Sheikh Ahmad Deedat Dies at 87
CAIRO, August 8, 2005 (IslamOnline.net)
Famed Muslim preacher and debater Sheikh Ahmed Deedat died Monday, August 8, at 87, leaving behind a legacy of propagating Islam and defending it against missionaries.
Founder of the Islamic Propagation Center International (IPCI) in Durban, South Africa, Deedat distributed more than twenty million copies of his books and audio tapes free of charge for the purpose of da`wah.
In South Africa where he lived, hundreds of people have entered Islam Including a large number of missionaries.
He delivered lectures all over the world and successfully engaged Christian Evangelists in public debates.
One of his most famous debates was “Was Christ Crucified?” when he impressively debated Bishop Josh McDowell in Durban in 1981.
Famous books by Deedat included "The Choice - Between Islam and Christianity; "Is the Bible God’s Word?"; "Al Qur’an the Miracle of Miracles" ; "What the Bible says about Muhammad (PBUH)?"; and "Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?"
Deedat, who was born in 1918 in the Indian district of Surat, has been bedridden since 1996 when he suffered a serious stroke.
Sheikh Deedat did not have much formal schooling, but he was self-taught through experience and had a penchant for reading, debating, discussion, and a profound sense of commitment to a mission and goal, according to his Web site.
He was driven and goal oriented. He was focused and never let up until the job was done. He was sharp, perceptive, forthright, fiery, and daring in his challenge of those whom he debated particularly against those who equal his missionary zeal and sense of audacity, the Web site added.
"Formal schooling did not destroy his creative prowess, his tenacity, ambition, drive, and sheer daring to swim upstream."
Sheikh Deedat was considered by many as more a scholar of the Bible than the Qur'an and was more familiar and adroit with its teachings.
He had an insight and perspective of the Bible which made many Christians he came into contact with rethink and re-examine their faith, particularly those aspects of the Bible and the Qur'an that deal with the divine mission and life of Prophet Jesus, the Web site says.
In 1986, the King Faisal Foundation awarded the King Faisal International Prize for Service of Islam to Deedat. He shared the prize with prominent French Muslim intellectual and philosopher Roger Garaudy.
When he suffered a stroke, he lost his speech, his most potent gift that he used so effectively in his debates to propagate Islam.
He delivered his last lecture in Sydney, Australia, in 1996 just before his chronic illness. The lecture was considered to be one of his most passionate talks.