LAST_UPDATEMon, 23 Jul 2018 1pm

Kassim Ahmad Safely Buried By PAS Volunteers, Amidst Refusal Of Mosques To Bury Him

On 10 October, controversial academic and social activist Kassim Ahmad, 84, drew his last breath in Kulim Hospital due to lung infection.

His son, Ahmad Shauqi, 50, said his father’s body would be buried at Jalan Kelang Lama Muslim Cemetery in Kulim shortly after his death.

However, Malaysian Gazette reported that some mosques refused to handle Kassim’s burial on Tuesday, presumably due to his controversial works in the past that challenged mainstream Islamic thinking in Malaysia.

According to Facebook user Wan Kamarul Wan Amir, he claimed there were mosques who refused to bury Kassim on the night after his death.

“There were mosques and burial authorities who refused to bury him. PAS volunteers decided to handle his body after seeking advice from the Kedah mufti,” he wrote.

A pastor was seen standing among those who attended the burial, claiming he was a friend of Kassim. The church wished to take over the burial if no one were to handle it.

PAS’s initiative to handle Kassim’s body has received praise from the Perlis mufti, Dr Mohd Asri.

“Even though they have had disagreements in the past, this act by Kedah PAS Volunteering Unit must be praised. It is an act of respect.

“I applaud the Kedah mufti for his advice in solving the problem,” Dr Asri wrote in a Facebook post.

In February 2014, Dr Asri had arranged a public dialogue with the late Kassim, with the help of Malay publications Sinar Harian and Majalah I. Unfortunately, it was cancelled by the Home Ministry for undisclosed reasons.

Kassim’s works in the past has placed him in the crosshairs by the Malaysian Islamic authorities. His groundbreaking book Hadis: Satu Penilaian Semula (Sayings of the Prophet: A Reevaluation) published in 1986 caused him to be labelled as anti-hadis by the authorities.

In the book, he criticised the use of hadis as a basis for law, and his bold views resulted in the banning of the book in 1989. As a response to his critics, he released a second book, Hadis: Jawapan Kepada Pengkritik (A Response To The Critics) in 1992.

He was accused by the Islamic Department of the Federal Territories (JAWI) and Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) for insulting Islam and disobeying the fatwa regarding his book.

At one point, he was even accused of being a communist and arrested under the Internal Security Act on November 1976.

A close friend of Tun Dr Mahathir, the fourth prime minister also expressed his regret on the death of Kassim.

“I am in grief over the death of my dear friend Kassim Ahmad. We lost a brave individual, one who stood fast to his principles regardless of the challenges that fall on him,” he said.

-- mD