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I have differences with Dr Zakir Naik but supporting him is a need of the hour

By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,

Dr Zakir Naik emerged in the 1990s, dressed in suit and a skull cap talking about Islam in English. It was a departure from traditional Muslim preachers who dressed in kurta-paijamas and spoke difficult Urdu. Two decades later, there are innumerable people who he has inspired to their increased understanding of Islam, many who converted to Islam and there are a number of people who not only dress like him but also imitate his style of work and use his debating styles.

No one can deny Dr Naik’s commitment for the cause of Islam and his voluminous contribution for propagating Islam in India and abroad. Those who object him have little logical reasoning in opposing him and they mostly do so because they fall short in explaining their own line of thoughts that is proved wrong or questioned by Dr Naik.

Today Dr. Naik is at the limelight due to all the wrong reasons as investigation of July 1st Dhaka carnage revealed some of the terrorists had once out of context quoted at Facebook wall Dr. Naik’s statement that every Muslim should be a terrorist. Dr Naik immediately condemned terrorism and vehemently denied that he inspired any one for terror act. But he has been under the attack from media houses, right-wing organizations, political parties and also from some Muslims who differ with his ideology.

I too have differences with him, in fact major differences but these are not out of enmity but based on logical reasoning. However these differences will not hold me back from coming out in his support when biased and subjective media is running false propaganda against him and thereby defaming Islam. I will enlist certain points where I disagree with Dr Naik and then would explain in spite of those differences why I would support him at this difficult time for him.

I differ with Dr. Naik in terms of his ideology, misplaced logic and his style of working. As far as ideology is concerned I believe what he is propagating is not 100% Islam and at times he hides many Islamic teachings that he is unable to explain to masses. But as a true preacher one should not cover teachings or rulings of the religion that are not explainable or cannot be convinced to normal mind.

While replying to a question of retaliation asked by a person from audience that how would he explain actions of an aggrieved person who kills another for inflicting him losses, such as victims of Gujarat retaliating and killing rioters for raping their women and killing them, Dr Naik said it is not permissible in Islam. He goes on to say that even if a person or group kill one person’s sister or rapes her then he should not kill that person if he has complete faith in almighty. However, he says it’s natural that one would instantly retaliate but according to him if one retaliates then as per Islamic teachings it is wrong. As a remedy, he suggests that the aggrieved Muslim should complain to the authority and even if the culprit goes unpunished then the aggrieved Muslim should be patient and have belief that the almighty will provide him justice hereafter.

Dr Naik’s answer makes sense to the masses and people claps and cheers him up. This is how his every answer is met with. However, there is something catchy in this reply of him and it is that he conveniently covered the concept of Qisas in Islam, which was practiced by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions. He did not quote this ayat from Quran because it would have contradicted his answer:

“And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which God has revealed, such are the wrongdoers.” (Quran Surah An-Nisa:45)

As the question was very difficult he would not bring in this ayah else audience would have got a controversial side of Islam which he would not have been able to explain in the context of the example of Gujarat riots as quoted by the questioner.

By not discussing Qisas for this question Dr Naik implied that he does not practice or believe in it or he does not know about it. No – this is not the case, Dr Naik does know about Qisas but what he did with above answer was that he escaped with a reply which is acceptable to every novice mind and skillfully stopped from discussing Qisas.

There are some similar examples the rulings or teachings of which can never be convinced by him to the Non-Muslims. This is where my differences are with Dr. Naik that while propagating Islam he hides some teachings that are viewed controversial by masses and cannot be explained. If Islam is the true and only religion then he should not shy away from quoting such instances too.

Another point of difference is that his style of logical reasoning has serious flaws where the logic and examples changes for answering different questions so as to suit his answers that can convince audience. For example, he famously quotes example of Hitler for explaining justice. He says as Hitler killed 60 million Jews, as a punishment if he is killed once then it would not be justice and hence Almighty has degree of punishment through which culprit would be given fresh skin multiple times after it get roasted in hell fire. Audience likes this answer as it makes logical sense.

Whereas in another old video, while replying to the question of 9/11 attacks and Osama Bin laden, he did not accept it to be an attack and says it was an insider job. He did not out rightly condemn Osama Bin Laden and says he cannot call him terrorist because he does not know him and as per Islamic teachings he cannot condemn a person unless he knows about that person.

The distinction between these two answers is that he accepts the claim that Hitler killed millions of Jews but raises doubt over 9/11 attack. He accepts former because that suits his answer in justification while he applies reverse logic in latter answer. Contradictory logics to convince audience at different times.

In regards with his style of work he does not stop his followers or students of comparative religion from imitating him in every way– the suit, a skull cap with star perfectly in the centre and a tie. People get inspired by him and imitate his style of work and use his methods for debating with non Muslims. There are many youths who watch his debates as if they are themselves into that debate and become happy for every rebuttal provided by Dr Naik. Many people have started the work of dawah (calling people to Islam) after listening to him and are using his techniques. This is where I object him because whoever has listened to him many have started the same work of dawah but none has ever taken up any other work, nonetheless there are many works accomplishing which a Muslim can please almighty and secure a place in paradise.

There is hardly any person who was inspired by Dr Naik’s speeches and was spending maximum of his time for social activities or for improving educational standards of Muslims. In fact, the school run by Dr Naik in Mumbai is for wealthy people that charges at least Rs. 5 lakh per annum from every student. Neither he nor any of his followers have ever opened a school for people who are dropping out due to their weak economic conditions.

One good thing about him is that he does not specifically criticize any particular sect but never did he attempt to bridge the gap between different sects by expressly advocating for unity in terms of Maslaki issues. Considering his celebrity status and huge following, he could have played a vital role in uniting Muslim people and bury their differences.

Okay, these are some of the instances of my differences with Dr Naik. However these differences do not stop me from coming out in his support at this point of juncture when he is being viewed by normal person as a criminal due to vilification campaign against him.

I will not let him to the mercy of prejudiced media and biased government. Both parties are responsible for me to take a stand of supporting Dr. Naik – Media because it has hyped the matter in a way that it apparently became a fight between Muslims and them, right wing organizations because they have never listened to him but out of enmity towards Muslims want him to be put to trial, political parties because through intimidating internationally famed Dr Naik it is giving a message that any Muslim can be made villain in a fraction and Dr. Naik himself as he turned this into a battle between Muslims and injustice by calling support from Muslims.

Therefore, being a Muslim, I will support him and prove to my conscience that I am an equally good Muslim and just than media, right wing organizations, political parties and section of Muslims who are unnecessarily maligning Dr Naik and thereby posing indirect threat to Indian Muslims.