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However much the first two images considered in tandem convey hurt to us but one can not shy away from ground realities; we actively participate as voluntary victims in one of the most speculative time tested antediluvian non tangible bartering with the religions’ dons to save us and our souls with their merchandise often taken out by them out of context from the scriptures!For me religion is a totally exclusive and personal issue and to write or talk about it in an open forum leads to losing friends and accumulating opposition! However, my kind is in the minority especially now.Open a TV Channel, pick up brand newspapers, in social gatherings, during journeys in trains and so on, religion invariably finds space in one form or the other. I am not an atheist, I sincerely believe in the Almighty God and practise my religion to the best of my ability; I read the translated version of the Quran, recite the Arabic Sura’s in the daily Namaz, have performed Umra and Haj, give monitory assistance to those who I consider require and have no abnormal moral or social issues! I may not be remotely a perfect human however I do believe that when I stand facing my Maker on the Judgement Day (Akhriyat)  hoping that my sins of omission and commision would be few and pardonable.

I have exercised your patience by self evaluation (please bear with me) to highlight the simplicity and the uncomplicated nature of following my beliefs and faith, which to many may not appeal. To the followers and the devotees there is often the need for a guide or mentor and they are readily available in various forms and shape. To a large section of Muslims Dr Zakir Naik appeals with his eloquence and the spontaneous recitation by rote of the holy Quran and his references to verse and chapter numbers from the Scriptures of all major religions. A friend made me view a video recording of one of Dr Naik’s gathering. I was impressed by his confidence and his God given gift of remembering relevant verses from the Quran in Arabic and translating them into English or Hindi for the benefit of the audience. My friend who happened to be Dr Naik’s fan noticed the favourable expressions on my face.

“I am glad that you like him. He is a true Muslim, who is spreading Islam,” he said.

“Yes he is a great speaker and hat’s off to his memory! Really great,” I said. My friend insisted that I should view more videos containing his speeches and interaction with the audience. My response was a slight nod of the head. There were certain questionable issues which perplexed me; Dr Naik’s gathering consisted mainly of Muslims, who were being taught about their religion by a doctor who had spent his formative years learning about medicines and healing humans through surgery. Were the Muslims in his gathering suffering so that they needed a qualified doctor who had studied their scriptures more often than them, to heal their spiritual ailment? I did not find anything new or fresh that Dr Naik exposed from that I had read; his  literal interpretation without considering the historical background and context of the verses surprised me.

Needless to say over a period of time Dr Naik’s followers grew in numbers and so did his stature. His closeness to the Saudi’s gave him access to pecuniary gains in return his speeches propagated the Salafi and Wahabi venom;  readers unaware of these two isms, must understand that the present crisis is mainly due to the indoctrination of the misinterpretation of Quran and the Hadees by the followers of these two sects; the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia and the Salafis in the ISIS. It is indeed ironical that Dr Naik does not explain and condemn the preachings and the teachings followed by these two sects. On the contrary he eulogizes one of the most notorious and infamous ‘khalifa’ Yazid by misquoting the Hadees. The present day terrorists and criminals claim their lineage from Yazid and the Umayyads, who were responsible for the heinous murder of Prophet’s  (PBUH) progenies and their family members. Dr Naik fails to inform his followers the essential requirements by these two sects; as per Wahabism ‘You are a Muslim only if you consider the King of Saudi Arabia as your ruler’; in Salafism you are a  Muslim only if you accept the Khalifa of the day (Baghdadi of ISIS) as your ruler. I fail to understand whether Dr Naik is a Wahabi or Salafi; he can not be both as the Saudi and the ISIS are at loggerheads!

Dr Naik has a large following possibly due to his invoking the verses from Quran and explaining them in a simple language; these verses tell us and guide us to follow the right and straight path, however he does not elaborate or reveal as to how and why the very same verses are misconstrued, misinterpreted by a section of Muslims with whom he is on very good terms. He fails to identify and pinpoint these very Muslims who kill, destroy and terrorise in the name of Islam causing concern and fear amongst the Muslim majority. By merely stating that all those who indulge in terrorism are not Muslims leads nowhere; Dr Naik please raise your finger and count them for the world to see although they are known to most.

A simple and an unknown Muslim like me would like to be left alone to practise my religion, I do not require any sermon from anyone, least of all from Dr Zakir Naik.