Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili
|Other names||Abu Suliman|
The Grand Mufti is highly revered and respected in Oman by the majority of the Ibadhi Muslims. He is regularly on TV, where he answers the public's questions on Islam. The Grand Mufti declared in the midst of the Arab Spring that gyms and health clubs were "dens of vice", and should be closed down. As well as targeting gyms, the Sheikh also urged the government to ban alcohol in Oman, one of the more liberal states in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Khalili was born on the island of Zanzibar on the 27th of July 1942, when Zanzibar was still under Omani Arab rule. His tribal home is the town of Bahla.
As a child he studied at Koranic schools on the island of Zanzibar from which he graduated at the age of 9 years old having learnt the whole Quran off by heart. He then followed the teachings of several prominent clerics, including Sheikh Issa bin Saeed Al Ismaili, Sheikh Hamoud bin Saeed Al Kharusi and Sheikh Ahmed bin Zahran Al Riyami. He also attended the workshops of Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Tfayyesh when he visited Zanzibar. Sheikh Ahmed did not go to a regular school, instead he taught himself by devoting himself to reading and learning. His determination, great memory and high degree of intelligence helped him gain a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom in various fields of study.
Along with his studies, he assisted his father in the field of trade in Zanzibar. However, in 1964 the communist led revolution occurred, ending Omani Arab rule in Zanzibar. This forced Sheikh Ahmed along with his father and many other Omanis to return to their country of origin, Oman. The Sheikh returned with his father to the wilayat of Bahla in Oman. He was asked to teach in Bahla, so his eminence taught at Bahla Mosque for ten months. He was then in demand from the Sheikhs in Muscat because of his great knowledge and as a result, he was appointed as a teacher at the Al Khor Mosque in Muscat until 1971. It was in 1971 that he was asked to be a judge at the Court of Appeal. Sheikh Ahmed continued his studies whilst maintaining his responsibilities as a judge.
He was then appointed Director of the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and in 1395, corresponding to 1975, a royal decree appointed him the Grand Mufti of the Sultanate of Oman. This occurred after the sad death of the scholar Sheikh Ibrahim bin Said Al Abri. Until this day, Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalili remains the highest religious authority in Oman. 
- "Religious edicts forbidding the declaration of any Muslim". Al Bawaba. July 6, 2005.
- "Gyms are 'dens of vice', says Oman’s Grand Mufti". arabianbuisness.com. March 16, 2011.
- Al-Khalili's official reply to Amman Message
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