IMAM VEHBI ISMAILI
Personality of Islamic Sciences in all Albanian surroundings
Imam Vehbi Ismaili a personality of Islamic sciences in all Albanian surroundings. in the collection of Islamic library in Albanian, he holds a dignitary place for his persistent work in the fields of Islamic research and publication. He is the author of 30 works, the chairman of Albanian Muslim Community for North America and the imam of Albanian – American Islamic center in Michigan.130
His life is full of religious activities and nostalgia for his motherland, which didn’t see for six decades. He was born on November 25th, 1919 in Shkodra, in an intellectual family known for knowledge and respected by benevolent residents of knowledge and culture.
In 1937 he was admitted at the Al Azhar university of Cairo. He was diplomated in the theology in 1945.
The chairman of situation in Albania made impossible his return to Albania. He continued his work that he had began since he was student, translating Albanian novels into Arabic and publishing his translations in two weekly literary magazines: “El-Risaleh” (The message) and “Eth-Thakafeh” (The culture). Beside those he published in some other magazines his own stories from the Islamic history.
The major parts of the novels were published in “El-Medudhehebi” (The Golden Cradle).131
In the end of April, invited by Albanian – American Muslim Society of Detroit he arrived there as their welcomed spiritual leader. beside other organizative duties, he occupied himself with the publication of a religio-cultural magazine titled “Jeta Muslimane Shqiptare”. That magazine was published four times a year, with 64 pages in Albanian and English languages, for 8 years until it was stopped by economical factors.
On June 6th, 1951, a center of religious and patriotic activity was opened. On February 23rd, 1963 the new mosque was opened, followed by the opening of Albanian Islamic Center. Nowadays, America has thousands of mosques and a considerable number of Islamic schools and centers.132
As result of his nostalgia for the motherland, Imam Vehbiu has visited Kosova three times, watching it (Albanian) from away. “I imaged that I was seeing my motherland from far, especially when I visited Dibra and Hot… I satisfied a part of my nostalgia” he stated in the “Thirrja Islame” Magazine that circulates in America.133
After 49 years, in November 1998, during the time of democratic process, he comes two times in Albania, leading a delegation. After his visit, he gave some ideas of what to do for the Islamic Faith in Albania.
In the chain of valuable publications, which Imam Vehbiu has done, is the compilation of chosen published works of Albanian personalities. Generously, without prejudices, he published those works, thus stimulating the attention of Albanian intellectuals to the good of Islamic and Albanian culture.