They dared to be different

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The government has banned a couple of Kassim Ahmad’s books, as they have been doing all these years where hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been banned because of its deviant teachings. This ban is to prevent Malays from being misled by those out to corrupt the faith of pious Muslims.

Kategori : Akidah
Tajuk : Fahaman Anti Hadis
Isu : Hukum mengikut ajaran yang terkandung dalam buku-buku yang dikarang oleh Kassim Ahmad dan mengamalkan fahaman anti hadis

Fatwa : Pada menjalankan kuasa-kuasa yang diberi di bawah seksyen 30 Enakmen Pentadbiran Hukum Syarak (Melaka) 1991 dan setelah diluluskan dengan sebulat suara oleh Jawatankuasa Syariah menurut seksyen 33(6) Enakmen Pentadbiran Hukum Syarak (Melaka) 1991, maka Mufti Kerajaan Melaka dengan ini membuat dan mengeluarkan, bagi pihak dan atas nama Jawatankuasa Syariah, fatwa berikut :

1. Mana-mana orang atau kumpulan orang yang berpegang kepada ajaran-ajaran dan fahaman-fahaman yang terkandung dalam buku-buku berikut :

(a) “Hadis Satu Penilaian Semula” yang dikarang oleh Kassim Ahmad;
(b) “Hadis Jawapan Kepada Pengkritik” yang dikarang oleh Kassim Ahmad;
(c) “Pendedahan Kebenaran Adalah Dari Tuhanmu; Hadis Di dalam Al-Quran” yang dikarang oleh Hj. Idris Abd. Rahman;
(d) “Bacaan” yang dikarang oleh Othman Ali;
(e) “The Computer Speaks; Gods Message To the World” yang dikarang oleh Dr. Rashad Khalifa; dan
(f) Risalah Iqra terbitan Jemaah Al Quran Malaysia;

(selepas ini disebut secara kolektif sebagai “buku-buku dan risalah tersebut”) adalah murtad.

2. Mana-mana orang Islam adalah dilarang :

(I) untuk mengajar, mempelajari, mengamalkan, berpegang kepada atau menyebarkan ajaran-ajaran dan fahaman-fahaman yang terkandung dalam buku-buku dan risalah tersebut.

(II) untuk mencetak, menerbitkan, memiliki, menyiarkan atau mengedarkan buku-buku dan risalah tersebut atau mana-mana bahagian buku-buku dan risalah tersebut dalam.

(i) apa-apa bentuk versi atau variasinya

(ii) apa-apa terjemahannya dalam apa-apa bahasa

(iii) apa-apa bahan publisiti yang bertujuan memberikan publisiti kepada mana-mana buku dan risalah tersebut itu pada atau atas apa-apa bahan samada bahan cetak atau elektronik atau selainnya atau melalui apa-apa media; atau

(III) untuk menjadi anggota atau pemimpin mana-mana kumpulan yang tersebut dalam perenggan 1 atau membantu dalam menghidupkan atau mengembangkan kumpulan sedemikian.

Rujukan Pewartaan : No.1 tahun 1991

That was the fatwah (decree) issued by the Melaka Religious Department on 29 February 1996 according to a blogger who posted it in one of Malaysia Today’s blogs, while at the same time raising a protest because Malaysia Today has inserted a link to Kassim Ahmad’s website.

And what does this decree mean? Basically, the government has banned a couple of Kassim Ahmad’s books, as they have been doing all these years where hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been banned because of its deviant teachings. This ban is to prevent Malays from being misled by those out to corrupt the faith of pious Muslims.

The above fatwah further decrees that all those who subscribe to these deviant teachings and believe in them have become murtad (fallen out of Islam), which means they have now become non-Muslims. You are therefore forbidden from teaching, learning, practicing, or propagating these beliefs. You are also forbidden from publishing or distributing any publications expounding these beliefs. In fact, you may not even advertise or publicise the existence of these publications in any way. And you are forbidden from associating with or becoming a member of any group which subscribe to the beliefs propagated by these banned books.

The Malaysian government through the state Muftis, religious departments, Pusat Islam, and so on, has the power to determine what you believe in. You can of course believe in Christ, Moses, the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Sai Baba, Reverend Jones, Yoko Ono, the Fairy Godmother, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and anyone you so choose as your prophet as long as you were never born a Muslim. But once you happen to have been born through a Muslim father, then you are locked into a certain brand of Islam that is officially recognised and approved by the Malaysian government.

For example, Malaysian Muslims are Sunnis from the Shafie school of thought. You might argue that since it is mandatory for you to be Muslim since you were fortunate, or unfortunate (depending on your point of view), to have been born from a Muslim father (though one can guarantee who your mother is but never your father, especially if you appear more like your mother than your father), then you want to be free to choose the brand of Islam which you feel is the more accurate version.

You cannot! You can only choose the version of Islam approved by the Malaysian government.

You might also argue that you do believe in Islam and you do believe in Prophet Muhammad, but your opinion, from the logical point of view, is that Prophet Muhammad was never a Sunni nor a Shafie, so you reject both and you just want to be a plain Muslim based purely on the Koran’s teachings. Though this may sound logical since all these sects and schools came after Prophet Muhammad’s time and were never introduced by Prophet Muhammad himself or mentioned in the Koran, again, you cannot. And you cannot because you are basing your belief on logic and your personal opinion which is not acceptable as far as the Malaysian government is concerned.

Personal opinions and logic are incompatible with faith. Faith is based on the intangible, not the tangible. Faith cannot be based on evidence but on the unproven. If not, then it would not be called faith would it?

The first verse of the Koran revealed to Prophet Muhammad is ‘Read’. Muslims are told they must read to be able to learn. But you can only read and learn what the Malaysian government approves and it is a crime to read, learn and believe in anything that is not approved or has been banned by the Malaysian government.

This decree probably came about because the government is not confident that Malays are smart enough to differentiate fact from fiction. They are worried that even after all these years of learning and practicing their religion, Malays still do not really know much or have enough faith in what they have been taught. They are also probably worried that the faith of the Malays is so weak they would easily be misled if they were to read anything not endorsed or approved by the government. Therefore, if they were to read anything that deviates from the government’s approved version of Islam, they might start believing the wrong things.

Non-Muslims can learn and read about Islam. In fact, Muslims want non-Muslims to know Islam so that they get a better understanding about the religion and the misconceptions they have about Islam can be corrected. Muslims want non-Muslims to realise that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. But the government is not at peace with and will not tolerate Malays learning the other religions (for example, reading a Malay language version of the bible) lest they find another religion more attractive and start harbouring thoughts of converting or start questioning or disputing certain Islamic teachings and beliefs.

The government is concerned that Malays may be very weak. They are also very gullible. Malays became Muslims by virtue of birth and not by choice. Many Malays are Muslims only in name and not by belief and most certainly not by practice. Many Malays treat Islam as a sort of culture or tradition, something passed down through the generations from their forefathers, not something they discovered or chose because they found it to be the best religion.

In situations like these it would be very dangerous to allow Malays to get exposed to anything other than teachings and beliefs approved by the government. The Malays need to be protected because they cannot think for themselves. The government needs to guide the Malays on how they should think and what to think. And if they were to read or get exposed to anything other than what the government allows them to believe in, there would be a great danger that the Malays would become extremely confused and start questioning their faith and maybe even leave Islam.

And that is why during the Friday prayer sermons the imam goes through great pains to constantly remind the Malays that they should not question or dispute what their guru tells them. They must, in fact, only seek knowledge through a guru and not by reading books or from other sources of information unless guided by a guru. If they were to seek knowledge other than through a guru, then the devil would become their guru and they would be misled. No one should be self-taught or sit quietly by themselves reading books. They must sit cross-legged on the floor in front of a guru and absorb everything the guru dishes out without doubts, questions, debates or disputes. That, and only that, is the correct way to seek knowledge and become proper Muslims. If not, you may learn the wrong things and deviate from the true teachings of Islam.

I know there are those who argue that the Koran is the only accepted holy book for the Muslims. There are those like Kassim Ahmad and one-time Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who feel that the Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) need to be re-evaluated. These people have been branded as anti-Hadith and such beliefs have been banned by the Malaysian government.

These type of (anti-Hadith) people argue that while the Koran was revealed by the Prophet himself, the Hadith were documented many generations after the Prophet and are hearsay based not on first-hand or even second-hand accounts but through tenth-hand or more accounts. Hadith were related by someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone, etc., who heard it from the Prophet. And all these Hadith were never documented during the time of the Prophet but are stories passed down by word of mouth from one generation to another.

These type of people also point to a scientific experiment conducted where a story is related to one person who then whispers it to a second person who then whispers to a third person who then whispers it to a fourth person, and so on, until it reaches the tenth person, and by the time the story comes back to the first person it has totally changed. Therefore, word of mouth stories are prone to distortions when passed down from one person to another, especially over a couple of hundred years, argue these people. Therefore, would there not be a danger that the Hadith passed down by word of mouth over tens of generations and hundreds of years also suffer this distortion?

Though this argument may sound logical, especially when backed by a scientific experiment, logic and scientific experiments are not compatible with faith, which is based on the intangible, not tangible evidence. Therefore, no disputes, questions or doubts are allowed and total acceptance must prevail. And all those who propagate these ideas and theories are deviants and their publications have to be banned and their thoughts blocked. If not, Muslims might listen to them, start thinking that there may actually be some logic in what they are saying, and might also start asking the same questions.

Malays must be protected. Malays must be isolated and insulated against any other view other than the official government view. And all those who harbour opposite or differing views must be prevented from reaching the Malays. This is for the good of the Malays and to prevent them from falling out of Islam (murtad).

Of course, you might ask, what about those Malays who are studying, working or living overseas? They are exposed to all sorts of teachings, both deviant as well as non-Islamic. How is the government going to protect these Malays? How is the government going to ensure that these Malays would not get misled? After all, the Malaysian government cannot ban any publications in other countries. They can only do so in Malaysia.

And have any Malays in other countries deviated from Islam? Have they in fact left Islam entirely? And is it because of all these publications that expound deviant teachings that are the cause for this?

No, there are no reported incidences of Malays in other countries deviating from or leaving Islam. This only happens to Malays studying, working or living in Malaysia. Somehow, Malays studying, working or living overseas are not easily misled. And why is this? No one seems to know. It looks like once Malays leave Malaysian soil they are smart enough to differentiate between fact and fiction. At home, in Malaysia, they do not appear capable of doing so.

Do I sound cynical? No, that is only the perception you formed, which is the result of you reading what you should not read. Now do you understand why the government needs to control what you read lest you deviate from the truth and start forming wrong opinions?