|Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh|
|Grand Mufti and General President for Scientific Researches and Fatwa|
June 1999 – Current
|Preceded by||Abdul Aziz ibn Baaz|
10 February 1941|
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
|Alma mater||Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University|
‘Abdu’l-‘Azīz ibn ‘Abdu’llāh ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdu’l-Laṭīf Āl ash-Sheikh (Arabic: عبد العزيز بن عبد الله بن محمد بن عبد اللطيف آل الشيخ) (born 1941) is a Muslim scholar and the current Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. As Grand Mufti, he is the head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas.
Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh was born in 1941, a member of Saudi Arabia's leading religious family, the Al ash-Sheikh. He began studying the Qur'an at the Ahmad Bin Sanaan Mosque. In 1954, he transferred to the Imaam ad-Da'wah Institute where he graduated from the Faculty of Sharia in 1962.
He then began his active religious life, and worked as a teacher at the Imaam ad-Da'wah al-'Ilmee Institute until 1971. He then transferred to teaching at the Faculty of Sharia (at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University) in Riyadh and continued there until 1991. Whilst at the Faculty of Sharia he supervised university theses, and took part in thesis discussions and debates. Since 1993 he has taken part in responding to questions on the radio program "Noorun 'alad-Darb". He also used to hold lessons in the Central Mosque of al-Imam Turki bin 'Abd-llah. He takes part in seminars and lectures alongside his work in the field of dawah in Riyadh and Ta'if. Since his birth he suffered from weak eyesight, until he lost his sight altogether in 1960.
In 15 March 2012, he declared that, "All churches in the Arabian Peninsula must be destroyed". Abdulaziz bin Abdullah cited an Islamic hadith quoting the Prophet Mohammed on his deathbed. His declaration about the destruction of churches in the Arabian Peninsula led to negative comments. Roman Catholic bishops in Germany and Austria responded sharply to his fatwa, concerned about the human rights of non Muslims working in the Persian Gulf region. Russian Orthodox Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk said the ruling was "alarming". Still, it seemed that most of the world overlooked the statement. Mehmet Görmez, the most senior imam in Turkey, another Muslim country, blasted the Saudi grand mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Persian Gulf region, saying that the announcement totally contradicted the peaceful teachings of the Muslim religion. Görmez, the president of Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Presidency of Religious Affairs), said he could not accept the Islamic religious order—fatwa—issued by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al ash-Sheikh, adding that the mufti’s declaration ran contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.
In April 2012, he issued a fatwa allowing ten year old girls to marry insisting that girls are ready for marriage by age 10 or 12: "Our mothers and grandmothers got married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age."
In June 2013, he issued a fatwa demanding the destruction of statues of horses placed in a roundabout in Jazan: "The sculptures [must] be removed because they are a great sin and are prohibited under Sharia (Islamic law)."
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa on September 12, 2013 that suicide bombings are "great crimes" and bombers are "criminals who rush themselves to hell by their actions". Sheikh described suicide bombers as "robbed of their minds... who have been used (as tools) to destroy themselves and societies."
On September 16, 2013 he condemned violence against non-Muslims living in Islamic countries or Muslims labeled as infidels. The Grand Mufti condemned acts that cause the “shedding of blood of Muslims and of those living in their counties in peace.” Sheikh Al Shaykh stated, “Given the dangerous developments in the Muslim world, I would like to warn against the danger of attacking Muslims and those (non-Muslims) under Muslim protection.”
“In view of the fast-moving dangerous developments in the Islamic world, it is very distressing to see the tendencies of permitting or underestimating the shedding of blood of Muslims and those under protection in their countries. The sectarian or ignorant utterances made by some of these people would benefit none other than the greedy, vindictive and envious people. Hence, we would like to draw attention to the seriousness of the attacks on Muslims or those who live under their protection or under a pact with them,” Sheikh Al-AsShaikh said, quoting a number of verses from the Qur'an and Hadith.
- Schmitt, Eric; Shanker, Thom (2008-03-18). "U.S. adapts cold-war idea to fight terrorists". New York Times. "Saudi Arabia 's top cleric, Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Asheik, gave a speech last October warning Saudis not to join unauthorized jihadist activities, a statement directed mainly at those considering going to Iraq to fight the American-led forces."
- Eur (22 November 2002). The Middle East and North Africa 2003. Taylor & Francis. p. 950. ISBN 978-1-85743-132-2. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "«Hässliche, unglückliche Äußerungen»: Erdogan fordert Entschuldigung des Papstes", Netzeitung, 17 September 2006 (German)
- Jerome Taylor (24 Sep 2011). "Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas'. Historic and culturally important landmarks are being destroyed to make way for luxury hotels and malls, reports Jerome Taylor". The Independent. "A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, endorsed by Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, stated that "the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet's Masjid"."
- http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2012/March/Mufti-All-Arabian-Peninsula-Churches-Must-Be-Destroyed/ All Arabian Peninsula Churches Must Be Destroyed
- Comment of the Fatwa in Arabic Al-Jazeera online, Arabic: انتقاد مفتي السعودية لفتواه بهدم الكنائس (eng.: Criticism of the Mufti of Saudi Arabia for his fatwa to demolish churches); read on 27 March 2012
- "Europe bishops slam Saudi fatwa against Persian Gulf churches". Reuters. March 24, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
- "Diyanet'ten Suudi Müftüye Kilise Cevabı (Answer to the Saudi cleric from the Religious Affairs Directorate)". Religious News (Turkish), 7 April 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Huffington Post: "Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh, Saudi Arabian Mufti, Says Girls Ready For Marriage At 10 Years Old" By Simon McCormack April 24, 2012
- Arabian Business News: "Saudi's Grand Mufti vents against horse statues" By Courtney Trenwith June 13, 2013
- Saudi grand mufti says suicide bombers will go to hell
- Saudi Grand Mufti condemns attacks on Non-Muslims
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Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz
|Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia