Dr. al-Ouda was born in 1376 A.H. (1955). He was born in the al-Basr, a village near the city of Buraydah in the district of al-Qasîm.
He is married and has a number of children, the oldest of whom is Mu`âdh.
He spent his early years in al-Basr and then moved to Buraydah to study. He spent his first two years there completing elementary school, then he transferred to the Academic Institute in Buraydah where he studied for six years. This institute had gathered together an impressive group of the region’s noteworthy scholars, among them Sheikh Sâlih al-Sukaytî, Sheikh `Alî al-Dâli`, and Sheikh Sâlih al-Bulayhî and many others like them. This education afforded him the opportunity to sit with them and benefit from their knowledge and their mode of conduct. His enrollment in the institute also gave him the opportunity to benefit from its library which at that time contained a large number of books. There was also a library from which books could be borrowed and which was constantly acquiring new books that the people needed.
He committed to memory a number of short treatises on various subjects. Among these were:
- Al-`Usûl al-Thalâthah, al-Qawâ`id al-Arba`ah, Kitâb al-Tawhîd, and al-`Aqîdah al-Wâsitiyyah, all of which pertain to Islamic beliefs.
- Matn al-Ajurrûmiyyah in Arabic grammar, which he memorized and then taught to his young pupils in the mosque.
- Matn al-Rahbiyyah in the laws of inheritance.
- Zâd al-Mustaqni` which could possibly be the most famous and most comprehensive treatise in Islamic Law according to the Hanbalî school of thought. He studied a large portion of its commentary in the Academic Institute and studied its commentary with a number of scholars, notably Sheikh Sâlih al-Bulayhî and Sheikh Muhammad al-Mansûr.
- Nukhbah al-Fikr by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî in Hadîth terminology. He memorized it in his student years and then taught it to his own students and assisted them in memorizing it.
- There are a number of treatises that he has partially memorized, among them Alfiyyah Ibn Mâlik in Arabic grammar and a number of treatises in jurisprudence and other subjects.
He received his Masters degree in the Sunnah and its sciences from the faculty of `Usûl al-Dîn (Principles of Religion). His Masters thesis was entitled “The Strangeness of Islam and its Legal Rulings in the Light of the Prophetic Sunnah.”
Among the roughly fifty books that he has published are:
These publications are all currently available on the Arabic pages of the Islam Today website.
He used to give weekly lessons for the general public in the main mosque of Buraydah as well as other lessons where he taught the commentary of the book Bulûgh al-Marâm. He also gave daily lessons after the Morning Prayer, where he gave a commentary on the authoritative collections of hadith - Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim, and some commentary on the Qur’ân. In addition, he taught such books as Kitâb al-Tawhîd, al-Usûl al-Thalâthah, and Nukhbah al-Fikr. These lessons were lost, along with other beneficial works of the Sheikh, during the crisis that had to endure along with a number of other Islamic workers.
Dr. al-Ouda was imprisoned for five years, from 1994 until the end of 1999 on account of some of his books and some of the lessons that he had given. He was quoted by Osama bin Laden in his 1994 Open Letter to Shaykh Bin Baz on the Invalidity of his Fatwa on Peace with the Jews. He was released along with his colleagues and resumed his activities from his home, giving lessons after the Sunset Prayer from Wednesday to Friday weekly on topics such as Qur’anic commentary, ethics, education, and personal reform.
He is currently supporting peace and coexisting with other religions. He announced that this was a result of deeper understanding of Islamic teachings.
Dr. al-Ouda is supervising the popular website Islam Today, which is the first website in the Kingdom to offer such a high level of diversity in its subject matter and material. He gives classes and lectures over the Internet and by phone to a wide range of listeners .
He works daily in answering the questions that people send to him in addition to compiling and preparing a number of his writings for publication. Also, he has a show in MBC TV .
His fame had become sufficiently widespread by 2006 to draw a crown of around 20,000 young British Muslims in London's East End whom he addressed in a speech. "Dr. al-Ouda is well known by all the youth. It's almost a celebrity culture out there," according to one British Imam.
Dr. al-Ouda is known for not only criticizing the September 11 attack, but delivering a personal rebuke to Osama bin Laden. In 2007, around the sixth anniversary of September 11, he addressed Al Qaeda's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle East TV network, asking him:
My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed ... in the name of Al Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?
The full letter can be viewed from Islam Today website.