ALOR STAR — Oct. 10, 2017: Academic and controversial author Kassim Ahmad died today at the age of 84 at the Kulim Hospital.
According to his son Ahmad Shauqi, his father died of lung-related problems. Kassim had been unconscious since last night.
Bernama reported quoted Shauqi as saying that Kassim’s remains will buried in Kulim, either later today or at the latest, by tomorrow morning.
On September 16, Kassim alias Osman Ahmad underwent treatment for a lung infection and blocked heart valves.
He was known for his book “Hadith: A Re-evaluation” which was a critical study of the hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) as a credible source of Islamic teaching. The book was banned by the government in 1986.
Kassim, the son of Islamic religious teacher Ahmad Ishak, was born in Bukit Pinang, Alor Star, on Sept 9, 1933.
He went to the Sultan Abdul Hamid College and then the University of Malaya in Singapore.
Kassim started work at Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka before moving to London to lecture on Malay studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
He was also a member of Parti Rakyat Malaysia under Ahmad Boestaman and later 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 beginning 1976 for allegedly supporting the socialist-communist movement and was released in 1981.
In 1984, he sparked a controversy for penning a book “Hadis: Penilaian Semula” which questioned the role of the hadith in Islam, which was subsequently banned by the Home Ministry two years later.
On March 27, 2014, Kassim was charged for allegedly insulting Islam. Two months ago, the Putrajaya syariah court acquitted and discharged after the prosecution withdrew the charges.
This was after the Court of Appeal and Federal Court ruled that Kassim’s arrest and prosecution by the Federal Territories Islamic Department was invalid.