The Egyptian sheikh Abdul Hamid Kishk was very well known around the world for his fiery Jumaa khutbas and his outspoken stance against injustice and oppression in the Muslim world. Cassette recordings of his talks have been circulating throughout the world in Arabic speaking circles, and his knowledge, style and eloquence have driven many to change their lives. It is perhaps the mercy of Allah that he therefore passed away while in Sujood, on the day of Jumu'ah, as he prayed remembering the occasion of Isra' and Mi'raj.
The Sheikh was born in 1933 in Shibrakheet, a small village near Alexandria, Egypt in a very poor family. His father passed away before Abdul Hamid reached schooling age. He joined one of the schools of Azhar and by the age of 8 he had memorized the Quran. It was at this time that he was inflicted by an illness which took his sight. However, rather than demoralize him, the loss of his sight encouraged him to learn more and persevere further.
He graduated as a scholar from the faculty of Usool al Din in Azhar and was appointed as an Imam, giving khutbas all over Egypt. Around 1964 he took up the minbar of 'Ain al-Hayat mosque in Cairo as his platform and started to speak vociferously about the social conditions in Egypt and the suppression of the Islamic Movement. This did not stop him from having distinctly spiritual approach to life, something which his speeches reflect. In 1966 he was arrested and was imprisoned and tortured for two years.
When Sheikh Kishk was released in 1968, he did not walk out of prison with his head bowed down to the Regime but he became even more critical and energetic. Though he was arrested and released many times after this, it was over the next 10 years that the most of his audio and video tapes were recorded; more than 2500 tapes are in circulation! His speeches became so popular that the Mosque was extended 3 times to accommodate the congregation. During 1981 and 1982 Sheikh Abdul Hamid was again imprisoned, but this time on his release he was forbidden to give any more speeches. Even this did not silent him, for up to 1996, this blind man wrote over 115 books and booklets, including a tafsir, (one of his books, on Angels, has been translated to English by Dar Al-Taqwa, London).
The Sheikh passed away on the 6th of December 1996, at the age of 63, the inspiration he gave us all, the love and respect that people felt for him, will always keep his memory alive. May Allah forgive and bless his soul