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. 7.26.2008

Zakir Naik

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Islamic Preacher

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Name Zakir Naik
Birth October 18, 1965 (1965-10-18) (age 42)
Mumbai, India Flag of India
School/tradition Islam
Main interests Islamic Dawah
Influenced by Sheikh Ahmed Deedat

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik (Arabic: زاكر عبد الكريم نايك) (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.



[edit] Biography

Zakir Naik was born on October 18, 1965 in Mumbai, India and is of Konkani descent.[3] He received his first academic education from St. Peter's High School(ICSE) situated in the city 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 Muslim Scholar of Islam, Christianity and Comparative Religion, Sheikh 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Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel that their own religion is outdated"[7] and that it was the duty of every Muslim to remove misconceptions about Islam to counter the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of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 as well as those directed towards removing misconceptions about Islam.[9][10] Some of his articles are also frequently published in Indian magazines like the Islamic Voice.[11][12][13]

[edit] Lectures, visits and thoughts

Thomas Blom Hansen, a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh, has written Naik's style of memorizing 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][14] Topics he speaks on include: "Islam and Modern Science", "Islam and Christianity", and "Islam and secularism", among others.[7]

Delivering a lecture titled 'Why Westerners embrace Islam' in November 2002 at the at King Fahd Hospital auditorium in Jeddah, Zakir Naik said that Islam offers practical solutions to various problems facing the West such as adultery, alcoholism and filial ingratitude. Naik also noted that despite strident anti-Islam campaigns, 34,000 Americans have embraced Islam from September 2001 to July 2002. To back his words on anti-Islam campaigns he quoted a report published in the Time Magazine which said that about 60,000 books against Islam have been written over the past 150 years alone.[15] Muslim author Mohammed Talib writes that in a similar lecture titled 'Why the West is coming to Islam', Naik lists adultery, surplus women, theft, rape, alcoholism, the concept of Old Age Homes etc. as being some of the problems of the western society, and says that Islam has solutions to all of them.[16] In a lecture at Melbourne University, Naik argued that only Islam, gave women true equality.[17] He extolled on the importance of the headscarf by arguing that revealing "Western" dress makes women more susceptible to rape.[18] Naik also said that about 2700 rapes took place daily in the United States. Under Islam, he said, a man who raped a woman was to be punished with the death penalty.[17]

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".[19] Indian journalist Khushwant Singh feels that Naik's pronouncements are 'juvenile' and said that "they seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates".[20] Singh has also noted that Naik's audiences "... listen to him with rapt attention and often explode in enthusiastic applause when he rubbishes other religious texts ..." [21] In 2004 Naik visited New Zealand[22] 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". Das also noted that "In Australia, where young Muslims are also searching for identity, a separation mentality is fuelled when radical overseas speakers (like Naik) spout ill-informed rhetoric" and that "It does nothing to develop harmony." [23]

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 he is one of the most uncontroversial people you could find. He talks about the similarities between religions and how we should work on the common ground between them" whilst also inviting Davies to discuss further with Naik personally in the conference. The conference went ahead, with more than 1,000 people attending it after the Cardiff council stated it was satisfied that he would not be preaching extremist views.[24][25]

Following a controversial lecture on Islam by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006, Naik invited him to engage in a televized interfaith dialogue.[26][27] In November 2007, at a 10-day international Islamic conference and exhibition titled The Peace Conference in Mumbai, Naik provoked anger amongst the Shia and Sunni communities at the conference when he mentioned the words “Radiallah ta'la anho” (meaning 'May Allah be pleased with him') after the name of Yazid I and made remarks that Karbala was a political battle.[28][29] Others although believed the comment was blown out of proportion,[30] with Naik saying that he had been misunderstood.[28]

[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. ^
  4. ^ - Biography of Dr. Zakir Naik from (A website constructed by his students)
  5. ^ Spreading God’s Word Is His Mission - Arab News
  6. ^ Muslims Mourn Sheikh Ahmed Deedat,, 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. ^ Books Authored by Dr. Zakir Naik
  10. ^ FAQs on Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik
  11. ^ Prohibition of Alcohol in Islam - Islamic Voice
  12. ^ Was Islam Spread by the Sword? - by Dr. Zakir Naik
  13. ^ Are Ram And Krishna Prophets Of God? - Islamic Voice
  14. ^ Syed Neaz Ahmad (February 23, 2007). "Peace TV Reaching 50 Million Viewers – Dr. Zakir Naik". Saudi Gazette. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
  15. ^ New Muslims on the rise in US after Sept. 11
  16. ^ Talib, p17-18.
  17. ^ a b Islam's gender debate at the fore
  18. ^ The clash of ignorance
  19. ^ "Second opinion: Zakir Naik’s ‘reverse orientalism’ —Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review". Daily Times (December 16, 2003). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  20. ^ Why Muslims lag behind - Khushwant Singh; retrieved Dec 26, 2007
  21. ^ One man’s belief is another’s shackle - Khushwant Singh
  22. ^ "Scholar clears the air about Islam ‘labels’". Te Waha Nui (September 6, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  23. ^ "Between two worlds". The Age (July 28, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  24. ^ Row over Islamic preacher -
  25. ^ Cleric's address hailed a success
  26. ^ Dr Zakir Naik invites Pope Benedict XVI for open interfaith dialogue - Pak Tribune, September 29, 2006
  27. ^ Pope Benedict’s Provocative Utterances op ed by Latheef Farook, South Asia News Agency, October 18, 2006
  28. ^ a b Justice, peace & unity: The cornerstone of Islam by By Syed Neaz Ahmad, Saudi Gazette, March 31, 2008
  29. ^ Row over Islamic preacher's remarks
  30. ^ Dr. Zakir Naik’s Remarks on Yazid Spark Anger Among Muslims

[edit] External links

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