Riyadh(PTI): Dr Zakir A Naik, a non-Arabic Indian Islamic scholar and a renowned authority on…
New Delhi(PTI): Dr Zakir Naik, a renowned Indian Islamic scholar and an authority on comparative religion, has received one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious prizes from the country’s new King Salman for his service to Islam. King Salman presented the King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) 2015 in five categories yesterday at a glittering awards ceremony here.
The KFIP recognises the outstanding works of individuals and institutions in five categories — Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language and Literature, Medicine and Science. Each prize consists of a handwritten Arabic certificate on the laureate’s achievements, a commemorative 24-carat 200-gramme gold medal and a cheque of US$ 200,000.
Ministers, members of the Royal Family, senior government officials, academics and elite scholars were present as King Salman honoured Naik for Service to Islam. “Islam is the only religion that can bring peace to the whole of humanity,” Naik said in a video biography aired at the ceremony.
Mumbai-born Naik, 49, is the president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India and one of the world’s most renowned non-Arabic speaking Islamic scholars. He was awarded the KFIP for his services to Islam for a lifetime’s teaching about Islam, his work on comparative religion and for founding the Peace Channel, a comparative religion TV channel. Naik has been frequently at odds with the West for his views on terrorism.
In 2010, Britain had banned Naik from entering the country, citing his “unacceptable behaviour”. Naik had reportedly said Muslims should beware of people saying Osama bin Laden was right or wrong, adding: “If you ask my view, if given the truth, if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him.”
The other prize winners included Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Kaki in the Islamic Studies category for his research on the cultural heritage of the Muslim holy city of Medina and Jeffrey Ivan Gordon of the United States in the field of medicine for his research which has enhanced understanding of diseases such as obesity — a growing problem in Saudi Arabia.
In the science category — Michael Gratzel of Switzerland — was awarded for his development of solar cells while Omar Mwannes Yaghi of the US was the co-winner for his work in the new field of metal organic frameworks. No prize was awarded in the Arabic Language and Literature category this year.