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Radical Islamism and Jihad (22 Jul 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)


The Problem with Zakir Naik: Even if he can’t be linked to Terrorism yet, he must be taken to task for Outmoded and Medieval Theological Interpretation of Islam

 

 

 

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

22 July 2016

For a handful of Muslims who seem to be ‘inspired’ by Zakir Naik to carry out terrorist strikes, there are millions of others who have taken a very different message from his sermons. The word inspired itself is a bit of a misnomer here: it will be very difficult to pin point which part of his numerous speeches became inspirational for Muslims to kill and maim others.

All that we have so far in terms of evidence is that Muslim youths involved in terror attacks in Bangladesh and elsewhere used to listen to his speeches. The mere fact that one follows Zakir Naik over the social media or goes to listen to his sermons is not proof enough that he or she became ‘inspired’ to carry out attacks because of these sermons. There is ample research to tell us that acts of terrorism involves complex and often multiple motivations. There is no holy grail of the cause of terrorism. To single out an individual for his sermons and label him as the inspiration behind terrorist attacks is nothing but an exercise in simplification and obfuscation.  

Let me add a caveat here. This is not a defence of Zakir Naik. The argument one is making is that the controversy around Zakir Naik provided one opportunity to debate the suitability of Islam which he preaches within the Indian context. By linking his speeches to acts of terror, the discourse has only helped him evade all scrutiny about his supposed mission of telling the world how Islam is the best religion in the world. The discussion around Zakir Naik should have debated this notion of Islamist supremacism which he expounds. In the garb of comparing and debating religious traditions, all that Zakir Naik has to tell the audience is how Islam is the best religion in the world. However, there are many ways of doing this. Zakir Naik chooses to do this with the worst of all methods: polytheism in itself becomes regressive when compared to monotheism while Christianity and Judaism become deviant forms of monotheism as compared to Islam. The message is loud and clear: Islam is the most perfect of all religions.

If one assumes that Islam is perfection, that Quran is the uncreated word of God, then perhaps there is no need for any introspection. Best of all, then perhaps there is no problem with Islam and by extension Muslims.

In pandering to these beliefs, Zakir Naik is not engaging in any dialogue. In fact, he is not even interested in a dialogue. A dialogue assumes that partners should be heard and understood as equals. Moreover, every attempt should be made to understand the point of view of the other. A genuine dialogue encompasses the capacity and empathy to understand the other, including their point of view and every attempt should be made to find common grounds within the respective religious. An exercise in comparative religion, should find the common ground within all religious traditions so as to showcase that the underlying structures of all religious traditions are the same and perhaps most of them fulfil the same social functions.

What we do get in Zakir Naik is the 18th the century practice of munazara: a tradition of religious disputation where the attempt is to delegitimize the proponent of other religious tradition. In fact, even the munazara had a formal logic to it and there were proper rules in place. Zakir Naik’s discourse in comparative religion looks more like the pre Islamic practice of mubahala, where the opponent was defeated through choicest of abuses.

There is not even a hint that Zakir Naik is interested in any kind of dialogue with other religions. Rather his sole motive seems to become the champion of a supremacist Islam. What is even more problematic is that he is not even concerned with the context within which he is doing so. Muslims being in a minority, every attempt should be made not to abuse the religious traditions of the Hindus or for that matter even other minority religions.

For Zakir Naik, it seems such expectation of sensitivity is too much to ask for. Converting Hindus and Christians on live shows goes on to show the brazenness and the disregard for political context of this missionary Islamic tele-Mullah. His audience, mostly Muslims who can at least understand English, lap his sermons not because he is convincing but perhaps because he is fulfilling a need and desire. This desire is perhaps to see Islam as the only true narrative in the world.

In a world where Muslims are increasingly besieged and called for explanations given the perceived backwardness of their religion, the figure of Zakir Naik reassures them that Islam is still alive to give a befitting reply to its critics. The problem is that often these replies in themselves are so problematic that it reinforces the image of Islam as backward religion.

Although attempts to link this man to terrorism should be countered till there is any concrete evidence, Zakir Naik must be taken to task for outmoded and medieval theological interpretation of Islam.  

A NewAgeIslam.com columnist, Arshad Alam is a Delhi based writer.    

URL: http://newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/arshad-alam,-new-age-islam/the-problem-with-zakir-naik--even-if-he-can’t-be-linked-to-terrorism-yet,-he-must-be-taken-to-task-for-outmoded-and-medieval-theological-interpretation-of-islam/d/108046

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   9


  • Dr.M.A Haque

    I don;t think I have changed track. I am concerned about Islamic supremacism. Zakir promotes it. People should know the deadly consequences. Supremacism invariably promotes hatred. I have just taken the case of Pakistan to explain it. Please think of those Muslim refugees who go to the West and killing others. I have not yet heard any Hindu, Buddhist or Christian refugees killed anyone in their adopted countries.

    Son of Mary says "Allah opposes the proud but give grace to the humble"(James 4:6)



    By Royalj - 7/30/2016 5:49:47 AM



  • @Royalj: You have changed the track completely. You read your own first comment and the recent comment, you will find the contradictions. Anyway I do not blame you. This is the general trend. However, I would like to remind to you about those who were commonly called Biharis in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). They were those who had migrated to East Pakistan before the 1971 war from India. They were killed by the Bengalis and Indian Army indiscriminately and in lacs. I knew many of them. Rest of them went to present day Pakistan via Nepal or otherwise and are still in camps and called Muhajirs. Please look at both sides of the coin. 
    By RoyaljRoyalj

    By Dr. M.A. Haque - 7/30/2016 12:53:49 AM



  • Dr M. A Haque
    West Pakistanis thought they were the pure breed. That is why Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto called Bengali Muslims “Sons of Pigs”. If not for this supremacism 1971 Bangladesh genocide would not have occurred. Three million Bengalis were perished under General Tikka Khan. Ten million refugees entered India.  Bengali intelligentsia, professors, lectures, students doctors of Dhaka University were killed indiscriminately. More than a quarter of a million Muslim, Hindu women were raped by the 100% Muslim Pakistan Army. With the help of Red Cross 200,000 abortions were made by the British doctors. Out of invited ten Pakistani Journalists only Anthony Mascarenhas from Karachi told the entire truth to the world and Indira Gandhi took action. Allah punished the W. Pakistanis severely. 91,000 Pak soldiers were captured as prisoners of war by the Indian Army. Sheik Hasina still taking action on those who participated in the genocide. These atrocities clearly indicate Pakistanis' hatred towards Bengali Muslims. Hatred is not good. It will not maximize the well-being of the Muslims. Your second great prophet of Islam says to those who run to Allah with offerings; "keep your offerings at the altar, go and shake hands with your enemies and then come back to offer “and “pray for your enemies” (Mathew 5:23-24). In my small brain you may look my enemy, but you are a beautiful child of Allah. Victorious people, communities, nations will not harbor any ill-will towards anyone. This is the secret of success. I love you Dr Haque.
    Allah says “You shall know the truth, the truth will set you free”
    By Royalj - 7/29/2016 4:36:34 AM



  • I am quite shocked to read the comments by Royalj. Probably he has very little knowledge of history. First about Bangladesh. I never heard that Pakistan people considered the Bengalis as Kafirs. Several of my relatives were in East Pakistan and a number of them lost their lives in the turmoil. But I never heard that they considered the Bengalis as Kafirs. As far as loss of erstwhile East Pakistan and formation of Bangladesh is concerned it was simply on account of the adamant attitude of Mr. Bhutto and I do not think he was an Islamist. About Yahya Khan lots of stories were in the air those days and it is difficult to believe that all were fictions. More importantly Pakistan has never been an ideal nation in the eyes of Indian Muslims. They know it well that Pakistan is full of contradictions. About Kashmir, people of Kashmir are agitating because they say they were promised something which was not fulfilled.
    About Dr. Naik you say he is not aware of the realities. Quite surprising. A person who is engaged in discussing Islam for so long and who has roamed around the world doing that, how he can be so ignorant? No doubt many people are busy blaming him for many things. But they never give any solid evidence which is convincing.
    By Dr. M.A. Haque - 7/27/2016 10:31:22 AM



  • Arshad you have said well “Zakir’s sole motive seems to become the champion of a supremacist Islam”.

    @Dr. M.A.Haque

    You do not know how supremacism is damaging Muslim communities all over the world. Let us consider Pakistan.

    It is Islamic supremacism that Pakistan lost East Pakistan, though it was given on a silver plate by the British. It looked down on Bengali Muslims as Kafirs.

    It is supremacism that it continues for the last 70 years to agitate for Kashmir knowing well that no Indian PM would grant independence to Kashmir and it cannot win India militarily.

    It is supremacism that it supports Taliban and Haqqani network with the grand design to make Afghanistan a vassal state once the US forces departed, knowing well that these terrorists are destroying Pakistan.

    It is supremacism that it built atomic bombs just to show the world that Pakistan is not second to India while begging US and Arab counties for survival.

    Zakir’s worldview is flawed. He doesn’t know the state of Islamic communities that are hopelessly divided.  He doesn’t know that by promoting supremacism he promotes totalitarian governments, by overthrowing democracies that have accountability and are humbler (every five years leaders have to beg the people for power). He doesn’t know if, one day, Wahhabism has to attain full supremacy over other sects, Wahhabis have to kill at least one hundred million shiyas  Sufis, Ahmedis etc., and It has now killed tens of thousands only.

    How about Osama bin laden? He had more than 300 million Dollars. He could have spent it to ameliorate the living standard of Muslims, who are the poorest on earth. His supremacism caused him to attack America and thus opened the Pandora’s Box. Now many have become Ex-Muslims and tear Islam, Koran and Hadith into pieces.

    Supremacism without any spectacular achievement for humanity becomes a laughing stock.

    Zakir has no vision for tomorrow. Allah says “Where there is no vision the people perish”


    By Royalj - 7/25/2016 1:57:04 AM



  • You are following your old track, but unsuccessfully. You say: "... that Qur'an is uncreated word of God...". Can you tell for ignorant people like us what do you mean by that. As per Oxford Dictionary the meaning of uncreated is: "Not yet created, or existing without having been created: the uncreated, eternal light a mere blueprint, uncreated until he reimagined it".
    I am unable to understand whether you are challenging the existence of God or of Qur'an. 


    Next you say Dr. Naik does not engage in dialogue. I am surprised. I have seen so many videos where he had dialogues with prominent Christian, Hindu, Buddhist scholars, certainly not with you.
    What you people are up to can be summed up in few words: Give the dog bad name and then hang it". 
    It is simple jealousy on account of his vast popularity world over.
    If one assumes that Islam is perfection, that Quran is the uncreated word of God - See more at: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/the-problem-with-zakir-naik--even-if-he-can%E2%80%99t-be-linked-to-terrorism-yet,-he-must-be-taken-to-task-for-outmoded-and-medieval-theological-interpretation-of-islam/d/108046#sthash.QZC3CouO.dpuf
    If one assumes that Islam is perfection, that Quran is the uncreated word of God - See more at: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/the-problem-with-zakir-naik--even-if-he-can%E2%80%99t-be-linked-to-terrorism-yet,-he-must-be-taken-to-task-for-outmoded-and-medieval-theological-interpretation-of-islam/d/108046#sthash.QZC3CouO.dpuf
    If one assumes that Islam is perfection, that Quran is the uncreated word of God - See more at: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/the-problem-with-zakir-naik--even-if-he-can%E2%80%99t-be-linked-to-terrorism-yet,-he-must-be-taken-to-task-for-outmoded-and-medieval-theological-interpretation-of-islam/d/108046#sthash.QZC3CouO.dpuf

    By Dr. M.A. Haque - 7/24/2016 12:23:41 AM



  • To
    Author

    First try to Delink Islam with war it had come out of (Impoosible task), let say even if you achieve than delink lots of degaratory words and punishment came out of Islam who do not believe in Islam or just believe out of fear(Munafikin).  Isalm will be peaceful than

    Otherwise what is Zakir Naik doing is wright, let amergodan happen all human race wipe out, God is capable of putting new crarture he is not fond of only humans p, cannot you see millions of species around you?

    Lots of other species liven harmony with nature and gods rule, God will be happy have them.

    By Aayina - 7/23/2016 12:00:21 AM



  •  I leave it to the others to judge Naik. I heard only one and it was frankly silly. Those who heard him more are best judges provided ... 
    What I liked about this article is this line: "An exercise in comparative religion, should find the common ground within all religious traditions so as to showcase that the underlying structures of all religious traditions are the same and perhaps most of them fulfil the same social functions." Exactly.

    Regardless of religion, the most regressive strategy is conversion and in public. Religion is a private affair and a natural process, which must not be thrust like Facebook likes. What these convert missionaries are looking for is someone desperate for a latch and they literally hunt. In fact, it can delay an individual's growth. Best left to each of us. Cheers.

    By Deepa Natarajan - 7/22/2016 1:19:47 PM



  • Medieval preachers in modern times do more harm than good. Enlightened clergy preach respect for the faiths of others, peaceful co-existence and rejection of supremacy, arrogance and violence.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 7/22/2016 1:13:17 PM



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