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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zakir Naik's comments on Battle of Karbala and Yazid


The speech of Dr Zakir Naik during the Aman Conference organised by Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai has truly been shocking. Regarding his opinion on the battle of Karbala, as 'just another fight for attaining political clout', I am not as astonished as I am with the use of the word 'Raziallah Anhu' with the name of Yazid.

As we all know, the term 'Raziallah anhu' ie RH (or often Raziallahtala anahu) is used as suffix mostly with the name of either the companions of Prophet Muhammad or other leading figures in Islamic history as a mark of respect. It means, one whom God is pleased with.

Though some scholars of a bit of standing here and there have held these views on the battle of Karbala, it is the use of this suffix (RH) with Yazid's name which is absolutely unacceptable to majority of Muslims. I have never listened to Zakir Naik's speeches for long. But this comment will surely damage his reputation.

It is unthinkable to eulogize and glorify Yazid. Dozens of Muslim organisations and scholars have condemned the statement. Says Hafiz Syed Tahir Ali, 'the battle between Hazrat Imam Husain and Yazid was a fight between good and evil'.

Muslim leaders have questioned how a person like Yazid, who was responsible for the brutal killings of the grandson of Prophet and his family & companions, and the person who led the destruction at Medinah, could be held in such a high esteem by Naik.

Such thinking has nothing to do with Shia-Sunni difference as non-Muslims also take inspiration from the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Husain. I remember once a guy was expressing similar sentiments about Yazid in a drawing room conversation and all of us were outraged(of course, everybody was a Sunni there).

He was trying to justify the tyrant's conduct, when Comrade Khalid Saifuddin, who wanted to end the discussion, told the guy, "if you are such a staunch supporter of Yazid why don't you name your son after him". That silenced him. [Zakir Naik is president of Islamic Research Foundation that owns the Peace TV Network]
Post-script:
A year after I wrote this post, Zakir Naik is again in the midst of a controversy. Clerics in several Cities in UP are up in arms against him. Also, a fatwa has been issued by a Lucknow mufti against him.
Naik said that one should seek help from Allah alone, not even the Prophet (PBUH). A few other statements were also responsible for this wave of anger against him. Naik says that there is a conspiracy against him.
Though he is an oustanding speaker with a strong memory, Muslims of Indian sub-continent often feel pride when he compares religions and subtly puts the other religions down. Islam is the second biggest faith in the world in terms of believers and the fastest growing religion.
We have no reason to be insecure or have any sort of compex that we need a fluent English speaking guy to rundown others. Non-Muslims see arrogance in his style. He can be a bit more humble and appreciative of other faiths and also traditions like the Sufi and Islamic sects while Muftis can also keep their cool and contain the habit of issuing fatwas.