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Yusuf al-Qaradawi
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Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a modern Muslim scholar known for his facilitative opinions.

Qaradawi was born in Egypt, and attended the Al-Azhar Theological Seminary before moving to Qatar. His father died when he was 2, and so he was taken care of by his uncle. His parents urged him to either run a grocery store or to become a carpenter. Instead he memorized the entire Qur'an by age ten. Qaradawi followed Hasan al-Banna during his youth and "was imprisoned first under the monarchy in 1949, then three times after the Tyrant and the Scholar are poetic Islamic plays expressing a message through theme. Other works such as Fiqh-al-Zakat'' (Laws of the Obligatory Charity) are Islamic law treatises which go into percise details. Qaradawi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has turned down offers to be the Muslim Brotherhood leader various times. Qaradawi is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.

Table of contents
1 Qaradawi's popularity
2 Qaradawi and moderate Islam
3 Opinions on Qaradawi
4 Qaradawi's religious edicts (fatwas)
5 Attacks on Qaradawi from Wahhabis/Salafis
6 Qaradawi's response to criticism
7 Qaradawi's boycott fatwa
8 Qaradawi's new initiatives
9 Qaradawi's reaction to the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin
10 Qaradawi on the Israeli opperation in Rafah
11 Qaradawi on Arab reform
12 Qaradawi's London Visit
13 Qaradawi on Democracy
14 Profile of Qaradawi
15 Books by Qaradawi online
16 Sheikh al-Qaradawi's websites
17 Anti-Qaradawi opinions
18 Resources

Qaradawi's popularity

Qaradawi has a show on Al-Jazeera called "Sharia in the Life" in which he tackles very contraversial questions. Some of these questions include oral sex, being drafted into the army, and the fate of Palestinian suicide bombers. Qaradawi's vision is one of moderate Islam. Qaradawi has frequently quoted the hadith of the Prophet Muhammed saying "Extremism destroyed those before you".

Qaradawi is very popular with his tapes and videos available as far away as Indonesia and Malaysia. Azzam Tammimi of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London has said "If Sheik Qaradawi gives a fatwa, that fatwa will be heeded tomorrow in hundreds of places around the world."

Qaradawi and moderate Islam

Qaradawi has been attacked by all sides of the Islamic ideology spectrum for his vision of "moderate" Islam. Qaradawi during elections in 2002 in Bahrain, released a fatwa allowing women, especially those past their child-bearing years, as candidates in municipal elections. A Saudi scholar quickly responded that this was illegal under his interpretation of Islamic law.

Qaradawi also urged the Taliban to reconsider its decision to tear down the Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001. He was quickly criticized for supporting "idol worship".

Qaradawi's vision of moderate Islam is one that in his own words "seeks balance between intellect and the heart, between religion and the world, between spirituality and materialism and between individualism and the group."

Opinions on Qaradawi

Some Wahhabi and Salafi Muslims claim Qaradawi is a heretic, deviated scholar, and wicked jurist because of his easier more facilitative opinions. Most Wahhabis and Salafis see Qaradawi's teachings as too lax.

Some mainstream Sunni scholars such as Sidi Faraz Rabbani respect Qaradawi and his opinions but find them to be unreliable.

The general consensus of Sunni Muslims strongly respect the opinion of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, this is especially true of American Muslims.

Qaradawi's religious edicts (fatwas)

Yusuf al-Qaradawi has made many religious edicts throughout his life. Qaradawi is known for edicts which do not compromise Islam's principles and are yet still compatible with everyday life. Bearing in mind the religion of Islam has no clergy system, edicts or fatwas are only opinions and not law.

As Qaradawi has stated a number of times that in the case of conflicting fatwas, a Muslim must follow the fatwa that his true conscience believes is closer to the truth.

Attacks on Qaradawi from Wahhabis/Salafis

The late Sheikh al-Albanee, a Wahhabi/Salafi scholar whom Qaradawi was friends with personally did not agree with Qaradawi's stance that photography and pictures were lawful. al-Albanee wrote the book "The Islamic Ruling on Tasweer (pictures)" with his arguments in a response to Qaradawi's ruling. Despite their differing opinions, al-Albanee and Qaradawi never attacked each other and maintained friendship.

Many Wahhabis/Salafis who agree with al-Albanee have attacked Qaradawi, using the words "wicked muftee (jurist)" and others. In their view, Qaradawi's opinions are sometimes even un-Islamic. Other Wahhabis or Salafis who agree with al-Albanee do not attack Qaradawi, and respectfully disagree with his opinions.

One major point of conflict between Qaradawi and the Wahhabis or Salafis is the statement by Qaradawi:

"The enmity that is between us and the Jews is for the sake of land only, not for the sake of the religion..." (al-Ummah al-Islaamiyyah Haqeeqa, Laa Wahm p.70). Many Wahhabis or Salafis believe that there is enmity between the Muslims and Jews for the sake of religion.

Another point of conflict is Qaradawi's opinion of the lawfulness of some music and art. Many Wahhabis and Salafis believe that music and art are unlawful, even if Islamic music and art.

Qaradawi's response to criticism

Qaradawi responded on his website Islamonline.net to criticism: ...Sheikh Al-Qaradawi maintains that as having different views on any issue is something natural, one should not concentrate on controversial matters, nor should one focus on refuting others’ opinions on slight matters, because this contradicts the syllabus of the righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them. Rather a true believer should be tolerant even if he has a different point of view and be cooperative in applying agreed upon matters. By tolerance he means not to be fanatic in judging controversial matters, doctrines or Imams. Rather a Muslim should be tolerant, as Sheikh Rashid Rida states in his famous magazine Al-Manar saying: “We ought to excuse one another and show tolerance to each other’s view regarding controversial issues.”

Qaradawi's boycott fatwa

On April 14th 2004 Qaradawi released a fatwa stating boycott of American and Israeli products was an obligation for all who are able. The fatwa reads:

"If people ask in the name of religion we must help them. The vehicle of this support is a complete boycott of the enemies’ goods. Each riyal, dirham …etc. used to buy their goods eventually becomes bullets to be fired at the hearts of brothers and children in Palestine. For this reason, it is an obligation not to help them (the enemies of Islam) by buying their goods. To buy their goods is to support tyranny, oppression and aggression. Buying goods from them will strengthen them; our duty is to make them as weak as we can. Our obligation is to strengthen our resisting brothers in the Sacred Land as much as we can. If we cannot strengthen the brothers, we have a duty to make the enemy weak. If their weakness cannot be achieved except by boycott, we must boycott them.

American goods, exactly like “Israeli” goods, are forbidden. It is also forbidden to advertise these goods. America today is a second Israel. It totally supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without the support of America. “Israel’s” unjustified destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American money, American weapons, and the American veto. America has done this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment or protests about their oppressive and prejudiced position from the Islamic world."

Qaradawi's new initiatives

His reach is felt in Europe through his presidency of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research, an organisation described by The Economist as comprising "32 leading scholars, from Europe and the Middle East, whose self-appointed task is to ponder the dilemmas, moral, personal, and political, faced by European Muslims". (The Herald)

Qaradawi has been involved in 2 separate major initiatives at the start of 2004. The first being threatening to take international legal action against France if the proposed hijab (or Muslim headscarf) ban in public schools takes affect. Qaradawi has sent a letter to President Chirac saying "Mr. President, we have felt resentful over your considering Hijab is aggression on others. It is just worn out of commitment to religious principles, no more, no less."

Qaradawi's other initiative is the curbing of female genital mutilation in Africa. On Feburary 7th 2004, the International Day Against Female Genital Mutiliation, Qaradawi stated "Muslim countries differ over the issue of female circumcision; some countries sanction it whereas others do not. Anyhow, it is not obligatory... whoever chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin"

On April 29th 2004 Qaradawi announced a new initiative to form a all-inclusive world union of Muslim scholars "with the aim of preserving the Islamic identity, promoting religious awareness, confronting 'destructive trends' and giving advice to leaders of Muslim countries." Qaradawi said the new body would use direct and indirect means to realize its objectives, including newspapers, radio and television networks as well as internet.

Qaradawi's reaction to the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin

On March 23rd 2004, in reaction to the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin, Qaradawi released the following statement calling for unity in violent resistance against Israel:

"Only force and jihad work with those aggressors. The assassination of Sheikh Yassin proved that the [moribund] peace talks with the Israelis are nothing but lies. This is the true face of Zionism, which pays no attention to any humanitarian value. My heart breaks for Yassin and I offer my heartfelt condolences to my brothers in Hamas, Palestine and Muslims worldwide. He was assassinated by blooded hands as he was returning from dawn prayers. He met his Creator satisfied and pleased [with his decades of resistance and struggle]. Truly, dying a martyr is the best death a Muslim can get. His martyrdom will not bring in security and peace to Israel as Sharon thinks. The assassination of Sheikh Yassin will rather put a curse on Israel and ushers in its end. All Palestinians should now unify ranks and heal rifts to avenge the killing of Yassin and his companions."

Qaradawi on the Israeli opperation in Rafah

On May 19th 2004, Qaradawi released a statement appealing to Muslims to help the victims of Israeli military opperations in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. Qaradawi said "The tyrant Zionist state has demolished the houses of your Palestinian brothers, particularly Rafah, scooped up their farms, and destroyed their properties. Palestinians are left homeless and penniless and they need your help" he stressed that this was not a "voluntary act" but an obligatory Islamic duty.

Qaradawi on Arab reform

Recently, on May 20th 2004, Qaradawi was interviewed by al-Jazeera on his stances on Arab reform. Qaradawi said that Islam welcomes reform which he defined as "turning the thing that is corrupt into something upright." He said reform combats 3 types of corruption: political, economic and moral.

''"First there is political corruption, the deceiving of the masses to serve authority; an example would be a journalist who uses his pen to tout for a leader, or an occupier who invades a country and revamps its political structure to serve his interest.

...You also have economic corruption, a subject that the Quran has addressed as well. Those who misuse public funds for their own purposes while their people are undergoing extreme poverty are an illustration of this.

Moral corruption is another problem that must be confronted and reformed. It can extend to engulf an entire society turning it into a nepotistic, nihilist and morally loose one.

There are also other forms of corruption that would include environmental corruption, the destruction of the beautiful Earth that God has created, and so on."

Qaradawi stated that Muslims loathe corruptions and should strive to initiate reforms. He clarified that each nation is responsible for reforming itself, rather than other's reforming it (a response to the U.S. "Greater Middle East Initiative"). Qaradawi said there are 5 conditions to reform in Islam:

1) The principles of Islam are used to fufill Islamic interests and not outside interests. 2) The methodology of reform must come from Muslim scholars and not outside influences. 3) Reform must be implemented by the will of the people, and by the people themselves. 4) Reforms must come from within and not from outside influences. 5) Gradualism while implementing reforms.

Qaradawi's London Visit

On July 6th 2004, a Jewish British MP called for denying Qaradawi a visa to visit London. One day later, on July 7th, 2004, the mayor of London rejected the attack against Qaradawi. On July 10th 2004, after Qaradawi had visited London, the Crown Prosecution Service concluded that there was no legal ground to prosecute Qaradawi.

Qaradawi's website, Islamonline.net released the following news release on July 10th 2004

''"The swift decision of the CPS indicates that the so-called dossier of evidence submitted by the Metropolitan police commissioner Sir John Stevens did not contain grounds for legal action, said the Guardian.

The British daily described the decision as "a setback for the Board of Deputies of British Jews which initially sent the material to the police."

However, the Jewish lobby criticized the CPS decision.''

"We regret the decision by the CPS," Henry Grunwald QC, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.''

He claimed that "Al-Qaradawi is being very careful about what he says publicly whilst he's in the UK."

Adressing 3500 worshippers during Friday prayers at London's central mosque, the scholar said

"If they are really after the truth, and think they are fair, why don't they find the truth about me, instead of indulging in this attack on me." He also stated "It is not the first time I have visited London. It is not the 10th time or the 100th time. For over a third of a century I have been visiting London. London is an open city, so why is there this row when I visit London today?".

The BBC World News reported on July 10th 2004 that "Doctor Azzam Tami, translator for the Sheikh, said he had been bewildered by how he had been treated.

He added: "He is really quite angry. He felt on the first of his visits when he allowed some journalists to interview him that he had been totally misrepresented"."

Qaradawi on Democracy

'"Islam wants this nation to consult with each other, and stand as a united body, so no enemy can penetrate it. This is not what democracy is for. Democracy is a system that can’t solve all societal problems. Democracy itself also can make whatever it wants as lawful, or prohibit anything it does not like. In comparison, the Shari`ah as a political system has limits. If we are to adopt democracy, we should adopt its best features. These are the issues of methods, guarantees, and manners of a democratic society. As a Muslim society we should adopt it in an Islamic context of a society that seeks to live with its Shari`ah laws. Our society should abide by what have been made lawful by Allah and also what have been made unlawful by Him. In comparison democracy with a slim majority can cancel all laws and rules. It can even eliminate itself with this type of margin. In fact, in some case democracy may become worse than dictatorship. What I am for is a genuine type of democracy, for a society driven by the laws of Shari`ah that is compatible with the values of freedom, human rights, justice, and equity."''

Profile of Qaradawi

Books by Qaradawi online

Sheikh al-Qaradawi's websites

Anti-Qaradawi opinions

Resources