The Mistakes Man Makes


April 5, 2016

The Mistakes Man Makes

by Kassim Ahmad

 

Revised and expanded on 6th April, 2016

At times I wonder whether man is a tragedy or not. Considering the mistakes, big and small,  that he makes against all odds, one loses faith in the human being. No wonder when God informed the angels that He was going to create man, the angels protested. They averred that he was going to cause destruction and shed blood. Except that God replied to the protestation of the angels that He knew better. God, being All-Knowing, knew the good side of man. (See Quran, 2: 30)

What is so Indecent about this?

One million years of man’s history on earth has vindicated God’s optimism of man. He was not only a warlike and a warring creature; he was also a builder of civilizations. This side of man happens to be the stronger side of him.

I shall now enumerate the mistakes, the big ones first. God informs us in the Quran that most people do not believe in Him; even those who believe in Him do not do so without associating Him with His creatures. Even most Muslims do not believe that God alone is sufficient for them. They need Prophet Muhammad to be a god besides God! Hence the two syahadahs! How they can ignore the clear injuction against the second syahadah in Surah 63: verse 1 is beyond me.

This is a most glaring mistake that essentially has led to their downfall.  Note also that this is the one sin not forgiven by God.

A Symbol of Gender Discrimination/Male Domination, Thanks, Anwar Ibrahim

The wonder is: “Where are their teachers of religion?”  Those that have graduated from universities in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Note also that the Al-Azhar University in Cairo is the oldest university in the world, prior to other famous centres of learning, including Oxford and Cambridge.

All prophet-messengers of God, from Adam to Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus, taught the essential Divine message of the acknowledgement  of the One true God for all mankind, otherwise called the religion of submission or Islam. Note that Quran names twenty-five of them. Many others, hundreds of them, are not named. We know that there are many others because God informs us that He sent messengers to all human communities.

That being so, we can now see that what has come to be the religion of Judaism is not the religion taught by Moses, and  the religion of Christianity not the religion taught by Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ was not a Christian; he was a Muslim. [1]  It was Paul, a Christian-persecuting Jew who later turned Christian, who made Christ into a Son of God. [2]

They are different because they serve humanity–I went to kindergarten run by Nuns in Alor Setar. Kedah–Din Merican

For that matter, the completed and perfected religion of Islam brought by the last of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad, with its protected scripture, the Quran, did not escape this corruption.  Three hundred years after him, Islam broke into sects, Sunnism being the majority sect. The master-architect was none other than Shafi’e (767-820), who introduced the doctrine two principal sources, the Quran and the Sunnah/Hadith.

When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina, he granted to the community a constitution called the Medina Charter, the first written constitution in the world. It is unfortunate that our present teachers of religion almost never mention this great legal document of Islam (Dato’ Din has kindly published this along with my comments in this blog.) when they endlessly quote the so-called hadiths.

When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina, he granted to the community a constitution called the Medina Charter, the first written constitution in the world. It is unfortunate that our present teachers of religion almost never mention this great legal document of Islam (Dato’ Din  Merican has kindly published this along with my comments in his blog.) when they endlessly quote the so-called hadiths.

A Symbol of Hard Work

The so-called Hudud law (fixed punishments) is another great mistake. It is nowhere mentioned in the Medina Charter. It is a misinterpretation of some frases in the Quran. The current fashion of headscarf (the tudung) for Muslim women is another. Thirty five years ago Muslim women in Malaysia wear the selendang, a partial headscarf. The simple proof  that a woman’s hair is not ‘aurat (nakedness) is that when she takes ablution she has to wipe her head.

When the Quran is recited or even quoted in a speech, most speakers tend to sing, in a manner not dissimilar to any singer, even if he or she does not understand the language of the song. This is in contradiction with the clear statement in the Quran that it is not a book of songs and that Muhammad was not singer. What is more, the practice has grown into an art of the highest excellence. In Malaysia, we have been holding international Quran-reading competitions since a long time.

Then there is a mantra repeated by most Muslims whenever they metion the name of Prophet Muhammad. The mantra is: salla’al-Lahu alaihi wasallam, meaning ‘the blessing of God and peace be on him’. This phrase occurs twice in Sural Al-Ahzan (33), firstly in verse 43, referring to believers, and secondly in verse 56, referring Prophet Muhammad. Notice how most Muslims happily ignore the blessings God bestows on believers! The Arabic word ‘salla’ means ‘to bless’.

Less I do not just mention doctrinal matters, let me turn my mind to more mundane matters, the bread-and-butter issues. My friend, Dr. Hassan Hanafi, a Professor of Philosophy at Cairo University, criticized me for ignoring politico-social and economic matters. This is the reason why I have expanded this essay.

It is not that I do not consider these matters important. I do. But these matters have to be the logical outcome of a world outlook, a philosophy. The European social system is the result of a European secular humanist world outlook that came with the Europeans Renaissance of the 14th right through to the 16th centuries.

Europe has two wings, the Western  liberal-capitalist wing, and the Eastern Marxist-communist wing.  The latter has collapsed before our eyes at the end of the 20th century; the latter will collapse too in the not-too-distant future.

Unfortunately most European historians conspired to erase the fundamental role of Arab-Islamic phase in world history. A few objective Western historians, including Robert Briffault, bear witness to this fact.

Has any civilization completely erased poverty, waste and corruption? The island city-state of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew came very near it. What a Lee Kuan Yew has done other Lee Kuan Yews can do. In short, all human beings are endowed by their Maker the ability to rule and change the world, indeed the Universe, to their liking . Therefore, it can be logically deduced that the Good Society with zero corruption, zero poverty, zero ignorance and so on and so forth can come into being, nationally and internationally. Enough number of men and women must decide to do it.

Why all these deviations, when the Quran and the examples of the early republican-democratic caliphates are with us? It is man’s tendency to revert back after the teacher is gone. In our souls, there are two opposite tendencies: one pushing us up, and the other pulling us down.  It is up to us, free spirits that we are, to choose which way to go.

________________________

[1] This is not a claim by Muslims. It is a factual information given to us by God Himself when He named Jesus, a Jew, as one of His prophets.
[2] It was the Council of Nicaea in 325 that established Christian theology for the first time into what is known as the “Nicene Creed”. The creed was re-written in 362
KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian freelance writer. He dares to be different with reason, and hence he is pain to all politically movitated ulamas in Malaysia. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com.
 

Malaysia’s Not so Grand Opposition Coalition: A Recipe for Problems


March 13, 2016

Malaysia’s Not so Grand Opposition Coalition:  A Recipe for Problems 

The ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ concept could be a recipe for problems

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com

This is a coalition that demonstrates, as perhaps no other coalition anywhere has, the dangers of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. They have almost nothing in common. But there is one thing, and that is the demonstration of the growing fatigue over the unprecedented scandals that have put Najib and Malaysia on the front pages of papers around the world. That poses the biggest danger for UMNO in the next general election. But also raises the question if it will be possible to put together a credible opposition that can bring the Barisan down.–John Berthelsen

 In the cold light of Malaysia’s day, a Citizen’s Declaration coalition attempt announced on March 4 to bring down Prime Minister Najib Razak may face insurmountable problems beyond just adding to the publicity over allegations of massive corruption.

 

The coalition has gathered the widest array of civic and political leaders so far in the attempt to bring down the scandal-plagued Prime Minister. But the coalition, led by the 90-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, appears beset by deep problems even before it gets underway, not the least of which is the fact that with all of its disparate elements put together, it is nowhere near possessing the numbers needed to force a vote of confidence that would bring down Najib.

Everybody in the potential coalition is already an opponent, so there is no net gain in opposition numbers unless a significant number of dissidents defect from Najib’s United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the leading component of the Barisan Rakyat ethnic coalition that leads the country, taking their Malay support bases with them, which doesn’t seem in the cards. So far, nobody seems to have followed former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Mahathir’s son Mukhriz into Mahathir’s arms. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, endlessly named as a strong possible opposition leader, has chosen to deny he is joining.

“We have seen this before, too many times,” said a pessimistic Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer and opposition backer. “Let’s let it go for awhile to see if anything happens. Everybody is waiting for the (US government’s Federal Bureau of Investigation) to finish its investigation.”

In one sense, perhaps the happiest benefactors from the split are the top UMNO cadres that Mahathir and his small band of dissidents left behind. Among those are Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the deputy prime minister; Nazri Abdul Aziz, Kairy Jamaluddin, the Youth and Sports Minister, and others who see the ouster of former Party Deputy President Muhyiddin Yassin as a chance to move up.

According to one school, if Najib eventually is forced out by the growing weight of public opinion, Zahid’s way to the premiership would no longer be blocked, although many in UMNO regard him as an unprincipled politician and loose cannon. However, despite growing concern about the country’s almost-daily darkening international image, the party leaders aren’t ready to give up on Najib just yet despite the danger that the allegations of corruption raise the possibility that UMNO will be destroyed outright in the next election.

Will Johor’s Activist Ruler save UMNO again

Despite an endorsement of the coalition by the imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, it is clear from the outset that Mahathir, who once engineered a rigged trial to jail Anwar, is out to freeze Anwar’s faction out of the budding coalition – which it now heads. The former Premier is instead seeking to build the coalition around Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali, the ambitious Chief Minister of the state of Selangor, who as much as anything is a challenger for power within Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the party headed by Anwar.

“Azmin has the potential to be PM,” said a member of the Mahathir faction. “He could appeal to all Malays across the board. Non-Malays don’t know much about him, but he isn’t looked on as a radical.”

It is notable that Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who founded the party in 2003, was absent from the press conference announcing the coalition, as was Lim Guan Eng, the Secretary General of the Democratic Action Party and Chief Minister of the state of Penang.

How many of the members of the coalition actually trust Mahathir is questionable. Many see him as seeking to put together a political machine only to wrest power from UMNO instead of investing in a realistic movement to reform the country’s deeply flawed political system, which depends on money politics and rent-seeking – a system perfected by Mahathir during his 22 years in power.

Mahathir is attempting to put together a hybrid of the Azmin faction of Pakatan Amanah, the new name for Pakatan Rakyat, plus whatever UMNO dissidents he can lure away from Najib’s party, plus Harapan Baru, the moderate defectors who fled the Islamist Parti Islam Se-Malaysia last year when the party sought to impose seventh-century hudud, or shariah punishments in Kelantan, the only state PAS controls.

With that shaky coalition, the rebranded opposition would seek to control Selangor,  Malaysia’s largest and most prosperous state, which is controlled by the opposition in any case. Johor, the second-biggest state, could be a possibility because it is Muhyiddin’s home state. Muhyiddin’s ally is the Sultan of Johor.

But that raises questions over whom among the country’s contending factions, many of which distrust all the others, and all of which distrust Mahathir, would go along.  The DAP, whose titular head, Lim Kit Siang, has endorsed the coalition, was also jailed by Mahathir in 1987 in the infamous Operation Lalang crackdown on dissidents and political enemies. It is also questionable if the DAP would settle just for Penang, the state the DAP now controls.  The DAP is also not comfortable with Azmin.

If Anwar and his faction don’t swallow their pride and go along, the refusal of  the country’s most prominent and most martyred dissident would be a devastating blow.

Najib continues to command the bulk of the UMNO cadres, who are comfortable with the monthly payments and rent-seeking contracts Najib and the government spills to them. It is hard to see that change.

This is a coalition that demonstrates, as perhaps no other coalition anywhere has, the dangers of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. They have almost nothing in common. But there is one thing, and that is the demonstration of the growing fatigue over the unprecedented scandals that have put Najib and Malaysia on the front pages of papers around the world. That poses the biggest danger for UMNO in the next general election. But also raises the question if it will be possible to put together a credible opposition that can bring the Barisan down.

“After Najib has done smashing Malaysia into bits, the opposition may inherit a broken nation which they are not up to the task to repair,” said a lawyer aligned with Mahathir.

CD (Citizens’Declaration) is not to save Malaysia


March 13, 2016

CD (Citizens’Declaration) is not to save Malaysia

by Tay Tian Yan

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

Be it “Save Malaysia” alliance or the Citizens’ Declaration, the all-powerful implications of “country” and “citizens” have been applied. But the weird thing is, there are a lot of other things getting messed up inside this grand design in the likes of vendetta, frustration, opportunism, powerplay, interest, …anything but “country” or “citizens.”

The only real thing has come out from the mouth of Wan Azizah: “To free Anwar,” which has now become the primary agenda of the so-called “Save Malaysia” campaign.

I have to be honest with myself that Wan Azizah is indeed a marvellous wife that often deserves a lot of respect for her loyalty and undying spirit. Everything she has done she does it for her husband, from joining politics to running for elections, becoming an elected MP, state assemblywoman, the opposition leader, party president to the endless struggle to get her dear husband released.

All these constitute a hefty load on her shoulders that is slowly eating up her life, but she never calls it quits. Despite all this, her input may not be rewarding, as politics is a whole lot larger than a housewife’s kitchen.

If the campaign has been drawn up to free Anwar, then it shouldn’t have anything to do with “country” or “citizens” in the first place.

While many were compassionate with Anwar’s imprisonment, that was part and parcel of the Malaysian judiciary that proceeded from the initial prosecution to defence, trials, passing of judgment to come to this outcome.

And that case wasn’t even political in nature. It was a lawsuit targeting an individual’s personal behavior which unfortunately was not permitted under the country’s laws.

Wan Azizah’s determination to save her husband should gain the public’s sympathy, but that warrants some better reasons.

The response from a series of actions taken by Wan Azizah or her PKR in the past could best be depicted as “lukewarm,” attesting to the fact that Malaysians generally know how to tell national and family affairs apart.

As such, it would seem inappropriate to once again peg Anwar’s imprisonment to “country” and “citizens,” especially when the other protagonist is Dr Mahathir.

In 1998, Anwar was treated brutally by Mahathir, taken away by force from his shocked family and thrown into a lock-up cell with a bruised eye followed.

The sympathy and support Anwar received when he came out of jail were a powerful backlash on Mahathir, and this gave Anwar one after another opportunity to convert such a force into one that would propel the nation forward but which he unfortunately missed and abused to sell his personal agenda. Almost two decades now, and his family and supporters are now asking the public to save Anwar.

As for Mahathir, his agenda is for himself, his family and the interest group over which he presides. These motives have now been crudely packaged into a national and civic affair but how many will still believe in him?

Are we still going to allow Mahathir’s and Anwar’s agendas to continue dictating the fate of this country? — Sin Chew Daily

When will Malaysians wake up for Political Change?


March 12, 2016

When will Malaysians wake up for Political Change?

by Rash Behari Bhattacharjee*

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

*R B Bhattacharjee writes on good governance, social justice and current issues at The Edge Malaysia, where he is associate editor.

Over the years, many citizens’ declarations have been adopted to highlight pressing problems affecting various groups, but the Citizens’ Declaration of March 4, initiated by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has created a watershed in the national political landscape that is perhaps unprecedented.

To the astonishment of all, the mercurial Dr Mahathir has assembled an unlikely array of friends and foes from both sides of the political divide as well as prominent activists in a single-minded mission to unseat Prime Minister Dato’Seri Najib Razak.

By drawing political heavyweights from hitherto irreconcilable alignments to his side, Dr Mahathir has caused a ground shift to occur in the political situation, opening the field to dramatic new possibilities that were unthinkable before.

For the moment, however, the Citizens’ Declaration has generated as much controversy as it has traction, but this is only to be expected when battle lines that have defined Malaysian politics for decades have been erased overnight.

While proponents of the Mahathir-led alliance may be ready to focus on its primary goal of removing Najib by legal and non-violent means, its detractors reject the idea of ignoring Dr Mahathir’s central role in the breakdown of checks and balances in key national institutions as an unacceptable abdication to opportunism.

Some also see a total makeover of the political setup as the indispensable goal, making a mere change of Prime Minister a fruitless endeavour.

No doubt, those in favour of Dr Mahathir’s gambit see the strategic value of initiating a cross-party, inclusive coalition as a rare opportunity to rouse the conservative-minded electorate to chart a different future for the nation.

Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak had common mentor in crony politics-Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

The jailed former Opposition leader Dato’Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who pledged his support for the initiative despite being perhaps Dr Mahathir’s most prominent victim, is surely among those who appreciate that point. Nevertheless, it is early days for the movement and much will depend on the extent of its reach before the final word on it is written.

Further, the Citizens’ Declaration has the effect of presenting an alternative democratic means of voicing public sentiment about the Prime Minister in addition to institutional channels like a general election or a vote of no-confidence tabled in Parliament.

In addition, as Dr Mahathir noted at the announcement of the declaration, the move was taken because the usual channels for raising pertinent issues are not working. It is no small irony that virtually all the measures that concentrated power in the hands of the Executive and UMNO President were introduced or took off during Dr Mahathir’s 22-year tenure (1981-2003) as the country’s 4th Prime Minister.

Even for those who support the status quo, the assurance of a monolithic political base for the ruling coalition has been eroding. Confirmation of this comes in the form of senior UMNO leaders, including former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former MCA President Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in the Mahathir-led alliance.

It is likely that the uncertainty which has erupted on the political front with the Citizens’ Declaration may become a significant feature of the national life for some time.

Clearly, there is a growing trend towards a fragmentation of political blocs in both the ruling and opposition ranks. For the Malay-Muslim vote, in particular, the emergence of Parti Amanah Negara and the mellowing of PAS’s relations with Umno portend further repercussions for the political balance.

In this growing political flux, it is important that the dominant role of political institutions in national life be moderated in order that voters do not remain dependent on the state of political networks for access to opportunities and remedies.

For this to happen, parallel sectors, including the civil service, civil society and business community must outgrow the patronage and rentier culture to become more apolitical.

The “father knows best” mode of politics that is common in developing countries often becomes a hindrance to the evolution of a strong democratic tradition rooted in transparency, accountability and good governance since it embeds the idea that leaders are beyond scrutiny as long as they distribute benefits to their constituents.

To curb the influence of distributive politics, a self-help culture must be nurtured among the electorate and a more robust sense of ethical behaviour internalised.This can only be effective if the work of developing economic resilience and building an ethical culture is undertaken independently of the political machinery, irrespective of its colour. This could take the form of a non-partisan social development movement that evolves from the grassroots.

Such movements have been a feature of many Third World countries, especially where government programmes have been slow to take off.In effect, the target communities must develop the confidence to shake off the belief that their welfare is in peril without the protection of a generous benefactor.

Put another way, the key to the emancipation of the electorate lies in outgrowing the mental colonisation that comes from the dominant political discourse. That is something that the citizens themselves must find out how to do. – March 12, 2016.

 

 

RPK says: Anwar Ibrahim destroyed Pakatan Rakyat


March 1o, 2016

RPK says: Anwar Ibrahim destroyed Pakatan Rakyat

by FMT Reporters

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Anwar Ibrahim at his Political Peak in 2008

Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) has defended his attacks against Anwar Ibrahim, saying it was the jailed former Opposition leader who first declared war on him.

In an interview with the New Straits Times, Raja Petra said he had predicted that Anwar’s “agree to disagree” policy and his refusal to resolve many issues within the Opposition, such as hudud, would lead to Pakatan Rakyat’s demise.

“And for that he attacked me. And now have I not been proven right? Has Pakatan Rakyat not disintegrated?So why can’t I oppose Anwar when he is the cause of the disaster and when I had already warned him, and then he declared war on me because I had brought this matter up.”

He stressed that since it was Anwar who declared war on him, he had the right to respond just as Prime Minister Najib Razak could respond to the fierce attacks by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

RPK  as I knew him–Din Merican

“So tell me, what is the issue here? Others can whack you, but you must just take it and not hit back? What is wrong with these Opposition people?”

He also said the Opposition had become a circus, and cited the outburst of Amanah President Mohamad Sabu at the Sungai Buloh rally recently and the meeting between Mahfuz Omar of PAS and Mahathir to remove Najib while the DAP was trying to destroy PAS and party President Abdul Hadi Awang.

He also mentioned the statement by PAS Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man that the Islamist party would never work with UMNO because the latter refused to support the implementation of hudud.

“Is this the Opposition you are telling me to support?”He said only circus clowns would work for a circus and that he was not a circus clown.“I would like to believe I have better brains than that.”

Raja Petra left Malaysia in February 2009 and has been living in Manchester ever since in self-imposed exile, where he continues to run his MalaysiaToday website.

 

 

The Political Chameleon Backs Former Boss Mahathir


February 4, 2016

The Political Chameleon Backs Former Boss Mahathir

by The Malaysian Insider

The Same Difference-Two of a Kind

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim today (February 3)threw his support behind Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, dissident UMNO politicians and opposition leaders to push for Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s resignation.

The jailed politician expressed his support for his former mentor-turned-nemesis who will lead a movement tomorrow demanding Najib resign over alleged financial shenanigans.

“I support the position of friends in civil society, political parties and individuals including Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and others to build up strength and common understanding together as articulated by the leader of the opposition recently.

“This understanding will focus on the demand for Dato’ Seri Najib to resign as Prime Minister as he has clearly failed to lead this nation. He is responsible for continuing to engage in selfish political acts, wreaking havoc upon administrative institutions, and burdening the rakyat with continued economic crisis,” Anwar said in a statement released by his party PKR.

But he said the call for change must involve reforms at key institutions, which he said “have been badly damaged under the administration of Dato’ Seri Najib”.

“All this while, in representing the voice and conscience of the rakyat, we have pledged to fight to return the rights of the rakyat in an independent and sovereign nation.In line with this commitment, the rights of the rakyat must be returned through free and fair elections as well as an independent judiciary and free media,” said Anwar.

He also called for economic reforms with a new focus on economic growth and equitable distribution of wealth.

“The 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) scandal involving the prime minister is the most severe scandal in our history and has badly damaged our nation’s image.

“This can only happen when power is centred in one individual such as the Prime Minister, as well as the failure of key financial, judicial and enforcement institutions to perform their tasks independently without fear or favour,” he said.

Anwar said history showed that any meaningful transition of power demanded a systemic change.”Therefore, I urge my friends and the rakyat to stand together in this effort without limiting it with personal agenda or personal vendetta.We must together chart a new way forward to save our beloved nation,” he added.

Both Dr Mahathir, who left UMNO earlier this week, and Muhyiddin, who was suspended as the UMNO Deputy President last week, had called for reforms in their campaign to remove Najib.

Following his departure from UMNO, Dr Mahathir reportedly held discussions with several opposition leaders.

Earlier today, The Malaysian Insider reported that Dr Mahathir was expected to lead a movement against Najib, following his meetings with politicians and activists.

It was learned that Dr Mahathir would lead some 40 leaders to sign a declaration tomorrow (February 4) seeking the removal of Najib as Prime Minister.

The declaration will be symbolically presented to a people’s representative, followed by a news conference.

However, Pakatan Harapan today said it was not part of the event tomorrow.

http://www.themalaysianoutsider.com/malaysia/article/anwar-throws-support-behind-dr-mahathir-others-against-najib#sthash.HknlGVkm.dpuf