About Dr. Zakir Naik
Zakir Abdul Karim Naik born on October 1965 is a public speaker and writer on the subject of Islam and comparative religion. He 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. Before becoming a public speaker, he trained as a doctor.
Zakir Abdul Karim Naik was born on 18 October 1965 in Mumbai, India. He attended St. Peter's High School in Mumbai. Later he enrolled at Kishinchand Chellaram College before studying medicine at Topiwala National Medical College and Nair Hospital and later the University of Mumbai, where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). In 1991 he started working in the field of Dawah.
Naik says he was inspired by Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic scholar. 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the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel the religion is outdated."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 attacks (also known as 9/11) in 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 and 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 of the Islamic International School in Mumbai.
Lectures and debates
Dr. Zakir Naik invited for a religious talk in 2007
Naik has held many debates and lectures around the world. One of Naik's most-cited debates was with William Campbell in Chicago in April 2000 on the topic of "The Qur'an and the Bible: In the Light of Science".
Lecture & Dibates
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 debate 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 said, 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.
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: The Concept of God in Major Religions and The Qur'an and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible?.
Naik says that the theory of evolution is "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 disagree with Charles 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 caused controversy when Welsh MP David Davies called for his appearance to be cancelled. He said that Naik was a "hate-monger", and that 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.
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 said 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 Maldivian citizen 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. The citizen 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 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 that, "If bin Laden is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him," and that "If he is terrorizing America — the terrorist, biggest terrorist — I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist." In an interview with Time he said, "I have always condemned terrorism, because according to the glorious Koran, if you kill one innocent person, then you have killed the whole of humanity." In 2010, he said he was quoted out of context regarding his remark that "Every Muslim should be a terrorist": "As far as terrorist is concerned, I tell the Muslims that every Muslim should be a terrorist... What is the meaning of the word terrorist? Terrorist by definition means a person who terrorises. So in this context every Muslim should be a terrorist to each and every anti-social element. I’m aware that terrorist is more commonly used for a person who terrorises innocent human beings. So in this context no Muslim should ever terrorise a single innocent human being."
2010 exclusion from the UK and Canada
Naik was denied entry into the United Kingdom and Canada in 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, "Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behavior". Naik argued that the Home Secretary was making a political decision and not a legal one, and his lawyer said the decision was "barbaric and inhuman". 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