Zakir Naik is a prominent Islamic preacher and the founder of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Peace TV. He is known for his comparative study of religions and his public debates with religious scholars and leaders of different faiths. He has a large following of Muslims around the world, especially in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He is also a controversial figure who has been accused of spreading hate speech, radicalizing youths and supporting terrorism. He is currently a fugitive in India, where he faces charges of money laundering and inciting communal violence. He is also banned from entering several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
We’d be seeing Zakir Naik’s biography, date of birth, age, early life, family, wife, children, career, net worth, houses, cars, social media handles, and more.
Full name: Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Date of birth: 18th October, 1965
Age: 58 years (2023)
Wife: Farhat Naik
Education: University of Mumbai (MBBS)
Occupation: Orator, physician
Zakir Naik Biography and Early Life
Zakir Naik was born on 18 October 1965 in Mumbai, India. He belongs to a Konkani Muslim family of the Dawoodi Bohra sect. His father, Abdul Karim Naik, was a physician and a former president of the Indian Medical Association. His mother, Roshan Naik, was a homemaker. He has a brother, Mohammad Naik, and a sister, Nailah Naushad Noorani.
Naik attended St. Peter’s High School in Mumbai, where he was a brilliant student and a topper in his class. He was also interested in science and religion, and would often read books on both subjects. He was influenced by the works of Ahmed Deedat, a South African Islamic preacher who was known for his debates with Christian evangelists. Naik met Deedat in 1987, when he visited India, and was inspired by his style and approach. Deedat later gave Naik the title of “Deedat plus”, indicating that he was better than him.
Naik pursued his higher education at Kishinchand Chellaram College in Mumbai, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree. He then enrolled at Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital in Mumbai, where he completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree. He graduated in 1991 and became a licensed physician. However, he did not practice medicine, as he was more passionate about preaching Islam.
In 1991, Naik founded the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a non-profit organization that aims to promote Islamic awareness and education. He also started delivering lectures and speeches on Islam and comparative religion, and engaging in public debates with scholars and leaders of other faiths. He gained popularity for his fluent command of English, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi, his extensive knowledge of scriptures and his ability to quote verses and references from memory. He also used scientific facts and logic to support his arguments and challenge his opponents. He claimed that his mission was to clear the misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam, and to invite people to the true path of God.
In 2006, Naik launched Peace TV, a satellite television channel that broadcasts his programs and other Islamic content. Peace TV claims to have a global reach of over 200 million viewers, and is available in English, Urdu, Bangla and Chinese languages. Naik also established the Islamic International School in Mumbai and the United Islamic Aid, which provides scholarships to poor and destitute Muslim youth. He also authored several books and booklets on Islam and comparative religion, such as The Quran and Modern Science, Answers to Non-Muslims’ Common Questions about Islam, and Similarities between Hinduism and Islam.
Naik has received several awards and honors for his contributions to Islam and humanity, such as the Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work in 2013, the Dubai International Holy Quran Award in 2013, and the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in 2015. He has also been ranked among the most influential Muslims in the world by various publications and organizations. ¹²
However, Naik has also faced criticism and controversy for some of his views and statements, which have been deemed as offensive, intolerant and extremist by many. He has been accused of misinterpreting and misquoting scriptures, promoting hatred and violence against non-Muslims, supporting terrorism and radicalizing youths. Some of his controversial remarks include:
- Endorsing the death penalty for apostates and homosexuals.
- Justifying the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Praising Osama bin Laden as a “soldier of Islam”.
- Calling the 9/11 attacks an “inside job” by the US government.
- Claiming that the Taliban are not terrorists, but freedom fighters.
- Saying that every Muslim should be a terrorist for anti-social elements.
- Advising Muslims not to wish Merry Christmas to Christians, as it is equivalent to shirk (associating partners with God).
- Asserting that polygamy is better than monogamy, and that women should wear hijab to prevent rape.
- Rejecting the theory of evolution and the big bang theory as unscientific and against the Quran.
Naik’s speeches and activities have been banned or restricted in several countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. He has also been denied entry or visa to some countries, such as the United States, Australia and France. He has been condemned and denounced by many religious and political leaders, as well as by some Muslim scholars and organizations, who have accused him of spreading false and divisive teachings.
In 2016, Naik came under the scanner of the Indian authorities, after it was reported that some of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack in Bangladesh were influenced by his speeches. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against him and his organization, IRF, for allegedly inciting communal hatred, promoting enmity between groups, and funding terrorist activities. The NIA also accused him of laundering money through his various trusts and entities, and violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The NIA raided his offices and residences, and seized his assets and properties. The NIA also issued a notice to Naik, asking him to appear before them for interrogation.
However, Naik did not return to India, and instead fled to Malaysia, where he obtained a permanent residency. He claimed that he was innocent and that he was being targeted and persecuted for his religious views. He also challenged the NIA’s charges and the ban on his organization and channel in the Indian courts. He appealed to the Indian government and the international community to intervene and protect his rights and freedom. He also continued to deliver his speeches and lectures online and through social media platforms.
In 2017, the Indian government revoked Naik’s passport, and requested the Interpol to issue a red notice for his arrest. However, the Interpol rejected the request, citing lack of evidence and legal basis. The Malaysian government also refused to extradite Naik to India, and granted him security and protection. Naik thanked the Malaysian government and the people for their support and hospitality, and said that he would continue to live and preach in Malaysia, unless he was forced to leave. He also expressed his willingness to cooperate with the Indian authorities, if they assured him of a fair trial and no harassment.
Naik is married to Farhat Naik, who is the president of the women’s wing of IRF. They have two children, a son, Fariq Naik, and a daughter, Rushdaa Naik. Fariq is also an Islamic preacher and a student of Islamic studies. Rushdaa is a student of medicine. Naik’s family lives in Mumbai, India, while he lives in Malaysia.
Naik follows a simple and modest lifestyle, and avoids luxury and extravagance. He is a vegetarian, and does not smoke or drink alcohol. He is fond of reading, writing and listening to Islamic spiritual music. He is also fluent in several languages, such as English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. He is a follower of the Quran and the Sunnah, and does not adhere to any particular school of thought or sect in Islam. He considers himself as a student of Islam, and a servant of God and humanity. ¹²
Naik’s net worth is estimated to be around $25 million, according to various sources. He earns his income from his speeches, books, donations and investments. He claims that he does not charge any fees for his lectures, and that he spends his money for charitable and educational purposes. He also denies any involvement in money laundering or illegal transactions, and says that he has nothing to hide or fear. He says that he is ready to face any scrutiny or audit of his accounts and assets, and that he has full faith in God and justice.