PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed he was labelled as "anti-hadith" by people who fear that their religious opinions may be put to question.
“They wish for all their religious opinions to be accepted wholly as a fatwa which is to be accepted as an order by God in the Al-Quran,” he said on his blog chedet.cc.
Dr Mahathir said he was criticised as being anti-hadith because he was alleged to have supported Dr Kassim Ahmad, a controversial academic and politician.
“We know that there are hadis which are sahih (strong) and there are hadith which are weak.
"When there are differing hadiths which are in conflict with the Al-Quran, is it wrong to rely on the Quran instead?” said the 88-year-old former prime minister.
He criticised those fluent in Arabic, suggesting that such people may contradict in their approach to religion.
“Are we obligated to blindly accept whatever is fed to us by Arabic speakers who have studied the religion even though their actions are clearly against Islamic teachings in the Quran and hadith?” he asked.
“Do we have to acknowledge just about anyone who claims to be ulama? Are all members of the ulama groups truly ulamas?” said Mahathir, adding that he was advised not to talk about Islam because he did not speak Arabic.
He added that it was dangerous and confusing when a person who speaks Arabic and holds a degree in Islamic studies was conferred the title of ulama simply based on his academic and language credentials.
“I know that the response to my writing will be claims that I am anti-hadith, anti-Quran or even that I am not a Muslim,” he said.
“I will soon meet Allah and will be judged by Him. I don’t know whether the allegations against me will be confirmed but I know and am sure that whatever judgement bestowed will be fair. And I will accept it,” he said.
Dr Mahathir waded into controversy after he officiated at a seminar organised by Kassim titled "A seminar on the thoughts of Kassim Ahmad: A re-evaluation recently.
He also defended Kassim at a press conference, saying the scholar was labelled anti-hadith by his accusers who failed to debate with him on religious issues.