By M.A. Egge
The President H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Mohamud met over the week the internationally renowned Jamaican born Canadian Islamic scholar Dr. Bilal Philips popularly known as Abbu Ameenah.
In a rare visit to the country the founder of both Discover Islam formally known as the International Islamic Centre and Islamic Online University paid a courtesy call to the Head of State and profoundly thanked him, and by extension the people of Somaliland, for having been accorded a hilarious welcome.
Professor Philips, who is touted to be one of the most influential Muslims on earth, gave the President a Koran gift and a certificate of appreciation.
As notes the Presidential spokesman in a facebook page, the Koran is the most precious of gifts to be accorded to mankind.
The widely published Canadian who is on regular TV shows worldwide was born in Kingston Jamaica on the 6th of January 1946.
Having converted to Islam at the teen age of 26 years, the former Dennis Bradley Philips did not know that he was destined for a cut-out bigger picture in Islamic theology circles.
Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Toronto, where he converted to Islam in 1972. His whole life has been exemplified by his goal of seeking and conveying Islamic knowledge in order to “Change the Muslim Nation through Islamic Education.”
In preparation for this goal, he first acquired a B.A. from the College of Islamic Disciplines at the Islamic University of Medina (1979), then an M.A. in Aqeedah (Islamic Theology) from King Saud University in Riyadh (1985), and finally a PhD in Islamic Theology from the University of Wales (1994). Interestingly enough, His PhD thesis was on “The Exorcist Tradition in Islam”.
After graduation from the University of Medina, Dr Bilal spent ten years teaching Islamic studies in an Islamic high school in Riyadh, and another ten years lecturing in Arabic and Islamic studies in the American University in Dubai, UAE.
In 1994 he founded the first Islamic Information Center in Dubai. He has served as the head of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Preston University-Ajman, UAE; lecturer and director of the Da’wah and Education at Qatar Guest Center, Doha, Qatar; founder and head of the English medium Islamic studies department of Knowledge International University, Riyadh; founder and head of the College of Da’wah and Islamic Culture (English Section) at Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan; founder and head of Preston International University College in Chennai, India; and founder and Dean of the Islamic Studies Academy in Doha, Qatar.
But perhaps his greatest achievement, and the one for which he was listed in the Jordanian publication, “The 500 Most Influential Muslims”, is the historic founding of the Islamic Online University which in only 5 years has over 80,000 students registered from every country on the face of this earth! Unlike the other educational programs he has founded and overseen over the years, IOU makes it possible for any person from any location in the world to receive an Islamic education absolutely free.
IOU was launched in 2007 with a free diploma program in Islamic Studies and introduced its fully accredited tuition-free Bachelor’s program (BAIS) in 2010. Plans are currently being made for a Master’s program (MAIS) for 2013. Dr. Bilal has served as IOU’s chancellor from the beginning.
Dr Bilal Philips has written, translated and commented on over 50 published books on various Islamic topics and he has also edited and published the 56-book Eemaan English Reading Series for children and Muslim schools. Dr Philips has also presented Islamic programs for a number of years on Riyadh Channel 2TV, Sharjah TV, Peace TV, Huda TV, Islam Channel, UK, and the Deen Show, Chicago, USA and GuideUS TV, from Washington USA.
Currently (2012), Dr Bilal is the Imaam and Khateeb at Abu Hurairah Center where he teaches 5 free university-level classes weekly and counsels Muslim families two days per week