Em Ali says he learnt how to recite the adhan from his father. Image Credit: Video grab

Cairo: An aged Saudi man is widely seen as an epitome of dedication to mosques and performing prayers there for long decades. For more than 70 years, Ali bin Mohammad Al Ghamdi has been proclaiming adhan or the call to Islamic prayers.

Nearly 90 years old now, the man, known as Em Ali stands out among Saudi Arabia’s prominent and oldest muezzins, having recited the daily adhan ritual for decades at a mosque in Al Makhwah governorate, part of Al Bahah region in the kingdom’s south west.

He says he learnt how to recite the adhan from his father.

For nearly 70 years, he has been keen to go to the mosque, proclaim the adhan and perform prayers. “I like praying in the mosque,” he says.

He drives himself to the mosque every day and opens the door and is the first to pray there.

“Deeds should be good with people and the worshippers,” Em Ali adds.

Saudi Arabia is Islam’s birthplace and home to its two holiest sites. The kingdom is currently organising an international religious competition with SR12 million worth of prizes up for grabs.

The “Otre El Kalam” is a major contest for reciting the Holy Quran and adhan.

Fifty contestants from 28 countries qualified to the finals, which commenced on the first day of Ramadan that coincided with March 23.

The competition, a celebrated Ramadan TV show, is organised by the Saudi state General Entertainment Authority.

The contest aims to spotlight brilliant reciters of the Quran and prayer callers or muezzins as well as to acquaint the world with moderate Islam and diverse Islamic cultures.