One comes across several interesting comments from the people who have been defending Mr. Zakir Naik on Indian Muslims Blog. Most of my brothers and sisters are impressed by his “immense knowledge” without knowing that his kind of knowledge (database or retention) has nothing to do with religion at all. In other words the knowledge he and his fans boast of is irreligious in its very essence, for any true religion is an ever-flowing fountain of “wisdom” not “knowledge”.
However, Mr. Naik is not an only man basking under this false impression but, it is pity that most of our so-called Muslim scholars are making the profits of same deceptive notion. And it is about this “subtle subversion” that Muslim world or Muslim identity has suffered a great deal. Therefore in this article, I would talk about a whole range of “scholars” of this nature and use the name of Mr. Naik as an “all-purpose unit” to bring my point home.
A wise man may have some knowledge but “it does not necessitate that every knowledgeable man is wise”. For knowledge comes with analysis but wisdom with synthesis. Analysis demands scattering the whole into parts and pieces, on the contrary, synthesis demands uniting and reassembling the parts, once again, into a whole. Men of knowledge without wisdom are far more harmful for human family than mad men. For knowledge without wisdom lacks comprehensiveness of vision, feelings, beauty and empathy. Therefore it is not beneficial at all, and in religious terms, it is irreligious! How? A man of knowledge studies the composition of the atom from a disinterested desire for knowledge, and incidentally places it in the hands of powerful lunatics as the means of destroying the human race. In such ways the pursuit of knowledge may become harmful unless it is combined with wisdom; and wisdom in the sense of comprehensive vision is not necessarily present in specialists in the pursuit of any kind of knowledge.
The point is “so-called men of knowledge lack comprehensive vision that is necessary to make them wise”. Ask, for example, a man of science to define human being! If he is sociologist he will tell you that, “man is a social animal for he cannot live without society”. Ask the same question to a physicist and he would brief you about “material composition of a human being” and reduce it to material hump. Raise this question before a chemist and get ready to listen that “man is nothing but product or composition of different chemicals”. A chemist would also open your eyes by telling that “man is a chemical animal and his emotions and character is mainly controlled by chemical balance or imbalance”. Go to a biologist to listen, “human being is an organism composed of different organs”. See a human being have been dissected into piece and lost! Even if all of these definitions cannot include what makes a human being a human being! Definitions, I mean to say, are the foundations of analytical thinking and they always fail to spot the core—the essence.
For example, in above definition of human person, what makes human person a human person is nowhere, as no definition could be holistic! Moreover, in definition, metaphor or simile, as logic demands, is not allowed to make analytical thinking free from feelings but religious wisdom or morality is absurd or impossible without feelings! There is no room for aesthetics (beauty) in analysis and morality or wisdom gushes from these two springs as well!
I think Islam is very clear about this point as: “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty”. Allah (The Supreme Reality) is truth and truth cannot be revealed unto those whose whole effort is demystification and dissection! Has analysis anything to do with “love”? Isn’t beauty a mystery so beyond the logic (Allah Him/Herself)? Have analytical sciences, from so-called Enlightenment Age onwards, not been trying to demystify the mysterious phenomenon of existence or being? Was it not an organized effort to obliterate God from human consciousness? Has sciences (knowledge not wisdom) not been consciously trying to omit suggestiveness from natural phenomena to make it dull and ugly! There have a tendency among Quranic scholars—the tendency to count! For example word (or Ism-e-Zat) Allah has been used so many times in Quran.
Mr. Zakir Naik, and others of course, can safely claim 10 GB memory containing these types of calculations. But, so far as I know, no one has told that how many similes and metaphors are used in Quran. How many attributes of Allah (the beneficent the merciful) reflect rationality and others feelings or emotions? Mr. Zakir Naik could not deny that Prophet Mohammad’s (May peace by upon him) holy life is an evergreen epic of compassion and empathy—the gift “to feel” with others! Remember once my Lord was running for milking the sheep to feed a crying cat when West was not familiar with “animal rights”! Was it analysis or feeling—feeling with and for the whole creation? Islam is known to be the highest point of Abrahamic tradition and Prophet Abraham dived into the fire! A rationalist or an analyst (or a man of knowledge) would never think that fire could behave otherwise! In short the whole range of knowledge mounted up by sciences is of analytical nature, and therefore today, world is rich with knowledge but poor in wisdom. For if it were rich in wisdom we would have been living in paradise!
The main problem with our age is that our age far surpasses all previous ages in knowledge (rotted data) but there is a correlative “famine” of wisdom. Since wisdom includes not only intellect but also feelings, and this world is mostly steered by those whose knowledge is wide but feelings are too narrow! Therefore they have made it a hell of hatred! One of my brothers, Mr. Wasif, wrote about Zakir Naik’s comments about Sufi saints.
According to him Zakir Naik says: “Sufism is an alien plant in the soil of Islam” These are actually the words of Allama Mohammad Iqbal (1877-1938) who, no doubt, was an extraordinarily profound and inspiring poet—but as a philosopher, he used to wear several hats of intellect like Herbert Spencer in Western philosophical tradition. Actually, as I think, his poetry and thought begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, then culminates into “grace metaphors” and finally goes on to profoundest thinking that we have. Mr. Zakir Naik should note that in his profundity—Iqbal himself is a Sufi!
For example: Ik Danish-e-burhani, ik Danish-e-ruhani Hai Danish-e-burhani hairat ki frawani (One the one hand there is an argumentative/logical wisdom, and, on the other hand spiritual wisdom! But argumentative/logical wisdom is nothing but surplus of wonder…….) Qadhe khirad froze keh Frang dad mara Hama aftab lekin asar-e-sahar na darid (The shining wine cup of rationality offered by the West is the full Sun but powerless/impotent to bring into being lime light of the morning) Iqbal used to call himself a disciple (mureed hindi) of Jalal-ud-Din Rumi—the great Persian Sufi poet! Therefore, he was highly impressed by Persian influence on Islamic culture, community and thought. For example, in his famous chapter, The Muslim Community, in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal writes: “The conquest of Persia gave to the Musalmans what the conquest of Greece gave to the Romans. But for Persian, our culture would have been absolutely one sided”. It is doubtless that Mr. Zakir Naik is advocating and pushing exclusively soulless, fanatical and chauvinistic Saudi (Wahhabi) version of Islam that has become a disgusting scar on the face of highly inclusive Islamic teachings! It is duty of Wahabism to wage war against teachings of great Sufi saints who kept the divinely prophet-consciousness alive not by preaching the truth but living like truth! Naik’s grudge towards Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him) is a clear sign that he is an agent of un-Islamic Saudi state employed to save her from Hussain who exposes and challenges Yazid of every age!
Wahhabism is troubled by Sufism for it is a message of inclusiveness and tolerance! Wahhabism wages war against it for it is a message of freedom and core of Islam that is, in its essence anti- hierarchy and anti-establishment! Wahhabism is afraid of Sufism for it shows a beautiful face of Islam but Saudi’s allies (especially United States) are funding her to prove it ugly and dangerous for peaceful coexistence! Mr. Zakir Naik and all his friends are stakeholders in the highly lucrative and hideous business of a great conspiracy “Defame & Destroy”. For it is duty of Wahhabism to promote blameful and reproachably bigoted religiosity for facilitating its funders to wipe Muslims from the face of the earth by declaring them potentially dangerous creatures!
May Allah save my innocent brothers and sisters in Islam from felling a prey to a vicious alliance! May Allah help us to show our non-Muslim brothers and sisters that Wahhabism is not the real face of Islam! Islam is one of the most inclusive religions wherein “ink of a scholar is holier than blood of a martyr” and “killing one human person is killing humanity”! Islam—that is a religion of heart, love, empathy and compassion! Amen!
Jamshed Iqbal is a student and teacher of English literature and philosophy.