It was a pleasant surprise for more than 5,000 people attending an Islamic lecture at the Ramadan Forum when His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, walked in unannounced.
Calm and composed, he surprised the show’s organisers by going and sitting in the audience rather than walking up to the front row.
Sitting comfortably in the fourth row, Shaikh Mohammed paid keen attention to the talk on ‘Quran and Modern Science’ by Dr Zakir Naik. He also spent some time talking with senior officials from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), who hosted the talk as part of the Al Multaqa Ramadan Forum.
A few minutes later, he walked out of the hall from one of the side entrances, without disturbing the lecture. Speaking exclusively with Khaleej Times after the event, Naik, expressed his happiness over Shaikh Mohammed’s surprise visit.
“It is an honour for me that he came for the lecture. It really shows his generosity and simplicity. I could not see him but later I was told he was among the audience.”
One of the most well-known Islamic preachers in the world today, Naik attracts people from different faiths to his talks with his deep understanding of holy scriptures and ability to cite verses at will. “If we go back to the Quran and Sunnah, the Muslim world would be in a much better shape than it is today,” he added.
Organisers of the 12-day Ramadan forum hosted this year’s talk at a much larger venue by selecting the Zabeel Hall at Dubai World Trade Center. However, the new venue also proved to be insufficient as seats were completely filled within a few minutes of the lecture’s start.
His powerful talk in Dubai led three people to embrace Islam as they took the ‘Shahadah’ (the testimony of faith) in public. “It gives me immense happiness when someone converts to Islam during my talk. It is a very special feeling for me,” Zakir said.
Mikhail Poll, a 28-year-old Russian who converted to Islam at the lecture, said Naik’s talks had been an inspiration.
“I started reading Islamic books in the Russian language and I also watched some of his lectures on YouTube, which inspired me,” said Mikhail.
A lively question-and-answer session followed the talk, with several non-Muslims posing questions on different aspects of Islam. The Ramadan Forum is being held under the patronage of the Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and organised by DTCM.”