Some readers may not like this but the fact is that Zakir Naik’s style has antagonized many and his speeches sometimes contain objectionable expressions that cause unnecessary and avoidable misunderstandings. For this reason, he has been criticized several times in the past. Bangladesh incident has only provided an excuse to those, within the community, to settle old scores and has given even a greater opportunity to Islamophobes who are always on the lookout for an excuse to launch attack on Muslims and Islam.
It must also be clarified that not all of the critics of Zakir Naik are opposed to whatever he propounds and they think that instead of indulging in discussions on fiqah (Islamic jurisprudence), history and politics if he had focused only on comparative religion his popularity could have gone much higher than his mentor late Ahmad Deedat. However, the fact is that on the basis of his speeches neither can a fatwa of apostasy be issued against him; nor can the allegation of spreading terrorism be proved against him.
At present media has overlooked its duty of objective reporting and has instead dragged Zakir Naik in the doc, Hindutva brigades have taken upon themselves the task of issuing certificates of patriotism and disloyalty to individuals, and some of the Muslim scholars as well have taken Allah’s laws in their hands and have started issuing verdicts on who will go to hell and who will go in the heaven. The latest to perform this task is a Shi’a cleric Maulana Yusuf Abbas.
The Maulana has not only held Zakir Naik liable to be beheaded but has also put a bounty of Rs 15 lakh on his head. While scholars of almost all sects have been declaring the followers of other sects as kafirs (apostates) and thus all of them are guilty of being takfeeri—the one who declares others kafirs— a term being used very liberally and more aggressively, but rightly, by the Iranian media for Daesh. This is not to defend Daesh or its heart-wrenching crimes against humanity. However, in the situation in which we are, one fails to understand which Muslim sect is not Takfeeri. And who is guiltier of it than the Shi’a scholars who have not even spared the first three caliphs and the wife of the Prophet (PBUH) and mother of the faithful Aisha (RA).
One does not need to sift through books and archives in libraries to find this truth. YouTube has made the task pretty easy where the ‘scholars’ (one feels disgusted to call those who use such filthy and obscene language for others as scholars) of all sects have posted highly venomous articles and speeches. And if all of them are true then one wonders who is a Muslim?
According to the Divine criteria, as described by the Prophet anyone who believes in the Oneness of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as His last messenger, Divine Books, angels and in the life hereafter is a Muslim. According to some sayings of the Prophet the fire of hell becomes haram on a person who has pronounced even once in his lifetime La iIaha illaAllah (There is no god but Allah). But as far as these scholars are concerned every one of them has his own definition of a believer.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) received delegations of nonbelievers in his own mosque, Masjid-e-Nabawi, and never after their departure did he wash and clean it saying that it had been defiled. But in the Indian subcontinent mosques are washed and cleaned if a person of another sect enters there. Some mosques even carry warning signs at the gates naming the sects who are not allowed in the mosque.
Have such the so-called scholars ever pondered this Qur’anic warning, ‘Who is more iniquitous than he who bars Allah’s places of worship, that His name be mentioned there, and seeks their destruction? It does not behoove such people to enter them, and should they enter, they should enter in fear. There is degradation for them in this world and a mighty chastisement in the Next.’ (Qur’an, Al- Baqara, 2:114)
The Prophet did not hesitate in leading the funeral prayer of the person whose hypocrisy was known to everyone but in this part of the world even marriages are declared as nullified for joining funeral prayers led by the scholars of another sect.
Muslims had started travelling around the world trading, preaching and spread Islam around the world in the lifetime of the Prophet. If they got martyred or met their natural deaths in a faraway land they were buried there. But in this part of the world burials are denied to fellow Muslims in the graveyards on sectarian, sometimes even on caste basis.
The deep division in the ummah is not only because of differences between schools of thought Muslims follow but blind faith in some of the most painful incidents in Muslim history by a large section of the ummah has turned these divisions into an untreatable social cancer. No one wants to adopt a common sense approach. How many of us can really vouch on the veracity of the live coverage of incidents around the world that we watch on our TV and computer screens and say that the angle of the picture being seen is the right one?
However, uncritical (rather blind) followers of history behave as if not only were they the eye witnesses pf those incidents described in history books but had themselves taken part in those battles. And the tragedy is that they think that based on the version of history they are being told since their childhoods they have the right to declare others as Muslims or kafirs.
The fact is that their blind faith and self-righteousness is in no way different from Daesh. Daesh too believes that it can decide who is or is not a Muslim. What makes Daesh different from them is that it goes a step further and implements what it believes in.
Anyway, we like it or not, for some whatever version of history they are being taught since their childhood has become part of their Iman. Centuries have passed and instead of any softness, these attitudes are becoming inflexible and hard. What this section of the ummah should, however, consider and think that contrary to the propaganda they are being brainwashed with, no Muslim, with an iota of Iman in him can have ill and bad feelings for the family of the Prophet (PBUH) upon whom we send Darood five times a day. If there is any unfortunate individual who is committing this sin, May Allah SWT guide him and give him the taufeeq to do toubah.
Coming back to Zakir Naik controversy, on the one hand there is an Islamic preacher and on the other hand there are the enemies of Islam. And Allah says in the Qur’an, ‘Believers! Be upholders of justice, and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah, even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor: for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are.’ (An-Nisa, 4:135).
It is said that when Mongol warrior Halaku invaded and destroyed Baghdad in 1528 the scholars (Ulema) were busy arguing in a grand discussion whether a crow is haram or halal. Sadly in the Muslim world in general and in India in particular situation is not different from that of Baghdad of 1528.