Zakir Naik’s idea of Peace?
Author: Vikram Thapar, Student of Chartered Accountancy from Mumbai (article received via email)
For those who don’t know Dr. Zakir Naik proclaims himself to be a student of comparative religions. He gives lectures and seminars on Islam and other religions, but listening to them would vividly show that here is a man who fights other religions more than irreligion!!
First thing that comes to one’s mind when one listens of Islam is Allah – “There is no God, but Allah”. If taken a cue from Dr. Naik’s own modus operandi, one could well say that “There is no God”. Confused? Well, that’s how he meticulously misquotes and misinterprets the Bhagavad Gita and other religious and sacred scriptures.
DIETY WORSHIP IS A PRIVILEGE THAT ONLY A FEW ARE WORTHY OF:
While speaking on Jihad, he quotes the Gita more than any other book. Surely he doesn’t understand the very essence of a book that is spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself! The Gita mentions that there is only one Supreme Lord, but Naik wouldn’t talk of that. Krsna says in the Bhagavad Gita “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” Naik interprets the demigods here as idols and presumes that idol worship is not allowed even as per Bhagavad Gita but the His Honor does not understand that demigods here mean those who are worshipped with the intention of getting immediate fulfillment of material desires!! The Gita speaks of the importance of the control of senses and the material pool in which all beings are present. It opens up the secret of transcending through that pool and also the Law of Karma. There is a reason why Islam does not talk about rebirth and speaks only of Heaven and Hell in the same birth – It is taught to those breed of people who cannot be accorded the opportunity of procrastinating good deeds. The Law of Karma may not be easy to digest, but it is a fact that is now supported by Newton’s third Law of Motion – “Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction”. Why else does one new born baby have a lot of suffering and another one is born with a silver spoon?? The Bhagavad Gita mentions a level of such high consciousness that lead to the founding of a world-wide movement called the Hare Krishna Movement. Let me quote two of the ten offences against the Holy Name as mentioned by the founder of the Hare Krsna Movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada –
Þ To blaspheme the Vedic literatures or literatures in pursuance of the Vedic version.
Þ To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.
And more than anything, a quote in Bhagavad Gita by the Supreme Lord Himself nullifies the very foundations of Dr. Naik’s lunacy – “Fools deride me when I descend in human form. They do not understand my transcendental nature”
There is also a reason why idol worship is not allowed in Islam – not all are worthy of it. A fact that I personally experienced at the Krishna Temple in Udupi – no one is allowed to enter the deity room except the only one brahmachari guru who adheres to strict principles and is worthy of being presentable near the Lord. This fact can also be seen at most other temples, where they may not that strict but only the worthily trained and devoted gurus are allowed near the deity. A deity is not just a piece of stone, it is the Lord himself in our present agreeing to take services in the form of stone or wood which is His property only. So what does it mean when he does not agree to accept our services – that we are still to be worthy of it. And when someone like M.F. Hussain makes lewd paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, it is further justified why Allah had to be imageless for these kind of people!! If the humans in this world have various opulences like beauty, fame, wealth, knowledge, strength, etc. in bits and pieces; shouldn’t the Creator of all beings have all these opulences in infinite abundance? If the water of a tributary of a river is sweet, wouldn’t the main river have much sweeter water? Aren’t the souls the tributaries and the Creator as the Super Soul (Supreme Personality of God Head) the main river?? So why can’t the Supreme Lord have a form? “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). If an ordinary soul can take up a human body, why can’t the Super Soul descend in an avatar? He is present in His abode in the heavens as well as on the Earth when takes an avatar. His form is transcendental.
‘What the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahmin is but the effulgence from the Supreme Lord’s body.’ The spiritual world starts from this effulgence further on and is almost three times bigger than the material world.
MONOTHEISM OR POLYTHEISM ??
Per se Hinduism is a religion of polytheism but the Supreme Lord is still considered as only One without any other.
Þ The web of the Supreme Lord’s opulences is so complex that they are portrayed as different Gods to better understand and serve the Supreme Lord Himself. Many energies of the Supreme Lord are independent in nature and hence to dissect the complexities, it is imperative to worship them individually. Hindu polytheism isn’t really polytheism but monotheism in disguise.
Þ Hinduism is always scrupulously careful to take into consideration the possibility that by reason both the agnostic and atheist may attain truth in their own way. Such tolerance may be surprising to religious believers in the West, but it is an integral part of Vedantic belief.
More than the symbolism resembled here, Lord Ganesha portrays the “OM” – which is the syllable resembling the very start of everything in this Universe. Hence, the pooja of Ganesha is done before the start of anything auspicious. A tulsi plant was always in front of every house from centuries before science discovered air borne diseases! Going to temples daily was a made a jovial and happy custom for all age groups – right from the temple bell to the shape of the temple ceiling everything was to change the very vibrations of human mind and cleanse the aura. In Hinduism, love is the more predominant factor than fear. Whenever we passed near a river, coins used to be thrown in considering it as holy. That was because in ancient times coins were made of copper and copper increased the minerals in water and purified it. The drinking water was always stored in a mud pot which allowed the oxygen to mix keeping the water fresh, cool and healthy. The Kumbha Mela that takes place has a story about how Lord Shiva drank the poison from the churning of the ocean but the real secret was revealed by science just a few years back that the rays of the sun during the time of the mela are so healthy that exposing the human body to it would be super beneficial. And the string of festivals that were developed are supposedly the best scientific inventions along with being a thing of joy – on Makar Sankranti, you stay out whole day in the sun and have sesame seeds and jaggery among other laddoos which helps in preparing our body for the season change. Again in Holi, we play with water inviting the body to be ready for the summer season. Then in Diwali, compulsory cleanliness is advocated along with enjoying the delicacies and connecting with people. Pooja of Goddess Laxmi is done in order to learn the respect and value of money no matter how rich one is. Goddess Durga is revered as a salute to the strength of womanhood. Fasting was observed during important days of the year as a tool of self restraint. Cow is revered as a mother due to its nature of selfless love. Right from early childhood till on the death bed, a human requires milk for strength along with other dairy products. It would be impossible for human civilization to survive and prosper without the mercy of Gau Mata. The use of spices and condiments was so common in very household that never was there a special doctor who made money on other people’s miseries!! Hinduism was thus developed in a way that a vegetarian diet is also developed – that all the nutrients necessary for the body are consumed. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein.
No modern technology is so free and easily spread as the way of life that Hindus have been following from centuries!! And what is revealed here is only the tip of the iceberg.
“After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil in to which India’s roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it ? If India’s own children do not cling to her faith who shall guard it. India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one!”
- Dr. Annie Besant (Founder of Theosophical Society Adyar)
ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIONS:
It is indeed pitiable that Westerners and foreigners have understood the gift to mankind called “SANATANA DHARMA” (Eternal Religion) but we Indians don’t even know what we are losing to the demons of sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism. As Vivekananda said, that “these demons have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilizations, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.”
Zakir Naik has laid all allegations against Hinduism and its ways trying to justify that Islam is the only true religion. But Hinduism is a way of life more than just a set of rules where Universal Tolerance has been the key value observed. Had it not been for that trait of Hindus, Islam wouldn’t have grown till Pakistan and India. Of all the mosques in India, how many must have been built by destroying and looting Hindu temples just because Islam does not allow idol worship? Most view this tolerance as a weakness – but NO MORE. India has sheltered the persecuted of all religions of the world and will continue to do so but not with the stain and the risk of intellectual terrorism and forced conversions to other religions. Naik is already banned from giving lectures and even entering in the United Kingdom, Canada and reports have also shown that even in Pakistan he is considered as a hate preacher for his blasphemy. It is only in India that he is still given refuge!!
In a seminar on ‘Similarities between Hinduism and Islam’, he mentions of Islam taking strong exception to certain quotes from the Rigveda. Be it the Vedas, Upanishads or Bhagavad Gita, he selectively points out those which match with the teachings of Islam and discredits those which do not match with Islam. He surely doesn’t speak the language of a friend. Instead of going deep into Pakistan to teach and preach the real essence of Islam and stop terrorists from killing innocent people, he starts up a channel to justify the meaning of ‘Jihad’ to the general public. Does Naik want to protect the terrorist movement?
Þ He reminds of a bully back in school; he failed two classes and so was a little more physically stronger. He used to hit any kid, take away their lunch boxes and do whatever the hell he’d like. And when a kid revolted back, he used to accuse them of starting fights and disturbing “peace”!!
Naik supports Osama bin Laden’s endeavor of terrorizing America but did any of the people on the World Trade Center wage a war against Islam in any way? Weren’t there any Muslims that died in the WTC attacks? Was it justified to kill people who are just vulnerable and not irreligious? Does he even endorse Ajmal Kasab’s actions in his ghastly killing of Naik’s own countrymen?? (He is unfortunately Indian by nationality) Surely Naik is a man who doesn’t fight elements of irreligion but prefers to prey upon ignorant masses by misinterpreting other religions and forcing conversions. These type of Muslims are the ones whose faith has little love for any truth, other than their own.
He says that Muslim countries don’t allow other religions to be propagated because they believe that only Islam knows mathematics!!! Didn’t understand?? Me neither. But that’s how he argued upon. He said that all other religions are 2+2=5 or some other number but only Islam is 2+2=4. [May be Naik shouldn’t have even learned mathematics because Aryabhatta invented the place value system and zero but wasn’t a Muslim!!] If number of people was the only criteria in all cases, Harvard University would not have so less students as compared to say Mumbai University!! And if they are so sure that Islam is the only truest religion, what are they afraid of that they don’t even give freedom to allow people to take up religion as per their free will??
Þ An Islamic cleric was quoting that Islam allows men to beat up their wife/wives if she doesn’t do as she asks or to be clearer if she refuses to meet his sexual desires or does not attempt to make herself beautiful for him!! Are these the traits of the highest religion??
Naik says that since men are more susceptible to deaths than women, the ratio of men and women will always have more women, hence Muslims have multiple wives. But if there ever to arise a situation where men exceed women, will a woman then be allowed to have multiple men? Aren’t women then treated just as sexual objects!! How can a civilized society be formed with so much inequality even among humans, what to talk of animals?
Speaking of animals, let us now take a look at the meat eating justification in Islam. All humans have needs – it is the needs of many or excess needs of a few that the resources of Mother Nature are properly used or exploited. Islam was born in the Middle East, a place full of deserts where any kind of vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. cannot be grown. People who would be taking birth in these areas would obviously die of starvation. So God condoned and allowed killing of certain animals for the survival of human race in the region. Naik justifies killing of animals stating that plants also feel the pain as much as animals and that they are more innocent. To an argument that plants have two senses less, he gives two very ugly examples. First he says if one had a brother with two senses less and if someone murders him, should there be leniency and second that humans have been given pointed sharp teeth so that they can eat meat just as lions and tigers do. Firstly, meat eating in urban areas and townships take place by meat from slaughter houses, thus those who eat the animals and those who halal them are not the same. So whereas the main reason for allowing meat eating in Islam was survival, now the same is changed to commerce. It is the taste buds that act as an excuse more than anything else. Who says Islam true teachings are intact from 1400 years!! There are a thousand videos on the internet that show the halal of animals and how they react to a knife around their neck. If such a sight does not let us have mercy over them, should we even eat humans as well because they too have the same number of senses as animals!!
Þ Zakir Naik is a doctor himself; would he operate on a patient with anesthesia or without anesthesia? Plants have an inherent anesthesia.
So shouldn’t he as a doctor encourage more of plant eating and not justify animal slaughter atleast in urban areas?? It is indeed saddening that the idea of “universal brotherhood” excludes out animals as well as women!! Also, nature has given a reproductive organ to all; does it mean that it can used without restraint?? Similarly, the pointed teeth can be used to eat a variety of things like nuts, sugarcane, etc. If we as humans do not differentiate from animals by using our intelligence, then how are we humans?
And meat eaters do not restrict to eating meat alone, they equally eat plants too. And what about the loss of grains that takes place for the feeding and breeding of poultry ? The same can be used for feeding millions of poor. And if everything and everybody belongs to Allah, wouldn’t Allah be happy if we killed a lesser number of his animals by keeping our greed at bay? A vegetarian is a person who won’t eat anything that can have children and if slaughterhouses had glass walls, only utterly gross people would be meat-eaters. Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives.
The topic of meat eating can be succeeded with that of animal sacrifice to which I can only think of one reply -
Þ What is the essence of sacrifice if you are not the subject matter? How does giving pain to somebody else cleanse you internally?
And it is with that understanding that fasting is a very important and common tool of sacrifice. Thousands of Jains live only on water for many days ranging from 8 to even 64 days at a stretch!!
Naik tells that Hijab is the only way out to protect women in this world. His common example is that if there are two women walking down the street – one wearing a mini skirt and the other wearing a hijab; and if a hooligan or a ruffian passes by, who is he more likely to molest? True that he is more likely to molest the one wearing a skirt but considering his very own example, are all people in this world only hooligans or ruffians? Aren’t there any culturally well bred people also? Doesn’t that mean that Islam is a religion especially for such hooligans and ruffians?? As far as the saree is concerned, it all depends on the way one chooses to wear it – it’s a long piece of cloth after all. But, the ‘saree’ is one of the most elegant attires along with being the only one that has a ‘ghunghat’ which serves the Islamic purpose of Hijab but people like Naik see the open belly in that. Perhaps that was the main reason why this certain breed of people could not be shown any skin of the opposite sex!! I mean which kind of people have to be told not have sex with their mothers and sisters!!!
Þ Treasures have to be preserved only from thieves and pirates right?? Hence the ‘Hijab’ system may after all be well justified for people like Naik. Islam was after all born in the age of Kali.
Allowing meat eating, polygamy, not allowing idol worship – Islam is surely a religion that prevents one from degrading further rather than progress spiritually; to arrest the further immediate degradation. In other words, it is just coming to the break-even point. It’s like a father has two sons – one is a well mannered decent guy and the other is a hooligan or a ruffian. Surely he’ll have to adopt different methods of confrontation with both of them – love with the civilized one and fear with the other guy.
The various religions of the world speak the same language – that of love. A person who is a grandfather can also be somebody else’s father, somebody else’s husband and the same person can be somebody else’s uncle. A single person connects with different people in this material world with different positions, then why wouldn’t the Supreme Lord speak the same message in different languages for different people!! In this world, there are no Hindus, there are no Muslims, there are no Christians – there are only devotees of the Lord and offenders of the Lord. And it is according to the control over senses, the chemical composition of people in general and their level of intelligence that determines which religions they end up choosing – but in the end there are only those who serve and love the Supreme Lord and others who knowingly or unknowingly choose to offend Him. And if Naik has the argument about the size and reach of the religions – major religion or minor religion, then that argument can easily be squashed considering that a university like Harvard would have lesser graduates than say Mumbai University; but that doesn’t mean Mumbai University has higher knowledge than Harvard, or does it??
There must be a reason why Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God and not the Lord Himself. There must be a reason why the Gospel of John 16.12 Said “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now”.
There must be a reason why Allah had to be imageless. If Muslims can believe in the Quran and consider it Holy which is made of wood (paper); why can’t a deity made up of wood and stone be worshipped with devotion??
There is a reason why only Krishna proclaimed Himself to be the Supreme Lord. His dhoti is pale yellow as the soil of the earth, His body is blue as the sky, His peacock feather resembles the rainbow colors. He appeared as the most opulent form of the Lord and performed marvelous feats that only His purest of the devotees were worthy of an audience!
Islam is a great religion and it is to be well revered and understood. And all the 150 million Muslims in India are a part of it as much as any other citizen but if there is a fanatic fundamentalist whose message isn’t love; then he may well be termed as a ‘kaafir’ or an enemy of Islam and more importantly of Prophet Mohammad. Because when he sided with Laden, the true Islamic clerics issued a ‘fatwa’ against him and clarified that ‘jihad’ is not a random person picking up a gun and firing at innocents.
Naik may well come up with arguments and notations from scriptures to counter the above but he is after all just a thug who can bend words. He may have been somebody who has studied all the religious scriptures of the world but never understood the essence of even one!!
“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various thought they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
- Swami Vivekananda at the Chicago convention in 1893
“Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines. I believe that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestry. Rome went; Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation. The Geeta is the universal mother. I find a solace in the Bhagavad Geeta that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Geeta. I find a verse here and a verse there , and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies – and my life has been full of external tragedies – and if they have left no visible or indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad Geeta. Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book. Non violence has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Indian astronomers had calculated that life started 1 billion, 955 million, 818 thousand and 501 years ago and that 28 cycles of yugas have already happened. The ancient sages knew these facts. This is why they devised the mala (necklace) with 108 beads, which stand for the 12 constellations and the nine planets and the 108 different permutations which affect one’s life. Everything is this universe is interconnected.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar