Dr Abdul Karim Mohammed Naik the father of the dynamic orator on Islam and Comparative Religion Dr Zakir Naik was born in Ratnagiri in coastal Maharashtra, and completed his secondary education from Patwardhan High School in the same city. One of the many hardships he faced was the loss of his father at a young age. He traveled to Mumbai and joined St Xavier’s college to pursue further studies, but communal riots forced him to leave the city, and he went back to Ratnagiri to continue his studies at Gogate College. After successfully completing his Intermediate Science Course, he joined Grant Medical College in Mumbai and graduated with an MBBS degree in 1956. He later did his post-graduation in Psychiatry.
Dr Abdul Karim Naik was a kind and compassionate man who strongly advocated for Muslim intellectual empowerment. His philanthropic nature led him to serve his community for more than three decades as a doctor and social activist leader.
In 1962, Dr A M Naik founded the Naqsh-e-Kokan Publication Trust and launched the Naqsh-e-Kokan monthly magazine as a socio-cultural and literary reference for Urdu-speaking Muslims in India. The journal enabled the Muslims of Kokan and Mumbai to come together to express their views on problems pertaining to social and educational fields. It also gave a voice to the writers and poets of Kokan, who were encouraged to publish their writings and earn recognition in the Urdu world.
Dr Abdul Karim Naik worked relentlessly as a philanthropist and educationist, also serving as the president of the Bombay Psychiatric Society, a private organisation of mental health professionals. He was committed to the educational, social and medical welfare of his community, having also served as—
- Trustee, Islamic Research Foundation, Mumbai,
- Managing Trustee, Rehmani Foundation, Mumbai,
- Trustee, Anjuman Khairul Islam, Mumbai,
- Chairman, Indian Council of Mental Health,
- Chairman, Maharashtra College Local Managing Committee, Mumbai
- President, Kokan International, Mumbai
- Vice President, All India Muslim Education Society,
- Vice President, United Economic Forum, Mumbai,
- Trustee, MEDNET, Hyderabad,
- Trustee, Yusuf Meherally Trust, Mumbai.
- President, Bahrain Shikshak Mandal, Ratnagiri
He was a life member of many social, charitable and educational organisations such as the Indian Council for World Affairs, the National Association for the Blind, the Children’s Aid Society, the Indian Cancer Society, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the Indo-American Society, the Indo-Japanese Association, the Indo-Australian Society, the Indo-Swiss Society, besides other trusts and NGO’s.
Dr Abdul Karim Naik was recognized for his work with the following awards and honors:
- International Man of the Year for Medicine & Humanity, International Biographic Centre, Cambridge, U.K (1998/99)
- Distinguished Leadership Award, American Biographical Institute (1998)
- Award of Honour, Muslim Association for Advancement of Science (1996)
- Vijay Shri Award, International Friendship Society, New Delhi (1996)
- Award for Best Paper on Islam & Mental Health, Mumbai Psychiatric Society (1986)
- Doctor of the Millennium, Association of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Dr Abdul Karim Naik supported his son Dr Zakir Naik in his Da’wah activities after the completion of his MBBS course. He also encouraged him to give up his medical profession so that he could dedicate his entire life for Da’wah to spread the message of Islaam.
Both parents of Dr Zakir not only supported him financially to enable him to become a full-time Daa’ee but also financed all his Da’wah activities for the initial several years. Not only did this let Dr Zakir remain worry-free about earning a living, he also did not have to worry about collecting funds for the initial stages of all his Da’wah activities.
Those who met Dr Abdul Karim Naik knew him as a man with a kind heart and a fiery spirit. His benevolence touched the lives of many, and he will not be forgotten by those who turned to him for aid.
On the 30th of October 2016, Dr Abdul Karim Naik passed away. His work lives on as a timeless reminder of his kindness, simplicity and readiness to help those in need. May Allah grant him the highest stations of Paradise.