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Our friend, the elite Dr Mahmoud, a man of high vocational and cultural background, says Khalid Al Sultan asked him one day thirty years ago to accompany him to hear a lecture given by the preacher Abdel Rahman Abdel Khalek, At the end of the lecture or rather the sermon, Dr Mahmoud put up his hand to ask a question to the preacher on the topic of his lecture, but he was surprised by his relative Khaled who politely pulled his hand down and gently said, ‘You are here in the presence of Sheikh Abdel-Khalek to listen and learn and not to ask!
Abdel Rahman Abdel Khalek Youssef was born in Menoufia in one of the villages in Upper Egypt, 80 years ago, and for some reason he left Egypt and went to Madinah in Saudi Arabia, where he completed his education and became an authority in religious matters, He worked as a teacher of religion before he came to Kuwait in 1965 and became, within a relatively short period a Salafileader in Kuwait and with some of his followers, the Society for the Revival of Islamic Heritage – the mouthpiece of the Salafist of Kuwait – was established, which then was the second biggest religious party after the Muslim Brotherhood.
Within a short period Abdel Rahman Abdel Khalek became the inspiration for the group and its chief jurist. After he rose to fame and his influence spread, his group succeeded in convincing the Kuwaiti authorities to grant him the Kuwaiti citizenship, under the category of ‘great service’ rendered by his eminence to Kuwait, the Kuwaitis and their future.
In an interview recorded with Mr Abdel- Khaleq , available on YouTube, and it is not known exactly when it was recorded, and in response to a question he was asked about his relationship with Kuwait and its people, he said when he came to Kuwait in 1965, from Saudi Arabia where he was teaching, it was a well-known fact at that time that Kuwait was a country far from Islam, as if the connection between Kuwait and the Islamic religion was broken.
He added he was surprised when he prayed inside several mosques because he did not find young men praying, but the worshippers were all elderly people and he does not remember that he had ever found a single bearded person in Kuwait, except for only one or two he saw in that year, and it became clear to him after the question that one of them was Turkish, that is to say, there were no bearded people either in the mosque or in the street.
For the information of this man, in 1965 there were no less than 300 mosques in Kuwait and perhaps more. Their clergymen were citizens and expatriates and most of them were bearded. Among my companions, who were the same age at the time, were bearded and they were praying in a mosque near the Al-Khalil bin Ahmad School in Keifan area, where we lived.
I do not want to comment more on this topic, and I hope to hear a comment from Mr Abdel-Khalek personally on what was previously mentioned in this interview, or at least to hear an opinion from one of his fans, as nobody is allowed to ask him. I take the opportunity on this happy international occasion to extend my sincere congratulations to all readers and wish them Happy New Year, hoping it will bring goodness and blessing for everyone. ❑
By Ahmad alsarraf