophet Muhammad. Recall that Muhammad was unable to persuade his Quraisy unbelieving relatives to become Muslims!
            I want to pose the mother of all questions. Thirty years after Muhammad’s death, the Arab armies of liberation liberated the whole of the then hegemonic powers, the Persian and the Byzantian Empires. Islam became the lone superpower, to last for eight centuries. Medieval Europe sat to learn at the feet of Baghdad for three centuries. [2] That gave rise to the European Renaissance.
            My mother of all questions is: Have any modern Muslim thinkers tackled the problem of the second rise of Islam( the true Islam, that is)? I would like to meet him, congratulate him and to propose to him to begin the second Islamic Renaissance. It is high time, seeing that liberal-capitalist Europe and America are collapsing.  

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blohspot.com     
           




[1]  We searched high and low, but unable to locate the place.
[2] Unfotunately, most European historians, except a few, conspired to erase this important contributions of Muslims to world science and civilization. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

PAHANG MUFTI'S STATEMENT


KAFIR HARBI, DISBELIVER WHO CONSPIRED TO MAKE WAR ON ISLAM DESERVED TO BE KILLED IN MALAYSIA
By: Kassim Ahmad
30 Jun, 2016
            A Pahang State Mufti, prime minister Najib’s home state, made a statement two days ago that kafir harbi (a disbeliver making war on Islam) can be killed in Malaysia, has been denounced by Muslims and non-Muslim alike. We Malaysians of whatever ethnic or religious group have been living fairly peacefully since Malaysia was formed in 1963. None of us wants a repeat of the bloody Mei 13.
            That said, the Mufti has no right to make such statement. He should be fired. The Mufti of Perlis, Datuk Mohd. Asri has rightly refuted him. Yet our religious minister did not censor him. After keeping quiet for a while, the prime minister’s office then came out saying that it was his personal opinion!
            It is a very dangerous statement. It shows a bigotry beyond belief. It transpired that he did so because the party opposed the so-called hudud penal punishments.  I have used the term “so-called” because there is no such thing as hudud penal punishments in the Quran. The phrase tilka hudud’ul-Lah, occurring 14 times in the Quran, does not refer to punishments at all. It refers to a theoretical boundary in human actions that should not be overpassed. One must eat in order to live; but one should not over-eat! Thus for eating, so for all human actions. It is the old Golden Mean. “Do unto others as you would others do unto you”, of the Bible.
            There are two types of politicians: the principled, and the Machiavellian. Prophet Muhammad is one example of a principled politician. And principled politicians are a rare breed. The Machiavellian are many. So beware of them. They think they are smart, but as the Malay proverb has it, :”Sepandai-pandai tupai melopat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga.” So man, however famous and great he may be, should be learn to be humble. There is no one higher than the Highest Power we call God, Who alone deserved to be worshiped.
            It is true that man has been created to be God’s vicegerent on earth. That means he is a ruler. As much as he is a ruler, he is also a re-maker of the Universe, by God’s leave. Remember that when God informed the angels that he was going to creates a khalifah, the dutiful angels protested, saying that they would shed and blood and corrupt the earth.
            God simply answered He knew better.
            Shedder of blood and corruptor of the earth man surely has been. But that is only one side of him – with two World Wars, and a possible Third to show. Yet he has also been a builder of civilizations – 19 major ones to date, according to philosophical historian, Arnold Toynbee.  
            Today man is poised to colonize outer space. Soon he will be living there. He also discovering methods to do away with aging. Soon he will be forever young, as the Quran avers.  What else he can do with ever better technology, only God knows. No wonder, God commanded the angels to prostrate to man!

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysia author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com