Salman bin Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ouda (Arabic: سلمان بن فهد بن عبد الله العودة) or Salman al-Ouda (Arabic: سلمان العودة), Salman al-Oadah, Salman Al-Audah, or Salman Al-Awdah (Arabic: سلمان بن فهد العودة ) -alias Abu Mu'ad (أبو معاذ)- (born 1955 or 1956) is a Saudi cleric or Sheikh and Muslim scholar. Al-Ouda is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees. He is a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.
Al-Ouda was born in 1955 or 1956 in al-Basr, near the city of Burayda in Al-Qassim in central Saudi Arabia. He spent his early years in al-Basr then moved to Burayda. At the Burayda Institute, he studied Arabic grammar, Hanbali jurisprudence and hadith under the guidance of local sheikhs. He completed a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Islamic jurisprudence at Imam Muhammad bin Sa’ud University.
Incarcerated for five years for inciting opposition to the Saudi government, al-Ouda emerged again "rehabilitated" in 1999 to become one of the kingdom's most prominent religious spokespersons. With a television program and a website in four languages, he is now viewed as a supporter of the Saudi regime, operating under its protection and in competition with the government-sponsored establishment Ulama (clergy).
Al-Ouda is married to Haya AlSayari and has children with her. His eldest son is named Maaz, or Mu`âdh.
A traffic accident killed Hisham, the son of Salman al Ouda and his wife Haya. Condolences to al-Ouda over this accident were given on Twitter by Mohamad al-Arefe, Aid al-Qarni, Ibrahim al-Dawish, Hassan al-Husseini, Ziyad al-Shahri, Nayef al-Sahfe, Moussa al-Omar, and Muhammad al-Yaqoubi. His wife's name was Haya Al Sayari.
Al-Ouda joined the educational institute in Burayda, where he spent six years. He studied under scholars such as Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abdullah Abdal Rahman Jibreen, and Sheikh Saleh Al-bleahy.
He graduated from the Faculty of Sharia and Religious Principles in Qassim, then became a teacher at the Scientific Institutes in Qassim. He wrote a noted book called (Arabic: أفعل ولا حرج) (English: Do No Wrong)
In 1990 Salman al-Ouda was a teacher at Burayda mosque.
The 1990–1991 Gulf Crisis and War, in which an American-led coalition of forces aligned against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in response to its seizure of Kuwait, proved an opportunity for al-Ouda and others to tap into an already-existing current of discontent within the Kingdom. When the then-Grand Mufti Abd al-Aziz bin Baz issued a fatwa lending Islamic justification for the regime to invite American forces to defend Saudi Arabia from Hussein, al-Ouda raised questions about the ability of the Saudi military to defend the Kingdom with so much investment in U.S. armaments. During the war, al-Ouda was a moving force behind two reform petitions addressed to the King. The first, in 1991, was known as the Letter of Demands and was signed by leading Saudi religious, mercantile, and socially prominent figures seeking changes in the form of government, notably the establishment of a Shura (consultative) Council. A year later, the second petition, known as the Memorandum of Advice, which was signed by more than one hundred religious scholars, including establishment Ulama, called for a Shura Council as well as media censorship under religious guidance and review of all the kingdom's laws to insure their conformity with Shari'a. Both petitions expressed loyalty to the house of Sa'ud while opposing the lack of representation in the existing government. Meanwhile, audiotapes of al-Ouda's sermons gained wide circulation and encouraged to other opposition voices after the first Gulf War, as the United States military settled in for a long stay at an airbase outside the capital.
In September 1994 Salman al-Ouda was Imprisoned for anti-government activities. He and Safar al-Hawali were arrested together with a large number of their followers in the city of Burayda, Qasim region. Moreover, Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Ibn Baz issued a fatwa, that unless al-Ouda and al-Hawali repented their former conduct, they would be banned from lecturing, meetings and cassette-recording. He was one of the leaders of The Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR) that was a Saudi dissident group created in 1993 and was the first ever opposition organization in the Kingdom openly challenging the monarchy, accusing the government and senior ulama of not doing enough to protect the legitimate Islamic rights of the Muslims.
In 2001 Salman al-Ouda began to serve as director of the Islam Today website
Among the roughly fifty books that he has published are:
- The First Strangers,
- Characteristics of the Strangers,
- Withdrawing from Society and Participating in It',
- A Discussion with Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazâlî,
- Who has the Right to Engage in Independent Juristic Reasoning?, and
- Guidelines for Studying Islamic Law.
These publications are all currently available on the Arabic-language pages of the Islam Today website.
He used to give weekly lessons for the general public in the main mosque of Buraydah as well as other lessons where he taught the commentary of the book Bulûgh al-Marâm. He also gave daily lessons after the Morning Prayer, where he gave a commentary on the authoritative collections of Hadith - Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim, and some commentary on the Qur'an. In addition, he taught such books as Kitâb al-Tawhîd, al-Usûl al-Thalâthah, and Nukhbah al-Fikr. These lessons were lost, along with other works of the Sheikh, during the crisis that had to endure along with a number of other Islamic activists.
Dr. al-Ouda was imprisoned for five years, from 1994 until the end of 1999 due to the anti-regime content of some of his books and some of the lessons that he had given. He was quoted by Osama bin Laden in his 1994 Open Letter to Shaykh Bin Baz on the Invalidity of his Fatwa on Peace with the Jews. He was released along with his colleagues and resumed his activities from his home, giving lessons after the Sunset Prayer from Wednesday to Friday weekly on topics such as Qur'anic commentary, ethics, education, and personal reform.
Al-Ouda has stated that he is currently supporting peace and coexistence with other religions. He announced that this was a result of deeper understanding of Islamic teachings.
Dr. al-Ouda is in charge of the popular website Islam Today, which offers a wide variety of subject matter and material. He gives classes and lectures over the Internet and by phone to a wide range of listeners.
He works daily in answering the questions that people send to him in addition to compiling and preparing a number of his writings for publication. He used to have a show on MBC TV.
His fame had become sufficiently widespread by 2006 to draw a crowd of around 20,000 young British Muslims in London's East End whom he addressed in a speech. "Dr. al-Ouda is well known by all the youth. It's almost a celebrity culture out there," according to one British Imam. Sheikh Salman has over 4,000 Facebook friends and over One million fans through the site.
Millions subscribe to his social media accounts. al-Ouda operates Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts
al-Ouda received a message from Fethullah Gulen.
Mohamad al-Arefe and Salman al-Ouda were named as Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers. Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers Mohsen al'Awaji and Mohamad al-Arefe were both praised by Salman Al-Ouda.
The message to Osama bin laden
Dr. al-Ouda is known for not only criticizing the September 11 attacks, but delivering a personal rebuke to Osama bin Laden. In 2007, around the sixth anniversary of September 11, he addressed Al Qaeda's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle Eastern television network, asking him:
My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed ... in the name of Al Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions of victims on your back?
The full letter can be viewed on the Islam Today website.
In April 2016, al-Ouda condemned the persecution of gay people. Stating that "even though homosexuality is considered a sin in all the Semitic holy books, it does not require any punishment in this world" and that "homosexuals are not deviating from Islam".