DEBATE REVIEW : DR. ZAKIR NAIK VS P. RUKNUDDIN HENRY

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Today, I finally watched the debate between Dr. Zakir Naik vs Pastor Ruknuddin Hendry, which I postponed to watch since I went to the outside of the city to do something. Let me introduce the both parties in which Dr. Zakir Naik represented the Muslim while Pastor Ruknuddin Hendry represented the Christian. Dr. Zakir Naik is well-known as the scholar of Comparative Religion Study who amazingly understands and memorizes the contents and the context of the holy books of all religions, from Al-Quran, The Bible, Taurah, Weda, and many more. While Pastor Ruknudiin Hendry is an Arab Christian Missionary. You can look up more detail about the both on the internet, if it’s necessary. Dr. Zakir Naik has a TV channel which was called as “Peace TV”, you can easily found it on Dr. Zakir Naik’s youtube channel for a better reference. I want to warn you first that please excuse both of my English writing and the context understanding of this debate since I downloaded the full video on Dr. Zakir’s Youtube channel without the hard English subtitle and understanding it by hearing (It might contain some errors). I actually could use the soft subtitle which had been provided by Youtube on the right bottom of the screen. Just hit the CC button then automatically, the subtitle would appear. However, I could not find the video that provided the hard subtitle in Bahasa, I only found the dubbing of Bahasa and to be very honest, I prefer not to download it as you know many terms that can not be easily translated into Bahasa. Also please bear with my messy grammar, I promised to myself that I have to develop my English skill through writing. You can download the video from the official channel of Dr. Zakir Naik on Youtube. 

The topic was sort of sensitive though, especially for the Christians which was “Was Christ (PBUH) really crucified?” The purpose of this debate was letting for both parties to explain the real story of Jesus PBUH and the Cross and build up the spirit of friendship to understand each point of view. The finale result was not showing who was the winner nor the loser, but let the audience choose which study was more logical and fitted to their brain and heart.  For me, it is such an interesting idea because I can learn more widely, not only about my religion but the other religions as well. There were three sections, the first was both parties did presentations. The second was rebuttal and the last section was an openl Question and Ask from the audience. I only review from the first section since it truly took many times. Just imagine the full debate was three more hours-long. The first section began, and Pastor Rukhnuddin started it off.  Wait, I would review from the technical presentation and the content. I am trying to not sound so biased and pretended that I did not know Dr. Zakir. I am really trying to be as neutral as I could.  

From the gesture itself, Pastor Ruknuddin was more likely to be more friendly and smiley. He dressed up casually, not like many pastors in general who were usually more formal in dressing. From the technical presentation, Pastor Rukhnuddin seemed a bit nervous, made small jokes, not very serious-type (he said by himself), the gestures could not stay still like he walked on tiptoe (Probably he was nervous), he focused on the finding of the ayah/verse in the Bible, yes he did not memorize the Bible, and seemingly not really preparing for this debate (He asked his student besides him if I am not mistaken). However, he was kind-type and open minded person. The points of his presentation in term of the crucifixion were:

a.      a. The central of the cross for many Christians. The Christian believed that the cross is a place of curse. God sent Jesus, a sinless man (Was it mean that Jesus not God as most likely of Christian believed?) to the earth. He was willing to sacrifice himself on the behalf of the people who committed sins by letting him to be crucified. And God accepted it as he was a sinless man and like only certain person could do this such as Jesus PBUH.  His death was the key for those who believe in him, then their sins would be removed. If you remove the cross from the Christians’ live was equal to removing the Christians faith.

b.     b. The book of Genesis (He did not mention the chapter nor the verse). It told about the creating of Adam and Eve. As we knew Prophet Adam PBUH disobeyed God that He threw him and Eve away for the heaven. It was also the beginning of the existence of the sins on the Earth. The Garden of Eden on Earth was beautiful but Prophet Adam nor Eve could not enter into it because the Angelic being kept it with the sword, he was swirling the sword to the left and right to protect people from entering into it. If people wanted to enter, it had to do with the sword that was in short, there should be a sacrifice. It had correlation with Jesus PBUH story which he was crucified to sacrifice himself on the behalf of the Christians’ sins. And Jesus PBUH once said, “I am the door”.

c.      c. The story of Prophet Abraham PBUH. He had two sons from two wives, Hagra and Sarah, they were Issac PBUH and Ismail PBUH. Prophet Abraham PBUH was well-known for being tested to slaughtering Ismail. However, it was replaced by the lamb to be sacrificed instead. The summary of this story was God was demanding a sacrifice for Himself. From this, he said that God delivered us His own Son which was Jesus Christ who had to be sacrificed. Why Jesus Christ? Because he was more perfect than Angels and willing to be servant of the sins. The Christians who look at Jesus hung on the cross and receive his faith, tonight their sins would be washed away. And all the good deeds without believing that Jesus was crucified is useless.

d.   d. Jesus PBUH was perfect lamb for God (not physically but symbolically) as we might know when we were about to slaughter the lamb, it should be perfect lamb, not blind, not limping. Just like Jesus Christ since he was  perfect that he had to sacrifice himself. 

From his talks, literally, he proved that Jesus was crucified by the concept of sacrificing. His first until the last story, it was all talked about sacrificing such as Prophet Ismail PBUH. To be honest, I think it is still absurd because he did not give the other reasons that would be matched to the topic. I mean sacrificing is still very general topic. I am disappointed too since I wished I could hear more evidence about this but honesty I already knew the whole story. I expected more evidence in the bible about the cross physically not just guessing and correlation. He also did not mention the verse nor the chapter clearly and just said the bible said bla bla bla (He did once if I am not mistaken). One thing I feel a bit confused until now, he said that God sacrificed Himself as Jesus PBUH. But Jesus PBUH was hung on the cross for God. So, God was sacrificed Himself for Himself? And why he said earlier that Jesus Christ was perfect since he was the son of God? I did not get the concept, maybe the  trinity concept (?) To be clear, Pastor Rukhnuddin believed that Jesus PBUH was crucified.

 Now is Dr. Zakir’s turn. He dressed up like usual if you already knew him, a suit with an Islamic cap (Sorry I do not know “Kopiah” in English). He was serious, gave a very clear explanation, he directly quoted from both Al-Quran and the Bible, to the point, memorized the contents and the context so no need to bring and read both Al-Quran and the Bible, and very calm and relax. If you look up from both sides, Dr. Zakir was more prepare and mastering the technical presentation (Since it was his field). The points of his presentations were:

a.      Surah An-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 157, it was said that Jesus PBUH (the son of Marry) was not killed nor crucified. It was very explicit, clear, and unambiguous statement. 
b.     The definition of the word “Crucify”. According to the Oxford dictionary, crucify is to put to death by fastening onto the cross. In short, someone who was crucified must die, if not she/he was not crucified (logical). The definition of Resurrection (the same source) is the rising from the death. Idem with the logical.
c.       Not a single verse in any of the Gospels mention that Jesus PBUH was Resurrected. The Gospel of Luke chapter 24 verse 37 says that the Disciples were terrified and affrighted and SUPPOSED him to be a spirit. The point was why the disciples thought Jesus PBUH to be a spirit while exactly he did not look like a spirit? It was because they heard that Jesus was put on the cross and dead. In the Gospel of Mark Chapter 14 verse 50 that the disciples deserted him and fled (ran away). Then Jesus clarified in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24 verse 39-40 that in short he explained (sorry I just wrote based on my hearing so I could not catch up all contents) he was himself because a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones as you see I (Jesus PBUH) have. Then in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24 verse 41-42 says that the disciples did not believe it because of the joy and he asked “Do you have anything here to eat?” Then they gave him a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb. It means that he was not a spirit nor resurrected but still alive because he ate.
d.      Next was the story of Marry Magdalena in the Gospel of John chapter 20 verse 1 as well as the Gospel of Mark chapter 16 verse 2 that in the third day of Jesus PBUH was supposedly to dead, Marry went to the Tomb to massage Jesus PBUH. Why did she go to the Tomb and massage a spirit? So, it is also means that he was alive since how did somebody massage a spirit? Did not make any sense at all. Ok next was in the Gospel (phew) of John chapter 20 verse 1 and the Gospel of Mark chapter 16 verse 4 that the stone had been removed and the winding sheets unwound? So does the spirit require the stone of the entry of the tomb to be removed? It was also means that Jesus was physical body and he was still alive. Then in the Gospel of John chapter 20 verse 15 in short that Mary guesses Jesus as gardener. Why did she guess him as a gardener? Because he was in disguise. And why was a spirit disguised like a gardener? Next I just shared the reference and the contents you can search by yourself since Dr. Zakir used many references that I could not catch up. Gospel of John chapter 20 verse 16-17, the Gospel of Mark chapter 16 verse 11, the Gospel of Matthew chapter 12 verse 38, the Gospel of Matthew chapter 39 verse 39-40 (I think it was very clearly said he was still alive since the signs about him being alive or not is on par with the sign of Jonah, the Christians and Muslims must know this story. In case you do not know, Prophet Jonah PBUH for 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of whale did not die. Hence Jesus PBUH who put on the cross was not dead either based on this story). To summary from Dr. Zakir’s talk is that Jesus was hung on the cross but not die. He could not use the word “crucify” since Jesus was no dead. The English dictionary does not have a word of put on the cross but not dead, hence he used “Crucificted” or “crucifiction”. In short, Dr. Zakir denied that Jesus was crucified, he is still alive until now. He was risen up by God and will come someday as the sign of Kiamah. 


From Dr. Zakir’s talk, I feel it more clearly, authentic since he used both Al-Quran and the Bible. In short, it was very amazing explanation, note that I promise to not sound biased but it is the reality. You can try to watch by yourself and you can notice who is more trustworthy. In the end, it is back to the audience whether they want to follow Pastor Ruknuddin or Dr. Zakir. You have a brain that is enough to choose which is more logical and fit to your heart. I do respect the both since they had a courage to do debate that was witnessed by millions of people over the world and not all people willingness to do it. I also respect the concept of the debate that is not putting down nor downgrading one another but respect each point of view. You can either choose Dr. Zakir's or Pastor Ruknuddin's talk. My review is 100% based on the debate, not one sided judgment. Try to watch it, believe me, it was really interesting debate. Actually there were two sections left, the rebuttal and QA. If you are curious, you can search in easily on Dr. Zakir Naik's youtube channel. 

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