While controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik enjoys a huge fan following, the dangers emanating from what he was speaking was understood by Islamic seminaries long before the Dhaka terror attack.
Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband had issued at least seven fatwas cautioning against the Muslims against Naik’s preaching.
In April 2007, Deoband responded to a query: “What do you say regarding Dr. Zakir Naik?”, said: “He seems Ghair Muqallid and his knowledge is not deep. Therefore, he is not reliable and Muslims should avoid listening to him.”
The seminary, in a 2008 fatwa, had said that Naik had deviated from the path of well-versed Ulama in many of his teachings.
“His approach seems contradicted to authentic Ulama of salaf. Therefore, one should avoid attending his programmes.”
The seminary cautioned not to rely him and to double check what Naik has to say.
In April 2009, the seminary cautioned against listening to his speeches, saying: “He is religiously deviated, some of his talks are unauthentic. A common man may not be able to differentiate between right and wrong; therefore, people should avoid listening his speeches, they are feared to fall in deviation.”
The seminary had rebuffed Naik as a “self-styled scholar”, calling him a preacher of a different school of thought.
Calling Naik “a scholar of English”, the seminary said he has no right to preach.
“Is wearing the dress of Jews and Christians established from the holy Quran?” the seminary said in February 2012.
The Seminary however has objected “use of the fatwas” as a tool against Naik.
“We belong to different sects and there are differences, which would always be there. But using our fatwa as a tool against him is wrong. It’s wrong to use these fatwas in present controversy,” Maulana Ashraf Usmani, the official spokesperson of Deoband told IANS.
Usmani said that Deoband is neither opposing nor supporting Zakir Naik over the controversy. However, he sees the ongoing controversy as an attack on the Muslim identity and calls it “sad”.