Responses to Zakir Naik
Polygamy in Islam
Naik says in his website that the Muslim practice of taking up to four wives is justified . He claims it protects the modesty of women, while keeping men from going astray. He writes in his website that human males are polygamous by nature and that a man is less likely to cheat if he has more than one wife. He also believes that there are more marriageable women than men in the world and claims:
Naik points to the verse Quran 4:3 to explain the Muslim position on polygyny. This verse explains that a man can take more than one wife only if he is able to treat them equally. If he cannot do this, he should have a relationship with only one wife and/or "what your right hands possess" (i.e. female slaves and concubines)."
1. Naik has claimed that polygamy protects the modesty of women. He falsely believes that the population of women in the world is much greater than the population of men. Hence according to him, polygyny will reduce the number of women who will become "public property." Then he goes on a long rant about how there are many extra women in the world.
The following are the actual global statistics from the CIA (est. 2006). 
We can clearly see that the total male population slightly exceeds the female population, thus exposing Naik's falsehood. This trend is almost ubiquitous worldwide. Furthermore, the only age group in which women exceed men substantially is the 65+ age group. By this time, most women are already happily married, widowed or not looking for a partner.
The following are statistics for the USA: 
We can clearly see that, even though overall there are slightly more females than males in the USA, the difference maker is the 65+ age bracket. This is a far cry from what Dr. Naik has claimed. The age that people usually get married in is the 15-64 age bracket and the population of men and women here is roughly the same. In fact, if we look at the age group 0-64, there are 989,336 more males than females and so according to Naik's strategy, perhaps there should be some females who are married to more than one man (polyandry) so that the men don't become "public property".
Now, let's analyze an Islamic country. The following are statistics for Saudi Arabia: 
We can see that the population of males far exceeds the population of females. The difference maker is the 15-64 age category too. According to Naik's logic, the Islamic state of Saudi Arabia should actually follow polyandry (one woman, many husbands), not polygyny (one man, many wives) .
- The ratio of women to men is not 4:1. The above statistics show that the ratio of females to males is around 1.01 : 1 , which is almost negligible and takes care of itself. There is no reason for a man to marry 4 wives. In fact marrying 4 wives will create a much bigger problem. The explanation is as follows: There are 101 females for every 100 males. Thus 1 female more. If just 2 men out of those 100 men marry 4 wives, there will be 98 unmarried males remaining and 93 unmarried females remaining. Now the number of unmarried males is higher than that of unmarried females. So does Islam allow polyandry? No. So it just creates more imbalance. And we are talking about only 2 out of every 100 men marrying 4 wives. If the number of men practising polygamy increases, then so does the shortage of unmarried female. Zakir Naik fails to address this issue.
- If we believe that there are more women than men, it may be ok for a man to marry more than one woman. But if in a scenario, there are more men than women, Islam does not allow women to marry more than one man.
- Naik has also claimed that polygamy keeps men from cheating on their wives. This is as absurd as saying, "making stealing legal will put an end to robbery." Naik reasoning is not valid on this point.
- Naik has also claimed that man is polygamous by nature. This is a huge generalization as there are polygamous women and monogamous men. In any case this is as absurd as saying, "man is selfish by nature. Hence, he should betray others." There is no evidence to suggest that man is polygamous by nature.
- Naik has taken account of the "25 million gays" who live in the USA. That number is unverified. In any case, he has not considered the lesbian population.
- Naik's says that the only option for a non-married woman is to become "public property". This is simply ridiculous and does not warrant a response.
Polyandry in Islam
One of the questions that Naik was asked on an FAQ section on his website was, "If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband?"
His answer in June 2007 was:
Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic society is justice and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal, but with different capabilities and different responsibilities. Men and women are different, physiologically and psychologically. Their roles and responsibilities are different. Men and women are equal in Islam, but not identical.
Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with who you can not marry and it is further mentions in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verse 24 "Also (prohibited are) women already married"
The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited in Islam:
- If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of such marriages can easily be identified. The father as well as the mother can easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than one husband, only the mother of the children born of such marriages will be identified and not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to the identification of both parents, mother and father. Psychologists tell us that children who do not know their parents, especially their father undergo severe mental trauma and disturbances. Often they have an unhappy childhood. It is for this reason that the children of prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood. If a child born of such wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother is asked the name of the father, she would have to give two or more names! I am aware that recent advances in science have made it possible for both the mother and father to be identified with the help of genetic testing. Thus this point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the present.
- Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.
- Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a husband despite having several wives. A woman, in a similar position, having several husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties as a wife. A woman undergoes several psychological and behavioral changes due to different phases of the menstrual cycle.
- A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital sex.
a. Zakir Naik says that in polyandry, it will be difficult to identify both parents.
First, if only one man and one woman can marry, identification is easiest. In this case, when a father introduces his child, there will be no confusion about the identity of the mother as is an identification problem in polygamy.
b. He also states that psychologists say that children who do not know their parents are mentally disturbed.
The Islamic prophet Muhammad fits into this category. He is therefore, by Naik's own admission, likely to have been psychologically disturbed.
In this argument, Zakir Naik is confusing identifying one's parents with having someone as parents. To a child, it is most important to have a mother as well as a father. This is why even if a child is adopted (does not know the identity of real parents), with love from the foster parents, the child can lead a fruitful life.
Psychologists also say that it is very unhealthy for children to grow up in polygamous families. This also leads to disunity in the family as there is rivalry between different wives and their children and all children may not be treated fairly by the husband or the wives.
A family of one husband and 3 wives is like that of 1 wife and 3 husbands. Neither is generally ideal. Children of prostitutes suffer a host of issues and problems. Prostitution is not polyandry because a prostitute has no husband, not more than one husband. Equating polyandry with prostitution is fallacious. You also do not have to be female to be a prostitute.
Furthermore, a woman can know the identity of the father if she tries. For example, if a woman has 2 husbands, she can be sexually active with them in ways that will tell her based on the calendar of the pregnancy, who the father is. Besides, a child usually shows features of both parents. Both these factors in conjunction would allow identification. Zakir Naik's arguments are invalid because there are ways to make it work if equality between men and women is truly desired, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia that allow polygamy, but in whose populations men outnumber women by millions.
Obviously, today we also have techniques such as DNA testing (paternity testing). Therefore an omnipotent deity cannot be the source of this belief as it would be all knowing about the past, present and future. Thus, at the least, it is clear that the Qur'an is not valid for all times to come.
Zakir Naik claims men are more polygamous than women. This claim is incorrect. Some men are more polygamous than their wives and some women are more polyandrous than their husbands. If the Qur'an said the opposite, Zakir Naik would be justifying how women are more lustful and need more than one male partner. 3.
Zakir Naik claims that biologically polygamy is easier than polyandry. This statement is also false.
a. Many women believe it is easier for them to have multiple male partners than vice versa. In many animal patterns also, a female mates with multiple males.
b. It can also be argued that women are naturally more polyandrous. Women have more complex emotional and sexual needs than men. Women often find one type of man attractive for marriage (parenting) and another type of man attractive for procreation. Polyandry will allow women to balance their often contradictory needs. The children will be rewarded by increased male attention from the co-fathers. One father may be work and income focused, another can spend more fatherly time with the children, take them outdoors, etc.
c. Finally, we have already proven that polygamy is not easier for men relative to women, but even if it were, this is equivalent to saying that because it is easier for a husband to severely beat or even kill his wife, that it should be tolerated but not vice versa.
Zakir Naik claims that "a woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital sex."
a. First, it is easy to see that a man with many wives will have many sexual partners, just like a woman with many husbands. There is no difference.
b. Dr. Naik is implying that if a woman marries multiple men she will automatically contract STDs from them and pass them around (and back to the first husband), purely for the fact that she's having sex with more than one man. He clarifies that this is what he means because he says 'even if none of them have extra marital sex'. This is completely untrue. Not only can an STD not appear by itself in polyandry, but there is nothing different in the case of polygamy either.
In order for someone to contract an STD in this type of scenario, they must have sexual contact with someone who already has the STD. It does not magically appear.
c. Also, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can be contacted from a man to a woman and vice versa. If this were not true, only men or only women would have STDs. It is obvious that if a man marries four wives and one of them has AIDS, he will eventually contact it from her and pass it on to the other three wives to result in all five of them suffering from AIDS. The case of a woman with multiple husbands is the same.
Water Cycle in the Qur'an
In the following video, Zakir Naik displays his incredible facility for memorizing and quoting the Qur'an. He wants to "prove" that the Qur'an contains scientific miracles; one of them being the Water Cycle. His remarkable ability to recite numerous Qur'anic passages and cite them is impressive; and earns him copious applause from the audience. Here is the video:
The only thing Naik did in this speech is cite the verse numbers in Qur'an where he claims the Water Cycle has been explained in "great detail". He did not even recite the actual verses to explain where exactly this detail exists. Perhaps the reason is that there is no such detail.
The 'Water-cycle' verses
Below are the Qur'anic 'water-cycle' verses which Naik cited. We can see there is no detail in these verses about a Water Cycle. They are plain common sense and contain no new or 'hidden' knowledge. All that is contained was already known by the people living during the time the Qur'an was (allegedly) revealed:
He ends it all by saying, "In several places, the glorious Qur'an speaks about the Water Cycle in great detail" even though important points such as evaporation is not mentioned once.
1. He claimed that the Qur'an's information on the Water Cycle was a scientific miracle.
2. To be a scientific miracle, the phenomenon should not have been known at the time it was "revealed."
3. Each of the verses that Naik quoted were all about known information. People knew that precipitation occurred due to the clouds. They could easily observe the formation of clouds and the darkening of the sky just before rainfall. After rainfall, they could observe it being "carried away" (drying off). They knew that the hot sun would dry the water off. What they did not know is that it is the same water that is being dried off is brought back to earth as precipitation. The Qur'an does not mention this anywhere.
4. In the video, Naik also claims that the Qur'an has referred to the water table. This is another falsehood. It is quite apparent that none of his verses even hint at the water table.
5. As we can see above, many of the verses he quoted had nothing to do with the water cycle at all but are about drinking water and water being used for irrigation.
Hence in this speech, Naik used his showmanship skills to astound a Muslim audience by memorizing Qur'anic verse numbers.
It is also important to note that, in order to sound even more learned, he gives the name of the Surah, and the chapter number straight after, to make the chapters seem like separate entities within a larger 'sub-book' (similar to the Bible). However, considering, for example, that chapter 35 is Surah Hijir, his use of pleonasms to make the Qur'an (and incidentally his knowledge) seem grander is apparent i.e. more showmanship at work.
Allah has sealed their hearts
In this video, Naik tries to explain the Qur'anic misconception of belief literally coming from the heart (qalb).
1. The Arabic word "qalb" does not mean intelligence in Qur'anic Arabic (Arabi fus7a) (Classical Arabic). The word's meaning might perhaps have developed to mean intelligence over time, as have many English words, but it certainly did not mean so when the Qur'an was written. Zakir's explanation is therefore anachronistic. Qalb does have several meanings, all of which being similar figurative sentiments as those in the English definition.
2. The explanation for "sadr" is equally weak. Sadr means chest, and it is very clear that the chest is to what the verse was referring. It cannot mean a psychological center (i.e. the mind). No-one ever uses the word sadr to mean mind.
3. Increasing one's center makes no sense. Increase one's breast is likely to suggest more room for a heart - a larger heart. He is asking for bravery, not more intelligence. Why would you need a greater "center" to deliver a message?
In this video, Naik attempts to defend the Qur'anic contradiction of Allah's reckoning.
1. The confusion with Muslims that are weak with inter-linguistic translations is that Yawm means period in the sense that English does. For example, "some day we'll be rich" - it does not mean at a particular 24 hour slot, it means at a certain period in time or stage in ones life. It does not mean so when a designated number of days is given (such as "we'll go in 5 days"), as in this case. This is why the confusion arises. Dr Naik obviously does not appreciate the semantic value of the word "yawm", and does not appreciate the parallel in meaning with "day".
2. If it did mean period (which it does not), it would still be wrong to suggest that a period could mean something different in one place than in another. An omnipotent being would be more consistent.
3. He gives the explanation that it just gives a reference to the site of Allah being incomparable to our time. However, by giving exact times, the possibility of this explanation is void. He has been very precise giving the figure of 50,000/1,000. He does not give the impression that this is a mere reference, Allah makes a comparison.
God cannot become a human being
In this video, Naik was asked why Islam says that God cannot become a human-being. After all, many other religions claim that God can and has come down to earth as one.
1. His first claim is that, "other religions believe that almighty God is so holy that he does not know the shortcomings of man and so has to come down to earth to set the rules for the human-beings." He is illogically using a paradox (God is so holy yet does not know the shortcomings) to impress people in a subconscious way. It is illogical because "knowing everything about problems of mankind" does not stop "God from coming down" in any way. God may still come down to show people a practical example or to set things right. He does not have to but he may. Also, if he is unaware of man's shortcomings, then he should be happy with humankind as they are. It would be unnecessary to set a list of rules regulating the way one should behave, at the penalty of eternal torment in the flames of hell-fire, if disobeyed.
2. Naik then goes into the analogy of a VCR. This is again flawed logic simply because the explanation of the VCR does not have to mimic the explanation of God. It may mimic it but it is not a conclusive argument.
3. Naik then gives his only correct statement, "Similarly Almighty God does not have to become a human being to know what is good or what is bad." He has rightly used the word "does not have to" and not "cannot."
4. Naik's next claim is again flawed. He says, "God chooses a prophet and sends his instruction manual through him." It may be right but then it may not be, for the reasons above.
5. Naik has thus failed to answer the question posed which was, "why cannot God become a human being?" He has only used the Qur'an to give a possible explanation as to why he does not have to become a human being. Naik surmises that since God is all powerful, he cannot come to Earth in the form of a simple human being. He rationalizes that by doing so, God would be limiting his powers and would not be able to revert to his original form. However, this explanation is flawed and contradicts the Qur'anic claim of God being all-powerful, itself. For instance, if God is all-powerful, then he should be able to take the form of a human being, retain his powers and revert back to his original self. His inability to do so, as Naik claims, would suggest that God has limitations and therefore, is not all-powerful.
Grammatical errors in the Qur'an
In this video, Zakir is questioned about the grammatical mistakes in the Qur'an. Since the Qur'an is said to be the unchanged word of Allah, it should contain no errors.
1. The origins of Arabic grammar did not derive from the Qur'an. Arabic existed long before, and there is no reason to assume that anything that comes from the Qur'an is the correct paradigm. It is only by his belief that the Qur'an is divine, and it would only be the correct source of grammar if it was. His point therefore resorts to belief and not credible facts.
2. It is completely illogical to say something is so advanced that it goes against convention - especially when convention is said to have derived therefrom. If grammar is incorrect, it is incorrect. His analogy of a ruler is asinine. If a ruler was compared to conventional measurements and proved to differ, it would be dismissed as faulty. The same should be applied to the Qur'an under unbiased circumstances.
3. The examples he gave at the end are straw men, and the line of reasoning associated with them do not apply to the examples given by the man. He does not at all address the two examples the man gave. They might be acceptable, but they have nothing to do with other possible solecisms. Besides, the second example he gives is flawed. He does not address the issue of the flawed tense. Allah is referring to the actions of the past, and should hence use the relevant tense. "It" is not referring to the creation, but rather the creation process, the initialization.
4. He talks of different tribes using grammar. However, this is not pertinent to the issue for two reasons.
a. Even in the several different dialects of the British language, there is only one that is accepted as standard grammar. This is the framework around which the Qur'an should adhere to maintain the linguistic dignity of which should be expected from Allah. All pieces of Arabic literature are written in fus7a - without exception.
b. The dialect of the Qur'an remains the same throughout, so if in one place a certain grammatical feature is used correctly and in another that same feature is used incorrectly, then it is clear that the latter is an error and not the use of dialect. The mistakes are internal.
Evolution and Allah's status
1. In science, a theory is an explanation of the evidence. To say it is just a theory shows a lack of understanding of the word theory as used in a scientific context. A scientific theory is never proved or turned into a fact. The theory of evolution is an explanation for the evidence of common descent. It is as much of a fact as the theory of plate tectonics, germ theory of disease, gravitational theory, etc. Herein Zakir shows his usual lack of scientific merit and intellectual dishonesty.
2. He also gets caught on a common misunderstanding about where and how we delineate species from one another.
3. Darwin never used the word "evolution" in the origin of species. The letter is most likely a lie, but even if it were to be genuine, that does nothing to disprove evolution itself. That reference is not just a lie, but moreover a straw man fallacy.
4. There are many links, and we are continuing to discover more and more. Even if we found 100,000 fossils showing gradual lineage between monkey-likes and modern humans there would still be 99,999 links between each these fossils that people like Naik would complain about.
5. Interesting that Naik brings up Galileo as a comparison to Darwin, since Galileo was right.
6. The idea that there are four phases is ridiculous. There are far more than that. Furthermore, than are numerous links between all these stages, and all the other stages which he failed to mention.
7. Talking of the 100's of scientists who speak out against evolution is ad verecundiam and ad populum. It does nothing to address the issue of evolution. Going by his logic, there are significantly more who agree with it, therefore attesting to its accuracy. Of course, real scientists work with evidence, and not support. His claim that more speak against than for is a blatant lie.
8. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi's book is titled "The Crazy Ape" and describes his views on international peace. "crazy ape" in the title refers to us crazy human.
Is Halal slaughter painful?
At 5:30 of the following video, Naik claims that Halal slaughter is painless:
Zakir Naik has also defended on his website the Islamic method of slaughter (which involves severing the major arteries in the neck of the animal while it's alive, as well as the esophagus and trachea with one swipe of a non-serrated blade.)
It is not true that Halal/Kosher method of slaughter is painless as seen from the following medical explanation:
Other Religions Under Islam
Naik was once asked by a non-Muslim on his TV show, "Why are non-Muslims not allowed to propagate their religion or construct their places of worship in Islamic nations, while Muslims expect the same right to be given to them in non-Muslim majority countries?" This video can be viewed here:
Naik agrees that Islam does not allow a Non-Muslim to propagate or construct his places of worship in an Islamic country. The furthest that a non-Muslim can go is to practice his religion in the secrecy and privacy of his home. Naik fails to understand what "equal rights" are. He supports Muslims being given the same rights that he himself wishes to take away from non-Muslims.
- Naik has illogically brought in the analogy of a school principal hiring a mathematics teacher and says, "Would a principal hire a teacher who says that 2+2 = 3?" He goes on to say, "Of course the principal would not hire that teacher because that teacher does not have the right math knowledge. Similarly, Muslims will not allow other religions because they are not right." The problem here is that "2+2=4" is a universal math law by definition. On the other hand, Islam is not a universal law. Muslims believe in Islam just like other people believe in their own respective religions.
- He continues on, "In the Quran 3:85, it says that Islam is the only true religion." Again, he makes the mistake that all people of the world take the Qur'an as the truth.
- Naik has not given any proof for why Islam is the universal truth nor for why other religions are false.
- Naik says, "In matters of religion, we Muslims are confirmed true, while the non-Muslims are not. If they were confirmed, why would they follow the wrong religion?" This is illogical. Islam becomes true for Muslims only because they choose to believe in it. It is not in any way "more confirmed" than any other religion.
- According to Naik, Muslims are 100% sure that Islam is the right religion. However, he believes that other people are not sure of their religion. The only proof offered by him for this is that "these non-Muslims follow their respective false religions."
- He says he "appreciates" that non-Muslims give Muslims the right to propagate Islam and build mosques in their country. On the other, he says that Muslims should never give these same rights to the non-Muslims.
- Dr. Naik is “begging the question” of “truth”. It is not decided universally according to the scientific method that Islam is “God’s religion”. That is a claim that Dr. Naik has merely claimed, but not proved. He "begs" us to accept this as proven so he may win the argument. While 2 + 2 = 4 is established by the science of mathematics, the supremacy of Islam is a religious opinion and cannot thus be supported by science. All school principals are accredited by a board of education elected by the parents and voters of the school district. No school principal in the world is appointed directly by God. All are answerable, not to God, but to those to whom they owe their job. That is an additional fallacy on the part of Dr. Naik. Scientific truth is different from religious truth. The scientific method is a very rigorous set of standards used to eliminate false conclusions.
Function of mountains
In this video, you can hear Naik say at about 2:55 that Dr. Frank Press in his book "Earth" says "the function of the mountains is to stabilise the earth".
Hijab protects women
Naik writes that a woman is required to cover herself entirely except for her face and hands up to her wrists. He claims that Islam thus protects women from the lust of men.
This may sound logical, but does it match the realities of life in a repressed Islamic society? A 2008 study conducted by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR) found that whilst more than 60% of respondents suggested scantily clad women were most at risk, the majority of the victims of harassment in Egypt were modestly dressed women wearing Islamic head-scarves. According to the BBC:
. . .
The findings contradict the widely held belief in Egypt that unveiled women are more likely to suffer harassment than veiled ones.
Participants in the survey were shown pictures of women wearing different kinds of dress - from the mini skirt to the niqab (full face veil) and asked which were more likely to be harassed.
More than 60% - including female respondents - suggested the scantily clad woman was most at risk. But in reality the study concluded the majority of the victims of harassment were modestly dressed women wearing Islamic headscarves.ECWR head Nihad Abu El-Qoumsan said that even veiled women who were victims of harassment blamed themselves.
Here are quotes from Naik that do not need a response.
Pork and Promiscuity
Naik believes that diet has psychological/ethical consequences and one is what one eats:
This means that according to Zakir, if one eats pork, he or she is likely to indulge in wife swapping.
Support for Osama Bin Laden
- Responses to Zakir Naik - Collection of articles from Answering Islam
- World’s Greatest Showman - Ali Sina's commentary on debate between Zakir Naik and William Campbell
- Zakir Naik banned from lecturing in Indian State
- Zakir Naik - Wikipedia page
- Dr Naik’s “FAQ on Hinduism” - Blog post
- Islamic Reasoning for Polygamy Totally Debunked - FFI forum posts
- Zakir Naik on Hinduism - Declassified - FFI forum posts
- Video made by a Youtube user: "Dawah to an atheist?" Part 1 | Part 2
- Zakir Naik on Polygamy
- Global Statistics from The World Factbook, CIA
- Global sex ratio statistics - CIA, The World Factbook
- United States - Statistics from the World FactBook, CIA
- Saudi Arabia - Statistics from the World FactBook, CIA
- Irf.net: Islamic Method Of Slaughtering Animals Appears Ruthless - Zakir Naik's official website
- German website (translated for this article by Google)
- Press, Frank and Siever, Raymond, Earth, W. H. Freeman, 3rd ed., 1982, p. 413 ISBN 978-0716713821
- IRF.net: Misconceptions About Islam (FAQs) Question 03 of Section A
- Magdi Abdelhadi - Egypt's sexual harassment 'cancer' - BBC News, July 18, 2008
- Zakir Naik - FAQ on Islam - Pork Forbidden