In 1991 he started working in the field of dawah, and founded the IRF. Naik says he was inspired by Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic preacher, having met him in 1987. (Naik is sometimes referred to as “Deedat plus”, a label given to him by Deedat himself.) 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the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel the religion is outdated.” He considers it a duty of every Muslim to remove perceived misconceptions about Islam and to counter what he views as the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. He is currently on a lecture tour of The Gambia and these are samples of questions posed to him by his legion of followers around the world.
What is the ruling on smoking? Is it halal or haraam?
As far as smoking is concerned several years before when science hadn’t advanced that far most of the scholars used to say smoking is ‘makrooh’ (not desirable but not haraam) based on the hadith of Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Anyone who eats garlic or onion should stay away from us and stay away from the mosque.” Because there is a bad breath. So when you are smoking the breath is worse than onion or garlic so based on this hadith scholars gave the ‘fatwah’ that smoking is ‘makrooh’. But now after science has advanced we have come to know smoking is nothing but slow poisoning. Tobacco in any form whether it is smoking cigarettes’, whether tobacco in hookah, whether chewing tobacco or forms of tobacco containing nicotine and tar. And we know it is nothing but slow poisoning that’s the reason most of the non-Muslims also agree that smoking is haraam. Not only the Muslim world even the non-Muslims, that’s the reason they put a statutory warning on the cigarette packs saying “cigarette smoking is injurious to health.” and today according to statistics the WHO says that every year more than 4 million people die only because of smoking and if you count the other forms of tobacco it will be much more. And today medical science tells us and even I learnt when I was doing medicine in my medical college that more than 90% of the lung cancer deaths are only due to smoking. 25% of cardio-vascular deaths are only because of smoking. 70-72% of bronchitis deaths are only because of smoking. Smoking is nothing but slow poisoning. It blackens your lips, blackens your gums and your fingertips, it damages the lips, damages the oesophagus, it damages your stomach and it can cause constipation, it can cause loss of appetite, it can cause loss of libido i.e. sexual power gets supressed. It can cause immunity to the drugs you take and it reduces the defence of your body. Based on these all researches there are today more than 400 fatwas, the majority of the scholars they agree that smoking is haraam and all form of tobacco is haraam. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Ar’auf Ch. 7 V. 157, “This Prophet asked you to do things which are good for you so take what he gives you which is lawful and good and he prohibits things which are unlawful, the things which are bad for you.” And Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqrah Ch. 2, V. 195, “Make not your own hands the cause of your own destruction.” Indicated do not kill your own selves. Because smoking is nothing but slow poisoning it comes under this category something like suicide. Every puff you take reduces your life so based on this there are more than 400 fatwas saying smoking is haraam.
If a person by profession deals with ‘riba’ (interest), does this mean that there fast will not be accepted?
As far as riba is concerned, it is a major sin. Riba has been mentioned in the Quran in no less than 8 different places. Allah mentions it in Surah Al-Imran Ch. 3 V. 130, in Surah Nisa Ch.4 V. 161. It is mentioned thrice in Surah Al-Baqarah Ch. 2 V. 275. Also mentioned in same surah in V. 276, V. 278 & V. 279. And I will quote that last verse only in which Allah says, “Give up what remains your demands of usury and anyone who does not give up the demand of usury (interest/riba) then take a notice of a war from Allah and His Prophet”. If anyone deals with riba/interest/usury Allah and his Prophet will wage a war against you. It is most serious, it is a bigger sin than having alcohol. It is a bigger sin than taking drugs. Because when you have alcohol or take drugs or have pork, it is a big sin but Allah and his Prophet will not wage a war against you. But if you involve yourself in riba i.e. when you take or give riba both of them are a major sin. So if a person is involving in riba it will not break the fast per se because ten things break the fast and this does not come in that but it is a major sin. A person should abstain from it throughout his life especially in the month of Ramadan which is a month of forgiveness and blessings. It will only reduce his reward for what he gets for fasting. His fasting will not be nullified, it will not be invalidated but the reward will be reduced and as our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If a person does not leave his false actions and false talks Allah does not require him to leave his drink and eating.”
The question is, when all believe in one God, why people fight in the name of God, and in the name of Religion?
No religion, which I know of, tells that people should fight with each other unnecessarily – No religion says that. Neither the Qur’an, neither the Veda, neither the Bible. And the Holy Qur’an says, in Surah Maidah, Ch. No. 5, Verse No. 32, ‘If any one kills any human being, unless it be for murder or creating mischief in the land, it is as though you have killed the whole of humanity’. The Qur’an doesn’t say, ‘if you kill a Muslim you have killed the whole of humanity – If you kill any human being, unless it be for murder, or creating mischief in the land, it is as though you have killed the whole of humanity. So no religion teaches, that people should fight with each other unnecessarily. Suppose people are trying to oppress you, then most of the Religions say that you should put that oppressor back in its place. Qur’an says that in Surah Anfal, Surah Tawba, that if the people try to drive you out of your house, out of your faith, out of your land, then… you can fight them for self-defence. The Qur’an says in Surah Isra, Ch. 17, Verse 81: ‘That when truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood perishes, for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish’. The Qur’an is a ‘Healing’ and ‘Mercy’ for those who believe – It was revealed in stages. But for those who are unbelievers it is nothing but loss after loss. So basically no Religion tells you to fight, unless in self-defence. Even the police kills the robber, in self-defence – kills the criminals. But yet I do know that people fight. Why? The reason is, people fight for power, for material things. The politician – he wants ‘vote’. So what does he do? He instigates a riot…a riot and then you get marginalised – And then Hindus vote Hindus, and Muslim vote Muslims -Politicians. If a builder wants a land – You can’t acquire the land because there are 1000 huts there. What does he do? He instigates a riot on the basis of religion – the huts are burned down and then he builds a big building on that land, for money. So these people, for power, for money, for material requirements – these people, they instigate the riots. Otherwise, the common Hindus, the common Muslims – Alhamdullillah, we love each other – We love our non-Muslim brothers. The Qur’an says in Surah Kafirun, Ch. 109, Verse No. 1 to 6. …(Arabic)…. ‘Say to those who reject faith – I will not worship what you worship, nor will you worship what I worship. I will not be worshipping that which you want me to worship, nor will you worship what I worship. To you is your way, to me is mine’. The Holy Qur’an says in Surah Baqarah, Ch.2, Verse No. 256…(Arabic)…’There is no compulsion in religion – Truth stands out clear from error. If you hold the Hand of Allah Subhana Wa Taala, He will take you from darkness to light. If you hold the hand of the evil one… the devil, he will take you from light to darkness. The choice is yours. But no religion says that you should fight with each other, unnecessarily. Hope that answers the question.
When all the Muslims follow one and the same Qur’an then why are there so many sects and different schools of thoughts among Muslims?
It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided among themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not endorsed by Islam at all. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers. The Glorious Qur’an says: “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;” [Al-Qur’an 3:103] Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Besides saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’. Qur’an further says, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al-Qur’an 4:59] All the Muslim should follow the Qur’an and authentic ahadith and be not divided among themselves. It is Prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam. The Glorious Qur’an says: “As for those who divide Their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al-Qur’an 6:159] In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects. But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?”, the common answer is either ‘I am a Sunni, or ‘I am Shia’. Some call themselves Hanafi, or Shafi or Maliki or Hambali. One may ask such Muslims, “Who was our beloved prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Humbali or a Maliki?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other prophets and messengers of Allah before him. It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim. Further, in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim. The Qur’an says call yourselves Muslim. If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a MUSLIM, not a Hanafi or a Shafi”. Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 says “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ ” [Al-Qur’an 41:33] The Qur’an says “Say I am of those who bow in Islam”. In other words, say, “I am a Muslim”. We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Humbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hardwork. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the views and research of Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Shafi, etc. But when posed a question, ‘who are you?’ the reply should only be ‘I am a Muslim’. Some may argue by quoting the hadith of our beloved Prophet from Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 4579. In this hadith the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My community will be split up into seventy-three sects.” This hadith reports that the prophet predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path. According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My Umma will be fragmented into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect.” The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, “It is the one to which I and my companions belong.” The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, “Obey Allah and obey His Messenger”. A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. If only all Muslims read the Qur’an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, Inshallah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah.
What is the difference between the Shias and the Sunnis?
Brother, the difference… it’s a political difference. Actually in Islam, there is nothing like Shia and Sunni – There is no ‘Shia’…. ‘Sunni’ mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. The Qura’n says in Surah Al-Imran, Ch. No. 3, V. No. 103… (Arabic)…’Hold together to the rope of Allah, and be not divided’ – there is nothing like ‘Shia’…. ‘Sunni’ in Islam. These came in later centuries…afterwards, due to political differences in Islam. Muslims are only one category and are no sub-categories like Shia, Sunni or anything. Because Qur’an say clearly in Surah Anaam, Ch. No. 6, V. No. 159 that… ‘Who ever makes sects… divisions in Religion of Islam, he has nothing to do with Allah (SWT).’ Means, making sects is prohibited in Islam. The difference between Shia and Sunni is a political difference, and not a religious difference.]]>