Lucknow : Deoband’s influential Darul Uloom Islamic seminary had issued seven fatwas against the controversial Zakir Naik over the years. They described his televangelism as “religiously deviated” and his talks as “unauthentic”. Times of India quoted one of the fatwas issued on April 7, 2009, which read, “A common man may not be able to differentiate between right and wrong.
Therefore, people should avoid listening to his speeches; they are feared to fall in deviation.”
The seminary termed Naik as a “self-styled scholar” and said that he does not have the authority to give sermons on Islam. The seminary called him a preacher of ‘Ghair Muqallidin’ (a different school of thought), reported TOI.
The seminary also called Naik a scholar of English” who wears “coat and pants”. In a fatwa dated February 13, 2012, the seminary questions, “Is wearing the dress of Jews and Christians established from the holy Quran? They also described him as preacher who does not wear Islamic dress and said that one should not lean towards his speeches. They also said that Muslims should avoid paying heed to him.
The seminary said that the fatwa was issued before the Bangladesh attack in which the attackers were said to be inspired from Naik’s talks. “Our fatwas were in response to specific questions asked by people referring to Zakir Naik’s statements in public sessions. These Fatwas should not be linked to the present controversy as they were issued in a different contexts,” said seminary’s spokesperson Maulana Ashraf Usmani.
Naik Skype adrress to media was cancelled four times. Naik’s supporters accused authorities of not letting him explain his stand on the issue. Naik’s spokesperson said that his address was cancelled without valid reason.
Rival groups held press conferences hailing Naik , who delayed his return from Saudi Arabia after a visit for Umrah.