Why Muslims lag behind

[Khushwant Singh, Nov 2007] At the recent Book Fair in Delhi there was a stall selling Islamic literature. Friends who went round the stalls told me that among the hottest sellers was Answer to Non-Muslim Common Questions About Islam by Dr Zakir Naik (Madhur Sandesh Sangam). 

The learned doctor, who has a phenomenal memory when it comes to quoting chapters, verses and lines of  the scriptures, has chosen 20 questions, most often asked by non-believers: they include polygamy, burqa, drinking, eating pigmeat, afterlife, and kafirs. I have heard Zakir Naik hold forth on these and other subjects several times on television before large receptive audiences, who hear him spellbound. I disagree with almost everything he has to say about misconceptions about Islam. Though by definition (a kafir), I don’t believe in God, satan, angels, devils, heaven or hell, I feel hurt and angry because I am emotionally and rationally bothered by the sorry plight of Muslims today. I find Naik’s pronouncements somewhat juvenile.

They seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates, where contestants vie with each other to score brownie points. I will deal with only four of the twenty topics he deals with — two of minor and two of major importance. Why is eating pigmeat forbidden in Islam? Dr Naik tells us that the “pig is one of the filthiest animals on earth.”

Agreed, it eats garbage, including human and animal excreta. He further adds, “The pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate” I admit I was not aware of this swinish aberration. He goes on to list 70 different types of diseases caused by eating pigmeat. He does not tell us why the vast majority of non-Muslims, non-vegetarians of the world relish pigmeat in different forms: ham, bacon, pork, sausages, salami etc.

Many Pacific island economies depend on breeding pigs. I for one have not heard of great epidemics caused by consumption of pig meat. Why is alcohol forbidden to Muslims? Actually, what is forbidden by the Quran is drunkenness, not drinking. However, Dr Naik construes it to be a sin.

He says, “Alcohol has been the scourge of human society, since time immemorial. It costs enormous human lives and terrible misery to millions throughout the world.”

He lists 19 diseases, including eczema, caused by intake of liquor. One does not have to quote the scriptures to prove that excessive drinking ruins one’s health, impoverishes families, leads to bad behaviour and crime. It is plain common sense. People all over the world overdo it and suffer. Those who drink within limits enjoy it. I have been drinking for 70 years. I have not been drunk even once in my life, never fallen ill nor offended anyone.

I am 94 and still drink everyday. My role model is Asadullah Khan Ghalib. He drank every evening and alone. I look forward to my sundowners. For me and for millions of others, drinking has nothing to do with religion. Let us see what Dr Naik has to say about two more serious subjects: polygamy and hijab (veil).

“The Quran is the only religious book on the face of this earth that contains the phrase “marry only one,” he asserts. And explains the verse on the subject “marry women of your choice, two, three or four; but only fear that ye shall not be able to do justice (with them), then only one”. And since “ye are never able to be fair and just as between women. Therefore, the verdict is in favour of one wife at a time. “Hindus are more polygamous than Muslims,” writes Dr Naik.

There are more women than men in the world; so what are women who can’t find unmarried men do except become co-wives of married men? Or become “public property?” So goes the learned doctor’s argument.

He does not deign to deal with the situation as it exists today. Every other religion other than Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism now forbids men from having more than one wife at a time.

Muslims are the sole exception though only a miniscule minority, mainly Arabs, have multiple wives. Apply for a visa to some country like Indonesia and Malaysia and you will have to fill a column naming up to four wives accompanying you. The answer to the problem of women out-numbering men is not polygamy, it is freedom to engage in extra-marital relation or have them staying single. It is better than having a harem.

Dr Naik is in favour of women wearing burqas from head to foot, girls not going to mixed schools or colleges, nor going into professional institutions in which they have to expose their faces etc. This amounts to denying them, equal rights with men. In my view, shared by all my Muslim friends, burqa is the single most reprehensible cause for keeping Muslims backward (it is synonymous to jehalat — ignorance and backwardness). The sooner it is abolished, the better. He castigates the western society in no uncertain terms: “Western talk of women’s liberalisation is nothing but a disguised form of exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul and deprivation of her honour.

“Western society claims to have uplifted women. On the contrary, it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses, and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketers….” All I can say in reply is “Dr. Naik, you know next to nothing about the Western society and are talking through your skull cap. People like you are making the Muslims lag behind other communities.”

God business

Ahmed and Hamid are both beggars in Great Britain. Ahmed drives a Mercedes, lives in a mortgage-free house and has a lot of money to spend. Hamid only brings in £ 2 or £ 3 a day. Hamid asks Ahmed how he manages to bring home a suitcase full of £10 notes everyday. Ahmed says, “Look at your sign.”

It says, “I have no work, a wife and seven kids to support.” Britons who see that do not feel as if they have accomplished anything by giving you money. You will still have no job and a large family. Now look at my sign. So Hamid looks and Ahmed’s sign reads: “I need only another $10 to move to Pakistan.”

7 thoughts on “Why Muslims lag behind

  1. As in other religions, peace is a basic concept in Islamic thought[citation needed].
    The Arabic word salaam (سلام) (“secured, pacified, submitted”) has the same root as the word Islam.[1] One Islamic interpretation is that individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to Allah. The greeting “As-Salaamu alaykum”, favoured by Muslims, has the literal meaning “Peace be upon you”.[1]

    The series of prophets and messengers coming from God throughout the ages to call the people again towards their innate identity of love and friendship.[citation needed]
    The good life according to Islam is in submitting to God and in worshiping Him as The Creator and The Master and to recognize the innate nature of man. The individual who will recognize his true nature on which every person is created will be able to live together in society with peace and affection to each other.
    In his Last Sermon, the Prophet Muhammad admonished believers:
    “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.”
    Importance of Peace[edit]
    One of the terms meaning peace and peacemaking in Arabic, sulh, which is used in the Quran, is also the root of the word islah denoting development and improvement. This term is used to refer to peacemaking. Peacemakers are agents of good and those who breach it are elements of corruption and sin. It is therefore observed that peace and peacemaking are seen in Islamic tradition as part and parcel of human development. In Islam peace and making peace are seen as Godly acts worthy of praise and reward.[2] In Islam peace is advocated as a divine quality to be pursued in order to achieve the state of felicity that we were in paradise, man’s former dwelling.[3][4]
    Peace and Justice[edit]
    Justice, as outlined in the Qur’an, refers to balance and is the foundation upon which creation stands.[citation needed]
    Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph after the Prophet, has an incisive definition of justice. He considers justice to be the placement of everything in their proper order. The issue of proportionality and relativeness is thus an indispensable part of justice.[5]
    Peace based on justice, therefore, would mean a balanced, fair and tranquil state of affairs, where all concerned would enjoy their due rights and protection.[citation needed]

    The ideal society, according to the Qur’an is Dar as-Salam, literally, “the house of peace” of which it intones: And Allah invites to the ‘abode of peace’ and guides whom He pleases into the right path.[6]
    The establishment of an abode of peace on earth means the establishment of peace in everyday lives, at all levels. This includes personal, social, state and international levels.[citation needed]
    According to Islam there will be an era in which justice, plenty, abundance, well-being, security, peace, and brotherhood will prevail among humanity, and one in which people will experience love, self-sacrifice, tolerance, compassion, mercy, and loyalty. Prophet Muhammad says that this blessed period will be experienced through the mediation of the Mahdi, who will come in the end times to save the world from chaos, injustice, and moral collapse. He will eradicate godless ideologies and bring an end to the prevailing injustice. Moreover, he will make religion like it was in the days of Prophet Muhammad, cause the Qur’an’s moral teachings to prevail among humanity, and establish peace and well-being throughout the world.[7]

  2. Raj, look at this verse that prohibits strong drinks, gambling and Idol worship, where it says LEAVE IT ASIDE :

    Quran 5:90 (P) : “O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed”.

    That means believers are told to abstain from any strong drink. Quran has NO double standards. If you have been drinking continuously for 70 years so have the smokers been smoking tobacco for similar number of years…does that mean smoking doesn’t cause cancer?

    Alcohol is an addictive drink, it impulses a person to crave for it, to yearn for it to an extent that it becomes habitual. If if you are drinking then why can’t your children drink and go to school drunk? Why can’t your wife drink and go out drunk? Some people can get drunk with a single bottle of beer where others cannot get the “effect” even after 3 bottles…what should be the limit? Any verse in the Quran which says that alcohol is permissible?

    Quran 5:3 “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine…This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me…but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining wilfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

    The Quran DOES NOT castigate the Pigs as dirty animals since the pigs ARE one of the creation of Allah and that is why it continues saying “..but whoever is compelled by hunger…”.
    It merely says that a swine is one of the animals that is prohibited but even then, if it is due to forced hunger then you may chew it. If a Pig was “filthy” why would the Quran then ALLOW the “filth” to be eaten through necessity in the same verse?
    The Quran does NOT talk bad of even dogs…as it says the prey caught by a hound is permissible for consumption.

    On Naik, during his speeches, is there any Muslim who has converted to other religions?? It means the Muslims accept what he says and it does NOT matter to them what an Anti-Islamic site or its anti-administrator say!!!

    The Code of Dress and NOT Burka has been set by the Quran in Islam and it is better than the scanty dressing of the Western and Eastern world combined…as it helps curb prostitution and public nudity!!

    Any other comments you have??????????????/

    • plum ” The code of Dress and NOT Burka has been set by the Quran in Islam ” The can you quote us the Sura,? ” and it is better than the scanty dressing of the Western and Eastern world combined…as it helps curb prostitution and public nudity ??? ” Women in the Western and Eastern are dressing to their taste and majority of men behave decently and women are safe, but in muslim countries women are even NOT safe in their Burka, they get raped. So stop your B.S . Isn’t ‘Mutha ” which is practised by Shia muslims a licence to prostitution? Islam is an EVIL CULT,period

      • Suraj, I do NOT have to quote verses for YOU as YOU may go through the Quran on YOUR own. Yet I will NOT shun !

        Q 33:59 : (YA): “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the BELIEVING women, that they SHOULD cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and NOT MOLESTED. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”.

        Now, show us a similar verse in Hindu scriptures and the Bible, okay?

        “DRESSING to their TASTE”. Who gave YOU the right to “TASTE”?

        Of course, “majority of men behave decently”. WAS Clinton a MINORITY when his DICK got sucked by Mama Lewinsky in a PUBLIC office? Is THAT behaviour “DECENT”?

        And now YOUR biggest B.S. : “muslim countries women are even NOT safe in their Burka, they get raped”………..Do NOT throw YOUR bulls when YOU know the SEVERE punishment of RAPE in the Quran… compare that to the Statistics in the Catholic world!

    • plum ” Had there been a Hindu man like Naik in Pakistan and putting down any religion, other than Hinduism and especially spewing thing against islam, How long do you think he would live? No amount of muslims like you and naik can convince us the non believers your cult is civilized. To-day even the people from the West are waking up to find cult of islam evil.

      • Suraj, Good point : “” Had there been a Hindu man like Naik in Pakistan and putting down any religion, other than Hinduism and especially spewing thing against islam, How long do you think he would live?”

        Zakir Naik has NEVER spewed PUKE against hinduism but he tells what THERE IS in YOUR Scriptures. Zakir is an Indian and has full rights of expressing his personal views in any media in India, just as any hindu.

        Are there any Hindus who can preach like Naik in Pakistan?…tell YOUR Shree Shrees and Ramdev’s to be BRAVE and preach to Pakistanis about making handmade objects and worshipping that as GODS….against YOUR own Scriptures. Idols ARE handmade objects and have NO heart!

        And finally YOU said : “To-day even the people from the West are waking up to find cult of islam evil.”

        It is NOT “today” that the Western world is waking up to find cult of islam evil but since the inception of Islam for some 1400 years ago! It is ONLY the catholics who have been the staunchest opponents of ISLAM!

  3. You sad excuse in the name of human being, pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam because God wants so. You’re unaware of basic philosophy of Islam, just like your Zakir Naik.

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