Ahmed Deedat

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Ahmed Deedat
Ahmed Deedat
Date of BirthJuly 1 1918
Date of DeathAugust 8 2005
NationalitySouth Africa
OccupationIslamic Da'wah

Ahmed Hussein Deedat was an internationally acclaimed Muslim scholar of comparitive religions. He delivered lectures around the world. But he was best known for his debates with scholars of other religions.

Contents

Introduction

Ahmed Dedat (July 1, 1918 - August 8, 2005), born in the Surat District of Gujarat, India, was an Islamic scholar, author and lecturer. His family migrated to South Africa in 1927. He established the first Islamic religious institution in South Africa to train preachers at the Assalaam Institute in Braemar. He was the president of the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), until he suffered from a stroke which left him paralyzed. He published over 20 books and distributed millions of copies of pamphlets for free, many of which have been translated into various languages.

Lectures and Debates

His first lecture was entitled “Muhammad (peace be upon him): Messenger of Peace,” and it was delivered in 1940, to 15 people at a cinema in his province.

Within a short space of time, the numbers grew and people crossed the racial divides which were then prevalent in apartheid South Africa, to listen to him, and to participate in the questions and answers sessions which followed his lectures.

Da`wah (teaching Islam) soon began to dominate his life, with the audiences at his lectures reaching forty thousand. In 1957, Sheikh Deedat, together with two of his friends, founded the Islamic Propagation Center which printed a variety of books and offered classes to new Muslims. In 1986, he visited Saudi Arabia for a conference, and in his first television interview, became notable in the Arab world with his dynamic personality and knowledge of comparative religion.

He then visited the United Kingdom, Morocco, Kenya, Sweden, Australia and Denmark on lecture and debating tours. In the United States, he became famous for a debate with the American Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, witnessed by 8,000 people on the topic Is the Bible the Word of God.

Controversies

Although some Christians and Muslims criticized him for his "blunt" style and alleged inaccuracies, several people did convert to Islam because of his books and lectures. Deedat's passionate, some say inflammatory, style of propagating the Islamic faith stirred confrontation not only with people of other faiths, but with nations as well -- Singapore banned him from entering their country2, France and Nigeria refused him entry out of concern that he would stir up "civil unrest" and Australia threatened to deport him.2 Deedats debates have also led to many anti-Deedat websites being produced.

Death

On May 3 1996, Sheikh Ahmed Deedat suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed from the neck down, and also meant that he could no longer speak or swallow. He was flown to a hospital in Riyadh, where he was taught to communicate through a series of eye-movements. He spent the last nine years of his life in a bed in his home in Verulam, South Africa, encouraging people to engage in da`wah. He continued to receive hundreds of letters of support from around the world. During these years, rumors spread throughout the Internet that he was already dead, and even some websites that contained his pamphlets mentioned as early as 2002 that he was dead.

On August 8 2005, Ahmed Deedat finally succumbed to his prolonged illness and died at his home in Trevennen Road, Verulam in the province of KwaZulu Natal.

Legacy

Many of Deedat's books were about comparisons between Islam and other religions, particularly Christianity. He wrote about topics such as the role of Jesus Christ in Islam and his belief that the coming of Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible, with many of the prophecies which Christians believe deal with Jesus actually deal with Muhammad. He delivered thousands of lectures all over the world, crossing all the continents and successfully engaging some of the biggest names in Christian evangelists in public debates, who believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and whereas Muslims believe that Jesus escaped because of God's grace.

What makes Ahmed Deedat an interesting case is that he took comparative religion to a new level which involved deep analysis of the Bible, rather than the traditional method of Dawah (preaching) that involved expounding the Qur'an and Hadiths to a non-Muslim audience. Therefore his methodology was primarily to illustrate to Muslims and Christians that Qur'anic beliefs are a fulfillment of Jesus Christ's teachings. The strength of his logic and argument tended to win him many debates; this was due mainly due to his reliance on Biblical verses that Christian missionaries have either overlooked or tend to ignore because they are at odds with Church doctrine. Hence in debates that involved disproving the divinity of Christ, the mentioning of Prophet Muhammad in both Old and New Testament, the corruption of the Bible, and most controversially, Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction; Deedat was able to convince even the most skeptical of Christian audiences or at the very least, mute an effective counter-response. [citation needed] Many former Christians (and even former non-practicing Muslims) worldwide attribute their conversion to Islam from having either watched a Deedat debate or having read his literature (although it would be an overstatement to attribute conversion to this alone).

For better or worse, and despite the overtly proselytizing angle he took, Deedat managed to bridge the gaps in the Christian and Islamic world, at the very least giving Muslims an insight into the nature of Christianity and how Islam could now be seen as a logical follow-up. Deedat's literature has been popularized in the past few decades, and has helped Christians to understand the differences and similarities that exist between their own faith and Islam, using the very method that has traditionally been the tool of Christian missionaries.

Videos

Is Bible God's word?

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) mentioned in the Bible by Name

Crucifixion Fact or Fiction

Is Jesus God?

Popes Pious Pronouncement

Muhammad PBUH the Greatest

The Quran or The Bible Which is God's Word ?

References

Further reading

  • David Westerlund. Ahmed Deedat's Theology of Religion: Apologetics Through Polemics. Journal of Religion in Africa Volume 33, Number 3, 2003
  • Ahmad Deedat's personal website: [4]
  • IPCI (Islamic Propogation Center International)[5]
  • Videos on Ahmad Deedat's debates and lectures [6]
  • Life of Ahmad Deedat by Asem Khan[7]
  • Video lectures by Ahmed Deedat at Google Videos [8]

See also

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