My father never got to even see his autobiography, says Kassim Ahmad’s son

12-Oct-2017 Intellasia | New Straits Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

His autobiography is ready and the launch date had been fixed for next month.

However, veteran writer and activist Dr Kassim Ahmad will no longer be able to witness the launch of a book that chronicles his life story.

The 84-year-old passed away at Kulim Hospital this morning.

What saddeneded his son, Ahmad Shauqi, 50, the most is that Kassim never got a chance to flip through the completed printed copy of the autobiography as he was way too ill even before slipping into coma on Sunday.

“I brought back 10 copies of the autobiography for him to look through but unfortunately, he was too weak to even have a glance through the pages,” Shauqi said in between sobs at Masjid Al Huda Muslim Cemetery in Kelang Lama after the funeral this evening.

Kassim’s body was laid to rest about 7.30pm after Maghrib prayers.

Present were his wife Sharifah Fawziah Syed Yussof Al-Sagof, 79; daughter Soraya; relatives and close friends including his former partner in Parti Rakyat Malaysia, Dr Syed Husin Ali.

Sharifah Fawziah Syed Yussof Al-Sagof, 79, pouring scented water on the grave of her husband, veteran writer and activist Dr Kassim Ahmad after the funeral ceremony at Masjid Al Huda Muslim Cemetery in Kelang Lama, Kulim, this everning. (PIX NSTP Adie Suri Zulkefli)

Shauqi said his father’s passing was a tragic loss to the family and said he would continue his father’s works for the interest of Muslims and Malaysians at large.

“On behalf of my family, I wish to convey our gratitude to the mosque committee members and those involved in the funeral, and also those who extended their condolences over my father’s passing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Syed Husin said he had lost a good friend and described Kassim’s demise as a great loss to the country.

Kassim was warded on September 16 for a lung infection and was discharged on October 1 but was readmitted four days later after his condition deteriorated.

He slipped into coma on Sunday and passed away peacefully in the presence of his wife and children.

Kassim, the son of Islamic religious teacher Ahmad Ishak, was born in Bukit Pinang, Alor Star on September 9, 1933.

He received his early education at a primary school in Bandar Baharu and attended the Sultan Abdul Hamid College for his secondary education. Kassim furthered his studies at University of Malaya in Singapore in the 1950s.

Kassim started his career as a researcher at Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka in Kuala Lumpur before moving to London, where he spent four years lecturing on Malay studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

He was also a member of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) under Ahmad Boestaman. He then led Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia together with Syed Hussin Ali for 18 years before joining Umno.

Kassim was detained for five years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1976 for allegedly supporting the socialist-communist movement. He was released in 1981.

In 1984, he sparked controversy for penning the book “Hadis: Penilaian Semula” which questioned the role of hadith in Islam. The book was banned by the Home Ministry two years later.

Among the books written he had penned include Characterisation in Hikayat Hang Tuah (1966), Kemarau di Lembah (1967) Perwatakan dalam Hikayat Hang Tuah (1973), Pengembara Dalam Perjalanan (1978), Universiti Kedua (1983), Hadis: Jawapan Kepada Pengkritik (1992), Quo Vadis Bangsaku?, Polemik Sastera Islam, Mencari Jalan Pulang Daripada Sosialisme Kepada Islam, Jalan Ke Parlimen and Hikayat Hang Tuah.

He was also bestowed numerous honours including the Doctorate of Letters, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (1985), GAPENA Award (1987) and Zaaba Award (2016).

It was reported that on March 27, 2014, Kassim was charged at the Putrajaya Syariah High Court with three charges of insulting Islam.

He was charged in connection with his speech at the Perdana Foundation in Putrajaya on “Hadis: Satu Penilaian Semula” and “Hadis: Jawapan kepada Pengkritik”.

Two months ago, the Putrajaya Syariah Court acquitted and discharged him from the charges following the withdrawal of the charges by the prosecution.

It was reported that the Syarie prosecuting officer withdrew the case after agreeing with the Court of Appeal and Federal Court decis ions, which ruled that Kassim’s arrest and prosecution by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) were invalid. The court had also ordered the applicants of the appeal to pay costs of RM20,000 to Kassim.


Category: Malaysia

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