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Repentance of Makkah Holy Mosque Former Imam (Story)

Editor’s note: Sheikh `Adel Al-Kalbani was an imam of different Masjids in Saudi Arabia for decades and a former Imam of Tarawih prayer in Al-Masjid Al-Haram, Makkah. This story, recounted by him, has been first published in the book series, al-`a’idun ila Allah (The Returners to Allah) by Sheikh `Abdul-`aziz Al-Misnid. It is translated into English by


I was not such a bad deviant… sure, there were major sins and minor slips that I committed, which were induced first by my own whimsical desires, and then by my family and my community. No one ever ordered me to offer prayer, and I never joined a session for memorization of the Glorious Quran.

Like all other children, I lived my childhood frolicking and rejoicing, hanging out in the streets after school, going for picnics and spending the nights watching TV. Of course, a person whose childhood is like that surely grows into a youth who loves amusement, joy, merrymaking and the like. Well, this happened to me.


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Beginning of the Guidance Journey

I apologize for not elaborating on details, and I would like to shift to the beginning of my getting closer to Allah.

One day, I drove my mother to one of her friends. Waiting for her in my car, I turned on the radio, and by chance the indicator came upon the Quran station. The melodious recitation of Quranic verses stroke a chord with me. It was the first time I heared those verses;

{And the stupor of death will bring Truth (before his eyes): “This was the thing which thou wast trying to escape!”} (Qaf 50:17-29)

The reciter was the late Sheikh Muhammad Siddiq al-Menshawi (may Allah shower him with mercy), and the recitation was highly touching. It is true that I did not fully repent immediately upon hearing these verses; yet, it constituted the first step towards my guidance.


Obsessive Thoughts of Death

That year was the year of death; numerous luminous politicians and singers died. The premonition of death kept haunting me until it almost drove me crazy. I would wake up in panic, and almost remained sleepless, falling asleep only when overwhelmed with exhaustion.

[To stop these fears,] I kept reciting all kinds of supplications (du`aa’) and sought all ways to dispel such a premonition, but it kept haunting me. I started to perform prayers on time which I was negligent of in the past. However, the obsessive fear of death was so extreme that sometimes I was unable to even pray and sometimes it caused me to disrupt my Salah.

[The question persisted,] how could I escape death! How to avoid it!

Then, I found only one resort; to run away toward Allah.

Who is Allah! He is my Lord. So, I should know Him well.

I thus started to contemplate on the Day of Judgment, resurrection and gathering unto Allah, the sky containing great stars, the sun and its brightness, and the moon when it follows it.

I used to read much. A that time I had [a special] love for Allah’s Book even when I was astray. You would wonder when you known that I memorized some Quranic surahs in places where the name of Allah was never mentioned.

I spent this critical period, which amounted to several years, in such a state until I started to roll up my sleeves and firmly believe that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him, and that death is undoubtedly approaching. So, let one get ready for it,

{O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.} (Al-`Imran 3:102)


Quran: Key to Guidance

At the early stage of my guidance, I developed a genuine link with the Noble Quran. So, whenever I prayed behind an Imam with attractive recitation or who recited verses that touched me, I would immediately return home and start memorizing those verses.

Later on, I was appointed as an imam of Salahuddin Masjid, in Sulaymaniyya, and I led the people in Tarawih Prayer, in Ramadan, 1405 A.H., reciting from the Quran book during prayer. Then, when the month came to an end, I committed myself to memorizing the Quran by heart through the following year, drawing on Allah’s support.

I set a schedule for memorizing the Quran, which started by the dawn of the 10th of Shawwal, 1405 A.H. and continued until the midst of Jumadal al-Akhirah, 1406 A.H. During that period, I memorized the Glorious Quran entirely, all praise and thanks are due to Allah for that.By that time, I found it hard for me to keep awake after Fajr prayer (I was then used to sleeping after Fajr), though after a while Almighty Allah helped me to overcome such an obstacle through perseverance and patience. I sometimes fell asleep with the Quran on my chest (during recitation). Through persistence, diligence and earnestness, I now cannot fall asleep after Fajr at all.

Afterwards, Allah guided me to test and verify my recitation and memorization of the Quran before Sheikh Ahmad Mustafa Abu Hussayn, lecturer at the Faculty of Usul-ud-Din (Theology), Riyadh, who gave me an Ijazah (certificate of mastering Quran recitation).

This is my story with the Glorious Quran, and my advice to whoever seeks well-being to memorize the Quran.


A Final Advice

Here, I would like to highlight the responsibility of the family in raising children, besides the responsibility of the community and the individual himself for contemplation and quest for truth and acting upon it.

I would also like to refer to the importance of the Quran, the great Book, that is printed in millions of copies, with hundreds of recordings of it circulated. If you want good in this life and in the hereafter, you should memorize and act upon it.

By Allah, there is nothing about me that makes me worthy of leadership, fame or love of people who have not seen me. It is only the Quran that blessed me with all these privileges. How much insignificant a person I would have been if I had not memorized the Glorious Quran.

Whenever I recall this fact, I cannot stop tears from trickling down my cheeks, and I then turn to Almighty Allah, invoking Him to make the Quran my close companion upon my death, in the grave and when I shall be resurrected to stand for reckoning before my Lord.

I ask Him to make me among those who are told “Recite and rise in status, recite as you used to recite in the world, for your status will be at the last verse that you recite.