Ahmed Deedat was born in the town of Tadkeshwar, Surat, Bombay Presidency, British India in 1918.His father had emigrated to South Africa shortly after the birth of Ahmed Deedat. At the age of 9, Deedat left India to join his father in what is now known as Kwazulu-Natal. His mother died only a few months after his departure. Arriving in South Africa, Deedat applied himself with diligence to his studies, overcoming the language barrier and excelling in school, even getting promoted until he completed standard 6. However, due to financial circumstances, he had to quit school and start working by the time he was the age of 16.
In 1936, while working as a furniture salesman, he came across a group of missionaries at a Christian seminary on the Natal South Coast. The missionaries, in their efforts to convert people of Muslim faith, often accused the Islamic Prophet Muhammad of having "used the sword" to bring people to Islam. Such accusations offended Deedat, and were to form a major influence on his subsequent interest in comparative religion.