Some 1400 years ago a call was made by the Creator in his last testament (Quran) through a perfect personality named Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The call was made to address the biggest group of any faith meaning the people of the book (Jews and Christians).
Actually the people of the book were making a strong claim that they were the sons of God and the heaven is only made for them. The other group of people meaning the gentiles (non-Jews) in no way can get the heaven. There is no heaven for them. Allah describes their claim in Quran in chapter 2, verse 110: “They say you Muslims will never enter heaven unless you become a Jew or a Christian.”
This was a problem for we Muslims and it needed a solution. Allah provided the solution to this problem in the last segment of the same verse; that is “This is their wishful saying tell them give/produce your proof if you are truthful.”
We Muslims were addressed by Allah to ask them for the authority or certificate behind their claim. Allah knew that the people of book were passing the statements of their own. They had no divine authority behind their claim. All their claims were their own statements or thoughts.
The question was who was going to ask them for their Burhan (the proof) of their claim. So a man named Shiekh Ahmed Deedat who was born in India in the year 1918 was forced to leave his education at the 6th standard because of poverty and went to South Africa at the age of nine with his family.
To earn the bread he did the job of furniture salesman. During this period, he was continuously harassed by the Christian authorities and they used to attack Islam by making the same claims.
He decided to reply to all the allegations made against Islam and ask for the proof behind their claims. He strived for more than 15 years and became the master of the Holy Bible. He challenged the Christian authorities and denominations used their holy bible against them and proved to them that their claims were false.
He became a popular scholar of the bible. He was sometimes called as “Hafiz” of the bible. He argued with many Christian scholars and evangelists like Dr. Shorrosh, Josh Mcdowell, and Jimmy Swaggart etc.
Deedat’s first lecture was on “Muhammad (PBUH) – The messenger of peace”. The lecture was delivered in 1942 to an audience of fifteen people at a Durban cinema in South Africa.
Deedat’s popularity as a public speaker grew in Durban to such a point that he was invited to speak in other cities of South Africa. After few decades, he started delivering lectures in other cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town.
By the early 1980s Ahmed Deedat’s work was acknowledged outside his native country of South Africa. In 1985, for instance, he twice rented the prestigious “Royal Albert Hall” in London to debate with Christian contemporaries.
He became famous after receiving the King Faisal Award in the year 1986 for his service to Islam in the field of Dawah (inviting people towards Islam). At the age of 66, he began a decade of international sparking tours around the world. His tours included:
Saudi Arabia and Egypt; United Kingdom and Switzerland in 1987; Pakistan; The US (late 1986 featuring debates with Jimmy Swaggart and Robert Douglas; Canada in 1994; and Australia in 1996 was his last tour.
He wrote over a dozens of books that include:
The Choice: Islam and Christianity; Christ in Islam; What the Bible says about Muhammad (PBUH); Muhammad (PBUH) the natural successor to Christ; Resurrection or Resuscitation; Was Jesus crucified?; Is the bible Gods word? And many others!
In 1986 he debated with Jimmy Swaggart who at that time was a famous evangelist. With Allah’s help Ahmed Deedat turned the table over and won the debate. Allah says in the holy Quran: “If Allah helps you then who can overpower you.” Same happened with the Ahmed Deedat. He decided to do the job immediately Allah helped him.
In the year 1996, Deedat suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed. On 8th of August 2005, he died at his home in Verulam, South Africa. Indeed Sheikh Ahmed Deedat was one of the great Islamic scholars of modern times.