Hundreds of people thronged Katara Amphitheatre last week to attend the talk delivered by distinguished Muslim scholar and orator from India, Dr Zakir Naik. In his own unique style, where he takes open questions from both non-Muslims and Muslims after his lecture, Dr Naik spoke on the topic of ‘Does God Exist?’ for more than an hour.
The subsequent question-and-answer session, however, extended more than three hours. Dr Naik gave priority to non-Muslims among the audience besides a large number of people on the beachside outside the arena who listened to the live streaming.
Dr Naik was asked challenging questions and he replied to all of them. Many people embraced Islam then and there, to whom Dr Naik administered ‘Shahada’ (the Muslim profession of faith).
“This topic is mainly meant for three categories of people. One category is people who do not believe in the existence of God, the atheists. The second is those who are agnostic, who do not comment whether God is there or not, and the third category is people who believe in the existence of God but they cannot prove it to others,” said Dr Naik, speaking to the media before his lecture.
The Muslims fall into the third category, he said, adding that these are the people who believe that God exists but they cannot prove it to others. His talk was for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Most Muslims believe in the existence of Allah but they cannot prove it to the others, he argued.
A dynamic international orator on Islam and Comparative Religion, Dr Naik is the President of Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai, India. Dr Naik clarifies Islamic viewpoints and clears misconceptions about Islam, using the Qur’an, the Hadith and other religious scriptures as a basis, in conjunction with reason, logic and scientific facts. He is popular for his critical analysis and convincing answers to challenging questions posed by audiences after his public talks.
Replying to a question about how he prepares his lectures, Dr Naik said he sees what is required. “Some of my talks are based on how media maligns Islam, so there is a reply required to remove the misconceptions. And then it is to convey the message of Islam to the non-Muslims depending on the situation as it is,” said the scholar from India.
“And I am told that lately there has been a wave, mainly in the Gulf countries and the Arab world that when people are going abroad, they are getting influenced by the Western world. In the last couple of years, there were many Arabs who were influenced and I was shocked to know that some of them even do not believe in the existence of Allah,” said Dr Naik.
About his style of argument based on logic and reason and taking open questions and replying to them with reference from religious scriptures, Dr Naik said he did not choose this style, it is just unique to him.
“I did not decide to have an open style. This is my unique style. I always believe that whenever you reply you should do it with reason and logic and with references from the holy book. I believe that in order to understand the religion you should not look at the followers, you should look at the scriptures,” Dr Naik told Community, in reply to a question.
“My main forte is that I quote scriptures of different religions and I try and prove my point that all the religions speak about one God and if we follow the commonalties then the world will be a much better place,” he said.
About his research methodology, Dr Naik said he keeps studying. “Research is never complete. You keep on reading and more you read the more you realise that you know less. The more you know you realise the less you know,” said the Islamic scholar.
In his lecture, quoting references from Holy Qur’an, Dr Naik argued that science only proved the information a few decades or a few hundred years ago that was already given in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago.
“If there is an object that the world has never seen before and on one knows about it, who will be the first person to tell you about its mechanism? It will be only the maker, the inventor or the producer of the object,” Dr Naik told the audience.
Giving dozens of example from different fields of science including astrology, mathematics, zoology, botany, physics …, Dr Naik quoted Qur’anic verses which contained this information that was later proved by scientific facts.
“So who put this information there? Islam is the most logical religion. Everything in Islam can be proved with reason and logic. Islam is the most scientific religion,” said Dr Naik. Speaking about many misconceptions existing in the world, Dr Naik said Islam was the most peaceful religion.
“Anyone who kills an innocent person, Muslim or non-Muslim, it is like he has killed the whole humanity,” quoted Dr Naik, saying it was mentioned in the Qur’an.
At the beginning of the programme, Dr Naik’s 21-year-old son Fariq Naik spoke at length about different pillars of Islam and their significance proven scientifically.
INTERACTIVE: Dr Zakir Naik replying to a question from the audience. Photo by Umer Nangiana