April 25, 2016
COMMENT: Men and women of my generation like Kassim Ahmad, A Kadir Jasin, Zainuddin Maidin, Abdullah ‘Kok Lanas’ Ahmad, Yahaya Ismail (Pak Ya), Dr. M. Bakri Musa, S. Thayaparan, Mariam Mokthar, Zainah Anwar, Dean Johns, John Berthelsen, Terence Netto, the Late Bernard “Zorro” Khoo, Hishamuddin Rais, Haris Ibrahim, Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, and Kee Thuan Chye, to name a few, find great pleasure in writing to share their views, thoughts, and ideas.
What they all have in common is the courage of their convictions. Others, mainly politicians in power, like to talk and do so profusely, often blowing hot air and accomplishing zilt.
It is tough to write, and tougher to do it well; it requires the ability to think clearly and write succinctly , a good command of language, and the courage to be controversial. More importantly, it requires the writer take a stand on issues and bear the consequences of challenging conventional wisdom. Unlike talking (making sounds), one cannot retract what is written.
Kassim Ahmad (pic above), who I knew since 1960 when he was a young and good looking lecturer in the Malay Studies Department, The University of Malaya, Pantai Valley, Kuala Lumpur, is a prolific author and a public intellectual of my generation. I know him to be courageous, committed, willing to take the heat of controversy and unafraid of damnation. He has remained steadfast and true to his ideals and principles. For this reason, I feel I should share his article, Why I write, with all of us.
Now in his eighties, Pak Kassim, as I know him endearingly, still writes and reads a lot. I am a Kassim Ahmad fan because he is an intellectual pacesetter from my home state Kedah Darul Aman and my role model for his humility and frugal lifestyle.
I cannot but mention Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Although I may differ with our 4th Prime Minister on politics, Kassim Ahmad and I, and our mutual friend in the US, Dr. M. Bakri Musa, agree that the Tun is unique because he is a writer and a talker in equal measure. The Tun, who is also from Kedah, is first among equals of our generation when it comes to writing, and excels in the art of talking with the guts to put his ideas into action.–Din Merican
Why I write
by Kassim Ahmad*
I developed a penchant for writing when I was in secondary school. It was to create a world of my own, a world beyond and above reality, a utopia, so to speak, within the bounds of reason. It means a world that can be realized, a just world, in other words.
I write to please no man, although many men and women are, in fact, enthralled by my writings, and ask me to go on writing. I write to uphold the truth. I make no apologies for being a monotheist, in the footsteps of the true great masters, prophet-messengers of our One Creator, — a religion of submission, to wit, a mukmin, a believer in the existence of one lawful God.
I also make no apologies for believing in the divinely-protected Quran, a scripture given in Arabic to an Arab Prophet Muhammad. I say protected, because I know it is protected by a mathematically-awesome-imposible-to-imitate structure based on 19. (See Quran, 74: 30). It is what has come to be known as Code 19.
All prophet-messengers are without exception are submitters to God, monotheists and believers. The great names include Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Jesus was one of the great monotheists of his time. When I stated that Jesus was not a Christian, but a monotheist, a submitter and a believer, most Christians were up in arms against me. Let me repeat, I write to please no man; I write to the uphold the truth, although the truth is bitter. The doctrine of Trinity was promulgated by the Christian Church in the Council of Nicaea in 315 A.D., long after Jesus was dead.
One Christian reader asked why Jesus had no father; he must be the son of God, he argued. Another claimed that Christians felt the Trinity in the marrow of their bones. The current Pope Francis, a “peoples’ pope”, who when he visited the United States recently never talked about doctrine, but talked about the down-trodden and about inter-religious dialogue. The Pope knows better.
It is a truism that one should not discuss religion. “It is sensitive.” Again I say I write to please no man. I write to uphold the truth, although most people do not like the truth.
What the is the truth? asked Pilate, the Roman governor charged with judging Jesus, whom he found not guilty of rebellion. This is what I call “the Mother of All Questions”. Does the truth exist objectively? To Jesus it does, for he said, “The truth will set you free.”
To answer this question is to answer all questions. Why did God create this world? One answer among many goes, “God created the heavens and the other with truth.” (Quran, 22: 44) What does that mean? It means all orders of creations submit to the law of truth. It means God is the truth.
Some clever people might asks, “Can God contravene His own law of truth?” The answer is of course He can, but God will not act against Himself. That would mean two gods who would fight for dominion. That is impossible. As to the atheist, who says religion is the opium of the masses, challenge him to create one that will last beyond his lifetime.
*KASSIM AHMAD is a freelance writer. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com