Foday Kanteh in Banjul
One of the most influential Muslim scholars in the world ended his mission in the Gambia.
Dr. Zakir Naik, a guest of President Yahya Jammeh’s lavish 20 years of coup celebration, said he has been yearning to visit the Gambian and therefore thanked Mr. Jammeh for the invitation.
The founder President of the Islamic Research Foundation held series of Islam lectures in the country. Dr. Naik told his audience at the University of the Gambia that “one of the best forms of jihad is to speak the truth against a tyrant ruler.”
Mr. Naik, who is born in India, blamed people for misconstruing the meaning of Jihad by defining it as a holy war. “Jihad means to strive to make a better society,” he said, exhorting Muslims to strive hard by using the teachings of the holy Quran and the hadith of the Prophet. Dr. Naik describes Islam as a peaceful religion.
He described dawaa, the spreading the word of Allah and His Messenger, as the best form of jihad today. “It is in this regard that I established Peace TV, which has a fast growing audience around the world,” he said, condemning terrorist groups for fighting and killing innocent people in the name of Islam or jihad. He said Islam did not direct any person to kill any innocent soul. He considered the act as murder, which is the second biggest sin in Islam.
Mr. Naik debunked western media for describing Muslims as extremists and fundamentalists. He described himself as a fundamentalist in Islam and an extremist in being kind, just, faithful and loving.
He commended the UTG for initiating the School of Journalism which, he added, would help to equip Muslims who will speak about Islam.
Dr. his fellow Muslims to be mindful of Satan and to live the life of a true Muslim.
Dr Zakir Naik also commented on female circumcision, saying it is wrong to describe the moderate female circumcision being practiced in Islam as female genital mutilation. He said this makes female circumcision abhorrent.
“The expression of calling moderate female circumcision as female genital mutilation is wrong. It is a practice that is allowed in Islam. It is also important to state that medically, if you carry out little female circumcision, there are no problems. If you do it excessively, there can be problems. Unfortunately, because of the culture in some countries of the world and because they are doing excessive female circumcision, it is being called genital mutilation. This is why according to scholars, there are some who say the practice is sunnah while others say it is mubah [preference]. However, medical indications again point out to the fact that if you do little of it, there will be no problems but if you do it excessively there will be problems. In Islam, there is nothing like female genital mutilation but it is called female circumcision.”
Dr. Zakir Naik disagreed with celebration of Prophet Muhammed’s birthday. “I just want to give you people a master key and that is the Qur’an. In this glorious Qur’an, there is nothing like celebrating the prophet’s birthday. And also, the prophet in all the hadith [sayings of Muhammed] never celebrated his birthday neither did the companions, their children and their grandchildren. That is where everything ends. Anything that Dr Zakir says in Islam that does not conform to the teachings of Qur’an or the sunnah of the prophet should therefore be rejected and likewise other scholars. Forget about what your Sheikh says. In Islam that does not have the backing of the Qur’an and the sunnah. This will make our worship easier and free from problems. I will give you an example, we all know that the number of rakah for fajr prayers is two. If someone should come and say let us pray four rakah for fajr in order to get more reward, I do not think such a logic would apply in Islam.”
Zakir Naik conducted similar lectures in Ghana.