Saturday, March 25, 2017

ON PROPHET MUHAMMAD




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

   I am writing this article to clarify my position once and for all 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”) which 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 from the age of seventeen. Every year I would repeat it, comparing one translation with another till I was 54 in 1986. By that time I have studied it for 36 years!
   In the meanwhile, I studied Arabic as a subsidiary subject at the University, and continued to study it later. By then I had collected most of the Malay and English translations. I now have in my library 13 translations, including what  consider to be the best English translation by Dr. Rashad Khalifa.
   Yesterday was a hectic yet productive day for me. In the morning I visited the Grand Old Man of Malaysia (GOMM) at his office in Putrajaya. Sadly, I found him not to be his old confident self any more. Last year, in the evening, as I walked beside him to go home, he said that he was like my older brother. In 2014 when I first appeared as an accused at the Syari’ah Court in Putrajaya, he attended the court, to the obvious surprise of everyone, including the judge.
   To continue my story, I walked away a little disappointed. Not only age has taken toll on him, but Malaysia’s conservative Shafi’e religious school of thought has distanced himself from the young exuberant forward-looking Malaysians. Although I am nearing 83 and not physically young, I am as young in spirit as ever. God be thanked!   
    I raced to Setia Alam in Shah Alam in order to be in time for my last appointment at 5.00 p.m.  Luckily, the persons I was to meet were also late. A few minute later they turned up. We had a productive conversation for almost three hours. My new acquaintance, Abdul Karim Abdullah, is a lecturer in one of our institutes of advanced learning. To my great joy, we shared the same thoughts on all topics.   
   Muhammad is the last prophet of God, ending a series of prophets beginning with Prophet  Adam, through prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, teaching  the same religion of monotheism to their national communities. The only difference is that Prophet Muhammad was sent to the whole world and delivered the divinely-protected Quran . Hence he is “a mercy to the world.”
   Muhammad was an Arab.  He had the qualities to be the receptacle of a new revelation in Arabic, the language that God chose to reveal the Quran in.
  This is my position vis-à-vis Prophet Muhammad. My rejection of the second syahadah is based on the Quran where it is rejected in Surah 63,verse 1.   
   You see I love God The Truth, and I obey Him. What wrong did I do for the human religious authorities to accuse of belittling Islam?  

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

THE STORY OF MAN



THE STORY OF MAN
By: Kassim Ahmad
17 February, 2016

            One day the father of Man said to his son, “I want to write the last chapter of the story of Man. “Is it short, or long?” asks his son. “Neither too short, nor too long,” answered the father. “Is it a tragedy, or a comedy?” asks his son. “Decide for yourself,” answered the father. “Please write it quickly. Maybe I will benefit from it,” said his son.
            Here is the story.
            After the greats of all nations, ancient, medieval and modern, secular and religious, across all civilizations have come and gone, are we any better? Are we any safer? The answer is a big, “No.” We kill one another every day. One nuclear power  threatens another nuclear power with nuclear destruction. We live under threat of total or near-total destruction.
            Why, oh Lord? Are the protesting angels right? Are we shedders of blood and causers of destructions? But You still went on to create us, saying You know better. Are You wrong? It cannot be, You being All-Knowing. Are we wrong to believe in You? Please help us humans!  Where is our promised helper, Imam Mahdi? When is the Second Coming? Oh Lord, please help us.
            You must help yourselves, says the Lord. I have given you My Book and the mind. Read My Book and use your mind.
But all our great minds have come and gone. There is the tomb of books in all the world’s libraries. Still we are no more knowledgeable, nor more safe. Why? The great bullies remain bullies. The aged, the women and the children suffer, become refugees. Oh Lord, where is the justice You promised us? Where is Your compassion?
The fault lies not in your stars, but in yourselves, as said Mr Shakespeare. You choose the easy road of sports and amusements; not the difficult road of struggle for justice and truth. You choose to degenerate, instead of to progress. It is your fault.
But, Lord, it is You Who make us like this. How can I believe in You now? Even the geniuses among us, like Prof. Stephen Hawking, do not believe in You.
Did not Jesus, one of your greats, said that you cannot live by bread alone? You have to believe in something. Better that something be the Ever-Living, the All-Powerful, the All-knowing, the Perfect, even if He does not exist. But what if He does exist?
Yes, He does exist. Even if you cannot know Him, he does exit. Otherwise, how can you exist? You exist because He created you. How do you know that He created you? As far as I can see, the world creates itself, although I did not see it happen. I deduce it logically. If I were to say that Someone Else creates the Universe,  it makes logical sense. But in the end you will come to the Uncaused Cause. What causes the uncaused cause? If you answer the uncaused cause, causes itself, you put yourself  outside the bounds of logic. You become illogical, which is unacceptable. 
You have to surpass the boundaries of logic, not into the world of the illogical, but into the world of supra-logical. God is not illogical. He is supra-logical.
Epistemology is the combination of sensory, logical and supra-logical evidences. Period.

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

THE TH

THE RISE AND FALL OF ISLAM



THE RISE AND FALL OF ISLAM
By: Kassim Ahmad
17th  January, 2016
Revised and expanded on 19th March, 2016

            The Quran in Surah Ali-‘Imran (3) states that “The only religion approved by God is Islam.” The Arabic word ‘deen’ essentially mean ‘way of life’ rather that the restricted ritualistic meaning of the word ‘religion’.
This religion of strict monotheism is taught by all prophet-messengers from Adam to its completion and perfection by Muhammad, the last of all prophet-messegers. The previous prophet-messengers were sent to national communities. Only Prophet Muhammad was sent to the entire world. This is stated in the Quran. (7: 158). The only book he brought was the Quran, a protected divine scripture.
But, as it is wont with human beings, corruption and deterioration set in and complete their work in after about 300 years (10 generations) to change the original teachings. Thus, the monotheism of Prophet Moses became polytheism in Judaism, of Prophet Jesus polytheism in Christianity, and of Muhammad polytheism in Sunnism. Sunnism is polytheistic in that it has elevated Muhammad to a second god, against his will. [1]
Sunnism is sectarian “Islam”, worshiping two gods. [2] Two gods is one too many. It is polititeism.
Fortunately for mankind, the last of God’s scripture, the Quran, is divinely  protected so that all mankind can always refer to it as its guide. This divine protection lies internally in the scripture in a mathematically awesome and impossible to imitate structure called Code 19. This Code is stated in the Quran in Surah Al-Muddaththir  (74), verses 30-31. The verses go, “Over it is nineteen. We appointed angels to be guardians of Hell, and we assign their number (19) (1) to disturb the disbelievers, (2) to convince the Christians and the Jews (that this is a divine scripture), (3) to strengthen the faith of the faithful, (4) to remove all traces of doubt from the hearts of Christians, Jews, as well as believers, and (5) to expose those who harbor doubt in their hearts. The disbelievers will say, ‘What does God mean by this allegory?’ God thus sends astray whomever He wills, and guides whomever He wills. None knows the soldiers of your Lord except He. This is a reminder for the people.”
The rise of Islam, beginning with the reign of Prophet Muhammad in the Arabian Peninsular in early Seventh Century, within a short time of only sixty years shot up to be the Number One power in the then world, beating the two superpowers, the Byzantian Empire and the Persian Empire.
Historian Philip K. Hitti, in his book, History of the Arabs (1970), states, “If someone in the first third of the seventh Christian century had had the audacity to prophesy that within a decade some unheralded, unforeseen power from hitherto barbarous and little-known land of Arabia was to make its appearance, hurl itself against the only two world powers of the age, fall heir to the one -- the Sasanid – and strip the other – the Byzantine -- of its fairest provinces, he would have undoubtedly have been declared a lunatic. Yet that was exactly what happened. After the death of the Prophet sterile Arabia seems to have been converted as if by magic into a nursery of heroes the like of whom both in number and quality is hard to find anywhere. The military campaigns of Khalid ibn-al-Walid and ‘Amar ibn-al-‘As which ensued in al-Iraq, Persia, Syria and Egypt remain among the most brilliantly executed in the history of warfare and bear favourable comparison with those of Napoleon, Hannibal or Alexander.” (p. 142).         
A Western philosophical historian, Robert Briffault, in his epoch-making book, The Making of Humanity (1919), after denouncing a conspiracy of silence by most Western historians on the contributions of Muslim science to modern Europe,  surmarised the contribution of Muslim science to civilization, thus: “The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories. Science owes a great deal more to  Arab culture , it owes its existence. The ancient world was, as we saw, pre-scientific. The astronomy and mathematics of the Greeks were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclamatised in Greek culture. The Greeks systematized, generalized and  theorized, but he patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation, experimental inquiry, were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. … What we called science arose in Europe as result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.” (p. 191)    
Muslim civilization lasted eight centuries. In that time, Baghdad became the capital of the world and Europe became students at the feet of Baghdad. When the rot set in, Europe took over the banner of civilization and what is known as the European Renaissance began. Will Western leadership last for ever? Only time can  tell. But basing ourselves on its truncated epistemology, we can say that it cannot last forever, at most another two or three decades.
One of two thing will happen. Either Europe and the United States will adopt the true revolutionary doctrine of Islam, which  I characterize as “revolutionary, life-affirming, and death-defying”, or the Muslims themselves will be reborn with that true spirit of the Quran and borne in the life Prophet Muhammad and the early republican-democratic Caliphates.
In the meanwhile, Muslim leaders must answer the question why the Muslim way of life, guaranteed by God, has collapsed, and how they can rebuild it. To answer this all-important question, they must re-study the Quran with a scientific methodology. I can suggest a few signposts.
Firstly, at a certain point in time, Muslim science froze and deteriorated, due to wrong teaching of certain so-called masters. These were made into masters by a new priesthood class adopted in imitation of medieval Hinduism and Christianity. In Islam there is no priesthood class.
Secondly, at a certain point in time, a certain attitude of fatalism developed in Islam due a new theology preached in accordance to hadith teachings. Hadiths are essentially fabrications falsely ascribed to the great name of Prophet  Muhammad.
Thirdly, that new theology also preached salvation in the Afterlife, in a nondescript Theologians’ Nirvana in imitation of Bhuddism. This led to Muslim apathy in a life waiting for death. At this point, roughly from the Fourteenth Century onwards, this false Islam died, with the false Muslims.
Fourthly and lastly, to rebuild, the Muslims must re-study the Quran (which is their and mankind’s book of guidance) and the examples of their great leaders in the republican democratic period we have alluded to, to find correct answers to their current plight. I have surmarised the teachings of the Quran as “revolutionary, life-affirming and death-defying”.  We must seek salvation in this life by raising our souls to a higher level. It is this raising of our souls to a higher level that is necessary for the coming Second Muslim Civilization, which must come.

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


[1] See Quran (16: 51) which states: “Do not worship two gods. There is only one God.” Further Surah 63, verse I, invalidates the second syahadah which is uttered by hypocrites.
[2] God has proclaimed: “Do not worship two gods; there is only on god. Therefore you shall reverence Me.” (Quran, 16: 51).

TUDUNG: PENEMUAN BARU

TUDUNG: PENEMUAN BARU

Oleh: Kassim Ahmad
(Article in berasal dari jawapan yang saya sediakan untuk menjawap pertuduhan terdap saya oleh JAWI/JAKIM pada tahun 2014)
(Disemak semula pada 25hb Mac, 2017)

     Tudung yang dipakai oleh kebanyakan wanita Melayu yang beragama Islam sekarang tidak berasal dari ajaran Quran. Dalam ajaran Quran, rambut wanita bukan ‘aurat. Buktinya terdapat dalam ayat-ayat berhubung dengan wuduk (Quran, 5: 6) dan dengan pakaian (Quran, 24: 30-31)
Perkataan a’urat berasal dari bahasa Arab, ertinya kebogelan. Kebogelan bermakna dada seseorang hingga ke bawah lutut. Kebogelam mesti ditutup.Jadi, bahagian dada hingga ke bawah lutut itulah a'urat seseorang, lelaki dan wanita. Jelas sekali ia tidak termasuk rambut wanita. Jadi, dari mana dan bila adat ini timbul?
Tudung ini  berasal dari kitab Taurat, Perjanjian Baru, Bab Korintus I, 11: 5-9 yang berbunyai, “Tetapi tiap-tiap perempuan yang berdoa dan bernubuat dengan kepala yang tidak bertudung menghina kepala-nya sebab ia sama dengan perempuan yang dicukur rambutnya. Sebab jika perempuan tidak mahu menudungi kepalanya maka haruslah ia juga menggunting rambutnya. Tetapi jika bagi perempuan adalah penghinaan bahawa rambutnya digunting atau dicukur, maka haruslah ia menudungi kepalanya. Sebab lelaki tidak perlu menudungi kepalanya; ia menyinarkan gambaran dan kemuliaan Allah. Tetapi perempuan menyinarkan kemuliaan lelaki. Sebab lelaki tidak berasal daripada perempuan, tetapi perempuan berasal daripada lelaki. Dan lelaki tidak diciptakan kerana perempuan, tetapi perempuan diciptakan kerana lelaki.”[1]    (Tekanan ditambah.)
Tidak banyak orang Islam mengetahui bahawa tudung yang dipakai oleh kebanyakan wanita mereka sekarang berasal dari kitab Taurat. Tiga puluh lima tahun dulu perempuan Melau memakai selendang ke majlis-majlis. Isteri sarjana besar agama Nusantara, Hamka, tidak memakai tudung. Dalam zaman sekarang, pemakaian tudung timbul balik selepas revolusi Islam Iran pada tahu 1979 yang dicetuskan oleh Khomeini.
Yang menghairankan kita adat ini berlaku di seluruh dunia Islam. Mengapakah cerdi-pandai Islam tidak menegur adat jahat ini? Kita patut tahu, sesuatu perkara yang tidak disuruh oleh Tuhan, jika dilakukan, boleh membawa mudarat. Kepada wanita yang ditudung akan berbau busuk dan membawa mudarat kepada rambut wanita.
Adakah kerana takut dikritik maka cerdik-pandai kita tidak menegur? Ke mana pergi peribahasa, "Bearani kerana benar; takut kerana salah"?  Bagaiman kita boleh maju kalau tidak ada di antara kita yang berani menyerukan kebaikan dan melarang kejahatan? 

KASSIM AHMAD  seorang penulis bebas Malaysia. Blognya www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com 


[1] Dipetik dari Al-Kitab, Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia, Jakarta, 1984; hlm. 218.

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.