In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh
Story keep on rolling...
I have been saying this for over 10 years that the solution to “Dr Zakir Naik”’s problem is not to issue Fatwaas. They do stop some people from accessing him but for the vast majority of Muslims he is working for Islam while other groups are issuing Fatwaas. In the eyes of laymen, Dr Zakir Naik wins.
The solution is actually very simple but needs dedication and discipline.
The solution is to develop Deobandi capabilities which are professional, competent enough to lure people in and compete.
For hundreds of years, Deobandees have relied on name recognition and they expect people to still be lured by names.
Media has changed the equation. Before the Media equation it was the Printing Press which changed things in India.
What do all these people have in common? Deobandees warned masses against them and you can see the diminishing returns as the grasp of Ulama upon laymen loosened.
Posting Fatwaas or Malfoozat (sayings) of Ulama won’t achieve the change which Deobandees require because the brand recognition is now working against them.
100 year ago masses knew Shaykhuk-Hind (RA) and not many knew Maulana Maududi (RA).
Today masses know Dr Zakir Naik and how many people even know the name of Principle of Darul-uloom Deoband?
It has been over 10 years, I have been saying the same thing again and again and again.
Take a good look at the websites, blogs of Deobandees from India. Do you honestly see any comparison to the presentation of Dr Zakir Naik?
Dr Zakir Naik has (multiple) TV channels reaching masses while the Deobandees of India have badly done websites displaying talks, speeches and books of Hazrats.
I know that Dr Zakir Naik is a professional and probably has access to a very good legal team so this will end sooner or later.
But the issue of Deobandees won’t go away. In fact Dr Zakir Naik’s popularity has soared due to this and the day is not far when Deobandees will appear on his platform simply because Dr Zakir Naik and he Media Machine will have ground down the opposition.
Scholars like my dear friend and elder (Maulana) Abu Uzair (DB) don’t seem to understand that, at all. He is a young, dynamic Indian Scholar so if he doesn’t understand the equation what chance do older Ulama have who are a generation removed from the current fast-paced media world?
Deobandees by issuing statements in favour of Dr Zakir Naik have actually shot themselves in the foot because these positive statements would be used against their Fatwaas. It will be very difficult to convince Indian (laymen) that we supported him in his hour of need but we disagree with him on factual grounds.
STRATEGY for Deobandees (in India and elsewhere) should be work 24 hours a day 365 days a week and develop their own capabilities. Ignore Dr Zakir Naik and build their capabilities. Improve their PR machine and delivery.
You will see dividends in a few months.
Deobandees in the West are similarly being affected by Dr Yasir Qadhi and Numan Ali Khan etc. This is also due to slick delivery and professionalism. Deobandees tried to issue Fatwaas but it backfired (mostly) because Muslims in the West hate this sort of targeting so now we see Deobandees posting their material. The distinction has been eroded and again the resistance has been ground down.
Sooner or later, it will happen in India. It will happen in Indian universities and professional circles and then masses (if it has not already happened).