Meeting a Prince!

Flag of Saudi Arabia As salam ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

I know it’s been a while since I posted, it seems like Saudi Arabia is also a microcosm for every type of virus you can think of. About every two weeks I’m sick with a new cold that lasts almost two weeks, al-Hamdulilaah. At least, I have been told by the other brothers here for a while that it usually subsides after six months or so, insha’Allaah. May Allaah make it easy, Aameen.

Since coming to Saudi Arabia I have heard good things about one of the Prince’s named Ameer Mamdooh and that he lives in Jeddah with us. He has weekly sittings where people come and ask him for assistance and he makes it a point to make sure that they get explained to them, while they are waiting for his assistance, what true Islaam and Sunnah is, and what is ad-Dawatus-Salafiyyah.

Now in my mind, I always envisoned a “Prince” to be some young man with dark hair and eyes, who would be sipping tea, wearing a typical red Saudi head-dress, and having a really expensive rolex, and wave his hands around a lot – dismissing this one and summoning that one. As it turned out, only my last assumption was true.

We drove up near his house as the Adhaan was being called and I parked the car, we got up and the brother who was traveling with me was quick to point out that there are signs everywhere in English and Arabic prohibiting people from smoking cigarettes anywhere on his street from the front of his house up to the Masjid around the corner. I liked him already before meeting him, because the people who smoke in Saudi Arabia smoke anywhere and everywhere and no place is too taboo! Restaurants, shops, stores, anywhere, and to see someone prohibiting the act outside already caused me to like him. We prayed and tried to go through the gate to his house where we were stopped and told we needed to see the front desk if we wanted to be let in so they could give us an admission slip if we wanted to request something. I didn’t want to ask for anything but my companion did, so he went to the desk while I went inside and sat down.

Inside was a very normal, not luxurious sitting room, with chairs and couches and inside to the left were all kinds of people who the prince made sure broke their fasts with his dates and water, and then had a heaping plate of his food! For all of you people who are always hating on Saudi Arabia, I need to point out that this is NOT uncommon! It was Thursday after all and the Prince does this every Thursday, and this is not the first time we have seen this, for during Ramadhaan, if you stop at an intersection around sunset there are people standing on the corners handing out dates and water to anyone and everyone, all paid for compliments of well-wishers seeking Allaah’s reward and the Government of Saudi Arabia, you really felt Ramadhaan here, but that is another story, back to the Prince’s house.

The Prince entered and greeted everyone with the Salaams and the room was packed. Prince Mamdooh looks to be in his late 50’s or 60’s with white hair and a pretty decent sized white beard, this was no young man. His clothes were not exceptionally expensive, he walked liked a regular person, sat down, looked at his bulking stack of requests and mentioned he had a surprise guest, and an old blind man was being escorted to a seat near the Prince, I have saw him before why it looked like…

“That’s Shaykh Saalih as-Suhyamee.” My friend turned to me and said excitedly. “I know!” I said in shock from recognizing him (may Allaah preserve him), just not believing he was actually here with us. I hadn’t seen him since the lecture series he attended in Philadelphia some years ago. He was smiling and is a man with dark glasses and a mostly gray beard which is peppered a few places with black.

The Prince introduced the Shaykh and the traded pleasantries, then Shaykh Suhaymee delivered a nice lecture about the Shee’ah and their dangers. Prince Mamdooh, may Allaah preserve him, occasionally chimed in here or there to emphasize a point and became a little angry at times talking about the Shee’ah, it was clear he really couldn’t stand the Shee’ah and as there were words about the numerous atrocities the Shee’ah committed against the people of the Sunnah, everyone became a little emotional. Occasionally, Shaykh Suhaymee would say some words and smile and it would calm the Prince a bit, but sometimes it wouldn’t. Now, I really liked the Prince! Then, the Prince encouraged the people to ask questions to the Shaykh, and people took turns raisng their hands and asking questions. Saddam Hussein was recently hung shortly before this sitting so the questions eventually turned to Saddam.

Shaykh Suhaymee (may Allaah preserve him) mentioned some details about the Baath party being communists and some words about their beliefs being Kufr (no, he didn’t call Saddam a kaafir). One of the people asked which was worse, the Sheeah or the Baath party, to which Shaykh Suhaymee responded, and I clearly understood this part, “What is the difference between a big Kaafir and a small Mushirk?”

One of the brothers in the sitting couldn’t resist and had to point out that Saddam said his Shahaddah before he was hung, and that he fought against the Western invaders and was killed for it. What followed was a truly amazing display of wit from the Prince as he said to the man, “He (Saddam) is a Shaheed (martyr) huh? Listen to me, raise your hands! Raise them.” The man raised his hands and the prince said, “Oh Allaah, gather him with Saddam on the Day of Judgement – say Aameen! Say Aameen!” The man said nothing. “What’s wrong? He’s a martyr, no?! Where are you from Syria right?” The man said no, he was from Kosovo to which the Prince responded, “Nafsee shay, Juhaal. (No difference, upon ignorance.)” The Prince conitinued, “The problem with people like you is that when a man beats you you think he’s great and when a man is kind to you, you think it is from weakness or a deficiency.” The man actually responded, “But you shouldn’t call him a disbeliever!” Now the Prince looked amazed and asked everyone around him, “Did anyone hear me call him (Saddam) a disbeliever? Anyone? Did I say he was a disbeliever, did anyone today say he was a disbeliever? I said he was a Mujrim. Dhaalim. (Criminal and tyrinical opressor).”

The Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee had to leave and there were other guests in attendance. I wanted to get up and tell the Shaykh I saw him in America and was happy to see him again, I wanted to tell him we published one of his books in America, but in the end (contrary to popular belief) I was too shy and didn’t want to put myself forward to speak in that crowd with my broken Arabic (although that was not what prevented me) and in a place where so many others might have needed to ask questions just so that I could tell the Shaykh something like that.  The Prince directed the people to ask questions to another man there who was much younger but specialized in the removal of the evil eye, magic, and exorcisms. Man, I wished I brought my MP3 recorder! All the while this was going on the Prince was shuffling through papers asking this one to stand up and directing that one to help him.

After the meeting was over, some of the Shaykh’s guards told us we could come anytime we liked and offered to assist my freind with what he needed and told me if I ever need assistance to come and see them. It was a truly incredible day!

More next time!

CM

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Published in: on March 19, 2007 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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