Ahmad Hoosen Deedat
South Africa's Islamic propagator and debater.
Deedat was born in Surat, India, 'with no formal education and fighting off the extreme pangs of poverty' he migrated to South Africa to join his father in 1926. Diligence and passion for studies helped him excel. In 1936 he was 'infused with a stubborn flame of desire' to learn about Islam. Deedat acquired the idea of holding debates from the book, Izharul-Haq, Truth revealed. He attained erudition in Qur'an and Bible.
Deedat's zeal directed him to Da'wah and his desire to 'defend Islam from deceitful distortions of the Christians missionaries.' Deedat established As-Salaam, an institute to train propagators of Islam. A founder member and president of the Islamic Propagation Centre International.
'He has delivered thousands of lectures all over the world and successfully engaged Christian Evangelists in public debates', resulting into people coming into the fold of Islam. Deedat career in comparative religion involved him in dialogue with the heads of the Protestant church in America and the late John Paul II.
Deedat published over 20 books and distributed millions of copies free of charge. His audiotapes, video and DVD translated into various languages are widely available.
Deedat was chosen for the King Faisal International Award in 1986, a prestigious recognition of enormous value in the world of Islam.
Deedat, who died in the South African city of Durban, suffered a stroke in 1996 and had been bedridden ever since.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan