Sheikh Salman al-Ouda
Saudi Cleric, Muslim Scholar
Salman al-Ouda is a former disciplinarian cleric who latterly became preacher of peaceful cohabitation. His influence gained peak because of his global reach to the Muslim community and tending to their need.
He was born near the city of Burayda in Al-Qassim which is located in central Saudi Arabia in 1955 or 1956. He spent initial days of his life in Al-Basr before moving to Burayda.
Al-Ouda studied for six years under scholars like Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abdullah Abdal Rahman Jibreen, and Saleh Al-bleahy at an educational institute in Burayda. He also studied Arabic grammar, Hanbali jurisprudence and hadith under the supervision of local mullahs. He graduted in B.A, M.A and PhD in Islamic jurisprudence from Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.
Sheikh Salman al-Ouda is a prominent Salafi scholar who has had a significant impact on the movement as a result of his use of numerous modalities of education (the Internet, audiovisual media, and print) to educate Salafi Muslims in the Islamic sciences. The website of Sheikh al-Ouda brings together a varied group of Islamic scholars and educators to offer Islamic thought guidance.
He was arrested for raising his voice for reforms in the country between 1994-1999. He is also associated with the Sahwa movement whose motto is to induce political reforms where the clergy should be given key roles in politics and the withdrawal of western forces from the region. He was the owner of a powerful and influential website that provided Islamic instruction in Arabic, English, Chinese, and French, but it was shut down. He was an active social media user until his arrest and has 22 million followers currently.
Due to charges that al-Ouda was a terrorist propagandist, he had to shift his stance and talk about love and mercy for the opposition as an Islamic teaching in Muslims’ daily lives. In early 2009, he led a delegation of the International Union for Muslim Scholars in talks with Arab heads of state about the need for them to unite in opposition to Israel’s siege of Gaza. He has harshly criticized Daish. He also appealed for unity and peace between GCC countries and Qatar.
In 2017, al-Ouda was arrested for a tweet in which he urged Saudi Arabia and Qatar to end their diplomatic cleft. He had previously expressed worries about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, but his underlying offence may have been failing to publicly endorse and support the country’s recent changes. Al-Ouda has been imprisoned in deplorable conditions, including solitary confinement and isolation.
There have been major concerns that al-Ouda could be executed at any time because the public prosecutor has called for the maximum sentence to be applied. A wide spectrum of organizations has expressed their displeasure with what they regard as unjust imprisonment, trial, and likely sentencing. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, the European Muslim Forum, and Amnesty International have all demanded that al-Ouda and his two countrymen, Sheikh Ali al-Omari and Sheikh Awad al-Qarni, be given a fair trial or be released.