In a video posted to his YouTube channel on July 15, 2020, exiled Indian Islamic scholar Zakir Naik spoke about Turkey’s reinstatement of Hagia Sophia as a mosque. He said that if Muslims conquer land as the Ottomans did, they are permitted to use it as they wish, including converting holy places into mosques. He elaborated that the only case in which this is impermissible is when the Muslims have a treaty with the non-Muslims or when the non-Muslims surrender to the Muslims, become dhimmis, and pay the jizya poll tax. Naik said that Islamic scholars who criticize Turkish President Erdoğan’s decision issue Islamic verdicts that do not follow the Quran and the Sunnah in order to garner support from the non-Muslim countries. Zakir Naik has been accused of money laundering and inciting terrorism in India. He is currently in exile in Malaysia.
Zakir Naik: "What I read in the media was that there were many Muslim countries, and many so-called Muslim preachers and scholars from the Western countries, who said that what Turkey did and what Erdoğan did is wrong.
"Can a holy place – a church or a temple – be converted into a mosque? After it is conquered – the answer is yes. Only if there is a treaty between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, or if the non-Muslims surrender, or they are dhimmis – non–Muslims living under the law of Islamic rule... That is the only condition where the Muslims give them security and they pay the jizya (poll tax). As far as when the Ottoman rulers conquered Constantinople, it was a conquest, it was a war.
"Many times, Muslims living in Western countries or even some of the Muslims living in Arab lands – trying to be soft to the non–Muslims and trying that... They are the ones who will support them, they are the ones who are going to fund them, et cetera, they are the ones who are going to protect them... Many times they give verdicts that are against the Quran and the Sunnah. Be careful if you are going to go against our Muslim brother, [Erdoğan]."