Zakir Naik

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Zakir Naik

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Full name Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Birth October 18, 1965 (1965-10-18) (age 43)
Mumbai, India Flag of India

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik (born: October 18, 1965) is an Indian public speaker, and writer on the subject of Islam and comparative religion. By profession, he is a medical doctor, attaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from Maharashtra, but since 1991 he has focused only on preaching Islam.[1]

Zakir Naik is also the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF)[1][2] —a non-profit organization that owns and broadcasts the free-to-air TV channel network Peace TV from Mumbai, India and he is also the founder of the Islamic International School in Mumbai, India.

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[edit] Biography

Zakir Naik was born on October 18, 1965 in Mumbai, India and is of Konkani descent.[3] He attended St. Peter’s High School (ICSE) in the city of Mumbai. Later he joined the Kishinchand Chellaram College and then studied medicine at Topiwala National Medical College and Nair Hospital in Mumbai. He then received his MBBS degree from the University of Mumbai. In 1991 he gave up his activity as a medical doctor and started working in the field of Da’wah or proselytizing of Islam[4]

Naik says he was inspired by the late Ahmed Deedat[5] who had himself been active in the field of Da’wah for more than forty years[6]. According to Naik, his goal is to “concentrate on the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel that their own religion is outdated”[7] and that it was the duty of every Muslim to remove misconceptions about Islam to counter what he considers as the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. [8] He has lectured and authored several books on Islam and Comparative religion[9] as well as those directed towards removing misconceptions about Islam.[10][11] Some of his articles are also frequently published in Indian magazines like the Islamic Voice.[12][13][14]

Thomas Blom Hansen, a sociologist who held academic positions at various universities, has written that Naik’s style of memorizing some portions of the Qur’an and hadith literature in various languages, and travelling abroad to debate Islam with theologians, has made him extremely popular in Muslim circles. Although he usually speaks to audiences of several hundreds, it is the videotapes of his talks which are widely distributed. His talks are usually recorded in English, to be broadcast at weekends on several cable networks in Mumbai’s Muslim neighborhoods,[7] and on the channel Peace TV, which he co-promotes. [2][15] Topics he speaks on include: “Islam and Modern Science”, “Islam and Christianity”, and “Islam and secularism”, among others.[7]

[edit] Lectures, debates and controversies

Delivering a lecture titled Why Westerners embrace Islam in November 2002 at the at King Fahd Hospital auditorium in Jeddah, Zakir Naik argued that Islam offers practical solutions to various problems facing the West such as adultery, alcoholism and filial ingratitude. Naik also stated that “despite the strident anti-Islam campaign, 34,000 Americans have embraced Islam from September 2001 to July 2002.” Inorder to support his argument, he quoted a report published in the Time Magazine which said that about 60,000 books on Islam and the Orient have been written over the past 150 years alone. [16] [17]

In 2004, Naik visited New Zealand[18] and then Australian capitals at the invitation of Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia. In his conference in Melbourne; according to journalist Sushi Das, “Naik extolled the moral and spiritual superiority of Islam and lampooned other faiths and the West in general”, adding that Naik’s words “fostered a spirit of separateness and reinforced prejudice”. [19] Political Analyst Khaled Ahmed considers that Zakir Naik, by his claims of Islam’s superiority over other religious faiths, practices what he calls reverse Orientalism. [20] In a lecture at Melbourne University, Naik argued that only Islam, gave women true equality.[21] He stressed the importance of the headscarf by arguing that “revealing Western dress” makes women more susceptible to rape.[22] Naik asserted that about 2700 rapes took place daily in the United States. Under Islam, he said, a man who raped a woman was punished with the death penalty.[21]

In August 2006, Naik’s visit and conference in Cardiff (UK) were the object of controversy when Welsh MP David Davies called for his appearance to be cancelled and described him as a ‘hate-monger’; muslims from Cardiff however defended Naik’s right to speak in their city. Saleem Kidwai, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Wales, disagreed with Davies, stating that “people who know about him (Naik) know that he is one of the most uncontroversial persons you could find. He talks about the similarities between religions, and how should we work on the common ground between them”, whilst also inviting Davies to discuss further with Naik personally in the conference. The conference went ahead, after the Cardiff council stated it was satisfied that he would not be preaching extremist views.[23][24] Following a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006, Naik offered to engage in a live public debate with him, but the Pope made no responce to his invitation.“I am more than willing to participate in the inter-faith dialogue with Pope Benedict XVI. I am ready on any topic he (the Pope) wishes as long as it focuses on Quran and the Bible” Dr. Naik said. He said he can go to Rome or Vatican to meet the Pope at his own expense. [25][26]

In November 2007, the IRF organized a 10-day international Islamic conference and exhibition titled The Peace Conference at the Somaiya grounds in Mumbai. Lectures on Islam were presented by Naik as well as twenty other speakers.[27] During one of the lectures, Naik provoked anger amongst members of the Shia communities at the conference when he mentioned the words “Radiallah ta’la anho” (meaning ‘May Allah be pleased with him’) after mentioning the name of Yazid I and made remarks that the battle of Karbala was political.[27][28] Others however believed the comment was blown out of proportion.[29].

In a lecture delivered on 31st July 2008 on Peace TV, Naik argued that 9/11 was an insider’s job done by George Bush himself so that he can attack oil rich countries.[30]

Khushwant Singh, a prominent Indian journalist, argues that Naik’s pronouncements are “juvenile” and said that “they seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates”.[31][32] Writing in Indian newspaper The Hindu, Praveen Swami claims that some of his teachings are similar to those of organizations advocating violence, although Naik himself emphatically rejects terrorism.[33]

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Islamic Research Foundation – Introduction (Dr. Zakir Naik)
  2. ^ a b Mazumdar, Sudip (2006-01-23). “Beaming In Salvation“. Newsweek International.
  3. ^ Zakir Naik
  4. ^ http://drzakirnaik.com/Home/AboutMe/tabid/54/Default.aspx – Biography of Dr. Zakir Naik from DrZakirNaik.com (A website constructed by his students)
  5. ^ Spreading God’s Word Is His Mission – Arab News
  6. ^ Muslims Mourn Ahmed Deedat, IslamOnline.net, August 8, 2005
  7. ^ a b c Hansen, Thomas (2001). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay (in English). Princeton University Press, 177. ISBN 0-691-08840-3.
  8. ^ Media Urged to Counter Anti-Muslim Bias – Arab news, Sunday 9 October 2005
  9. ^ Ten Most Common Questions asked by Christian Missionaries against Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik on IRF.net
  10. ^ Books Authored by Dr. Zakir Naik
  11. ^ FAQs on Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik
  12. ^ Prohibition of Alcohol in Islam – Islamic Voice
  13. ^ Was Islam Spread by the Sword? – by Dr. Zakir Naik
  14. ^ Are Ram And Krishna Prophets Of God? – Islamic Voice
  15. ^ Syed Neaz Ahmad (February 23, 2007). “Peace TV Reaching 50 Million Viewers – Dr. Zakir Naik“. Saudi Gazette. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
  16. ^ New Muslims on the rise in US after Sept. 11
  17. ^ Time Magazine, Islam, Orientalism And the West; Monday, Apr. 16, 1979
  18. ^Scholar clears the air about Islam ‘labels’” (PDF). Te Waha Nui (September 6, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  19. ^Between two worlds“. The Age (July 28, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  20. ^Second opinion: Zakir Naik’s ‘reverse orientalism’ —Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review“. Daily Times (December 16, 2003). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  21. ^ a b Islam’s gender debate at the fore
  22. ^ The clash of ignorance
  23. ^ Row over Islamic preacher – WalesOnline.co.uk
  24. ^ Cleric’s address hailed a success
  25. ^ Dr Zakir Naik invites Pope Benedict XVI for open interfaith dialogue – Pak Tribune, September 29, 2006
  26. ^ Pope Benedict’s Provocative Utterances op ed by Latheef Farook, South Asia News Agency, October 18, 2006
  27. ^ a b Justice, peace & unity: The cornerstone of Islam by By Syed Neaz Ahmad, Saudi Gazette, March 31, 2008
  28. ^ Row over Islamic preacher’s remarks
  29. ^ Dr. Zakir Naik’s Remarks on Yazid Spark Anger Among Muslims
  30. ^ | Naik:9/11 an insiders job
  31. ^ One man’s belief is another’s shackle – Khushwant Singh
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ Shattered certitudes and new realities emerge in terror link investigation paragraph 14.

[edit] External links