It's time we Muslims chose common sense over Zakir Naik

A version of this article was originally published in The Huffington Post.

Which is true?

God has decreed stealing to be a sin and therefore it is a bad deed, or because there was something intrinsically bad in stealing therefore God ordained it a sin?

Socrates was pondering over this exact problem in 380 BC, which lead him to ask, "Whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods?"

God is Just. He can't randomly categorize things into sins and virtues. There has to be a moral justification for all His laws. If that was not the case we would have had no respect for such a God.

In other words, God cannot decide what is right and wrong. God can only reflect what is already right or wrong through His commandments. God is not the basis of morality. Morality is the foundation of God's judgments.

Morality supersedes God, supersedes religion.

If this argument is accepted it leads to the following result:

If you find your God telling you that it's okay to murder, then your God is wrong!

If only religious fanatics like Dr. Zakir Naik and the terrorists who apparently find him an inspiration could understand this simple logic, our world would be a much better and safer place to live in.

Zakir Naik is not even a theologian. He's an MBBS doctor-turned Islamic preacher whose reputation rests on only his computer-like memory. Naik can quote verse after verse from the Quran, Bible, Gita and others just off his head.

It doesn't matter how terrible his pronunciation of English and Urdu is, or how ill-fitted his suits are. As long as he's citing chapter number and verse number, he keeps getting applause.

His speeches are littered with pseudoscience, bogus philosophy, absurd arguments, false analogies, and above all, an impertinent disrespect of other religions and cultures.

Yet, he has more than 14 million followers on Facebook. And considering Naik's recent tweet in which he urged his followers to support him against "media trials", no wonder these people are trolling social media sites and posting lame arguments in his defence, all in broken English.

I suspect his fans are mostly gullible Muslims who aren't well educated and hence cannot tell pseudo-logic from real logic.

Hence in this article I wish to scrutinize some of Naik's arguments under the lens of reason and see whether they hold any water or not.

1. Propagation of any religion apart from Islam is forbidden

Naik says that Muslims are free to go to any country and preach Islam but non-Muslims cannot propagate their faith in an Islamic country. To justify his hypocritical position he goes on to say that just like any non-Muslim principal will not allow a maths teacher to teach 2 + 2 = 3 in his school as he knows it's wrong, Muslims shouldn't allow the propagation of any other religion as Islam is the only correct religion.

The obvious problem with this argument is that 2 + 2 = 4 is a fact, whereas which religion is the best one is an opinion. You cannot compare facts to opinions. This is absurd logic.

Let me explain further.
"The sun sets in the west." This is a fact.

"Wordsworth's poetry about the sunset is better than Keats'." This is an opinion.

One can and should forbid a teacher from teaching that the sun sets in the east. However you cannot force your opinion that Wordsworth was a better poet than Keats down other people's throats. That's fascism.

2. Death for apostates

Naik also says that if any Muslim decides to leave Islam then he should be killed

He justifies this by saying that if a man is selling the secrets of his country then he'll be considered a traitor and most countries will put him to death. Similarly if a Muslim leaves Islam he becomes a traitor and therefore he must be killed.

This is hogwash.
This analogy is a false one.

Leaving Islam and taking up any other religion is not analogous to selling the secrets of one's country. Leaving Islam and accepting another religion is analogous to leaving the citizenship of one country and settling in another one. 

There is no treason involved in taking up the citizenship of any other country. All countries allow this.

3. Refusal to criticize Osama bin Laden

This is perhaps the most controversial of his statements. Naik says:

If he [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I'm for him... If he is terrorizing America, the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I'm with him ... and I'll do duas [prayers] for him.

He refused to condemn Osama, saying, "I cannot base my judgment as a daa'i [preacher of Islam] only on news. ... I don't know him personally."

In fact he further says that it's wrong for any Muslim to criticize Osama. "Allah will question you, did you check up the news? You as a Muslim saying Osama bin Laden is right or wrong, have you checked up? ... Laying allegations [against bin Laden] is also wrong."

This is absurdity and hypocrisy in their worst forms. He doesn't know a lot of people personally, like George Bush and Ayatollah Khomeini, but he has criticized them in his speeches.

And what about the people who are dead? I cannot meet Hitler as he's dead so should I not criticize him?

How can Naik's fans believe in such nonsense?

The real reason why he doesn't speak against bin Laden is because he supports terrorism. In the same video he goes on to say:

Every Muslim should be a terrorist.


Some of the other statements of this "preacher of peace" are: "In Western countries you have dance parties. After dance parties you have swapping of wives. You sleep with my wife, I'll sleep with your wife." (Source, 8:06)

"Afghanistan is their [Taliban] government, it is their property ... if they don't like it [statue of Buddha] they will destroy it. Who are we to object?" (Source, 4:18)

"It's wrong to visit any dargah. ... You cannot pray to anyone besides Allah, not even to Prophet Muhammad." (Source)

When asked about Yazid, the caliph who killed Imam Husain – the grandson of Prophet Muhammad – along with his relatives and friends and imprisoned the women and children of the Prophet's family, his reply was, "He will go to heaven so how can I curse him?" (Source, 6:12)

When asked whether Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa will go to heaven, he replied, "In faith they fail. ... Anybody who dies as a mushrik (polytheist) will never go to jannah (heaven). He will go to hell." (Source)

Zakir Naik alludes to the Wahhabi school of thought. Such people don't believe in democracy, don't believe in the separation of religion and state. They want to establish an Islamic caliphate and implement Sharia law. In this regard their ideology is not too different from that of ISIS.

People like Dr. Naik exploit the freedoms of democracy and use them against itself.

But they cannot do this in my country, not in my name, not in the name of my religion.

I'm surprised that someone actually had to write this article to explain to Muslims to stop following Zakir Naik. The arguments I've presented above are mostly sheer common sense.

It's high time we realize there is much more to Islam than a mere memorization of some chapter and verse numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment