How Shameful, We Don't Have a Media of Our Own!

Dr. Zakir Naik, eminent scholar of Islam and comparative religion spoke to Shiraz Khaki, during his recent visit to the Kashmir Valley, on subjects like religion, politics, economy and media.

If anything pertaining to faith cannot stand to logic, does that mean it does not stand at all?

First you have to analyze what is the source of the faith that you are talking about. If the source of the faith is Qur'an then, there is no question at all. Whatever the Qur'an says, we believe. Yes, sometimes the translation is wrong. So if you don’t know Arabic you cannot check out whether the answer is right or wrong. The thing is that if you cannot prove something logically, there may be someone else who will prove it. After Qur'an there comes Hadith and then comes logic. You can’t put logic first.

What are your views about the Islamic revivalist movements initiated by Iqbal and Maulana Moududi in the sub-continent and Sayyid Qutb and Hasanul Banah in Egypt. What can be the possible reasons for their apparent failure?

They were great people. They had their own views to revive the whole Muslim Ummah. They launched a movement for that. But then every movement has its pros and cons., so let’s take it that way.

How can the oppression of global powers be combated?

The best way to reply is to have media of our own. Because the media is in the hands of non- Muslims, they can propagate within minutes ,as they have powerful channels like CNN and BBC. There are many papers in Mumbai and even in Kashmir, but such papers are read by Muslims only. What is needed is an international media. For any international news we turn to their channels. Do we have any international newspaper, international magazine, international television channel. No. Christians have hundreds of television channels. Hindus have, Jains have, even Qadianis have. Allah has given us money. It is a shame for us that we cannot even set up an international channel.

Does Islam permit birth control and family planning?

Birth Control is different from family planning. Birth Control by definition means a law to control birth laid down by the government. So Birth Control under all conditions is Haram in Islam. Family Planning is different. About family planning all the Ulema are unanimous that abortion is Haram. Islamic Sharia says that the life of the mother is all important. So if the abortion is to save mother’s life, then it’s Halal. .

How long can a wife wait in case a husband disappears and does not return?

In a normal situation we can wait for as many years as we want. But sometimes, we do not know the whereabouts of the person, whether he has died or got lost. Then there are different views of different scholars. It depends on the situation. Suppose a person goes for war and does not come back, he may be captured by the enemy or he may have died. So it depends on the situation and the time period. But the Ulema say that we can wait for few years till you get the news. But if you don’t get the news, then the person can re-marry.

Why does not a grandchild inherit from his grandfather in case his father dies while the grandfather still alive?

As far as the grandchildren are concerned, there is no direction mentioned in Quran or Hadith. But if you realize, Shariah gives permission for one third of the share to be willed. But this one third should not fall in those categories which Allah has established in Quran. For example I cannot say that I like the elder son more than the younger one. Suppose I have a friend who has helped me a lot. The maximum I’m allowed to will is one third of that. Since these grandchildren don’t come directly under the inheritance, the grandfather can will for a maximum of one third or less than that. So there is a scope given in the Shariah for that.

Should women work?

In Islam, it’s the duty of men to look after women. Before a woman is married, it’s the duty of the father and the brother. After she gets married the duty shifts to husband. But voluntarily if she wants to work, she can work as long as the work is within the purview of Islamic Shariah. For example, we require our women to be teachers. We want them to be doctors to look after women patients. But certain jobs are not allowed. Where women have to expose their bodies like modelling etc. Certain jobs are Haram for both men and women.. Working in a casino or a bar is Haram for both men and women.

Even if she works, still it’s the duty of her husband to look after her and there is no compulsion on her to give the money to the family. This is the right Islam has given to a woman. But normally she should not work. Because her role as a mother is more important. It’s the duty of the man to go out and work.

With the fast devaluation of currency and ever changing economic pattern, can the concept of interest be altered within the framework of Islam?

Allah mentions Ribah at eight places in the Quran. There is a strict prohibition of the same everywhere that if you take Ribah, a war is declared against you from Allah and his Rasool (SAW). Some scholars say that Ribah does not mean interest. That’s totally wrong. There is no doubt about it. Ribah means interest and usury. It’ll take time to prove logically why Ribah is Haram.

How can we explain the philosophy behind the Quranic verse where Allah says that he has sent the Prophet (Pbuh) to make Islam conquer all other religions of the world?

At two places, Allah mentions it. Yes, Allah says that he has sent his messenger with wisdom and Deen-e-Haq so that it should prevail over all other religions, overcome all religions whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Secularism or Modernism .Allah says in SuraH Al Imran that the only religion that acceptable to Allah is Islam. At another place Allah says that if anyone desires any religion except Islam it will not be acceptable and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. Quran is the only book which emphatically says that all the other religions are wrong.

If every religion claims the same power and authority, will it not give birth to a great anomaly where one faith will be pitted against the other?

I am a student of comparative religion. So religious book says that. So where is the question of anomaly. The question is when people say that Islam is intolerant,. I say yes, Islam is intolerant towards bribery, towards corruption, towards injustice. People say Muslims are extremists. We say Muslims are extremely merciful, extremely honest and extremely kind. Turn the tables and then they will come on defence.

A word about Muslims the world over?

Al Hamdullillah, Today Islam is the fastest growing religion of the world. I have the latest data and it’s a mathematical reality that Islam figures first followed by Christianity. In America and Europe, it’s Islam that attracts people far and wide.

Are you happy with the way Indian Muslims behave in India?

Unfortunately, to tell you frankly, I am not happy with the Muslims in India. Islam will remain with or without us. But it’s a great blessing if Allah has given you a prophetic job of disseminating Islam among non- Muslims. But in India unfortunately, there are hardly any organisations who are working among non- Muslims. Believe me, India is a virgin land. We can work here and I have experienced that non- Muslims respect me in Mumbai. In Mumbai, the situation is very fragile as far as Dawah is concerned. We have the Deen-e-Haq with us, the problem is we not sure of our Deen.

Does Islam permit organ transplant?

Three conditions arise. One, it should not be damaging for the donor. If a donor dies just by donating his organ, in that case it’s Haram. Second condition is different. A person can live on one kidney. If I donate one kidney and the other person survives, both of us are saved. Then the third point is that you cannot donate your organs for the cause of money. If these conditions are fulfilled, then organ transplant can be done.

Who has inspired you the most?

My source of inspiration is Ahmed Deedat. I met him in 1987. After that I, like many thousands of his fans, got greatly inspired by him.

Your memory is absolutely incredible? Do you strive for that or you just read and it gets engraved on your mind?

It’s just the help of Allah. I am nothing. Allah says in Quran, Sura Ankabut (Ch 29, Vs 69) that strive in the way of Allah and Allah will look after you. So anyone who does Jihad in the way of Allah, Allah opens his way for him. In my childhood I used to stammer. If someone would ask me my name. I would say. My name is Za... Za... Zaaa Zakir. I could have dreamt of becoming the best surgeon in the world. But I could not have dreamt of speaking in front of the people, because I used to stammer. But Al-Hamdu Lillah, Allah opens up its ways. When I started speaking to the non- Muslims I started realising that my stammering was not there. And now whenever I come on the stage, I never stammer.

How do you maintain a balance between Dr. Naik as a medico and Dr. Naik as a scholar?

Point one. I am not a scholar, I am just a student of comparative religion. Point two. I opted for medical profession as I thought it’s the best profession. It was the desire of my mother to become a surgeon like Christ Burnard, the first man to do a heart transplant in South Africa. I asked my mother, would you like me to become Sheikh Deedat or Chris Burnard. She said, ‘both’. But now when I repeat the same question to my mother, she replies, ‘I can sacrifice thousands of Christ Burnard on one Sheikh Deedat. I have left the medical profession as I have taken Dawah and I am fully involved in Dawah.