Dr. Zakir Naik: From a liberal Muslim to Islamist

Zakir Naik

New Delhi: He began with talks on comparative religion, exhibiting a huge storehouse of knowledge that attracted a large number of Muslims and many non-Muslims too. But as his popularity grew, Zakir Naik turned Islamist, declaring non-Muslims as “disoriented”, justifying sex with female slaves and calling upon Indian Muslims to refrain from saying “namaste”.

Naik, now 50, is founder of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Peace TV, which has over 100 million viewers. A doctor by training, Naik is now in trouble over allegations that his interpretation of Islam has radicalized young Muslims in India and beyond.


In his early speeches, Naik referred to popular misconceptions about Islam. In a 2006 talk, he even claimed that the “Kalki Avatar” in Hinduism was a prophesy for Prophet Mohammad. He drew parallels between jehad and Lord Krishna’s call in the Bhagavad Gita to fight evil.

As the years rolled by, Naik turned against other religions, calling some hoax. Some, he told gatherings, were no religion. He quoted the Upanishad and other texts to claim that idol worship was against Hinduism.

Naik said it was wrong for Muslims to say “Namaste” or “Vande Mataram” and greet Christians with “Merry Christmas”.

“The Bible has over 50,000 errors, it’s unscientific,” he declared in some lectures.

He made fun of Jesus Christ’s sermon to offer the other cheek if slapped on one. He told a young Christian at one crowd: “It’s baseless. Would you keep offering your cheek if we keep slapping you?”

At his gatherings, Naik would often bluntly ask questioners if he or she would embrace Islam if he answered their questions correctly. Some agreed and ended up changing their religion.

He said Muslims too could embrace other religions. But the punishment for this, he would quickly add, was “maut” (death).

Asked by a man if he considered Hindus as humans since he did not consider Hinduism as a religion, Naik replied: “If by Hindu you mean a geographical definition, then I don’t have any problem.”

“For peace to prevail, you have to follow the guidance of the Quran,” he said while answering a question from a Jew at a conference in India.

Among Naik’s other controversial teachings:

  • “It is the duty of every Muslim to convey the message of Allah to non-Muslims.” This comment triggered a ban on his entering the UK.
  • He defended Osama bin Laden and called 9/11 an “American conspiracy”.
  • “If the word ‘terrorist’ means to terrorize the ememies or unsocial elements, then every Muslim must be a terrorist.”
  • “A Muslim can have sex with his wife or what his right hand possesses, which means a slave.” He referred to slaves as “prisoners of war”.
  • Guantanamo Bay, which houses imprisoned terrorists, was holding “Muslim slaves”.
  • Asked why many Muslims become terrorists, Naik said: “It is a media strategy to malign Islam.”
  • Justifying polygamy, Naik said there were more women in the world than men and polygamy saved “extra women” from becoming “public property”.
  • Campaigning against pork, Naik argued that pig invited other males to have sex with his female mate. “Something similar happens in the Western society where they go to dance parties and do (wife) swapping.” This, he said, was because Westerners ate pork.

As Naik’s hate poison spread, he began to face bans in many countries including the US, Canada and the UK. He has also been denied permission in some Indian cities to hold meetings. And more than once, the Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s largest and oldest Islamic seminary, issued fatwas asking Muslims not to go by Naik’s sermons and teachings.

[IANS correspondent Kushagra Dixit has followed Zakir Naik for years. Before writing this, he spent hours re-listening to many of his sermons again and again to ensure accuracy. He can be reached at kushagra.d@ians.in <mailto:kushagra.d@ians.in>]



  1. This evangelist Dr. Zakir Naik is in trouble not becuse what he all said is wrong , but because his popularity has irked many ,mostly muslim clergies ,to whom he is an emerging anathemaminti their conservztivendomain.

  2. I find none of the above mentioned words of Zakir Naik wrong or Un-Islamic. If somebody disagrees He/She can debate or send a counter-rebuttal to Him. Banning Dr.Zakir Naik will not solve anything. Coz now Muslims are in a position to counter any religion coz two of the greatest Islamic Apologist Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik has taught how to do so. Moreover we have other Critics who sharply criticize other religion abroad. This is teh era of internet so you have to reply academically or else get bruised by us everyday. Coz you kafirs are the one who started lying about Islam and maligning our Prophet. Now face the music as we can succesfully turn the tables.

  3. Why are you showing your double standards now, Looks like muslimmirror is now having trouble with the enemies of Dr. Zakir.

  4. I don’t belong to the Zakir Naik’s interpretation of Islam. My question to the objectors is why they choose Muslims only for practising freedom of expression and turn blind eye to communal ists of other religions including the religion called secularism when they spew poison against every other religion than their own. Day in and out they are showing their barbarism against Islam. Whatever is said against minority religion especially Islam is patriotism for these warped minds. I suggest this man to count criminal talks of Islam haters and publish it the this stupid article is published. What is practised through out the world today is guided democracy, nay, demon ocracy of the majority . The behind the scenes manipulated dishonest unjust oppressive dictatorship by most fallen corrupted fanatics fit to be shot dead as per Mr Katju. More next time perhaps.

    • Problem with PM Hasina of Bangladesh She wants to give
      a prophetic touch to her Late Father Mujib who with the help of then Indira Ghandi helped destroy East Pakistan
      Dr Zakir pinpointed all ill Unislamic practice of Not only Idol worship against vedic teaching but ignorant mass Muslim & Hindu families to stand firm against Dowry demanded by Men.
      Dowery is a compulsion on men not on women .These borrowed by Half Hindu minded Muslim Bangladeshis.
      Hasina take shelters on lies to defame true Islamic teaching & now forcing all Imamas to preach Khutba in the style of Mm Hasina on her order.
      Therefore She had to bring a false garbage on Dr Zakir to stop viewing his Peace TV by Bangladeshis at large.
      Loud & clear Dr Zakir said; police is a terror to thieves & rapist .Therefore We all Muslims be terrors to these evils.
      But Liar Hasina defamed Muslim that He was preaching terrorism.

  5. I watched zakir videos. When he compares hindu with islam his quotations are really pathetic. He hides various truths of hindu & islam so that he can prove islam is a best religion. Muslim audience becomes happy with his comparison & he gets more donations. This is purely a business where you can speak only those things which audience likes & get more fund with popularity.
    If somebody wants to compare hindu & islam religions, he must ‘practice’ both the religions. Zakir never practiced hindu religion & hence he won’t understand the importance of our scriptures. To study hindu religion you must be pure in mind & body. for this you must be vegetarian & also must give up onion & garlic. Once your body & mind gets purified you need to try yoga & meditation. After this you can start studying hindu scriptures. You can study Islam in a one human life but hindu scriptures are so vast.. you cannot become master in that only in one life term. Zakir has done none of above & hence he is not eligible to speak about hindu religion.
    I suggest Zakir to stop fooling meat eaters & come on the correct path of hindu religion.

  6. Naik says that his goal is to “concentrate on the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel the religion is outdated”. Naik equated music with alcohol and had said that both are intoxicating in nature. He is known to have condemned dancing and singing because they’re prohibited in Islam.


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