A man dressed in a suit and necktie walks to the front of the room and begins talking in a calm and nurturing manner to thousands of captivated viewers. His vision, carried by televisions across Egypt, has been described as “the phenomenon of Amr Khaled.” From his start as a preacher to his status as the Arab world’s prevalent Muslims icon on television, Amr Khaled has magnetized Muslim youth in the Mideast and around the world with his emphasis on attaining spiritual self-renewal by adhering to simple Islamic manners and beliefs.
Khaled, a 39-year-old Egyptian accountant, was born in Alexandria and grew up in Mohandessin, a popular city near Cairo. Though his middle-class family was not religious, it impressed on Khaled the importance of morals. In Ramadan of 1981, Khaled began to desire a relationship with Allah (swt), thus starting his journey to self-discovery through Islam. This sudden desire to personally develop his faith and become a better Muslim would, in two decades, lead to the revival of the Muslim youth.
Though not a scholar in Islamic Jurisprudence, Khaled became well known as a compassionate and eloquent speaker in Masjid El-Hossari in Mohandessin. His weekly talks attracted such a large crowd that youth would come hours in advance to get a seat in the lecture hall; the streets outside the hall would be filled with young Muslims hoping to hear his lecture.
Khaled’s impact on the youth, both internally and externally, has been apparent throughout the Ummah (global Muslim community). Immediately after listening to one of his lectures on hijab (head-covering) for example, the mass majority of women and teenagers in Egypt—who probably never considered the prospect of wearing hijab—began wearing it overnight.
Amr Khaled emphasizes using faith to motivate spiritual and community development.
He effectively utilizes the media outlets—including television shows on Arabic satellite channels, audio sets, magazines, and the Internet—to stimulate the Islamic revival. Currently pursuing a doctorate in London, Khaled continues to globally broadcast speeches directed towards the development of the youth of the Ummah.