James Langman: At the oxford union society, tonight we continue the society’s proud tradition of inviting and hosting some of the worlds leading figures to address us. We exist as a society to promote debate and the discussion of ideas, and tonight is no exception. I adjure all of you here this evening, to make full use of the question and answer session that will happen later on tonight. With that said, I ask you to join with me in welcoming Dr. Zakir Naik to address the society.
Dr. Zakir: Alhamdulillah was salaatu was salaam ala rasoolillah wa ala aalihi wa ashaabihi wa ajma’een, amma baad.
A’uzu billahi minash shaytan nir-rajeem, Bismillah hirrahman nirraheem
“Ya ayyuha alnnasu inna khalaqnakum min thakarin waontha wajaAAalnakum shuAAooban waqaba-ila litaAAarafoo inna akramakum AAinda Allahi atqakum inna Allaha AAaleemun khabeer”
Rabbish rahli sadri Wa Yassir Li ‘Amri Wa Ahlul `Uqdatan Min Lisani Yafqahu Qawli
Honorable Mr. President of Oxford Union, Mr. James Langman, the honorable members of the Oxford Union, dear respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters, I welcome all of you with the Islamic greetings, Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, may peace, mercy and blessings of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), of All Mighty God, be on all of you.
It’s an honor and a great pleasure for me to address this historic Oxford Union and I would like to thank the Oxford Union especially its president, Mr. James Langman, for making this event possible. The topic of my talk today is Islam and the 21st Centaury.
Islam comes from the root ‘Salam’ which means peace. It’s also derived from the Arabic word ‘Silm’ which means to submit your will to All Mighty God. Islam, in short, means peace acquired by submitting your will to All Mighty God. And any person who submits his will to All Mighty God, he is called as a Muslim.
Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion which came into existence 1400 years ago and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the founder of this religion. In fact Islam is there since time immemorial since man set foot on this earth and Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) is not the founder of this religion but he is the last and final messenger of All Mighty God.
The religion if Islam is based on the teachings of the Glorious Quran which came into existence 1400 years back. Is it possible that today the humanity at large in this 21st centaury can gain guidance how a life to be led.. how a life should be led from a book which is 1400 years ago, from a book which is 1400 years old. But natural the answer is obviously no, if this book is written by a human being but the glorious Quran is the last and final revelation of All Mighty God which was revealed to the last and final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The glorious Quran is the proclamation to humanity, it is the fountain of mercy and wisdom, it’s a guide to the erring, it’s a warning to the heedless, its an assurance to those in doubt, it’s a solace to the suffering and it is an hope to those in despair. The glorious Quran is the last and final revelation of All Mighty God which was revealed to the last and final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
For any book to claim that it is a word of God, for any book to prove that it is the revelation from All Mighty God, it should stand the test of time. Previously in the olden days it was the age of miracles. The Glorious Quran is the miracle of miracles. Later on, came the age of literature and poetry. Muslim and non-muslim Arabic scholars alike, they acclaim the glorious Quran to be the best Arabic literature available on the face of the earth.
But today if a religious book in a very poetic fashion says “the world is flat” will a modern man believe in it? But natural, the answer is no. because today is not the age of literature and poetry, today is the age of sciernce and tecgnology. So let us analyze whether the Glorious Quran is compatable or incompatable with modern science.
According to Oxford…
According to Albert Einstein, the famous physicist and the Nobel Prize winner, who I am told also addressed this historic Oxford Union, he said,
“Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind”.
Let me remind you the Glorious Qur’an is not a ‘Book of Science’, S-C-I-E-N-C-E; but it’s a book of ‘Signs’, S-I-G-N-S; it’s a book of Ayaats, it’s a book of verses. And the Glorious Quran has more than 6000 Signs, 6000 Ayaats, 6000 verses, out of which more than a thousand speak about science.
As far as my talk today is concerned I will only be speaking about scientific facts. I will not be speaking about scientific hypothesis and theories which all of us know many a times these theories and hypothesis take U-turns.
In the field of Astronomy, a few decades earlier, in the 1970s, there were a group of scientists who described how the universe came in to existence for which they got the Noble Prize. This they called the Big Bang. And these scientists said, that initially our universe was one ‘Primary Nebula’ then there was a secondary separation, there was a big bang which gave rise to galaxies, the stars, the planets, the sun as well as the earth on which we live. This they called as the Big Bang. This what the scientist discovered about 40 years back is mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago in
Surah Anbiya, Chapter No. 21, Verse.No.30, which says
“Awalam Yaral Ladhina Kafaru”
”Do not the unbelievers see”
“Annas Samawati Wal ‘Arda Kaanata Ratqan Fafataqnahuma”
“The heavens and the earth were joined together, and we clove them asunder?’”
This big bang which the scientist discovered recently is mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago.
Previously we human beings we thought that the world was flat. It was in 1577, when Sir Francis Drake sailed around the earth that he first time proved that the earth on which we live it is spherical in shape. The Qur’an mentions 1400 years ago in
Surah Naziat, Chapter.No.79, Verse.No.30,
“Wal Arda Ba’da Dhalika Dahaha”
And thereafter we have made the earth egg-shaped
One of the meanings of ‘Dahaha’ is an expanse and the earth is an expanse, the other meaning is derived from the Arabic word ‘Duiya’ which means an egg.
And today we know, the earth is not completely round like a ball, it is flattened from the pole, it is geo-spherical in shape. And if we analyze the Arabic word ‘Dahaha’ doesn’t refer to a normal egg it specifically refers to the egg of an Ostrich. And if we analyze the egg of an Ostrich is too is Geo-Spherical in shape. Imagine, the Glorious Qur’an 1400 years ago says that the shape of the earth is geo-spherical in shape.
Previously we did not know that the light of moon was its own light. Previously we thought that the light of the moon was its own light. Recently we have come to know that the light of the moon is not its own light but it is a reflected light, borrowed light. But Qur’an says in
Surah Furqaan, Chapter no. 25, Verse No.61,
Blessed is He Who has placed the constellations in the sky, and placed therein sun, a lamp having its own light, and moon having borrowed or reflected light.
So the Quran describes the moon light as borrowed or reflected which we came to know recently in science. Recently in science means, 50 years back, 100 years back, 200 years back.
When I was in school, I passed my school in 1982 about 29 years back. There I had learned in science that the sun though it revolves, it does.. it does not rotate about its own axis but the Quran mentions in
Surah Anbiya ch. no. 21 verse no. 33
“Huwal Ladhi Khalaqal Layla Wan Nahara”
“It is Allah who has created the night and the day”
“Wash Shamsa Wal Qamar”
“The Sun and the Moon”
“Kullun Fi Falakin Yasbahun.”
“Each one traveling in orbit with its own motion’”
The Qur’an says the Sun and the Moon besides revolving it also rotates about its own axis. And today recently, a few decades earlier science has come to know that the sun rotates and takes 25 days to complete one rotation which has been incorporated in most of the school textbooks throughout the world.
There may be certain skeptics who will say, “it’s nothing great that the Quran speaks about Astronomy since the Arabs were advanced in the field of Astronomy”. I do agree that the Arabs were advanced in the field of Astronomy. But I would like to remind them that the Arabs became advanced in the field of astronomy a few hundred years after the Quran was revealed. So it is from the Qur’an, that the Arabs learnt about Astronomy and not the vice versa.
In the field of hydrology, we learn in the school about the water cycle, how do the water evaporates from the ocean, forms into clouds, moves in the interior, falls down as rain and the water table is replenished. This was first described by Sir Bernard Palissy in the year 1580.
The Quran too describes the water cycle in great detail 1400 years ago. The Quran says the water evaporates from the ocean, forms into clouds, the clouds join, they move into the interior, they fall down as rain and the water table is replenished and the water cycle is completed. The Quran speaks about the water cycle in great detail in several places, in
Surah Zumur Ch. No. 39, Verse No 21,
in Surah Rum, Chapter.No.30, Verse.No.24,
in Surah Mu’minun, Chapter.No.23, Verse.No.18
in Surah Al-Hijr, Chapter.No.15, Verse.No.22
in Surah Noor.Ch. No. 24, Verse No. 43
in Surah Rum, Ch.30, Verse No 24
in Surah Araf, Ch. No. 7, Verse No 57
In Surah Rad, Ch. No. 13, Verse No 17
In Surah Furqaan, Ch. No. 25, Verse No 48 and 49;
In Surah Fatir, Ch. No. 35, Verse No 9;
In Surah Yasin, Ch. No. 36, Verse No 34;
In Surah Jathiyah, Ch. No. 45, Verse No 5;
In Surah Qaf, Ch. No. 50, Verse No. 8 and 9;
In Surah Waqiah, Ch. No. 56, Verse No 68 to 70;
In Surah Mulk, Ch. 67, Verse No 30.
In Surah Tariq ch. no. 86 verse no. 11
I can go on and on giving references only in the Quran of the several verses which speak about the water cycle in great detail.
In the field of Oceanography there is a verse in the Quran in
Surah Furqaan ch. no. 25 verse no. 53 which says that
He has let two bodies of flowing water one sweet and palatable and the other salty and bitter though they meet, the do not mix. There is a barrier which is forbidden to be trespassed.
Previously we human beings knew that there are two types of water, sweet and salty. But the commentators of the Quran could not understand what does God All Mighty mean by saying that these two waters when they meet, they do not mix and there is a barrier which is forbidden to be trespassed. Today after science has advanced we have come to know that whenever one type of water flows into the other type of water it loses its constituents and gets homogenized into the water it flows. This today science calls as the transitional homogenizing area which the Quran refers to as Barzak, as a barrier. And this can be seen in Cape Point, the southern most stiff of South Africa. And when we see even the color of the water between these two types of water differs.
And Professor Hay, a very famous oenologist, he said that this information came to the human knowledge recently. This book the Quran, it’s difficult to explain how does it mention 1400 years ago.
In the field of Biology, the Quran says in
Surah Ambiya, Chapter. No. 21, Verse.No.30 that
We have created every living thing from water. Will you not then believe?
Imagine in the deserts of Arabia, the Qur’an says every living thing is made from water. Who could have believed in it? Today after science has advanced we have come to know that every living being, it contains cells and the basic substance of cell is the cytoplasm which contains over 80% water. Today science tells us that every living human.. creature contains 50 to 90 % water.
In the field of Botany, previously we did not know that even the plants have got sexes, male and female. The Qur’an says in
Surah Ta Ha, Chapter No.20, Verse.No.53 that
“It is He who sends down water from the sky and with it brings diverse pairs of plants, each separate from the other”.
The Arabic word ‘Azwaaj’ meaning pair saying that the plants have got sexes, male and female.
In the field of Zoology, the Quran says in
Surah Anam ch. no. 6 verse no. 38,
It is He who has made every animal that walks on the earth and every bird that flies in the air to live in communities like the human beings.
Today’s science agrees that even the animals and the birds live in communities like the human beings which was not known earlier.
The Quran speaks about the lifestyle of the bee in
Surah Nahl ch. no. 16 verse no. 68 and 69.
The Quran speaks about lifestyle of the spider in
Surah Ankaboot ch. no. 29 verse no. 41
The Quran speaks about the lifestyle and communication of ants in
Surah Naml ch. no. 27 verse no. 17 and 18.
In the field of Medicine, the Qur’an says in
Surah Nahl, Chapter.No.16, Verse.No.68 and 69 that
“From the belly of the bees, We give you a drink of varying colors, in which there is healing for mankind”.
It is recently we have come to know that the honey that we have is obtained from the belly of the bee. And today science agrees that there are mild antiseptic properties in the honey and it is even a healing for mankind.
In the field of physiology, the Quran describes the blood circulation and the production of milk in a nutshell in
Surah Nahl Chapter.No.16, Verse.No.66.
600 years after the Qur’an was revealed Ibn Nafees, he made it known to the world about the production of milk and blood circulation. 400 years later i.e. 1000 years after the Quran was revealed, William Harvey , he made it famous to the western world.
In our textbook we hear about William Harvey but we hardly hear about the name of Ibn Nafees who 400 years before William Harvey spoke about the blood circulation and the production of milk.
In the field of embryology, the Quran describes the various embryological stages of the human development in great detail in
Surah Mominoon ch. no. 23 verse no. 12 to 14, it says that the human being were Nutfah then we made it into a Alaqa, a Mudga, isaman.
That human beuing is created from a minute quantity of fluid then it made it into a Alaqa, that’s a leech like substance then made it into a chewed like lump and then made it into bones then clothed the bones with flesh.
When this verse was showed in the early part of the 1980s to Dr. Keith Moore who at that time happened to be the highest authority in the field of anatomy and embryology. He was the head of the department of Toronto in the University of Toronto. He said that the description of the Quran is far superior to what the modern embryology describes today instead of Stage 1, 2, 3 and he said that its not possible that any human being can mention these things in the Quran, this Quran has to be the Word from All Mighty God and he has no objection in accepting Prophet Muhammad as the messenger of Almighty God. Time does not permit to speak a lot about science; I will just give one more example which is mentioned in the Quran. The Quran mentions in
Surah Qiyamaah, Chapter.No.75, Verse.No.3 and 4
That when the unbelievers say that how will All Mighty God be able to reconstruct our bones after we are dead, we are buried, our bones have got disintegrated on the Day of Judgment, how will All Mighty God be able to reconstruct our bones?
All Mighty God replies in the quran and says tell them, “All Mighty God can not only reconstruct the bones, He can even reconstruct in perfect order the very tips of the finger”.
What does Qur’an mean by saying God can not only reconstruct the bones, He can even reconstruct in perfect order the very tips of the finger?
It was in 1880 that Sir Francis Golt, he discovered the finger printing method and he said that no two finger prints; even in millions of people are identical. And today this finger printing method is used by the police to identify the criminal, its used by CIA, by FBI, by the police worldwide.
This quran mentions 1400 years ago
Francis Bacon, a very famous philosopher, he said
“Little knowledge of science makes a person an atheist, but indepth knowledge of science, makes a person a believer in God”
That’s the reason today, scientists are not eliminating God, they are eliminating models of God, La ila ha ill Allah, there is no God but Allah.
I started my talk by quoting a verse from the Glorious Quran from
Surah Hujurat ch. no. 49 verse no. 13 which says
“Ya ayyuha alnnasu inna khalaqnakum min thakarin waontha wajaAAalnakum shuAAooban waqaba-ila litaAAarafoo inna akramakum AAinda Allahi atqakum inna Allaha AAaleemun khabeer”
O humankind! We have created you from a single pair of male and female and I have divided you into nations and tribes so that you shall recognize each other not that you shall despise each other. And the most honored in the sight of All Mighty God, is the person who has Taqwa.
The criteria for judgment in the sight of All Mighty God, its not sex, its not color, its not wealth, its not age but it is Taqwa, it is God consciousness, its piety, it is righteousness. The only way one human being can be superior to the other human being is by righteousness and by piety and no other criteria.
Quran says in Surah Rum ch. no. 30 verse no. 32
“And amongst His signs are the heavens and the earth and the variation in your languages and color. These are signs for the people who understand.”
The Qurans says, He has created the various differences in the color and the languages so that those who are knowledgeable people, they will know it’s a sign from All Mighty God. This speaks about the universal brotherhood that All Mighty God has created all the human beings from a common pair of human beings, Adam and Eve (May peace be upon them). And All Mighty God says in
Surah Isra ch. no. 17 verse no. 70
“Walaqad karramna banee adama”
And We have honored the children of Adam
All Mighty God says In the Quran that all the children of Adam irrespective whether they are black or white, male or female, whether they are born in UK or India or USA, whichever part of the world they belong to, All Mighty God has honored all the children of Adam, all the human beings. And Islam does not only speak about universal brotherhood, it practically demonstrates that every Muslim who follows the religion of Islam should practically practice it minimum, 5 times in a day. I am talking about one of the pillars of Islam i.e. Salaah which is the prayer and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that when you stand for prayer, you should stand shoulder to shoulder irrespective whether the person standing next to you is black or white, rich or poor, king or pauper. When you stand for prayer, you have to stand shoulder to shoulder, this demonstrates the Universal brotherhood everyday minimum 5 times everyday.
And another example is Hajj which is one of the pillars of Isl;am that every rich person who has the means and who has the health to travel to Makkah for the pilgrimage should at least do it once in his lifetime. And Hajj is the biggest annual gathering in the world where about 3 to 4 million people from different parts of the world from USA, from Canada, from U.K, from India, from Malaysia…from different parts of the world they gather together in one place in Makkah in Arafat and they are dressed up in two-piece of unsewn cloth which is white in color. And all of them, you cannot identify the person standing next to you is king or a pauper and all of them come on a common statement
Labbaikallah humma labbaik
Here we are O my Lord; here we are at your service.
Islam practically demonstrates universal brotherhood.
Many religions believe that humankind have been created from a single pair of Adam and Eve (may peace be upon them both) but there are some religions who put the blame only on Eve for the downfall of humanity for the original sin. But if you read the Quran the blame for disobeying All Mighty God is equally put on both Adam and Eve (may peace be upon them).
The Quran says in
Surah A’raaf ch. no. 7 verse no. 19 to 27
“Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), they are both addressed more than a dozen of times. Both of them, they disobeyed God, both of them repented and both were forgiven.
The blame is put equally on both of them. Never is the… There is not a single verse of the Qur’an which puts the blame only on Eve. However there is one verse in the Quran
Surah Taa Haa ch. No. 20 verse no. 121 which says and singles out Adam (peace be upon him) and says, he disobeyed God
But on the whole if you read the Qur’an, the blame is equally put on both of them. There are some religions because they say that women are the cause of the downfall of humanity which Islam doesn’t agree. Some religions say because of that God punished her and pregnancy is a curse and punishment of God on the women. But in Islam pregnancy uplifts the woman.
Quran says in
Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse no. 1, it says
“Respect the womb that bore you”
The Quran says in
Surah Luqman ch. no. 31 verse no. 14
“We have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to their parents. In trivial upon trivial did the mother bore them and in years twain was their weaning.”
The Quran repeats the message in
Surah Ahqaaf ch. no. 46 verse no. 15
“We have enjoined on the human beings to be good to their parents in pain did the mother bear them and in pain did she give them birth”
So pregnancy uplifts the woman, does not degrade her.
And our beloved Prophet said its mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari is a collection of the authentic sayings of the last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Its mentioned in
Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 8 in the Book of Manners ch. no. 2 Hadith no. 2
“A man approaches the Prophet and asks him that “who deserves the maximum companionship and love in this world?” the Prophet said “your mother” the man asked “after that who?” Prophet repeated “your mother” the man asked “after that who??” again the Prophet said “your mother”. The man asked for the fourth time “after that who??” then the Prophet said “your father”
That means 75%, 3/4th of the compassion goes to the mother, 25%, 1/4th goes to the father. In short the mother gets the gold medal, she gets the silver medal as well as the bronze medal. The father has to be satisfied with a mere consolation prize.
These are the teachings of Islam which we have to agree.
And if we analyze, Islam gave economic rights to the women 1300 years before the western world. 1400 years ago Islam gave right to any adult Muslim woman to own or disown the property without the permission of anyone else. The first time the western world gave right for a woman to own or disown the property was in 1870s under the Married Property.. Married Woman Property Act which said that a married woman, adult can own or disown the property without the permission of the husband and this act was later revised later on. Islam gave economic rights to women 1300 years before the western world.
And in Islam we do not agree with the word housewife which is used in English language because we don’t consider the woman to be married to the house to be called as housewife. We prefer calling her as a homemaker, the person who makes the home, the person who builds the home.
Though we see that there are many misconceptions, we find and many people think that men and women in Islam are not equal. In fact in Islam men and women are equal but equality does not mean identically. They are equal but they are not identical depending upon their physiological make up, their psychological make up, their biological make-up, they have different roles. Overall men and women are equal in some aspects, the woman she may have a degree of advantage, in some aspects the men may have a degree of advantage. Let me give you an example:
If there are 2 students in a class, Student A and B, both of them, they come out first in an examination, both get 80 out of 100. When we analyze the answer sheet there are 10 questions which have 10 answers each carrying 10 marks.
In answer to question no. 1, Student A gets 9 out of 10, Student B gets 7 out of 10.
In answer to question no. 2, Student B gets 9 out of 10, and Student A, he gets 7 out of 10. In all the remaining 8 answers both get 8 out of 10. If we add up both get 80 out of 100, they are equal but in answer no. 1, the Student A has a degree of advantage. In answer no. 2 Student B has a degree of advantage. In the other aspects both are equal and overall also they are equal.
In the same way men and women in Islam are equal. In some aspects the men have a degree of advantage, in some aspects the women have a degree of advantage. For example if a robber, if a thief enters my house, I will not say “I believe in women’s liberalization” I will not ask my wife or my daughter to go and fight. Since God has given me more strength, it is my duty to fight. As the Quran says in
Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse 34 that
God has given more strength to the men
It is his duty to protect the woman. So in strength, the men have a degree of advantage. And the other example I gave earlier that where companionship of the children is concerned, for the parents, the women have 3 times more companionship as compared to men. The mother has 3 times more companionship as compared to father. So here the women have a degree of advantage. So as I said earlier men and women in Islam are equal in some aspects the women have a degree of advantage, in some aspects the men have a degree of advantage.
The foundation of the religion of Islam is the belief in one and only sole Creator and Sustainer and this Creator and Sustainer, All Mighty God is the same for all the human beings. Only if you agree that our Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher, One God is the same then only can brotherhood be maintained in all religions. And this is the basis of all the religions.
Religion according to Oxford dictionary means a belief in a Super Human controlling power, a personal God or gods, that deserve worship and obedience’. So according to the Oxford Dictionary, religion means belief in God. If you understand God, you understand that religion in the right perspective.
Quran says in
Surah Al Imran, Ch. No. 3, Verse No. 64,
“Ta`alaw ‘Ilá Kalimatin Sawa’in Baynana Wa Baynakum”
“Come to common terms as between us and you”
Which is the first term?
“Allah Na`buda ‘Illallah”
“That we worship none but one Almighty God”
The Quran says let the people of different religions come to common terms. What is different we can discuss tomorrow, let us agree to follow what is common. And one thing common in all the religion is to believe and worship only one God. To understand any religion or to understand the concept of God in any religion, it is not appropriate to try and observe the followers of that religion because many a times the followers themselves may not be aware about their religion or the concept of God in their religion. The best and the most authentic way of understanding a religion or understanding the concept of God in any religion is to try and understand what the authentic scriptures of that religion has to speak about God.
Let’s try and understand the concept of God in the major religions in a nutshell.
First we will try and understand the concept of God in Hinduism. The two major and most authentic scriptures in the religion of Hinduism are the Vedas and the Upanishads.
It’s mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad, Chapter No. 6, Section No. 2, Verse No.1,
“God is only one without a second.”
This is a Sanskrit quotation.
It’s mentioned in Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Chapter No. 6, Verse No. 9,
“Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”
“Of that God, He has got no parents, He has got no lord, He has got no father, He has got no mother, He has got no superior.”
It’s mentioned in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad; Chapter No. 4, Verse No. 19, as well as Yajurveda Chapter No. 32, Verse No. 3
“Na Tasya Pratima Asti”
“Of that God there is no Prathima.”
Prathima is a Sanskrit word which means, it means an image, a photograph, a painting, a picture, a sculpture, a statue, an idol. It says of that God there is no image, there is no picture, no painting, there is no portrait, there is no statue, there is no idol, there is no sculpture.
And the Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is, The Fundamental creed of Hinduism is
“Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan”
“Bhagwan ek hi hai doosra nahi hai, nahi hai, nahi hai, zara bhi nahi hai.”
“There is only one God not a second one, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.”
So, if you read the Hindu scriptures, you shall understand the concept of God in Hinduism and understand Hinduism in the right perspective.
Let’s discuss the concept of God in Judaism. It’s mentioned in the Old Testament in the
Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter No. 6, Verse No. 4, Moses (peace be upon him) says,
“Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.”
“Hear, O lord…: Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is one God”
It’s mentioned in the
Book of Isaiah Chapter No. 43, Verse No. 11,
‘I, I am Lord and there is no Savior besides Me.’
It’s mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter No. 45, Verse No. 5,
‘I am Lord, and there is none else, there’s no God besides Me.’
It’s mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter No. 45.. ch. no. 46, Verse No. 9,
‘I am God, and there is none else. I am God, and there is none like me’.
It’s further mentioned in the Book of Exodus, Chapter No. 20, Verses no. 2 to 5, as well as in the
Book of Deuteronomy, Ch. No. 5, Verse No.7 to 9, All Mighty God says
‘Thou shall have no other Gods besides Me’. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image of anything, of any likeness, in the heaven above, in the earth beneath, and the water under the earth. Thou shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I thy God, thy Lord, is a jealous God.’
So if you read the Old Testament or if you read the Torah, you should understand the concept of God in Judaism and understand Judaism in the right perspective.
Before we discuss the concept of God in Christianity, I would like to clarify a few points.
Islam is the only Non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
We believe that he was one of the mightiest messengers of All Mighty God.
We believe he was the Messiah, translated Christ
We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians today do not believe.
We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission.
We believe that he healed those born blind and lepers with God’s permission.
The Christians and Muslims, we are going together. One may ask then where is the parting of ways. The parting of ways is that many Christians believe or most of the Christians believe that Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), he claimed divinity. They believe that he was All Mighty God.
In fact, if you read the Bible, there is not a single unequivocal statement, there is not a single unambiguous statement in the complete Bible, where Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) himself says, that ‘I am God’, or where he says ‘Worship me’.
In fact if you read the Bible it is mentioned in the
Gospel of John, Ch.No. 14, V.No.28, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said –
‘My Father is greater than I’
Gospel of John, Chapter No. 10, Verse No. 29,
“My father is greater than all.”
Gospel of Mathew, Chapter No. 12 Verse No. 28,
“I cast out devil with the Sprit of God’.
Gospel of Luke, Chapter No. 11 Verse No. 20,
“I with the finger of God, cast out devils.”
Gospel of John, Chapter No. 5 Verse No. 30,
“I can of my own self do nothing – as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just, for I seek not my will, but the will of my Father”
Anyone who says I seek not my will but the will of All Mighty God, he is a Muslim. As I mentioned Muslim means a person who submits his will to God and Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said not my will but the will of All Mighty God. So in Arabic we say he is a Muslim. Therefore we say Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) was one of the mightiest messengers of All Mighty God. And he further clarified in the
Gospel of John, Ch. No. 14, V.No.24, he said that
“The words that you hear, are not mine, but Father’s, who has sent me”.
Its mentioned in the
Gospel of John, Ch. No. 17, V.No.3, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said
“This is eternal life, so that you may know one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent”.
It’s clearly mentioned in the Book of Acts Ch. No. 2 verse no. 22 it says
“Ye men of Israel listen to this, Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God amongst you by wonders and miracles and signs which God did by him and your were witness to it”
A man approved of God amongst you by wonders and miracles and signs which God did by him and you were witness to it.
And when Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) was asked which is the first of the commandments, he repeated verbatim what was mentioned by Moses (peace be upon him) earlier. It’s mentioned in the
Gospel of Mark ch. No. 12 verse no. 29, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said
“Shama Israelo Adonai Ila Hayna Adonai Ikhad”
“Hear O Israel the Lord our God is One Lord”
So if you read the Bible you should understand the concept of God in Christianity and understand Christianity in the right perspective.
Let’s discuss the concept of god in Islam
The best reply that any Muslim can give you regarding the Concept of God in Islam is quote to you Surah Ikhlaas, Chapter No. 112 Verse No. 1 to 4 which says
“Qul Huwallaahu Ahad”,
“Say: He is Allah, One and Only”
“Allah, the Absolute and Eternal”
“Lam Yalid Wa Lam Yulad”
“He begets not, nor is He begotten”
“Walam Yakullahu Kufuan ‘Ahad”
“There is nothing like Him”
This is a 4-line definition of All Mighty God. Any person says that so and so candidate is God, if he falls, if he passes this four test, we Muslims have got no objection in accepting as God.
The first is “Say: He is Allah, One and Only”
The second is He should be “Absolute and Eternal”,
The third “He begets not nor is He begotten”
And fourth “There is nothing like unto Him anything in this world”
This is a four line definition of Almighty God which we call as the litmus test for ‘Theology’ it is the touchstone of theology.
And further the Quran says in Surah An’am ch. No. 6 verse no. 108 that
“Revile not, abuse not those who they worship gods besides Allah, lest in their ignorance they will revile, they will abuse Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)”
Quran prohibits any Muslim from speaking bad, from reviling, from abusing those who other people worship god besides Allah, lest in their ignorance they will abuse Allah.
So to understand the concept of God in Islam we have to read the Qur’an.
Today unfortunately Islam is the most misunderstood religion in the world. The religion which has the maximum misconception in the world today, it is Islam. And one of the reasons for these misconceptions about this religion, I would say it is the media.
Today we find in the international media there is virulent propaganda regarding Islam. We find in the international newspapers, in the international magazines, radio broadcast stations, on the international satellite channels, on the internet there is virulent propaganda regarding Islam.
And the most misunderstood word regarding Islam, it is the word Jihad. It is not only misunderstood by the Muslims but because of the Media it’s also misunderstood by the non-Muslims. Today most of the people whether they are Muslims or non Muslims, they think that any war fought by any Muslim for any reason whether it be for personal gain, whether it be for name, whether it be for fame, whether it be for honor, whether it be for land any war fought by any Muslim is called as Jihad.
Jihad does not mean any war fought by any Muslim for any reason. Jihad comes from the Arabic word ‘jahada’ which means to strive which means to struggle.
In the Islamic context jihad means to strive and struggle against one’s own evil inclination. Jihad also means to strive and struggle to make the society better. Jihad also means to strive and struggle against oppression. Jihad also means to strive and struggle in self defense. So jihad basically means to strive and struggle. For e.g. if a student is striving and struggling to pass in the examination in Arabic we’ll say he is doing jihad. So Jihad basically means to strive and struggle.
Today most of the orientalist, they translate the word jihad as ‘holy war’, if you translate holy war into Arabic it is ‘Harbo Muqaddasa’ and this word ‘Harbo Muqaddasa’ appears no where in the Quran, nowhere in any sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam).
This word ‘holy war’ if you go back into history was first used for the crusades. When the crusaders forced people to accept the religion of Christianity by force and unfortunately today it is used for the Muslims and Islam.
Quran mentions explicitly in Surah Maidah ch. No. 5 verse no. 32
“If anyone kills any other human being unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption in the land it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity”
The Qur’an says
“If anyone human being kills any other innocent human being whether Muslim or non-Muslim it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity”
And the verse continues
“If anyone saves any human being whether Muslim or non-Muslim it is as though he has saved the whole of humanity”
I being a student of comparative religion, I have not come across any verse in any scripture besides the Quran which is so explicit against terrorism, against killing human beings.
It says that if any human being kills any other human being who’s innocent whether Muslims or non-Muslim it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity.
And I have not come across any other scripture any other religious scripture besides the Qur’an which promotes the prevention of terrorism and it says if any human being saves any human life whether Muslim or non-Muslim it is as though he has saved the whole of human kind.
Islam condemns all forms of terrorism, Islam condemns the killing of any innocent human being of any caste, color, creed irrespective of which nationality he belongs to, irrespective of which religion he belongs to. Islam and I too condemn all forms of terrorism. I also condemn the 9/11 which took place on 11th of September 2001 the twin tower bombing in New York where few thousand innocent people were killed. I condemn the 7/7, 7th of July 2005 London bombing where more than 50 innocent people were killed. I also condemn the serial train bomb blast that took place in Bombay on the 11th of July 2006 where more than 180 innocent people were killed. I also condemn the Gujarat massacre, the riots which were pre-planned which took place in Gujarat in India where innocent few thousand Muslims were killed. I condemn all sorts of terrorism where innocent human beings are killed irrespective whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
And whatever acts of terrorism which takes the life of innocent human being is to be condemned including suicide bombing. Now we have recently in the few decades, in the past few decades that a person goes he puts up a bomb goes in a market place, goes in a tube station on the road and he blows himself up and with him takes several other human lives. This act in no where….this act is not tolerable in any religion especially Islam. Suicide bombing where innocent human beings are killed is totally prohibited in Islam.
Unfortunately though Islam is a religion which condemns all sorts of terrorism, all acts of terrorism which took place in the past, which is even taking place in this 21st century even though it condemns unfortunately today the media portrays Islam as a religion which promotes terrorism.
Every community has its black sheep’s, every community has its black sheep’s and I’m also aware that there are black sheep in the Muslim community. What does the Media do? The media picks up the black sheep of the Muslim community and they portray as though they as exemplary Muslims. Because of this today we find that most of the people think that Islam promotes terrorism, if you read the Quran if you read the sayings of the Prophet. Islam amongst all the other religions is at the foremost in condemning the killing of innocent human being and one such prey of the media, of the media tactics was myself.
Eight months back in the fourth week of June 2010 I was supposed to give a series of talk in UK. I was supposed to give a talk in the Wembley Arena in Wembley London, in LG arena NEC Birmingham as well as Sheffield Arena in Sheffield. All these venue had a capacity of 10 to 15 thousand people and these are prestigious venues.
Just three weeks before my lecture tour there was an article which came in one of the leading news paper that is Sunday Times.
Sunday Times, it gave an article “Muslim preacher of Hate let into Britain” and this article it gave portions of my speeches which were either quoted out of context or they were misquoted and it portrayed me as a preacher of hate, a person who promotes terrorism. And the next couple of days this same article was picked up rehashed and re-printed in many of the news papers of UK not only in news papers of UK but newspapers internationally including the news paper of India. Unfortunately, these articles inspired the Home Secretary of UK, Theresa May, to pass an exclusion order on the 16th of June 2010. After reading these articles and hearing some clips from the youtube which were again either out of context and they were portions which were manipulated based on these youtube clips and the media report the Home Secretary of UK on 16th of June 2010 she passed an exclusion order against me. And the next day 17th of June the deputy high commission of Britain in Bombay on the 17th of June they revoked and cancelled my visa. I had a valid 5 year multiple entry Visa to UK which was issued on the 15th of July 2008 valid till 15th of July 2013. I have been coming to UK from the past 20 years I have come several times and for lecture tours for several times. I had a valid multiple entry 5 years Visa on which I had come twice before in 2008-2009 which was cancelled without giving me a fair hearing. I think this is an attack on freedom of expression as well as on human rights.
Charles Farr who is the Director General of the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism, he was not in favor of this exclusion order and he wanted me to reach to those Muslims who he felt the government could not reach but the home secretary ignoring the advice of her senior most security advisor she went ahead with the exclusion order and later on a few weeks later she even suspended one of the advisor under Charles Farr who supported me.
I personally have more faith in the judiciary system rather than the political system of my country India as well as the country of UK. We did a judicial review and took it to the high court and Justice Cranston though the Home Secretary said that I have no right to fight under human rights because I am a non UK citizen, Justice Cranston said and he reviewed it and he said that he can file a case and he passed a judgment and said that the first three decisions of the Home Secretary on 16th of June, 17th of June and the 27th of June all three were unlawful but however later on in the month of August 2010 when they gave additional information he said that this is lawful which is not logical.
I have faith in the judiciary system; we have filled for an appeal against the last judgment of the high court and have full faith that, InshaAllah, very shortly this exclusion order would be reversed by the court of appeal. I hope to meet Theresa May and clear the misconceptions about my lecture which she may have. I personally would have come, I would have personally preferred to have personally come in the Oxford Union and give this talk and a lively question and answer session rather than the satellite.
Last month I had gone to France I was in Paris, we had a board meeting of our trust, Islamic Research Foundation International which is based in UK as well as Universal Broadcast Limited. Because I could not come to UK I called the board members to Paris and I was shocked normally the world feels that France is more strict against Islam than UK but when I applied for Visa I got it within 1 hour and we had the board meeting there I would prefer having in UK but because of the exclusion order which I feel the court of appeal will very shortly will reverse it and though the world may think that because of the exclusion order it is an attack on freedom of expression but I would like to thank the Oxford Union that even though the exclusion order has been passed on me yet they permitted this debate or this lecture followed by the question and answer session I would like to thank the Oxford Union especially the President Mr. James Langman for being bold and agreeing to have this lecture.
The Oxford Union may or may not agree with my speech. They may like my talk or may not like my talk. What I appreciate is that they are really people who promote freedom of expression.
I would like to conclude my speech by giving a message
Peace is the only solution for the problems of humanity. Many nations, many countries have armies they have got military, they have got navy, they have got air force, some countries have got weapons of mass destruction, some have nuclear weapons believe me all these are not the solution for the problems of humanity. The only solution according to me for the problems of humanity is peace. There may be differences, there are differences in culture, there are differences in languages, there is differences in colour, there’s difference of society irrespective of the differences one common factor amongst all human beings of the world is that all want peace according to me peace is the only solution for the problems of humanity.
I said at the starting of my talk Islam is derived from the Arabic word ‘Salaam’ which means peace. And this word ‘salaam’ is mentioned in the Qur’an no less than 43 times, it’s mentioned no less than 43 times along with it derivatives it’s mentioned no less than 143 times. Salaam, peace is mentioned in the Qur’an no les than 143 times.
And I started my talk by greeting all of you ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ which means Peace be on all of you. The Qur’an says in
Surah Yasin ch. No. 36 verse no. 58 that
Peace is a salutation from the Lord who is the Most Merciful.
One of the attributes of Almighty God is As-Salaam, the source of Peace. Qur’an says is
Surah Al Hashr ch. 59 verse no. 23 it refers to Allah, All Mighty God, as As-Salaam – The Source of Peace.
Qur’an says in
Surah Maida ch. No. 5 verse no. 16 that
All Mighty God guides those people who come towards Him towards peace and safety and takes them out of darkness into light.
That’s the reason every chapter of the Glorious Quran every chapter of the Glorious Quran, there are 114 chapters in the Glorious Quran, every chapter except 9 starts with a beautiful formula ‘Bismillah Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem’ – In the name of Allah – Almighty God the Most Merciful the Most Gracious.
According to me Peace is the only solution for humanity and I am a person who spreads peace my mission is to spread peace. And as many may be aware that I started a global Peace TV network about 5 years ago, 5 years before in January 2006. In January 2006 I launched the Peace TV in English, two and a half years later in 2008 Peace TV Urdu and InshaAllah in the next couple of months in April 2011 we will launch the Peace TV Bangla.
Today Peace TV English is the largest watched Islamic satellite channel in the world, it has a viewership of more than 100 million, out of which more than 25% are non Muslims. Even if I am able to convince one human being irrespective of whether he is a Muslim or a non Muslim and prevent him from killing one innocent human being, I feel, I would have saved the whole of humankind. Peace is the only solution, my message is only of peace, my mission is to spread peace.
I would like to end my talk with the quotation of Dr. Adam Pearson, Dr. Adam Pearson said people who worry that one day nuclear weaponry will fall in the hands of the Arabs they fail to realize that the Islamic bomb, the bomb of peace, has already been dropped. It fell the day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born.
Wa Aakhiru Da’waana Anil Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil Aalameen!
‘Islam & the 21st Century’
Question & Answer Session
James Langman: Okay ladies and gentleman, I will now like to ask some of you signal your intention to ask questions to Dr. Naik. The way in which we are going to this is if you will signal your intention to me, we will then try and get up to the microphone up to the podium in groups of five. Please stand at the podium, deliver your question and wait at the podium until you have received your answer, then return to your seat. So the first five, come here… … please stand, stand up for those three queuing, signal your intention and add to the queue after they come down.
Questioner: Dr. Naik, thank you for coming here we really do appreciate it and thank you for your complimentary words of his Union being a basting of free speech. With that same principle of free speech in mind, don’t you think that I or any one should therefore should have the right to go a Muslim country and proclaim the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God?
Dr. Zakir: Brother asked the question, that same right of freedom of speech doesn’t he have the right to proclaim the Christian Bible in any Muslim country. Brother as we know today all the Muslim countries per se do not follow Quran and the Hadith in the true sense. There are many Muslim countries some may be close to Islam, some may not be close to Islam, depending upon each country they may have their own law. So what you have to do, you have to ask that particular country which does not permit you to preach your gospel what is the reason, that they don’t want you to preach your gospel.
Questioner: Dr. Naik thank you very much your talk, the question I had is, you profess to be a man of peace, you’ve spoken very eloquently about the idea of peace in Islam, peace is written in front of your microphone as you stand there and I agree with you in many senses, but my question is why then is your message still seen as so controversial, why are there figures within the Islamic world, why are there fellow Islamic clerics who see your message and still believe that your are wrong? Why you claim that the Home Secretary has banned you from this country because of, sort of a media conspiracy, but why is that a broader sense is discontent with your message?
Dr. Zakir: The brother has asked a very good question that why if I am a man of peace, and I speak about peace some people are against me some Muslims, some non-Muslims, the Home Secretary. Brother you have to understand that any person who is popular, there are bound to be people who are against him irrespective whether the popular person is dong good work or bad work. And the best example I can give you, that today according to Michael H Hart he wrote a book saying “The Hundred Most Influential People in the World History” tough he is a Christian he put number one, most influential human being, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Today do you know, though Muslims consider him to be the most important and the most influential person in history there are many non Muslims who think the same. But today if we analyze the maximum books written against any human being on the face of the earth it is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The second person he named in his list was Isaac Newton but because he is not a common man for common human being, he is a scientist.
The third person on his list was Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). If we analyze today the second person in human history, who has maximum number of books written against him, it is Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
Based on this argument do I have to agree that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) they were not good? What we have to realize is when a person gets popular there are bound to be people against him.
And according to the Home Department of UK, when I had come in the year 2009, I was informed by reliable sources that according to the Home Department of UK, the most popular Islamic satellite channel in the world is Peace TV and the most watched Islamic satellite channel in UK also is Peace TV. Not only is it watched by Muslims but also watched by non Muslims. The same report said that the most popular Islamic speaker in the world is Dr. Zakir Naik and the most popular Islamic speaker in UK is also Dr. Naik, that’s the reason the Home Department was requesting me that can I reach out to those Muslims which the UK government cannot.
But now because of the change of government, what I feel that it was more of a political move rather than a legal move. And as maybe they wanted someone popular so that they could pass the message that we are tough against the Muslims and that is the reason what we feel that we have more faith in the judicial system rather than the political system. I think it was mainly because of popularity and it was mainly a political move rather than the legal move and, InshaAllah, God willing, we feel that this exclusion order will be reversed by the Court of Appeal, hopefully. Thank you.
Questioner: Hi. … Solace is my name. I am a lawyer, a historian and also a theologian. You gave a very excellent exposition of the Quran and Islam but Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths. A Jew could have said the same things or almost the same thing as you said by quoting the Quran.. sorry quoting the Torah, the Talmud. A Christian have said almost everything you said by quoting both the Old Testament and the New Testament and I do not know whether we should be trying to say one religion is superior or more truthful than another and if you do go down that line whether that’s what led to the crusades said their thing. You mentioned about justice and peace, of course, the Christian Bible mentions more… more verses about justice and peace then there are by the Holy Sprit and of course Christians were pacifists until 313… So what is the difference between what you are saying and Judaism and Christianity and what would that lead to?
Dr. Zakir: The brother asked a very good question and I do agree with him that if you read the Torah, the books of Judaism, the books of Christianity, you will find verses of peace. Never in my lecture ever did I say that any religion is against peace or any religion is in favor of terrorism. I always said all religions are against terrorism. What I made one statement in my speech that verse of the Quran ch 5 verse no. 32, this verse which is so emphatic I do not find a similar verse in any other scripture because I’m a student of comparative religion saying
“If you kill one innocent human being it is as though you have killed the whole of humanity and if you save one innocent human being it is as though you have saved the whole of humanity”
It was only one verse otherwise generally I do agree that most of the religions almost all they speak about peace that’s the reason Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) if you read the
Gospel of Luke ch. No 24 verse no. 6
When he goes to the upper room when he says he wishes the apostle ‘Sholom Alekum’ which means same, peace be upon you, in Hebrew. So the greetings of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) too when he met the people was ‘Sholom Alekum’ which meant same in Arabic ‘Assaalmu Alaikum’, may peace be on you.
Regarding you saying that one religion is superior to the other religion, I believe, All Mighty God sent only one religion; He has not sent different religions. What the Quran says He has made human beings into different tribes, different colors, different languages so that they may recognize each other not that they might despite each other. The only religion that God has sent to all His Messengers whether it be Moses, whether it be Jesus (peace be upon him), Moses (peace be upon him), Muhammad (peace be upon him) it was to submit their will to All Mighty God. So I believe all these messengers right from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, peace be upon them all, all of them brought the same message that believe in one God and worship Him alone and only Him and submit your will to that All Mighty God. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Good afternoon Dr. Naik…my name is Eziwespree, I’m a secretary here at the Oxford Union, I have a very short question to ask ….umm …you talked about the Hijaab being something to serve to protect a woman surely it’s extremely patronizing and degrading to prevent a women from making that decision for herself…how could you answer that?
Dr. Zakir: What’s your question sister? Can you repeat the question?
Questioner: I said in your speech you talked about the Hijaab being something that serves to protect a woman but how is it not extremely patronizing, degrading and not allowing the women to make that decision herself.
Dr. Zakir: Sister has posed a very good question that when I say that Hijaab is required for a woman isn’t it not degrading for the woman to patronize it, isn’t it degrading?
If you read the Qur’an.. the Qur’an and Islam has prescribed Hijaab that means the women should be covered the only part that can be seen are the face and the hands up to the wrist. This is for the modesty and it is not only mentioned in the Qur’an it is also mentioned in the Bible.
If you read the Bible in the 1st Timothy ch. No 2 verse no. 9 it says that
Women should be dressed up with shamefacedness. They should be dressed up with sobriety and should not wear braded hair of gold or pearls.
It’s further mentioned in the
1st Corinthians ch. No. 5 verse no. 7 to 11
“The women that does not cover her hair…head then she dishonors her head, her head should be shaved off”
Anyway I don’t agree with this I’m just quoting you from the Bible.
Same way if you go to the Vedas, it says that the women should cover their head. So all the religious scriptures they talk about the women covering their head. It is for modesty it is not to degrade the women.
And if we analyze there was an allegation made against me saying the Dr. Zakir Naik says that if they don’t wear Hijaab, you know, that if you wear western clothes there are chances the women will be raped. It is a misquotation again, what I said if women wear revealing clothes they have more chances of being raped, what I was doing… the same news paper Sunday Times which spoke against me, 1 year before on the March of 9th 2009 Sunday Times carried an article “In Britain one out of seven feel that the women who wear sexy revealing clothes, she should be hit”
I’m sorry I don’t agree with it, this is the statistics that was given in the Sunday Times on the 9th of March 2009 that in Britain one out of seven Britishers believe that the women who wear revealing and sexy clothes should be hit. I disagree with this.
Furthermore one more article came in 2005 in the same news paper Sunday Times it said that “26% of the Britishers, they feel that wearing revealing clothes is partially or totally responsible for the rape”
So what I say that more modestly you are dressed up you are respected more. So Islam has prescribed the modest Hijaab for the woman not to degrade her but to uplift her.
I do agree there may be cultural differences, Islam cannot force anyone to adopt it, there are cultural differences for e.g. I’ll give you an e.g.
That some…some societies what they feel that even looking at a woman is immodest, some societies feel looking is no problem but touching a woman is immodest, some of the societies feel shaking hands is no problem, some societies feel kissing no problem, some societies feels doing anything as long as both agree is no problem. Different societies and different cultures have got rules and regulations.
When I went to America while I was giving a talk one of the Americans told me “You eastern women, you are immodest” I was shocked! So I said why do you call the eastern women immodest? He told me you eastern woman you expose your belly. So in America, in western country exposing belly is immodest. In India exposing belly is not immodesty, wearing shorts is immodesty.
What you have to realize sister there is different culture, there is different system. Islam cannot force any one to adopt
Islam clearly mentions in Surah Baqarah ch. No. 2 verse no. 256
“La ikraha fid Deen”
“There is no compulsion in religion”
But if some woman wants to adopt the Hijaab because they feel modest and they feel respected, I feel no other woman should disagree. And when I have been to UK, I have seen hundreds and thousands of women who do cover their hair and who feel that they are uplifted because of this modesty. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Good evening Dr. Zakir Naik. My name is Dr. Ramsee from Oxford. I am… of Universal Peace Federation and member of the…one of the member of the Muslim Council of Britain. I would like to say, you are doing an excellent job obviously. Now my question, Dr. Zakir Naik, in your opinion is Islamophobia a real phenomena and if so how do you suggest it can be tackled? Does the responsibility lies in the Muslim community or should western society be doing more to breach this barrier of fear. I am talking about the fear; all phobias are fear, fear of unknown. Thank you.
Dr. Zakir: The brother asked a very good question that is Islamophobia a real phenomena, how should it be tackled. Is it the responsibility of the Muslim community to do it. Yes there is Islamophobia especially in this 21st centaury and as I mentioned in my speech, I believe that one of the major reasons for this Islamophobia is the media. And I said in my speech that media spreads several misconceptions about this religion of Islam. I do agree that it is that duty of us Muslims that we should spread the true teachings of Islam.
I am aware that there are black sheep in the Muslim community; I am not saying all Muslims are 100% pious, all are good. There are black sheeps in every community including Islam. What does the media do? They pick up the black sheep of the Muslim community and they portray in the media as though they are exemplary Muslims. What we have do is we have to portray the right teachings if the Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And if any Muslim is involved in some act which are against the teachings of Islam which is… acts of terrorism, killing of innocent human beings, it is the duty of us Muslims that we should tell such people it is haraam. There are some people who are misguided and they are being brainwashed into saying that killing innocent human being is part of Islam, you will get reward. It is our duty as mainstream Muslims to try and convey the right message of Islam and prevent such Muslims from being misguided, that’s point no. 1.
Point no. 2 its our duty to tell the government of the country in you are living that Islam is a peaceful religion and what I believe that Muslims should be part of the solution, they should not be part of the problem. The government should not think that Muslims are part of the problem; they should think Muslims are part of the solution. And that’s the advice I even give to the police of India and to the police of Bombay and I interact with the police force very often and I tell them that just for a few you should take the Muslims in confidence and the best is to have an interaction I have addressed many… many police officers from various different countries and we should try and have a question and answer session and remove the misconceptions in their mind and prove to them that Islam is the one of the most tolerant religion, its a peaceful religion and it if you know the teachings of Islam surely the least person that you’ll have to fear is fear a true Muslim. I’m not talking about the black sheeps of the Muslim community. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Dr. Naik, I’m Yasmin and I’m a student at the University and my question is so related to the last question. And you talked about, you wanted to come to the UK because you wanted to reach out to Muslims, who you thought that the government was not able to reach out to. And I wondered why in your opinion you thought the government was failing its way to reach out to Muslims in Britain?
Dr. Zakir: Sister asked a question I wanted to come to UK to reach out to those Muslims who the government could not reach out. Sister there’s a slight confusion. I said, Charles Farr, the Director General of the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism felt that I could reach out those Muslims who the government could not reach out to. He felt that, not me. And I think, again, because the information which the Home Department has, that Peace TV is the most popular Islamic Satellite Channel in UK watched by the Muslims as well as the Non Muslims and the most popular speaker, according to the Home Department, not according to me, according to the Home Department is Dr. Zakir Naik. So I… I repeated what he thought. He thought that I could reach better, may be he thinks that my speeches have influence and he may have read my speeches in context that’s the reason he was not in favor of the Home Secretary, that she passed the exclusion order. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Do you think they have a point… do you think ah… in some sense the government failed reach out to Muslims. I want to know.
Dr. Zakir: Yes, if you ask my opinion, that do I agree with the thoughts of Charles Farr that the government is failing on, yes I do agree with him. I do agree because as I said in my earlier answer that the government should not think that Muslims are part of the problem, the government should think that Muslims are part of the solution, because a Muslim, there are many Muslims who are British citizens and it’s the duty of every Muslim to follow all the laws of the country he’s staying in as long as the law does not force him to do something which is prohibited in the religion or prevents him from doing something which is compulsory in the religion.
As far as India is concerned, I do not know of any rule or any law in the constitution which forces a Muslim in India do something which is prohibited neither does it prevent me from doing something which is compulsory. So I am a practicing Muslim and I am proud to be an Indian. So I am proud to be an Indian Muslim.
Similarly there are many Britishers who I feel, may be feeling the same. They may be Muslims, and they may be following the laws of the country so they are British Muslims.
So I feel that the government should take in confidence and what they should do that they should see to it that this maligning buy the media should stop. And the best example, best example is myself. I mean there are many, there are hundred million viewers of Peace TV and there are millions of people who… who tell that I am an ambassador for peace, they say I am a peaceful person. There are many heads of states of several foreign countries, many. They have called me as a State Guest so do you mean to say all these state guests of these countries, the president, the prime minister the King, the Shaikh, they meet me, they have dinner with me, do you mean to say that they are meeting a person who is promoting terrorism? A person who spreads hate? So what I am saying this is all again manipulated by the media. So the government should not fall a prey to the media and take any decision hastily. What they should do, they should give a chance for the person to clarify and then I am sure that most of the misconceptions will be removed and I’m sure that UK would be a more peaceful country to live in. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Dr. Naik, hello and thank you. My name is John and I am a doctor of student here at Oxford and I am from the USA. My question has to do with prosecution specifically how former Muslims are sometimes killed if they had chosen to leave Islam deciding that another religion is more true for example my girlfriend is Turkish and she lives in Turkey. She used to be Muslim but decided become a Christian after understanding Jesus in a new way as god being flesh. She’d had fears in the past that she may be harmed or even killed for her decision in the light of the recent attention in that matter in Pakistan with Miss Bibi and the blasphemy laws. My question is this, what are you doing or what do you plan to do to educate Muslims that if someone chooses to leave Islam, that person should not be killed.
Dr. Zakir: Brother asked a very important question and he said that what if a person who is practicing Islamic faith changes to any other faith, is it required that he should be killed? And all these articles ‘Preacher of Hate’ one of the point was that ‘Dr. Zakir prescribes death penalty for those Muslims who leave their faith and they profess any other faith’. Again these reports were out of context. They took up a portion of my speech where I said that “many scholars say that a Muslim who leaves his faith and professes any other religion, death penalty is the punishment but”, I went on to further say that “death penalty is not a standard punishment for any Muslim who leaves his faith and professes any other religion”.
I gave the example that once during the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) there was a Muslim who converted to another faith and had done some wrong deeds for which the Prophet had told that he should be put to death but later on when Hazrat Usman (may Allah be pleased with him), he approached the Prophet and said that the man should be forgiven, the Prophet pardoned him.
This incidence proves that death penalty is not the standard rule for any Muslim who changes his faith. If he does some act which requires to be punished by death, depending upon the act he has done but according to Islam and according to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).. According to me death penalty is not the standard rule for any Muslim who changes his faith and professes any other religion. And that’s what I have told in my talks but unfortunately what they do they pick up a portion of my speech from the youtube and they show it to the Home Secretary and the Home Secretary believes it. What you have to see is in context.
I would like to give you…one more example I would like to give that the moment I was banned in UK, I was suppose to travel to Toronto, Canada. Immediately when the ban was effected even my Visa for Canada was cancelled, there also I had a 5 year visa and I heard on the Toronto News, it says ‘Hear this preacher of .. the Preacher of Hate’, “hear what he says” and then show my clipping that “when you beat your wife, don’t beat on the face, point no. 1.
When you beat you should not leave a mark on the body”, finish.
Now they are showing a clipping, a portion of my answer. Anyone who hears these 2 statements when you beat your wife, don’t beat her on the face, when you beat, do not leave a mark on the body. It will.. a person would think that Zakir is showing how to beat your wife without leaving a mark. It was a portion of my answer when a non-Muslim asked the question that doesn’t the Quran say that you should beat your wife and I said that the Quran says in
Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse no. 34, it says that
When your wife is disloyal to you, first you admonish her, point no. 1
Admonish her first then you stop talking to her, then stop sharing her bed, then you can beat her lightly, the Arabic word is ‘Darabah’.
And when someone asked Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the companion of the prophet, he said it means like beating with a tooth brush, and further the commentary says that the Prophet said,
when you beat your wife you should not beat on the face point no. 1.
Beat in such a way that there is no mark left on the body. So this part was shown and I continued, Islam and Quran never suggests wife bashing. It means that you should beat with the tooth brush lightly in modern terminology I said beating with a handkerchief, just a symbolic beating such that you don’t beat her on the face, even a symbolic beating and don’t beat in a way in which there no mark left on the body. That means its an admonition, it’s just a symbolic beating. So they cut off all the portion and show only two sentences of mine and they promote that Zakir is a person who is against women.
So these things were also done regarding the death penalty for a person who changes the faith from Islam but as I told you in Islam the standard rule is not death penalty for a Muslim who changes his faith to any other religion. Hope that answers the question.
Questioner: Fine but what are you going to do to continue to educate people so that Muslims around the world know that?
Dr. Zakir: Brother, this I have mentioned in several of my speeches, now when you asked the question, I gave the reply. There are tens of millions of people watching this program on Peace TV, they are being educated that death penalty is not the standard rule but why will they believe in me? Because I have given the reference, I gave the reference of the sayings of the Prophet from Abu Dawood I am giving the reference for more authenticity
Abu Dawood vol. no. 3 Hadith no 4345.
Now when I’m giving reference, Abu Dawood Vol. no. 3 Hadith no. 4345, anyone can go and checkup this Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet. The Prophet pardoned a person who was a Muslim and changed to another faith. Now the difference between my answer and other answers are the other people just say without giving the reference. Now when I give a reference, sayings of the Prophet
Abu Dawood Vol. no. 3 Hadith no. 4345, you can go and checkup so this gives more authenticity and I am sure now there are millions of Muslims who will agree that death penalty is not the standard rule for any Muslim who changes his faith to any other religion. Hope that answers the question.
James Langman: That’s all for this evening due to the limitation of the satellite link. However I would ask you now to join with me in thanking Dr. Naik for his speech and pass it back to Peace TV to finish the evening. And with that Ladies and Gentlemen I remain, James Langman, and your President, thank you.
Dr. Zakir: I would like to thank the Oxford Union, especially the President of the Oxford Union, Mr. James Langman, for making this event possible and I really appreciate with the way they invited me for this talk and at least now the people of UK can really see a live telecast that I’m a person who gives the message of peace. In a live telecast there is no editing, there is no manipulation you can have more faith in these live telecast rather than clippings from YouTube which can be manipulated. I would like to thank the members of the Oxford Union once again and I hope very shortly once the exclusion order is reversed I would like to personally come to the Oxford Union and meet the members of the Oxford Union. Thank you very much.
Wa Aakhiru Da’waana Anil Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil Aalameen!
Mohammed Naik: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh. For the viewers of Peace TV, may I just give a background briefing for those who have joined in later on. We just heard before us a very enlightening talk by Dr. Zakir Naik addressing the Oxford Union, UK on the topic, ‘Islam and the 21st Century’. This was an opportunity to present not only to UK and the people of United Kingdom, but at the global level, because Oxford Union is not merely famous for presenting the views or concerns at the Oxford University itself but on a wider level, throughout the world of issues which are of global concern.
Today we have Islam being analyzed, being criticized, being appreciated, it is in the forefront of being understood sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Today, the Oxford Union has provided us this opportunity to put before the world, the views of what Islam stands for, through the person of Dr. Zakir Naik, one of the leading orators on Islam and Comparative Religion in the world and its our pleasure that we could hear the different questions and viewpoints and, InshaAllah, we hope to have such programs in other places on the world where opportunities could be availed of and spread the message of peace further and further to every corner of the world, InshaAllah. We thank all of you’ll for being with us and sharing these historic moments of this unique debate at the Oxford Union. Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!