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Islam and Sectarianism (21 Aug 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Endgame for Zakir Naik? Zakir Naik and His Salafi Brand of Islam Can Only Survive In the Arid Landscape of Saudi Arabia

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

21 August 2019

It is almost as if Zakir Naik has no control over his inner urge to denigrate religions other than Islam. After getting refuge in Malaysia, a Muslim majority country, he is again at his acerbic best trying to insinuate that Malaysian Hindus are not loyal to that country. Earlier, he also called Malay Chinese as ‘old guests’ of the country implying that they should now return to China. This time, he told a congregation that Hindus living in Malaysia were more loyal to Prime Minister Modi than to the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad. His comments have not been taken lightly. He has been thoroughly criticised for his bigoted views by many Muslim religious organizations and now even the prime minister has sought a report on his ‘political’ anti-pluralistic utterances. Already, Zakir Naik has been banned from speaking in some of the states in Malaysia and it looks very likely that he will be banned from preaching throughout Malaysia.


Zakir Naik


Ridiculing minorities and constantly testing them in the name of nationalism has been the hallmark of right wing politics the world over. Zakir Naik was forced to leave India due to his terror inspiring lectures but then argued that he was hounded out because of his Muslim identity. Today, Zakir Naik seems to be vomiting the same hatred that he accused the Hindu right wing in India of. But more importantly perhaps, the Malaysian authorities have realised that people like Zakir Naik and his version of Islam are unfit for the plural mosaic of their country. Zakir Naik and his Salafi brand of Islam can only survive in the arid landscape of Saudi Arabia where the very ideological superstructure is anti-plural. Societies in South and South East Asia have been religiously plural for centuries and hence Zakir Naik variety of Islam is wholly unsuited for these regions.

There are many in India who think that Zakir Naik was a victim due to his identity. There is some truth in this assertion. There are many god-men in other religious traditions who have been accused of money laundering and other more grievous charges. And yet the prosecution against them have moved at snail’s pace or in some cases not started at all. But the alacrity at which Zakir Naik’s case was taken up the by government did point to the fact that there were other considerations at play. However, for those Indian Muslims supporting Zakir Naik, this should not become an excuse to absolve him of the very content and implications of preaching. The fact that he might be the victim because of his identity does not mean that we should support the content of his preaching.

He had regressive views about people of alternative sexualities, other religious traditions and certainly women. Naik’s Islam was about supremacy over all other religions and certainly he did not mince his words. He argued that this is the correct position because the Quran had ordained it to be so. He exhorted that Islam is the final and perfect religion and that Muslims will one day rule over the planet. It is due to this Islamic supremacy that he wanted apostates to be killed but certainly put a gloss over its interpretation. He argued that Islam does not say that apostates should be killed. But when the person (the apostate) starts preaching his own religion or ideology (which is different from Islam), then he is liable to be killed. He might have thought that he is putting a clever gloss but then it is no brainer to understand that he is exhorting Muslims to kill any dissenter within Muslim society who has a different point of view on Islam. He similarly argued that homosexuals should not be killed right away but if they start ‘exhibiting’ this lifestyle in public, then they should be killed. Thus in his version of Islam, people (including Muslims) were not free to profess their ideas and actions in public. This kind of robotic Islam can only produce Muslims who will be happy to revel in their un-freedom.

His so called inter-religious debates was again hardly mature. Always eager to prove that other religion were ‘false’, he targeted his opponents with half-baked knowledge of other religious scriptures, mostly cherry picking lines within their holy texts without understanding the whole context. Thus, according to him, Hinduism was essentially monotheistic because a line within the Gita said so. He claimed that he defeated his opponents (mostly Hindus and Christians) and his supporters cheered for him. In reality Zakir Naik defeated centuries old practice of Islam which debated its opponent with warmth and mutual respect. Zakir Naik was singularly responsible for painting a negative image of Islam at a time when news television had not yet started making fun of this religion. Through his poor and boorish arguments, he showed the world how regressive Islam had become. The secular media which toasted him from time to time, failed to ask tough questions like the implication of his lectures on the social fabric of India.

Those who cheered for him cannot be faulted as much. Through decades of impoverishment, Indian Muslims wanted a leader and in Zakir Naik they saw someone who could speak English and trounce his opponent’s arguments. In their collective schizophrenia, it was not Zakir Naik but the victory of an embattled community over another. But Naik cannot escape the blame. Being an educated Muslim, his responsibility was to steer the community towards the path of rationalism and science rather than induce some kind of a collective hallucination within the community. That he chose to do so (and make billions out of it) tells us of a man devoid of any commitment towards the betterment of Muslim society. That he was hounded out of India has certainly done good to the Muslim society as they are away from his poisonous lectures. His only hope now is to seek refuge in Saudi Arabia. I am certain he will be amongst his own kind in the holy land.

Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-sectarianism/arshad-alam,-new-age-islam/endgame-for-zakir-naik?-zakir-naik-and-his-salafi-brand-of-islam-can-only-survive-in-the-arid-landscape-of-saudi-arabia/d/119525

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  • Prophet Mohammad in the past was never anti-plural since he permitted his Islamic nation to trade with pagans.  The following is the extract from hadith:

    Narrated `Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr:

    We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) when a tall pagan with long matted unkempt hair came driving his sheep. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked him, "Are those sheep for sale or for gifts?" The pagan replied, "They are for sale." The Prophet (ﷺ) bought one sheep from him.

    حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النُّعْمَانِ، حَدَّثَنَا مُعْتَمِرُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ مُشْرِكٌ مُشْعَانٌّ طَوِيلٌ بِغَنَمٍ يَسُوقُهَا فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ بَيْعًا أَمْ عَطِيَّةً أَوْ قَالَ أَمْ هِبَةً ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالَ لاَ بَلْ بَيْعٌ‏.‏ فَاشْتَرَى مِنْهُ شَاةً‏.
    The above extract is from Sahih al-Bukhan 2216, In-book reference: book 34, hadith 163, USC-MSA web (English) reference: vol. 3 book 34, hadith 419.
    Prophet Mohammad in Islamic nation in the past did recruit pagans to assist him to do job.  The following is the extract from hadith:

    Narrated Aisha:

    (the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and Abu Bakr hired a man from the tribe of Bani-Ad-Dil as an expert guide who was a pagan (follower of the religion of the pagans of Quraish). The Prophet (ﷺ) and Abu Bakr gave him their two riding camels and took a promise from him to bring their riding camels in the morning of the third day to the Cave of Thaur.

    حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ عُقَيْلٍ، قَالَ ابْنُ شِهَابٍ فَأَخْبَرَنِي عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَتْ وَاسْتَأْجَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ رَجُلاً مِنْ بَنِي الدِّيلِ، هَادِيًا خِرِّيتًا وَهْوَ عَلَى دِينِ كُفَّارِ قُرَيْشٍ، فَدَفَعَا إِلَيْهِ رَاحِلَتَيْهِمَا، وَوَاعَدَاهُ غَارَ ثَوْرٍ بَعْدَ ثَلاَثِ لَيَالٍ بِرَاحِلَتَيْهِمَا صُبْحَ ثَلاَثٍ‏.
    The above extract is from Sahih Bukhari 2264, in-book reference: book 37, hadith 5; USC-MSA web (English) reference: vol. 3, book 36, hadith 465.
    Historical Islamic state when Prophet Mohammad was around allows pagans to emigrate to their countries.  The following is the extract:

    Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

    The pagans were of two kinds as regards their relationship to the Prophet and the Believers. Some of them were those with whom the Prophet was at war and used to fight against, and they used to fight him; the others were those with whom the Prophet (ﷺ) made a treaty, and neither did the Prophet (ﷺ) fight them, nor did they fight him. If a lady from the first group of pagans emigrated towards the Muslims, her hand would not be asked in marriage unless she got the menses and then became clean. When she became clean, it would be lawful for her to get married, and if her husband emigrated too before she got married, then she would be returned to him. If any slave or female slave emigrated from them to the Muslims, then they would be considered free persons (not slaves) and they would have the same rights as given to other emigrants. The narrator then mentioned about the pagans involved with the Muslims in a treaty, the same as occurs in Mujahid's narration. If a male slave or a female slave emigrated from such pagans as had made a treaty with the Muslims, they would not be returned, but their prices would be paid (to the pagans).

    نَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُوسَى، أَخْبَرَنَا هِشَامٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ، وَقَالَ، عَطَاءٌ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، كَانَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ عَلَى مَنْزِلَتَيْنِ مِنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ، كَانُوا مُشْرِكِي أَهْلِ حَرْبٍ يُقَاتِلُهُمْ وَيُقَاتِلُونَهُ، وَمُشْرِكِي أَهْلِ عَهْدٍ لاَ يُقَاتِلُهُمْ وَلاَ يُقَاتِلُونَهُ، وَكَانَ إِذَا هَاجَرَتِ امْرَأَةٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْحَرْبِ لَمْ تُخْطَبْ حَتَّى تَحِيضَ وَتَطْهُرَ، فَإِذَا طَهُرَتْ حَلَّ لَهَا النِّكَاحُ، فَإِنْ هَاجَرَ زَوْجُهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ تَنْكِحَ رُدَّتْ إِلَيْهِ، وَإِنْ هَاجَرَ عَبْدٌ مِنْهُمْ أَوْ أَمَةٌ فَهُمَا حُرَّانِ وَلَهُمَا مَا لِلْمُهَاجِرِينَ‏.‏ ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعَهْدِ مِثْلَ حَدِيثِ مُجَاهِدٍ وَإِنْ هَاجَرَ عَبْدٌ أَوْ أَمَةٌ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَهْلِ الْعَهْدِ لَمْ يُرَدُّوا، وَرُدَّتْ أَثْمَانُهُمْ‏.

    The above extract is from Sahih al-Bukhari 5286, in-book reference: book 68, hadith 35; USC-MSA web (English) reference: vol 7, book 63, hadith 210).
    The phrase, a lady from the first group of pagans emigrated towards the Muslims, as mentioned in this hadith implies Prophet Mohammad permitted pagans to emigrate to His Islamic nation.
    The anti-pluralism that is proclaimed by this man has acted against what hadith permits, since Prophet Mohammad permitted pagans to live with Muslims in his Islamic nation in the past.

    By zuma - 8/21/2019 7:26:52 PM

  • A dawah program based on disparaging the beliefs of others has no place in today's world. We must learn to cherish our diversities.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/21/2019 12:12:53 PM

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