mercredi 16 novembre 2011

Saudi Arabia: Mecca from Bilal Ibn Rabah to Sheik Adil Al Kalbani.


Black Imam of Mecca
 
       The son of a black immigrant, Adil Kalbani is the first African to reach the very high office of Imam in The Great Mosque of Mecca, in the heart of which is the Kaaba, "the black stone," revered by Muslims the world over.
         He was appointed by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in April 2009, unprecedented in the history of Islam.
         The imams who officiated at the Grand Mosque in Mecca are celebrities in Saudi Arabia. Sheik Adil has become a major international personality known as the "Saudi Obama."
         "The king is trying to convince the world that wants to rule this land as one nation, no racism and no segregation,"
said Sheik Adil Al Kalbani, a robust bearded who was the imam of a mosque in Riyadh for 20 years.
         "Any qualified individual, regardless of color, regardless of origin, will have a chance to be a leader, for his own good and the good of his country,"
said the Sheikh, making a parallel between his appointment and the election of Barack Obama.
         Yet, slavery was practiced in Saudi Arabia until 1962. Blacks are still victims of racial discrimination. But Sheik Adil is an explanation that Islamic racism: "The prophet told us that social classes will remain because of human nature, they are part of the pre-Islamic practices that persist."


An Imam from Africa.

         Sheik Adil's father came to Saudi Arabia during the years 1960 and obtained a job in a small government office. The family had little money and after his studies, Adil was employed by Saudi Arabian Airlines while attending night classes at King Saud University.
         It was only later that he studied religion laborious memorizing the Koran and study of Islamic jurisprudence. In 1984 he passed the examination of the government to become imam and worked briefly at the mosque in the Riyadh airport.
         Four years later, he won a more prominent place in the King Khalid mosque.
         Married to two wives and father of twelve children, he led the routine life of most imams, leading the prayers five times a day at the mosque and giving a sermon every Friday.
         It was expected that things go well for the rest of his life. Until he received the famous phone call informing him that the king had chosen.
         Two days later, he was greeted by great princes to reception where we were seated at the table of King Abdullah with Ministers.          He admits he had not dared, that day, speaking to the sovereign, but when leaving the room, he thanked the King and kissed him on the nose, pledging traditional deference.
         To recap, the first Muezzin of Islam in Medina was Bilal Ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habashi, an Abyssinian slave freed by the first Caliph Abu Bakr, stepfather of the Prophet Mohammed in 623 AD.

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