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