Mansour Al-Nogaidan

Mansour Al-Nogaidan

Mansour Al-Nogaidan, a distinguished Saudi writer and journalist, epitomizes a journey of dramatic ideological change and intellectual growth. Born in 1970, Al-Nogaidan’s rise from dropout to prominent reformist reflects deep personal and societal change. His life, once marred by extremism and jail, evolved into influential work in Gulf and international journalism. Now residing in the UAE, Mansour Al-Nogaidan, a divorced father of two, has significantly revised his perspectives over the years.

Initially, Al-Nogaidan drew deep inspiration from the Buraidah Brothers and Wahhabi teachings of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab. This influence led him to forsake formal education and delve into Sharia studies in Buraidah from 1985 to 1991. His radical views were amplified by the political unrest in Saudi Arabia, particularly following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing deployment of international forces in Saudi Arabia. These events, along with Islamic preachers’ growing dissent against the Saudi government, propelled Al-Nogaidan into extreme activities, such as burning video shops in Riyadh in 1991, resulting in over two years of imprisonment.

From Extremist Imam to Beacon of Reform and Enlightenment

Al-Nogaidan’s ideological shift emerged in the mid-1990s, sparked by his exposure to Islamic rationalists’ heritage and contemporary Muslim thinkers from Morocco and Jordan. His first article in 1999, advocating a more flexible interpretation of Islam, estranged him from Wahhabi scholars and former allies.

Post-2002, Al-Nogaidan’s enlightenment journey intensified, challenging Islamic extremism and traditional Wahhabism in a pivotal interview. This interview brought him notoriety and severe backlash, including a 75-lash sentence and blasphemy accusations. Despite hardships, Al-Nogaidan stayed dedicated to exploring Sunni Islam, Saudi religious history, and faith matters.

Al-Nogaidan’s research investigates the Islamist scene in Saudi Arabia and its religious policing. He serves on the Editorial Board at Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre in Dubai. Acknowledged by British historian Robert Lacey, he has significantly influenced Saudi Arabia’s younger generation. Transforming from an extremist imam, he became a vocal critic of radicalism, symbolizing change and hope for Saudi reform.

Books Written by Mansour Al-Nogaidan