.1. I was stunned when reading an article in Utusan Melayu today (4th may 09) titled "Enam buku hadith diharamkan", a fatwa decreed by the Pahang Fatwa authority. A statement in the article bluntly accused anybody believing or subscribing to the argument in those book as an outright murtad - a heavy statement indeed! Yes, you are no more muslim if you happen to read and believe some of the arguments posted in those books even if you are staunchly holding to the sacred believe of the monotheism doctrine, the greatness of Allah almighty and Mohammad SAW is His messenger.
2. I have the pleasure of reading the 2 books by Dr. Kassim Ahmad and a glimp of the article by Rashad Khalifa- both banned by Majlis Fatwa. While the book/article by Rashad Khalifa is highly mathematical and rather difficult for me as a laymen to swallow, there are part which I find outragous, such as the argument about abrogation between certain ayat in the quran and his insistance on deleting a couple of ayat in the quran just to fit in to his mathematical calculation. The ban on this book by the Majlis Fatwa is highly justified and I totally agree with the Majlis.
3. Whereas the 2 books by Dr. Kasim Ahmad post a totally diffrent perspective. Dr.Kasim have put the Quran as the most pure form of revelation's dictation - the words of God Almighty -. The revelations were conveyed to the prophet which were duly dictated orally and instantly written down by the Sahabats. Some sahabat learned these revelation by heart. These writings were carefully kept and safeguarded and when the compilation of the Quran was done during the reign of Khalifah Othman Affan, every ayat were checked and cross-checked by these sahabat with those who learned it by heart. The checking and cross-checking was so thorough that it completely leave no room for any human error during the compilation process. As suggested by Dr.Kasim, the Quran should be the ultimate criterion - the criterion for living the righteous life as well as the criterion for the authencity of every hadhith. This is the bottom line of the lengthy articles of Dr.Kasim and I find it very hard to find fault with this concept.
4. I sincerely feel that there should not be such a big fuss over the issue. But when the books were published in the 80s, our orthodox islamic jurist became so over exited that the issue had turn into a full blown public controversy. There were lots of emotional attack, name-calling and the very familiar word 'murtad' were labelled toward Dr.Kasim. Looking back at the polimic surrounding this issue in the 80s, I cant help feeling sad to the point of disgust toward the attitude of some of our supposedly learned religious jurist. After all, the issue is not new, it had been discussed and debated for decades by famous islamic jurists. Dr. kasim's books were written as an academic presentation (sort of an academic hypothesis) which follows the modern academic discipline and it is only proper for those who are not in agreement to discuss and debate their points in a manner which is permitted by the academic discipline, not by emotional name calling or uncivilised labelling.
5 The attitude of those islamic jurists was echoed by the mass which have been trained and 'brainwashed' by the 'one-way street' system of our religious learning. We were trained to consume all the necessary knowledge handed down to us by our ustazs. Questions must be carefully worded such that it will not cause you to 'accidently slip' into the murtad trap. Discussions and debates are tuned toward the fine-tuning of the practical aspects of your ritual obligations. The philosophical and historical aspect of these knowledge were seldom discussed or debated. You were borned into a Shafie's mazhab under the Ahlilsunnah sect and you must stick to it and you should die under this mazhab and sect. You are scared even to wonder around into the other 3 mazhab although these mazhab are under the same ahlisunnah sect.