BY S A H RIZVI
For sometime, I have been reading controversies revolving around Dr Zakir Naik and his purported statements on Prophet Muhammad (SAW), terrorism, Osama bin Laden and Yazid. With little success in medical profession, Naik turned to Islamic research and moulded himself on the likes of Rashad Khalifa and Ahmed Deedat challenging all religion or the belief with his half baked truth and often stage managed shows.
What is the purpose of these debates? I was told by Naik supporters that many non believers were coming in the Islamic fold after hearing these so called `enlightened’ debates. I asked for statistics; there were none. I am sure by scoring a brownie point in a debate which Naik forcefully try to do so can cause such a conversion. As such Naik has never impressed me.
I have never seen Naik discussing critical issues in Quran with the leading clergy in Islam or the Qaris who too have memorized Quran by heart. His audience largely includes those people who do not understand the scripture and are generally swayed by his photographic memory of the Quranic verses.
Extended logic is the domain with which people like him function. On Osama, Naik says ‘if he is terrorising USA, he is with him’ `Then all Muslims should be terrorist’ are the adages he uses to pollute the mind and the image of Islam, the religion of peace.
One may ask why he is justifying terrorism. If US is indulging in terrorism, why attack its innocent people who more than often have come out in support of freedom and peace. If all Muslim become terrorists, then what is the difference with the US as he alleges?
Dr Naik, don’t fool people with these extended logics. There are so many tools to fight injustices and you belong to a country which won its independence through non-violence in the face of aggressive British imperialism. Had Mahatma Gandhi also felt that terrorism was the only way to get the British out of India, we may have remained confined in the yoke of colonialism as yet.
Did Prophet Muhammad (SAW) retaliate against the woman in Makkah who used to throw garbage on him everyday whenever he passed by. On the contrary, he went to enquire about her health once she fell ill. The Prophet (SAW) earned her goodwill this way and won the heart of the people. It is your action and ‘seerat’ that speaks and not retaliation.
Dr Naik, communalism cannot be fought with communalism; the only weapon you have is secularism. Terrorism and extremism, which you justify, has to be fought with reasoning and logic and not by terror. India, our country is a glaring example of fighting terrorism for well over three decades and yet we maintained our unity, pluralism and identity.
No Zakir Naik. Stop this non sense. You are living in pluralistic society, a nation which has assimilated so many cultures and has given you the freedom of speech and even allowed your abominable Peace TV on air. Don’t let it fritter away with your concoction and later self denials. You also live in a world which has now grown into a global village so there are rooms for everyone, every ideology to prosper.
Islam has given sufficient space for all religion to exist as manifest in many verses. “To you is your religion and to me is mine” there is no compulsion in religion’ are some of the verses. Why do you want to narrow down to one by undertaking these mediocre and senseless debates?
When you talk about Yazeed, I am surprised at the parochial nature of your thought. How can a man who claims to be an expert on Quran and exegesis ever support a tyrant and oppressor like Yazid bin Muawaiya whose atrocities can put even Hitler to shame?
There are no sectarian conflicts that you and your supporters do not try to create. Why you and your supporters are letting loose a hell on the sectarian conflict without realizing that it was a Sunni aalim from Lucknow that declared Zakir Naik a kafir. Sadia Dehlvi, I understand, is not a Shia. Most of the revered ulema who have condemned Zakir Naik are all Sunnis. They are all angered over your remarks on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and wasilah and also calling Yazeed with honour.
It is the ideology Zakir Naik you speak of that justifies terrorism and denigration of all religions except the one you follow. You threaten the Shias; you threaten all those who don’t adhere to your ideology by calling them Kafir and intimidating them by doling out wrong hadith or by spreading a message of hatred.
You are free to follow Yazid. But please don’t distort history. This is where the conflict lies. By justifying Yazid and calling him as RA, you are condoning the bloody massacre of Medina at the battle of Harra by the Yazidi forces and the defiling of the sanctity of the Holy Kaabah to which all Muslims bow their head in prayers. I am not talking of Karbala as your heart cannot accept the fact that Imam Husain saved Islam on that day from the clutches of oppression and digression.
It is right to give discourse and convince people towards religion but it is equally important to give the right one.
(S A H RIZVI is a senior journalist and a Former editor of Delhi Mid Day)