Kassim Ahmad is Malaysia’s foremost thinker and philosopher. Kassim was born on 9 September, 1933 in Kedah, Malaysia. He received his Bachelor of Art’s degree in Malay language and literature, but also read widely in political science and Islamic philosophy.
Kassim grabbed national headlines in the 1950s with his dissertation on the characters of Hang Tuah (Perwatakan Hang Tuah), the Malay literary classic. He taught Malay language and literature for a time in the London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and then in a secondary school in Penang where he has been staying with his family since 1966.
Kassim was jailed for nearly five years under the ISA for daring to express openly his political views, an experience which he recounted in his book, Universiti Kedua (Second University).
Like many modern reformists, after comparing the teachings of Hadith to the Quran, Kassim experienced a paradigm change. He shook the Malay world with his Hadith: A Re-Examination in which he challenges the infallibility of the purported words of Prophet Muhammad. His recent book, Islamic Renaissance has been published by Brainbow Press.
He is awarded an honorary doctorate in Letters by the National University of Malaysia. He has written several books on Malay literature as well as on Islamic subjects. His English and Malay articles are published at: