Saturday, June 25, 2016

SOME THOUGHTS ON STEPHEN W. HAWKING


SOME THOUGHTS ON STEPHEN W. HAWKING

By: Kassim Ahmad
10th June, 2016
kassimahmad333@yahoo.com.my

            Yesterday I saw a documentary “The Theory of Everything”, featuring the life of the famous British physicist and cosmologist, Stephen W. Hawking. Although early in life he suffered from a certain disease, he has spent his entire adult life up to the  present,  investigating the workings of the Universe. His conclusions are that the Universe came  into being and evolved by itself, and hence there is no need for a creator-god to create it.
            His political views are interesting. He is a leftist. He denounced the Vietnam War, the invasion and conquest of Iraq and he supports the Palestinian people. Religiously he proclaims himself as an atheist, although in that documentary, when asked by a man in the audience whether he now believes in God or not, he kept silent for a while before stating, “As long as there is life, there is hope,” evading to answer the question, but the audience nevertheless applauded him.
            What might he mean by that? Has he reconsidered his erstwhile atheism? Only Hawking and God know.
            I am somewhat perplexed by his definite declaration of atheism. As a physicist, he knows that nothing happens by itself. Someone must do something for an effect to take place. For instance, I must have an intention to write this article, before this article can come into being. It cannot come into being before I carry out this intention. Then there will be effects on readers; then these effects will cause my replies, and so et infinitum.
So some power must have created this Universe, although we did see him doing it. This Universe, being made up of matter, will in time decay and get destroyed when the energy in it has all been used up. This is simple logic. How can genius Stephen Hawking not see it?
            Now come the difficult part – the Uncaused Cause, in the phraseology of the philosophers. Who or what causes the Uncaused Cause? To answer this question, we have to go back to the science of knowing. How do we know? In philosophy it is called epistemology.
            Epistemology consists of three phases.  Firstly, the physical evidence. Lets us say you are holding a pencil in your hand. This is witnessing by the sensory organs: you see a pencil with your eyes and feeling it in your hand. Then you ask: where does the pencil come from? You answer: it comes from a craftsman who  makes it in a factory. How do you know this? By logical deduction. Logical evidence is thus the second phase.
            The last phase, you ask: where do the craftsman and the factory come from? The answer: the earth, the world or the Universe. This answer is not yet complete. You go on to ask: where does the Universe come from? The atheists the like of genius Stephen Hawking proudly answers: The Universe exists by itself, thus breaking the physical law they so proudly uphold. In other words, the atheists know only partially. They do not hold the whole truth.
            What is the whole truth? The whole truth consists of three parts: the sensory, the logical, and the suprasensory or supralogical. The suprasensory or supralogical is not contradictory to the sensory or the logical. It is the higher sense, and the higher logic. It stands by itself. Thus the unseen power behind the Universe is the Truth with a capital T. Truth stands by itself. Truth is Self-Existing, by which all things exist,  the Necessary Being of philosophy, the Universe being contingent upon the Necessary Being that we call God.
            How do we know this? Look at ourselves. What is the power that sustains me writing this article out of nothing? It is what is called the soul, the consciousness. Can you spot where your soul or your consciousness is in your body? The answers is: No. Yet without it, I cannot write this article. I cannot think. I cannot create. We cannot create civilizations. Thus is this power we call God. Without this Self-Existing Necessary Being there will not be this Universe. Yet this Universe is material and will collapse upon itself when the energy in it is exhausted, just as the lights in our homes will go out when our electricity supply is cut off. This, again, is simple logic. Is it not amazing that genius Hawking cannot understang it?  
Thus is the fate of the Universe many billions of years to come. When the energy in it is no more, it will collapse upon itself, leaving only the face of God, as the Quran states. (Quran, 28: 88 & 55:26-27).
------------------------------------------
KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com      

           

Friday, June 17, 2016

THE MANY IFS OF SYARI'AH LAW


THE MANY “IFS” OF SYARI’AH LAW
BY: Kassim Ahmad
17 Jun, 2016

            PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill to enhance the statuts of syaria’h courts is bound to raise many problems. God’s law, i.e. the syari’ah, is of course just, tending towards mercy, for He decrees upon Himself mercy. The trouble comes when it gets translated into the human brain.
Let us do some syllogism here. Call the human brain subjectivity, and God’s law objectivity. Almost always subjectivity distorts objectivity to become something else: unjust and lacking in the quality of mercy. We will give three examples.
Take the case of Prophet Moses’s scripture, the Torah. It was monotheism of his time taught to the Israelites. Once it was born into the world of men, it became polytheistic Judaism! Take the case of Prophet Jesus’s scripture, the Injeel  or the New Testament. It was monotheism taught to the Israelites of Jesus’s time. Once it was born into the world of men, it became polytheistic Christianity! Do not stop there. Go on to Prophet Muhammad. He taught monotheism in his scripture, the Quran, to the whole world. After about three hundred years, his monotheism too became polytheistic Sunnism!
Fortunately here, we have the protected Quran to refer to.
See how humans beings revert to his old comfortable zone of mud! He likes to wallow in mud, instead of climbing the ladder of success, becaue climbing the ladder of success is hard. The explains the many prophets that God has to send to them, to reawaken them from their sleep!
This is a slippery slope. One can ask: Is God so incapable that he cannot send one prophet to do the job? In fact, one of my clever readers in Dato’ Din Merican’s blog asked precisely this question. Well, let us say that God cannot fail. If he fails he is not god. God wants man to be the ruler of the Universe that he is. To make man free. To rule the Universe and re-make it. That is man’s God-given mission. So he must keep ascending the ladder always. But man, being weak of flesh, cannot. Therefore he must keep trying until he completely succeeds.
And he will. Look at where he is now. In spite of shedding blood in two bloody World Wars, he is poised to colonize outer space and live there in two or three decade, at most four. It will definitely be in my grandchildren’s time!
So the ifs of Syari’ah Law must be removed once and for all by its return to its original home: Divine justice and mercy. Will village preacher Hadi understand this? If he cannot, and he cannot, I ask him to give up tabling that private member’s Bill.

-----------------------------------------------

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysia author. His website is  

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

SURAT KPD PM TT HUDUD


Dengan Poslaju
31 Mei, 2016.

Yang Amat Berhormat
Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak,
Perdana Menteri Malaysia,
Pejabat Perdana Menteri,
Blok Utama Bangunan Pernadan Putera,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Tuan Perdana Menteri,
Hukum Hudud
                Dalam sesi Parliament sekarang, Ahli Parlimen Marang, YB Datuk Seri  Abdul Hadi Awang, Presiden PAS telah mengemukakan satu Bil Perendirian untuk melaksanakan Hukum Hudud. Saya telah menulsi kepada Tuan bahawa apa yang dikatakan oleh sesetengah ahli hukum klasik Islam sebagai Hukum Hudud itu satu salam faham besar  terhadap apa yang disebut dalam Quran. Ini telah saya huraikan dengan terpeinci dalam risalah saya bertajuk “Kontrovesi Hukum Hudud” (Forum Iqra”, Malaysia: 2002). Rislah ini telah saya kirim kepada Tuan, yang saya ulang kirim sekali lagi
Saya gesa Tuan dan Barisan Nasional dengan kuat  supaya  tidak menyokong Bil Persendirian ini. Benarkan saya memetik dari blog saya artikel yang saya tulis tentang perkara ini:-

“HUDUD LAW, AGAIN!

By: Kassim Ahmad
17 March, 2015

            Some Muslims pride themselves for upholding what is called the hudud punishments. Do they really know what they are talking about? They think it is God-ordained law. Are they right? They should remember the lessons of history. Did the Jewish Prophet Moses bring the religion of  what is now known as Judaism? The answer is: No. Did Prophet Jesus, also a Jew,  bring the religion of what is now known as Christianity? Again the answer is: No. Did Prophet Muhammad, an Arab, bring the religion of Sunnism and Shi’ism? Again the answer is: No.
            Human history is littered with errors that came to be accepted later as "facts". We are not talking of small errors. We are talking of big ones. That explains the rise and fall of nations. One author has described this historical evolution as "recurring, multilinear, yet ascending." That means on the whole, we are progressing, but the line of progress is not ascending linear, but multilinear, sometimes ascending, sometimes descending.  
            Let me cite just one authority, Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali. This paragraph is taken from his book, Punishment in Islamic Law: An Inquiry into the Hudud Bill in Kelantan (Kuala Lumpur: 2000) is very telling: “When we compare the Quranic usage of hadd (in the sense of limit) with the use of this term in fiqh, we notice that a basic development has taken place, which is that the term hadd has been reserved to signify a fixed and unchallengeable punishment that is laid down in the Quran or Sunnah. The concept of the ‘separating or preventing limit’ of the Quran is thereby replaced by the idea of fixed punishment.” (p. 46)
            There you have another example of a major error made by great scholars. That is precisely why the Quran warns us of idolizing leaders or scholars. We could be kind if we choose to pardon them by saying that it was their understanding, or their ijtihad, which must be reviewed by the next generation.
            The term hududu’l-Lah (God’s boundaries) occurs in the Quran 14 times, none of which refer to fixed punishments, as understood by some Muslim jurists. One scholar opioned that, “The unchangeability of the hadd punishement is supported by the interpretation of the Quranic verse: ‘These are the limits of Allah. Do not transgress them.’” (2: 229) The verse does not  mean what he says it means.
            Let us take some of the so-called hudud punishments. Cutting of the head for apostasy, when the Quran advocates complete freedom of belief, some 1,400 years ahead of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; stoning for adultery, cutting of the hand for theft are three of the six or seven of the so-called fixed punishments propounded by Muslim jurists.  Take note these run counter to the fundamental teachings of the Quran.
            Take note also that the divine order to our courts is to judge among people with justice. (See Quran, 4: 58) Surely God Who decrees upon Himself mercy (Quran, 6: 12) cannot enact such archaic and barbarous laws.
            The term ‘hudud’ul-Lah’, meaning the boundaries of God, simply means in every action there is a boundary that one should not overpass. Take the case of eating: one must eat to survive, but he must not overeat. In between there is a boundary set by God that he should not cross. As in the case of eating, so in all cases of human activities. It is sometime called ‘The Golden Mean’, the middle path.
            See how even great scholars have made mistakes! That is precisely the reason why God warns us of idolizing leaders. It is incumbent upon succeeding generations to re-evaluate the legacies they inherit from the older generations. 
            It is to be remembered that Muslim jurists of the four schools differ much in their views. We need not go into them. We should take note that these punishments are taken from the Torah.  They crept into the so-called sunnah/hadith, or Prophetic traditions, i.e. traditions ascribed to Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad’s name is so great among Muslims that anything said to originate from him is sacrosanct.
We should also note that the Quran has two dimensions, the historically-bound, and the universal. The historically-bound will be surpassed when the historical context no longer  prevails. They will pass over into the universal. The two universal principles are: equal punishment, and merciful punishment. The first means punishment equalling the crime, and the second means lightening the punishment, up to and including pardon. We can see that the two universal principles have been imbibed into all modern civilized societies. 
Take not that Brunei has last year declared that it would implement Hudud punishments, with the exception, according to reports, that Brunei royalty is exempt from them. 
            The final and unchallengeable proof that there is no such thing as the hudud fixed punishments is that they are nowhere mentioned in the Medina Charter promulgated by Prophet Muhammad himself when he migrated to Medina.”

            Saya harap Tuan akan memberi perhatian berat kepada permintaan saya.
            Terima kasih.
            Wassalam.
            Saya yang ikhlas,




            (KASSIM AHMAD)

Salinan: Kepada semua ketua parti di Malaysia.














 1504, Persiaran Kulim Golf, Kulim Golf & Country Resort, 09000 Kulim, Kedah, D-A, Malaysia. Tel. 604-4031871. T/B 012-4291152.



SOME THOUGHTS ON STEPHEN W. HAWKING


      SOME THOUGHTS ON STEPHEN W. HAWKING

By: Kassim Ahmad

10th June, 2016

kassimahmad333@yahoo.com.my


            Yesterday I saw a documentary “The Theory of Everything”, featuring the life of the famous British physicist and cosmologist, Stephen W. Hawking. Although early in life he suffered from a disease, he has spent his entire adult life up to the  present,  investigating the workings of the Universe. His conclusions are that the Universe came  into being and evolved by itself and hence there is no creator-god who created it.

            His political views are interesting. He is a leftist. He denounced the Vietnam War, the invasion and conquest of Iraq and he supports the Palestinian people. Religiously he proclaims himself as an atheist, although in that documentary, when asked by a man in the audience whether he believed in God or not, he kept silent for a few seconds before stating, “As long as there is life, there is hope,” evading to answer the question, but the audience nevertheless applaused him.
            What might he mean by that? Has he reconsidered his atheism. Only God knows.
            I am somewhat perplexed by his definite declaration of atheism. As a physicist, he knows that nothing happens by itself. Someone must do something for an effect to take place. For instance, I must have an intention to write this article, before this article can come into being. It cannot come into being before I carry out that intention. Then there will be effects on readers; then these effects will cause my replies, and so et infinitum.

So some power must have created this Universe, although we did see him doing it. This Universe, being made up of matter, will in time decay and get destroyed when the energy in it has all been used up. This is simple logic. How can genius Stephen Hawking not see it?

            Now come the difficult part – the Uncaused Cause, in the phraseology of the philosophers. Who or what causes the Uncaused Cause? To unswer this question, we have to go back to the science of knowing. How do we know? In philosophy it is called epistemology.

            Epistemology consists of three phases.  Firstly the physical evidence. Lets us say you are holding a pencil in your hand. This is witnessing by the sensory organs: you see a pencil with your eyes and feeling it in your hand. Then you ask: where does the pencil come from? You answer: it comes from a craftsman who  makes it in a factory. How do you know this? By logical deduction. Logical evidence is thus the second phase.

            The last phase, you ask: where do the craftsman and the factory come from? The answer: the earth, the world or the Universe. This answer is not yet complete. You go on to ask: where does the Universe come from? The atheists the like of genius Stephen Hawking proudly answers: The Universe exists by itself, thus breaking the physical law they so proudly uphold. In other word, the atheists know only partially. They do not hold the whole truth.

            What is the whole truth? The whole truth consists of three parts: the sensory, the logical, and the suprasensory or supralogical. The suprasensory or supralogical is not contradictory to the sensory or the logical. It is the higher sense, and the higher logic. It stands by itself. Thus the unseen power behind the Universe is the Truth with a capital T. Truth stands by itself. Truth is Self-Existing, the Necessary Being of philosophy, the Universe being contingent upon the Necessary Being.
            How do we know this? Look at ourselves. What is the power that sustains me writing this article out of nothing? It is what is called the soul, the consciousness. Can you spot where your soul or your consciousness is in your body? The answers is: No. Yet without it, I cannot write this article. I cannot think. I cannot create. We cannot create civilizations. Thus is this power we call God. Without this Self-Existing Necessary Being there will not be this Universe. Yet this Universe is material and will collapse upon itself when the energy in it is exhausted, just as the lights in our houses will go out when our electricity supply is cut off.

            Thus is the fate of the Universe many billions of years to come. At that time, as the Quran states, only the face of God remains. (Quran, 28: 88 & 55:26-27).

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

           


      

Sunday, June 05, 2016

THE IDOLIZATION OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD



THE IDOLIZATION OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD
By: Kassim Ahmad
5th June, 2016

            The first and only syahadah or declaration of  Muslim faith is found in the Quran in verse 18 of Surah 3. It goes like this: “God bears witness that the is no god  except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge, standing firm with justice. He is the absolute god; the is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.” There are many other verses that proclaim this paramount concept of tauhid or divine unity throughout the Quran. Furthermore, God states that He forgives all sins, except that of associating Him with his creatures, including Prophet Muhammad.
            Now Prophet Muhammad is the last of a series of divine prophet-messengers from Adam right up to Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Before Muhammad they were all sent to human communities of their times, in other words, they were national prophets. Moses and Jesus were sent to the Israelites. But prophet Muhammad was sent to all mankind with the last divine scripture, the protected Nobel Quran. The verse proclaiming this goes like this: “… those who follow the gentile prophet whom they find written in their Torah and the Gospel … O people I am God’s messenger to all of you … you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in God and His word. Follow him that you may be guided.” (7: 157-158)
            Prophet Muhammad’s sole mission was to deliver the Quran. He was warned by God never to introduce any other teachings except the Quran. Let me give this verse. It goes, “Had he uttered any other teachings, We would have punished him. We would have stopped the revelation. None of you could have helped him.” (69: 44-47)
            But 136 years after him, the great jurist Shafi’e (768-820) promulgated a new doctrine of two principle sources, the Quran and the Sunnah/Hadith. On the heels of this new doctrine, the hadith collectors went to work and collected and selected the so-called authentic hadiths of today’s two Sunni and Shiah sects that have caused confusion and trouble in the Muslim world.
            To tell the truth, hadiths were invented soon after the Prophets death by different political and theological factions and falsely ascribed them to the great name of the Prophet. Its proliferation by Shafi’s’s time was so widespread that made Shafi’e do what he did. He should not have done this. What he should have done was to uphold the primacy of the Quran and treat the so-called sunnah/hadith as a subsidiary source. This is a case of deterioration in faiths in history. It has happened before with all great teachings.
            God has warned that most believers will not believe without associating God, especially in the case of Prophet Muhammad. Thus the second syahadah, elevated Muhammad to a position equal to God. Again our great jurist Shafie played his role. It was he who interpreted the verse, “Obey God and obey the messenger” (4: 59) to make way for the emergence of the sunnah/hadith by stating that the phrase “obey God” means “upholding the Quran” and “obey the messenger” means “upholding  the hadith, thus splitting the principle of one source to become two. I would shiver to be in the place of Imam Shafie on the Day of Judgement!  God will ask him, :”Did you say to the people ‘Worship My messenger other than Me?’ “ , what will he answer?
            The second syahadah practiced by most Muslims today is null and void, according to verses 1 and 2 of Surah 63. Look at most mosques and Muslim homes where the words “Allah” and “Muhammad” are written on the same level, implying that Muhammad is on par with God. To clinch the matter, the Quran has clearly warned, “Do not worship two gods. There is only one god… (16:51)
            I want to give another example of idolizing Muhammad by most Muslim today. In the chapter Al-Ahzab (33) there are two verses stating that God and His angels bless and support  first the believers ( verse 43) and then the Prophet (i.e. their leader) (verse 56). Today most Muslims make a talisman of the verse 56, blithely forgetting verse 43. Evert time Prophet Muhammad’s name is mentioned, they would repeat the talisman!  
            Our leaders should be reminded of the lightning speed with which early Islam under the Prophet and the righteous caliphs liberated the then world under the hegemonic Persian and Byzantine empires to become the number one power in the 8th Century until the 13th, lasting for eight centuries. Medieval Europe sat the feat of Muslim teachers in Baghdad for three centuries, resulting in the emergence European Renaissance. Today where are the Muslims? Remember what scholar Muhammad Abduh of the early 20th Century said, “I went to the West and saw Islam. I came back to the East and saw “Muslims”.
            Our leaders must think of how to reclaim our rightful position in the world.  
KASSIM AHMAD  is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassiahmad.blogspot.com

             

Saturday, May 28, 2016

SO-CALLED HUDUD PUNISHMENTS

HUDUD LAW, AGAIN!

By: Kassim Ahmad
17 March, 2015

            Some Muslims pride themselves for upholding what is called the hudud punishments. Do they really know what they are talking about? They think it is God-ordained law. Are they right? They should remember the lessons of history. Did the Jewish Prophet Moses bring the religion of  what is now known as Judaism? The answer is: No. Did Prophet Jesus, also a Jew,  bring the religion of what is now known as Christianity? Again the answer is: No. Did Prophet Muhammad, an Arab, bring the religion of Sunnism and Shi’ism? Again the answer is: No.
            Human history is littered with errors that came to be accepted later as "facts". We are not talking of small errors. We are talking of big ones. That explains the rise and fall of nations. One author has described this historical evolution as "recurring, multilinear, yet ascending." That means on the whole, we are progressing, but the line of progress is not ascending linear, but multilinear, sometimes ascending, sometimes descending.  
            Let me cite just one authority, Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali. This paragraph is taken from his book, Punishment in Islamic Law: An Inquiry into the Hudud Bill in Kelantan (Kuala Lumpur: 2000) is very telling: “When we compare the Quranic usage of hadd (in the sense of limit) with the use of this term in fiqh, we notice that a basic development has taken place, which is that the term hadd has been reserved to signify a fixed and unchallengeable punishment that is laid down in the Quran or Sunnah. The concept of the ‘separating or preventing limit’ of the Quran is thereby replaced by the idea of fixed punishment.” (p. 46)
            There you have another example of a major error made by great scholars. That is precisely why the Quran warns us of idolizing leaders or scholars. We could be kind if we choose to pardon them by saying that it was their understanding, or their ijtihad, which must be reviewed by the next generation.
            The term hududu’l-Lah (God’s boundaries) occurs in the Quran 14 times, none of which refer to fixed punishments, as understood by some Muslim jurists. One scholar opioned that, “The unchangeability of the hadd punishement is supported by the interpretation of the Quranic verse: ‘These are the limits of Allah. Do not transgress them.’” (2: 229) The verse does not  mean what he says it means.
            Let us take some of the so-called hudud punishments. Cutting of the head for apostasy, when the Quran advocates complete freedom of belief, some 1,400 years ahead of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; stoning for adultery, cutting of the hand for theft are three of the six or seven of the so-called fixed punishments propounded by Muslim jurists.  Take note these run counter to the fundamental teachings of the Quran.
            Take note also that the divine order to our courts is to judge among people with justice. (See Quran, 4: 58) Surely God Who decrees upon Himself mercy (Quran, 6: 12) cannot enact such archaic and barbarous laws.
            The term ‘hudud’ul-Lah’, meaning the boundaries of God, simply means in every action there is a boundary that one should not overpass. Take the case of eating: one must eat to survive, but he must not overeat. In between there is a boundary set by God that he should not cross. As in the case of eating, so in all cases of human activities. It is sometime called ‘The Golden Mean’, the middle path.
            See how even great scholars have made mistakes! That is precisely the reason why God warns us of idolizing leaders. It is incumbent upon succeeding generations to re-evaluate the legacies they inherit from the older generations.  
            It is to be remembered that Muslim jurists of the four schools differ much in their views. We need not go into them. We should take note that these punishments are taken from the Torah.  They crept into the so-called sunnah/hadith, or Prophetic traditions, i.e. traditions ascribed to Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad’s name is so great among Muslims that anything said to originate from him is sacrosanct.
We should also note that the Quran has two dimensions, the historically-bound, and the universal. The historically-bound will be surpassed when the historical context no longer  prevails. They will pass over into the universal. The two universal principles are: equal punishment, and merciful punishment. The first means punishment equalling the crime, and the second means lightening the punishment, up to and including pardon. We can see that the two universal principles have been imbibed into all modern civilized societies. 
Take not that Brunei has last year declared that it would implement Hudud punishments, with the exception, according to reports, that Brunei royalty is exempt from them. 
            The final and unchallengeable proof that there is no such thing as the hudud fixed punishments is that they are nowhere mentioned in the Medina Charter promulgated by Prophet Muhammad himself when he migrated to Medina.
--------------------------------------------
KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian freelance writer. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com




Thursday, May 12, 2016

WHOM SHOULD WE FOLLOW IN STATECRAFT?



WHOM SHOULD MALAYSIANS FOLLOW IN STATECRAFT?
By: Kassim Ahmad
10th May, 2016

            The great victory in recent Sarawak state polls raises the question of the 2018 14th General Election. We have followed the Westminster parliamentary type of democracy since independence. We have survived many crises, but still many are the weaknesses in our system. One of them is the clause in our Constitution stating “Islam is the religion of the Federation.”
            Now a country or state obviously has no religion. Its citizens have; ours consisting of the religions of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and even animism. Although freedom of religion is guaranteed in our Constitution, the clause on Islam forever poses a danger of narrow and rigid interpretation of Islam  by officialdom. It has happened several times in Malaysia. This is a potential  threat to peace and harmony in our multi-national and  multi-religious country.
I remember Prophet Muhammad’s famous  Medinah Constitution which stipulates religion to be autonomously administered by its adherence. This is the right way to solve the matter.
            Taking cue from there, we might as well go the whole way. Why do not we re-examine our Federal Constitution and amend it to conform to the Prophet’s Charter. After all, Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Abraham have been mentioned in the Quran as our examples. Prophet Abraham was a progenitor of all humankind; he was a strict monotheist and he set the example of complete freedom for all mankind by destroying all false powers, even against his own father’s polytheism.
            Now Prophet Muhammad’s  Medinah Constitution was the first written constitution in the world. [1]  It gives its plural citizenry security, freedom and justice.  Dato’ Din has kindly published this constitution with my detailed comments in his blog. This important constitutional document can be excessed in my blog (www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com)
            Although our Constitution was promulgated by great jurists, including two  Muslim ones from India and Pakistan, they seemed unaware of the Medinah Charter. It is time we bring it up, as it is a seminal legal-political document of early Islam at the time of its republican-democratic period of the Prophet and the four  rightly-guided caliphates of Abu Bakr, Omar Ibni Khattab, Uthman Ibn Affan and Ali Abi Talib.   
            Of course, many will object because we are a constitutional monarchy and the Medinah Charter is medieval, medieval by European time-scale. Europeans consider the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) as the beginning of the modern world.
            According to Pakistani philosopher, Muhammad  Iqbal, Prophet Muhammad’s  advent ( prophethood 622-632) begins the true modern world.[2]  I agree with him. Muhammad was the only prophet who was not given any miracles by God. All previous prophets had their miracles to convince the peoples of their times of the authenticity of their prophethood. Muhammad’s miracle is the Quran. [3]
            The Arab armies of liberation took only sixty years to conquer the then two superpowers, most of the hegemonic Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire, to become the Number One power in the world of the 8th through to the 15th centuries. It created a brilliant scientific civilization and culture never before seen in the world. This is attested by several objective Western writers, such as Robert Briffault  [4]and G. Satron. [5]
 Islam had its Golden Age when its Dar’ul-Hikmah (Academy of Science) took over and transmitted, with their own incomparable contributions, to the then world’s  knowledge and wisdom to. Without this important intervening Islamic  centuries, European Renaissance would not have occurred and the modern world would not have emerged.
Such is the magnitude of the contribution of  Islam to the modern world. Unfortunately, most Western historians have conspired to erase this phase of world history. It is rightly condemned by Briffault and G. Sarton.

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

 



[1] M. Hamidullah, The Fist Written Constitution in the World (Mohammad Ashraf: Lahore: 1975).
[2] The first revelation to Muhammad was,”Read, in the name or your Lord, who created. … Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted, eaches by means of the pen. He teaches man what he never knew.” These five verses caused a revolution in man’s thinking. It started the modern scientific age. (Quran, 96: 1-5) See Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (Lahore: 1958); h. 126-127.    
[3] See Quran, 29: 50-51.
[4]  See his book, The Making of Humanity (Lahore: 1919)
[5] See his Introduction to the History of Science Vol I-III (1927-48: Baltimoe: Willims & Wilkins). 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

THINKING IS hARD


THINKING IS HARD
By: Kassim Ahmad
5th May, 2016
 

            A teacher in my college in Alor Setar, when he posed a problem, used to say, “Come on boys, put on your thinking caps!”, as if thinking was outside the mind.
            Now thinking is a function of the brain that God placed at the top of you and covered it with a hard protective cover. Surely, the brain must be special, and special it is. It is a tool given olny to Man, the Homo sapiens, and not to other created orders, neither to the mineral, nor to the vegetable, nor to the members of the animal kingdoms. Only to man, the vicegerent of God, tasked to rule and change the world. What a wonderous being a man is!
            Yet how many people use their brains? Most would follow their ancestors, even if doing this would lead them to certain doom. That is why many civilizations have come and gone. Britisah historian, Arnorld  J. Toynbee, in his 12- volume A Study of History  counted 19 major civilizations that have come and gone.
            Why is thinking hard?  I presume because you have to stand outside yourself and think. Nowadays we say: thinking outside the box, the box meaning following the crowd, i.e. your ancestors. That is easy, and most people do that.
            Remember, Man’s God-given task is to rule and change the world to his liking. Remember, the angles protested against the creation of Man, saying that he is a corruptor and shedder of blood. Of this destructive side of him we have seen enough. The two World Wars stand as witness. But there is another side of him that the angels did not know. That was why, to their protestations, God answered simply: “I know what you do not know.” (Quran, 2: 30)      
            It was as if God had gambled. What if Man misbehaves and acts as the corruptor and shedder of blood, as the angels have predicted? Where will God put His face? Who will worship Him after this? As the Inquisitor in Dostoyevsky’s psychological-realist novel Brothers Karamazov  stated, “If there is no god, everything is permissible.” That includes murder! What a horrible place the world would be then!
            In another location in the Quran, when the whole created order refused the task of God’s vicegerency and only Man excepted it, God’s response was to lightly rebuke him and said he was unjust and ignorant. (Quran, 33: 72). Here we can see that God knows his bad side but at the same time acknowledges his capability. This capability is to create civilizations and thereby improve his life. This improvement needed courage and sacrife, courage to go against the status quo and sacrifice to challenge current orthodocxy. The history of man tells the story of courageous individuals, the like of Socrates of ancient Athens down to the present day.  Fortunately in moden Europe and America, such brave individuals, working good for the sake good, are no longer killed, but honoured.
            Thus thinking in the best part of our world is now rewarded. Not yet in Malaysa where orthodoxy reigns supreme. Sadly Muslim nations are at the bottom of the ladder. Are our leaders thinking? Why should we be at the bottom when our divinely-protected scripture, the Quran, defines us as the best nation ever produced (Quran, 3: 110) and that our religion the one approved by God (3: 19)? That means our leaders and our scholars are not thinking. How sad!      
             Being sad, though natural enough, is not sufficient. We have to get out of the rut.  The wonder is that the book of guidance has been with us for more than fourteen centuries. Although it has catapulted us into the Number One community for eight centuries, since our fall in the 13th century, we have  remained a fallen community up to now.
            What should we do to regain our rightful place in the world? We possess the best book of guidance. Surely, our scholars and leaders read this book. What is their answer?  Think!  Although thinking is hard, our great ancestors have done it before.  We can do it again now.

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