Dr. Abd Al-Rahman Humood Al-Sumait was born in Kuwait in 1947, He studied medicine in Baghdad University, obtained a Diploma of Tropical Medicine from Liverpool University (U.K.), and specialized in internal medicine and gastroenterology in Monterial General Hospital in Canada. He also conducted research on hepatic malignancies in King’s College, London. He worked as a Consultant Gastroenterologist in Sabbah Hospital in Kuwait for three years, then committed himself, full-time, to humanitarian activities. He is also Honorary Health Attache for the Kuwait embassy in Kenya.
Dr. Al-Sumait has been involved in Islamic charity since he was a student. In 1981, he founded the Africa Muslim Agency, currently known as Direct Aid Society, and serves as its Secretary General. The society provides extensive humanitarian assistance to impoverished Muslims throughout Africa. It has built 124 hospitals and dispensaries, 840 schools, 204 Islamic Centers, 214 women training centers and 2,200 mosques. It has also established two Sharia colleges in Kenya and Zangibar, offered 200 scholarships to Muslim African students to pursue higher studies in medicine, engineering and technology, and distributed 50 million copies of the Holy Quran and 60 million booklets about Islam in different African languages. To help improve the quality of life for African Muslims, the Society drilled 4,250 artesian wells and hundreds of surface wells, and assisted in constructing numerous agricultural projects and irrigation schemes. It has also distributed thousands of tons of food and medicines in famine-stricken areas and adopted nearly 10,000 orphans.
Dr. Al-Sumait personally directs field operations of his Society. He is the author of several books and the recipient of several prestigious awards, beside the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam. He died in 2013.
Dr. Al-Sumait personally directed the field operations of the African Muslims’ Committee and worked relentlessly under extremely difficult, and often dangerous, conditions to accomplish and further its objectives. Under his leadership, the Committee has built more than 1,000 mosques, 54 hospitals, 840 schools, and tens of Islamic centers. It has also drilled 760 artesian wells and hundreds of surface wells in drought-stricken areas. Furthermore, the Committee has held 130 training courses for African teachers and preachers, provided financial support for 8,500 orphans, paid tuition for 74,000 needs students and financed over 200 post-graduate scholarships in medicine, engineering, science, and technology for African Muslims. The Committee also distributed 3.5 million copies of the Holy Qur’an and printed and distributed 6.5 million manuals explaining Islam in native African languages. Other philanthropic activities include the distribution of tens of thousands of tons of food, clothing and medicines, the payment of monthly wages for nearly 2,000 preachers and teachers and the construction of dams and agricultural projects to increase food production.
In addition to these immense activities, Dr. Al-Sumait has founded associations for Muslim physicians and students in the United States and Canada. In 1984, he established the Kuwaiti Islamic Relief Commission which helped save the lives of 320,000 Muslims during the drought and famine that struck many parts of Africa that year. Dr. Al-Sumait is the author of several books and articles, largely concerned with Islam in Africa.