Riyadh, 13 Jumadil Awwal 1436/4 March 2015 (MINA) – Renowned Muslim scholar Dr Zakir Naik has received one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious prizes for ‘service to Islam’, from King Salman during a ceremony at a luxury Riyadh hotel.
“Islam is the only religion that can bring peace to the whole of humanity,” Dr Naik said in a video biography aired at the ceremony, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
King Salman presented the King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) 2015 in five categories yesterday at a glittering awards ceremony in Riyadh on Sunday, March 1. The KFIP recognizes 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. The special ceremony, headed by the new Saudi King Salman, was attended by ministers, members of the Royal Family, senior government officials, academics and elite scholars.
The prestigious award has been granted to a big number of Muslim scholars and organizations around the world. From South Africa, Sheikh Ahmed Deedat was granted the King Faisal Award from Saudi Arabia in 1986 for his outstanding services to Islam.
Al-Azhar was also honored as an international prominent institution by the Award of King Faisal for serving Islam in 2013. Dr Umer Chapra,a Senior Economic Adviser to the Saudi Monetary Agency, received the prestigious King Faisal Award for his contribution to Islamic Economics, 1990.
From Nigeria, Sheikh Ahmad Lemu, Chairman of the Council of Trustees at the Islamic Relief Commission Office, also received the prestigious award in 2014.
Born in October 1965, Dr. Zakir Naik, an Indian public speaker on the subject of Islam and comparative religion, is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
He founded the Peace TV channel, billed as the world’s only channel specializing in comparative religion. Dr. Naik, who is sometimes referred to as a televangelist, has written booklets on Islam and comparative religion, like The Concept of God in Major Religions and The Qur’an and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible?
In 1991, Dr. Naik started working in the field of Dawah; he once said that he was inspired by Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic preacher, having met him in 1987.
As mentioned on a Wikipedia page about him, Dr. Naik considers it a duty of every Muslim to remove perceived misconceptions about Islam and to counter what he views as the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of the 9/11.
Naik told Sunday’s ceremony that he would donate all of his $200,000 prize money to Peace TV. (T/P011/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)