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92. Dr. Zakir Naik

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik

BornZakir Abdul Karim Naik
October 18, 1965 (1965-10-18) (age 45)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

OccupationPresident of Islamic Research Foundation, Orator, Public speaker

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik (Urdu: ذاکر عبدالکریم نائیک; born 18 October 1965) is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF),, a non-profit organization that owns the Peace TV channel based in Mumbai, India. Naik is also a public speaker and writer on the subject of Islam and comparative religion.
Naik originally began his career as a medical doctor, having received a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery MBBS degree from the University of Mumbai. Following Ahmed Deedat, Naik began a part-time, and later switched to a full-time career, of giving Islamic speeches to the public.

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik was born on 18 October 1965 in Mumbai, India. He attended St. Peter's High School (ICSE) in the city of Mumbai. Later he enrolled in Kishinchand Chellaram College before studying medicine at Topiwala National Medical College and Nair Hospital and later the University of Mumbai. In 1991 he started working in the field of Da'wah Islam.
Naik says he was inspired by the late Ahmed Deedat, who had been active in the field of Da'wah for more than 50 years. Naik says that his goal is to "concentrate on the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel the religion is outdated", He considers it a duty of every Muslim to remove perceived misconceptions about Islam and to counter what he views as the Western media's anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. Some of his articles are published in magazines such as Islamic Voice.

Anthropologist Thomas Blom Hansen has written that Naik's style of memorizing the Qur'an and hadith literature in various languages and related missionary activity has made him extremely popular in Muslim and non-Muslim circles. Many of his debates are recorded and widely distributed in video and DVD media and online. His talks are usually recorded in English, to be broadcast on weekends on several cable networks in Mumbai's Muslim neighborhoods, and on the Peace TV channel, which he co-produces. Topics he speaks on include: "Islam and Modern Science", "Islam and Christianity", and "Islam and secularism".
Naik is the founder and chairman of the Islamic International School (IIS), Mumbai and the founder of the Peace TV Network.

 Lectures and debates

Naik has held many debates and lectures around the world. One of Naik's most-cited debates took place in Chicago in April, 2000 featuring William Campbell of Pennsylvania, USA on the topic "The Qur'an and the Bible: In the Light of Science". On 11 February 2011 the Oxford Union invited Zakir for a debate via satellite link on the topic of 'Islam and the 21st Century', followed by a question-and-answer session.
Naik has said that "despite the strident anti-Islam campaign, 34,000 Americans have embraced Islam from September 2001 to July 2002." He cited an article by Edward Said published in Time Magazine which said that 60,000 books about Islam and the Orient have been written between 1800 and 1950 alone.
In a lecture at Melbourne University, Naik argued that only Islam gave women true equality. He stressed the importance of the headscarf by arguing that the more "revealing Western dress" makes women more susceptible to rape.

On 21 January 2006 Naik held an inter-religious dialogue with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The event was about the concept of God in Islam and Hinduism, the aim being to promote understanding between the two major religions of India, and to point out the commonalities between them. It was held in Bangalore, India with up to 50,000 attending at the Palace Grounds.
In a lecture delivered on 31 July 2008 on Peace TV, Naik stated, regarding 9/11: "it is a blatant, open secret that this attack on the Twin Towers was done by George Bush himself", to give Bush reason to attack and control oil-rich countries.

On 7 March 2010 Naik participated in a live discussion with Soha Ali Khan and others on a TV show We The People on NDTV.
On 12 February 2011 Zakir Naik addressed the Oxford Union via video link from India.

 Peace conferences

Every year since November 2007 Naik has led a 10-day "Peace Conference" at Somaiya Ground, Sion, Mumbai. Lectures on Islam have been presented by Naik and twenty other Islamic scholars from around the world. Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim was present in 2008.
During one of the lectures at the Peace Conference, Naik provoked anger between members of the Shia and Sunni communities, when he mentioned the words "Radiallah ta'la anho" (meaning 'May Allah be pleased with him') after mentioning the name of Yazid I and said that the battle of Karbala was political. Others, however, believed the comment was blown out of proportion.


In 2007 Saudi publishing house Dar-us-Salam Publications published two booklets written by Naik, entitled "The Concept of God in Major Religions" and "The Qur'an and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible?".

 Biological evolution

Naik says that the theory of evolution contradicts Islam since it remains "just a theory and not a fact", and that scientists "support the theory, because it went against the Bible – not because it was true." According to Naik there are hundreds of scientists and Nobel Prize winners who speak against Darwin's theory.

 Visit to New Zealand and Wales

In 2004 Naik visited New Zealand  and then the Australian capital at the invitation of the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia. At his conference in Melbourne, senior Age writer and columnist Sushi Das commented that "Naik extolled the moral and spiritual superiority of Islam and lampooned other faiths and the West in general", further criticizing that Naik's words "fostered a spirit of separateness and reinforced prejudice".

In August 2006 Naik's visit and conference in Cardiff (UK) caused controversy when Welsh MP David Davies called for his appearance to be cancelled. He argued that Naik was a 'hate-monger', and said his views did not deserve a 'public platform'; 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.

Khushwant Singh, a prominent Indian journalist, politician and author, argues that Naik's pronouncements are "juvenile" and said that "they seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates, where contestants vie with each other to score brownie points". Singh disagreed with Naik's statement that "Western society claims to have uplifted women. On the contrary, it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses, and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketers". Singh wrote: "Dr. Naik, you know next to nothing about the Western society and are talking through your skull cap. People like you are making the Muslims lag behind other communities." Singh also noted that Naik's audiences "listen to him with rapt attention and often explode in enthusiastic applause when he rubbishes other religious texts".


In August 2008 Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa stating: "The statements made by Dr Zakir Naik indicate that he is a preacher of Ghair Muqallidin. One should not rely upon his speeches.".
In 2008 Lucknow-based cleric Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali issued a fatwa against Naik, describing him as a "kafir" (non-believer) and stating in the fatwa that Naik should be excommunicated from Islam. He argued that Naik is not an Islamic scholar, his teachings are against the Quran, that he insults Allah and glorifies Yazeed, the killer of Imam Hussain", and that Naik had supported Osama bin Laden. Naik, however, has said that his speeches have been misquoted, and he has downplayed the fatwa The All-India Sunni Board and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Foundation defended Naik.

 Views on apostasy

Naik has stated that any Muslim is free to convert from Islam if the person so chooses, but added that if a Muslim converts and then speaks against Islam it should be considered treason. Naik stated that under Islamic law this is punishable by death. During a question-and-answer session after Naik's lecture on May 29 in the Maldives, a 37-year old Maldivian citizen named Mohamed Nazim stood up and announced that he was struggling to believe in any religion and did not consider himself to be a Muslim. Nazim further asked what Naik's verdict would be under Islam and in the Maldives. Naik responded that he considers that the punishment for apostasy may not necessarily be death, since Muhammed was reported in the Hadith scriptures on some occasion to have shown clemency towards apostates, but added that if a Muslim apostate speaks and propagates against Islam, then under Islamic Shari’a rule the apostate should be put to death.
Mohamed Nazim was reported to have been arrested and put in protective custody by the Maldivian Police. He later publicly reverted to Islam in custody after receiving two days of counseling by two Islamic scholars, but was held awaiting possible charges.

 Views on terrorism

Naik's views and statements on terrorism have at times been criticised in the media and by the United Kingdom Home Secretary. In a YouTube video speaking of Osama bin Laden, Naik said that he would not criticise bin Laden because he had not met him and did not know him personally. He added: "If he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him. If he is terrorizing the terrorists, America, the biggest terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist... A terrorist is a person who causes terror. The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly every Muslim should be a terrorist for the antisocial elements of society, such as thieves, dacoits and rapists. Whenever such an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is generally used for a person who causes terror among the common people. But a true Muslim should only be a terrorist to selective people, i.e. anti-social elements, and not to the common innocent people. In fact a Muslim should be a source of peace for innocent people."

 Debate with Hindu leaders

Naik argued in his writings that the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures allude to the coming of Muhammad. This evoked strong criticism from Hindus in general and the Arya Samaj in particular, who consider the Vedas to be revealed texts. Because Naik claimed to have defeated Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a debate, he was challenged to debate the Arya Samaj on this issue. After he refused to officially respond, a detailed rebuttal of Naik's views along with the details of his communications with the IRF was made online by the Arya Samaj.


2010 exclusion from the UK and Canada

Naik has been denied entry into the United Kingdom and Canada since June 2010. He was banned by Home Secretary Theresa May after arranging to give talks in London and Sheffield. May said of the exclusion order regarding Naik, "Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behavior". She noted statements from Naik such as, "every Muslim should be a terrorist". Naik believed that the Home Secretary was making a "political decision and not a legal one". It was reported that Naik would attempt to challenge the ruling in the High Court; his application for judicial review was dismissed on 5 November 2010.

 Influence as revealed by published newspaper rankings

On 31 January 2010 the Sunday Express published The Indian Express list of the “100 Most Powerful Indians in 2010”. It ranked Naik at 89. Of the Muslims on this list, Naik was the only Islamic preacher. The other Muslims were a political secretary, a politician, a government official, a business magnate and three Bollywood film personalities. He was the third-most-influential religious figure listed in 2009, whereas in 2010 he rose to become the highest-placed religious leader at No. 89 followed by Jaggi Vasudev at 94, Baba Ramdev at 99 and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at 100.

Source : Wikipedia


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