Dr. Zakir Naik is a tele-evangelist and apologist of Islam. He is a medical doctor by qualification but he delivers lectures on Islam and comparative religion for making a living. Over a period of time, he gained popularity among the Muslim masses by his ability to quote verse after verse from various religious sources. However, many a times, his utterances have come under scanner and he has been shown to lie confidently. Most prominently Ali Sina exposed his lies by analyzing Dr. Naik’s debate with Dr. William Campbell in 2000. Dar Ul Uloom of Deoband in India has issued an advisory to Muslims not to believe and follow Dr. Naik as ideas and knowledge of Islam are doubtful.
In 2011, Dr. Naik participated in a so-called debate at Oxford Union via satellite link, as he was denied a visa to visit the UK. The video can be viewed here:
It is more of a speech and not a debate at all since he was the only speaker. Towards the end of the video, replying to a question related to punishment for apostasy in Islam, Dr. Naik said that apostasy in Islam does not carry death penalty. This is a blatant lie and contradicts several instances mentioned in the Qur’an, Hadees, Sira and the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence. In this article, let us examine his arguments.
In support to his argument, Dr. Naik quotes a hadith from Abu Dawood in which Muhammad lets off an apostate of Islam unpunished. The quoted hadith is as follows:
Abu Dawood 38:4345:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Abdullah ibn AbuSarh used to write (the revelation) for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). Satan made him slip, and he joined the infidels. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) commanded to kill him on the day of Conquest (of Mecca). Uthman ibn Affan sought protection for him. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) gave him protection.
In the hadith, Muhammad duly wanted to punish the apostate with death penalty. However, this person had the support of Uthman, Muhammad’s son-in-law and the 2nd Caliph of Islam. So, Muhammad lets him off. The reason may be respect for Uthman or some unmentioned benefit or plain inconsistency. Whatever it may be, this person was lucky to escape death. However, even when we go by this hadith, it is clear that the punishment for apostasy is death and Muhammad wanted to implement it. If the punishment for apostasy must be formulated based on this hadith, it must be like this: ‘An apostate of Islam must be put to death unless otherwise he has a strong recommendation from a future caliph’.
Therefore, Dr. Naik has lied yet again to impress western audience to portray Islam as a decent religion.
In the same context, Dr. Naik said that the apostate, after leaving Islam, did something wrong to Muslims. However, in the hadith, nothing of that sort is mentioned. It again shows that Dr. Naik can go to any length and lie in order to portray Islam and Muhammad in positive light.