The Bold Voice of J&K

Real sace of Zakir Nair as a radical preacher

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   Ravinder Jalali

Zakir Naik has been under the scanner of Indian law enforcement authorities ever since Bangladesh asked for an investigation into his speeches and his writing, following a claim that a terrorist involved in the recent terror attack in Dhaka was his follower who was inspired by his speeches. Naik’s speeches are aired on ‘Peace TV’, run by his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. Britain and Canada have banned Naik from visiting their countries several years ago while Malaysia banned his lectures fearing that they could instigate inter-racial tensions.
Naik is known for his almost-eidetic memory, which allows him to quote chapter and verse from the Koran other scriptures of other faiths. He has often debated preachers and experts from other religions on his TV shows, and impressed them with his knowledge of Hindu and Christian scriptures. All these debates are all orchestrated and pre planned. His Islamic teachings and speeches have not gone unnoticed in the Muslim world. In 2008, in a broadcast on Peace TV, he claimed that the terror attacks of 11th September, 2001 in America were an “inside job.” In 2010, the U.K. barred him entry for his alleged “unacceptable behaviour.” Peace TV is banned in India, but several local cable operators continue to show it.
India is a free, democratic and secular country. Let anyone believe what he wants, and pray in whichever way he wishes. All religious extremists should be suppressed with an iron hand. Our people must modernise, means having a modern mind, which means a rational mind, a logical mind, a scientific mind, and a questioning mind.
The ancient Greeks questioned everything and that is why they made such great progress in mathematics, science, etc. Similarly, many of our ancestors questioned everything. The method of Shastrartha was developed, which were debates in which the participants questioned each other before an assembly.
But before the minds of our masses are changed, the minds of our educated class have to be changed, and made truly modern. Intellectuals give leadership to society, because without intellectuals society is blind. Unfortunately most of our so called educated section of society is not truly educated, and so they are not genuine intellectuals. Their heads are crammed with bookish knowledge, without adequate reflection and questioning, and lacking creativity.
Zakir Nair is not a scholar but a mere preacher of radical Islam and making venomous speeches to instigate the people in the name of Islam against the people of other faiths and try to convert people of another faith to Islam by presenting Islam as the only religion for establishing peace here and hereafter, forgetting the hard fact that it is the Islamic world who is in turmoil. I give here some examples, though there are so many examples, or rather his all lectures are examples.
Zakir Nair is well versed in the art of Islamic rhetoric and is capable of mesmerising his Muslim and other unthinking audiences into deep deception with confusing, illogical and fallacious arguments. Herd instinct is clearly evident in his followers. He makes up for his lack of critical thinking, scientific and rational sense by parroting and quoting by memory verses from religious books and scriptures by their chapter, page, verse and line numbers. This is taken as sign of scholarship by his flock.
First attack he launches foolishly is that the Hindus are idol worshippers. What then? Every body in India is free to worship the way he or she prays. He then quotes Vedas and give some reference like Chapter No. and page No. to substantiate that the Hindu scriptures are also talking of one God who is formless and those who worship idols is not acceptable to Islam. It is ridiculous and laughable. Why he wants to put everyone to litmus test of Islam?
I just quote some English translation of some Shaloka which are attributed to Lord Ganesha.
“We offer our worship to Lord Ganesha, who is unborn, Absolute, and Formless; who is beyond bliss and yet is blissful, the one infinite; who is the Supreme without attributes, differentiation and desire, who is verily the Supreme Brahman.
We offer our worship to lord Ganesha, where nature is beyond attributes, who is embodiment of intelligence and Bliss, the effulgent spirit, the all pervading the God of Knowledge, who is the object of meditation to the formless and omnipresent like space and who is the supreme lord, the Supreme Brahman.
We offer our worship to lord Ganesha, who is the cause of world, the primal knowledge, the origin of Gods. The bliss”.
Allah in Islam has no form or can never be depicted. However Allah is depicted through similies and metaphors like Allah is Akbar i.e. is great. In fact the idolatory is very much in existent in Islam although in a veiled format. Islam is replete with symbols which are held sacrosanct and any blasphemy to those symbols is not treated kindly by the Muslim diaspora around the world. It is sacrilegious in Islam to picturise or idolise God but the attachment to symbols is quite evident in Islam and is much more what is in the so called condemned pagan idolatrous religions. For example the Islamic prayer is only in Arabic. It can not be localised in any other languages. All Muslims bow their heads towards Mecca for their prayer. Zakir Nair claims that Muslims are the culmination of Vedantic teachings of non-idolatory is ridiculous. The intent of the Vedantic assertion about the person on the Vedantic path leaving behind all the idols and symbols means the sacrifice and transcendence of all those constructs of thought like symbols, idols and ideologies to realise the unconditional consciousness, the eternal which can never be limited by thought which is just memory and the past.
Followers of Sanatnana Dharma are not idol worshipers. We do, however, employ sacred imagery in our worship, and as focus points to concentrate on during meditation. These sacred images can be in the form of a statue, a portrait, or a Mandala or Yantra. A similar use of sacred imagery is found in almost every other religion on earth. The practice is similar to how Catholics venerate statues of saints, Protestants pray at the Cross and Muslims pray towards Kaaba.
Followers of Santana Dharma are certainly intelligent enough to understand that the unlimited ultimately can not be fully expressed in a limited statue or image. Simultaneously, however, if God truly is omnipresent and omniscient, then He certainly has the ability to make Himself present in a sacred image if He so chooses. Moreover, if God is truly merciful and good, then he would want to choose to make himself as accessible to His devotes as possible. Such is the grace of God. It is with His understanding in mind that followers of Sanatana Dharma in the ancient science of Archana -Seva, or deity worship. The practice of employing the sacred imagery is a powerful too for showing our devotion to God for meditation, and for making spiritual progress. This fact is actually acknowledged and practised by most of the world religions. Followers of Sanatana Dharma are therefore not idol worshippers.
(The writer is a Social Activist and Convenor, Democratic Pannun Kashmir)

When Vedantists talk about the culmination or the embodiment of their tradition they refer to person like Ramana Maharishi who had no need for any rituals. Images, symbols or holy texts and he abided all the time in his true nature which is pure consciousness. I wonder what the Muslim practice of non-idolatory has got to do with this state. This so called self proclaimed scholar have absolutely no clue about what Vedanta is all about. Concept of God according to Vedanta is SAT CHIT ANANDA which is truth, consciousness and bliss. The Brahmin is both manifest and non-manifest as God has to be inclusive of everything. It is both Nirguna and Saguna. It has qualities and no qualities.
Sometimes I do watch his orchestrated debate and lecture as a source of free entertainment. In one of his video while quoting Vedas he misinterprets it wrongly and even a child can not control laughing. In one of the sermons he asks a Christian lady that any body, who believes in God and also believes that Prophet Mohamed was the last messenger of Allah and if he submits to Allah, is automatically a Muslim.

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The writer is a Social Activist and Convenor, Democratic Pannun Kashmir.
Ravinder Jalali

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