Kassim Ahmad: The Hero We Don’t Deserve!

Kassim Ahmad: The Hero We Don’t Deserve! March 28, 2014

We, Muslims, have come to a point where we revere scholars who push absurdities in the name of Islam, but slander those who seek to purify Islam from the dogmatic image it has acquired. Getting all our knowledge of Islam from these scholars instead of reading the Quran for ourselves, we, as a whole, have become so perplexed that we can’t even distinguish between concepts that are Islamic and concepts that are un-Islamic. So, our current condition is our karma. And, this is exactly what happens when people abandon their right to think for themselves, handing it over to others. What an ironic gift this is to the Creator of human intelligence!

Recently, Mr. Kassim Ahmad, who is one of the great Muslim thinkers of our times, was taken into custody by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) over what they call “controversial statements” he made about Islam at a seminar held in February. (You can read his statements here)


JAWI, is this what your Islam teaches you? To imprison anybody who goes against your views on religion? It’s strange, because the Quran that I’ve read advocates absolute freedom of speech to express one’s opinions. What happened to, “Let there be no compulsion in matters of faith” (Quran, 2:256), and “The truth is from your Nourisher-Sustainer, so whoever wills — let him believe; and whoever wills — let him disbelieve.” (Quran, 18:29)

Was that not clear enough for you to stop going around imposing your authority on people who disagree with you? But, I would be naive to make such a plea. How could you stay silent? The truth of the matter is that you feel intimidated by him, and worry that you will lose your control over Muslims who may find that the “controversial statements” he made are in fact very Quranic indeed. After all, are you not in this for the power? Do you think that we’re stupid, and don’t realize your need to monopolize Islam for your petty purposes?

No, JAWI. We see perfectly well what is going on here. And this has been the case throughout the times when reform-minded individuals approached the established rulers. When Musa (Moses) approached Firaun (Pharoah), this is what he had to say:

Pharaoh said, “If you choose an authority other than me, I will surely put you in prison.” Quran, 26:29

Make no mistake about it; yours are the very institutions that Prophets and other futuristic individuals have fought against. So, enough already! Stop fooling people in the name of Islam, for your actions are anything but against it.

It saddens me, and breaks my heart to see the way we treat this noble man who only wishes that Muslims revert back to the Quran and stop mixing Islam with Arabic culture. Amidst the ridiculous Fatwas (religious rulings) and irrationalities of prominent Muslim scholars such as promoting child marriage, a truly commendable free-thinker like Mr. Kassim Ahmad comes off as a breath of fresh air. A sign that all hope is not lost for Islam, that maybe – just maybe we can trace our footsteps back to the Quran and become the Muslims God wants us to be.

But, no! How dare he question our beliefs? What right does he have to tell us to reform and get rid of the un-Quranic laws that the Ulema have imposed upon us? No, Mr. Kassim Ahmed, we all wish to remain in collective ignorance and celebrate our leaders that have put us in this honorable position. We, certainly, will not tolerate your call for reform. For realizing the need to reform, we must first realize that there is something wrong with the way we have understood Islam. And, we are simply not ready for that. Not when our scholars promise us heaven in exchange for simply uttering the Kalma (Proclamation of belief in Islam). We as always are right, and you are wrong! Let us live blissfully in our ignorance, and please don’t disturb us.


I am sorry, Mr. Kassim. But, we have failed you. Yet again, we have failed to honor a leader like yourself that would release us from the shackles these clergymen impose upon us. We don’t deserve you, sir.

We don’t deserve you.


This article was also featured in The Malay Mail Online and Free Malaysia Today


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