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