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Yusuf al-Qaradawi ( ; born September 9, 1926) is an Egyptian Muslim scholar and Islamist preacher best known for his popular al Jazeera program, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat ("Shariah and Life"), and IslamOnline (a website that he helped found in 1997), where he offers opinions and religious edicts ("fatwa") based on his interpretation of the Qur'an. He has also published 50 books, including The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam and Islam: The Future Civilization.

Although al-Qaradawi has long had one of the more prominent roles within the thought leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, he has twice turned down offers for the official directorship role of the organization. Among many Muslims, he is considered a moderate conservative, who seeks to explain and adapt the ideals of the Islamic lifestyle with those of modern society.


Doctor Al-Qaradawi was born in Egyptmarker. Following his father's death, the two year old Qaradawi was raised by his uncle. His family urged him to either run a grocery store or to become a carpenter. Instead, he read and memorized the entire Qur'an by the time he was nine years old. Qaradawi was a follower of Hasan al-Banna during his youth and was imprisoned first under the monarchy in 1949, then three times after the publication of Tyrant and the Scholar. He attended the Al-Azhar Theological Seminarymarker before moving to Qatarmarker....

He worked in the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, was the Dean of the Islamic Department at the Faculties of Shariah and Education in Qatarmarker, and served as chairman of the Islamic Scientific Councils of Algerian Universities and Institutions.

He was a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has turned down offers to be the Brotherhood's leader various times. Qaradawi is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.


Allegations of Anti-Semitism

In May 2008, Qaradawi stated that "Muslims are against the expansionist, oppressive Zionist movement, not the Jews" and noted that Muslims and Jews were subjected to the same persecution following the fall of the Islamic rule in Andalusia, now Spain.

However, Qaradawi has also made statements that critics charge are explicitly anti-Semitic. During the Gaza War, in a January 9, 2009 sermon on Al-Jazeera, Al-Qaradawi stated (as translated by MEMRI):

"Oh Allah, take your enemies, the enemies of Islam. Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. Oh Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people. Oh Allah, they have spread much tyranny and corruption in the land. Pour Your wrath upon them, oh our God. Lie in wait for them. Oh Allah, You annihilated the people of Thamoud at the hand of a tyrant, and You annihilated the people of 'Aad with a fierce, icy gale. Oh Allah, You annihilated the people Thamoud at the hand of a tyrant, You annihilated the people of 'Aad with a fierce, icy gale, and You destroyed the Pharaoh and his soldiers — oh Allah, take this oppressive, tyrannical band of people. Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one."

This was not the first time that Al-Qaradawi has been accused of Antisemitism. In August 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research, of which Al-Qaradhawi is president, had used the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its theological deliberations.

Statement of the Holocaust

In a statement on Al-Jazeera on January 30, 2009, al-Qaradawi said (as translated by MEMRI):

"Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption.
The last punishment was carried out by Hitler.
By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place.
This was divine punishment for them.
Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers".

Statement that the Torah "constitutes a call for war"

In a sermon which aired on Qatar TV on June 5, 2009 (as translated by MEMRI):

"Never have I seen a single verse, paragraph, or sentence in the Torah which calls for peace. Everything in the Torah constitutes a call for war. They even call God "Lord of Hosts" – they don't call Him "Lord of the Universe" or "the Compassionate, the Merciful...[The Torah contains] the notion of annihilation. We saw it when the Europeans went to America – they tried to annihilate the Indians. When they went to Australia, they tried to annihilate the aboriginal people. Indeed, they annihilated them. This is a biblical notion – annihilate them totally, do not leave a living soul among them."

Sectarian views

Qaradawi has been an avid caller to what he calls "Islamic Sufism", praising those who practice it as pious.. He has also been a staunch defender of the Ashari school of belief within Islam, going so far as to claim that the whole Muslim world follows this school as well as all Muslim religious schools in the world.

Qaradawi has also described Shi'ites as heretics "mubtadi'oun" . In response, the Iranian Press Agency has described Qaradawi as "a spokesman for “international Freemasonry and rabbis".

Suicide bombings

Qaradawi strongly supports Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets. Qaradawi claims that hundreds of other Islamic scholars are of the same opinion.

Defending bombings against off duty soldiers Qaradawi told BBC Newsnight that:
  • "An Israeli woman is not like women in our societies, because she is a soldier."
  • "I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an evidence of God's justice."
  • "Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do".

At the press conference held by the organizations sponsoring Qaradawi's visit to Londonmarker, Qaradawi reiterated his view that Suicide attacks are a justified from of resistance to Israeli occupation. In the past, Qaradawi has justified those actions on the basis that all Israel civilians are potential soldiers since Israel is a "militarized society."

Due to this, Qaradawi has been accused by many Western countries and Israel of supporting terrorism.

However, he is opposed to attacks outside of the Palestinian territories and on other than Israeli targets. For example, on March 20, 2005, Qaradawi issued a condemnation of a car-bombing that had occurred in Doha, Qatar the day before. One Briton, Jon Adams was killed. Qaradawi issued a statement that said "Such crimes are committed by insane persons who have no religious affiliation and play well into the hands of the enemies." and "I urge all Qataris to stand united in facing such an epidemic and uproot it to nip the infection in the bud, otherwise it will spread like wildfire. I, in the name of all scholars in Qatar, denounce such a horrendous crime and pray that it would be the last and implore God to protect this secure country.".

See also his comments here:.

Opinion on the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict

In response to Muslim scholar 'Abdullaah ibn Jibreen's fatwa declaring that it was forbidden for Muslims to support or pray for Hezbollah because they are Shia, Qaradawi issued a contrary fatwa, stating that it was mandatory for all Muslims to support Hezbollah in its fight against Israelmarker, claiming that "Shias agree with the Sunnis in the main principles of Islam while the differences are only over the branches." In this fatwa, he also called upon the Sunnis and Shia of Iraqmarker to end the civil war.

Eulogizing Saddam

The following are excerpts from an address by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Qatar TV on January 5, 2007:

"I would have liked the Iraqi people to be interested, first and foremost, in the resistance against the occupation, in liberating its land from the American occupation, and in liberating its will from the new American colonialism, and only after liberating its land and its will - to place Saddam and others on trial. But when the American ruler gives the order to set up the tribunal, and when the Americans supervise the trial, and their generals are present at it - this is unacceptable to us.

"I do not accept the trial of Saddam under American rule. This is not an Iraqi trial, but an American one. The Americans want to quench their thirst for vengeance against this man, whose neck they could not twist, and whose will they could not bend. This is the man who launched 39 missiles against Israel, and Israel has not forgotten this. This is the man whose nuclear reactor they destroyed, so that there would be no nuclear power in the region, whether peaceful or military, except for Israel.

"This is the man who adopted the Palestinian cause throughout his life. This is the man who said 'No' to the Americans, and who never agreed to be blindly subservient, or to grovel. He could have settled for partial solutions, or met them halfway and showed flexibility, and they might have been content with this - but this man refused. That is why the Americans insisted that he be tried and executed. Then, the death sentence was carried out on the holiday. The Americans denied responsibility for this, and their ambassador said: 'I asked the Iraqi government to postpone the execution for two weeks, but the government insisted that it be carried out on the holiday.' Unfortunately, some of the [Shi'ite] religious and political leaders said that this was not their holiday, and that their holiday was celebrated the next day - on Sunday, not Saturday. Accursed be he who said this."


"A human soul must be respected. These people did not respect the human soul. The man was calm and kept his cool. He refused to be blindfolded, and insisted upon facing death with open eyes. They covered their faces, while his face was not covered. He stood solid as a mountain, and said the two parts of the shahada: 'I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.' 'I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.' He said: 'I bear witness that there is no God but Allah,' but they did not let him complete it, and they beheaded him. The man died saying: 'There is no God but Allah.' How can anyone curse a man, who says: 'There is no God but Allah'? Anybody whose last words are 'There is no God but Allah' goes to Paradise."


"The thing that improves [the record] of Saddam Hussein is that in his final years - as the brothers in Iraq tell us - he was a changed man. He began to strictly observe the prayers, to read the Koran, and to do charitable work. He would hasten to do anything that may help people. He would help build mosques, and would say that if anybody wants to build a mosque, the government should pay half the cost of the building materials. When they entered his secret hideout and caught him, they found a prayer carpet and an open Koran."

Boycott fatwa

According to IslamOnline, Qaradawi released a fatwa on April 14 2004 stating boycott of American and Israeli products was an obligation for all who are able. The fatwa reads in part :

"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."

Mecca Time

In April 2008, at a conference in Qatarmarker titled "Mecca: the Center of the Earth, Theory and Practice", Qaradawi advocated the implementation of Mecca Time to replace the Greenwich Meridian as the basis of the world time zone system..

Criticism from Muslim Scholars

Qaradawi urged the Taliban to reconsider its decision to tear down the Buddha statues in Afghanistanmarker in 2001. He was quickly criticized for supporting "idol worship". Upon meeting with leaders from the Taliban, Qaradawi reversed his position and praised the act of the destruction of the statues.

The late Salafi scholar Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee disagreed with Qaradawi's stance that photography and pictures were lawful, even authoring a book in response to those positions.

Democratic perspective

Qaradawi has at times spoken in favor of democracy in the Muslim world, speaking of a need for reform of political climates in the Middle East specifically.

However, his true preferences on democracy, and for the government of the state and the public area are not always as clear, as following quote illustrates: "the Shari`ah cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards, rather, it is the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform ...". However in a democracy a majority vote might differ from the commandments in the Qur'an and Sunnah, so this quote can be taken to mean that Qaradawi would not allow Muslims to vote against the word of Allah.

On religious rights

The same goes for his views on the religious liberties. Those effectively include the right for anyone to change religion, in casu, for a Muslim to become a non-Muslim.

However, Al-Qaradawi appears to see this differently, hiding between the assumed consensus in Islamic world: "All Muslim jurists agree that the apostate is to be punished. However, they differ regarding the punishment itself. The majority of them go for killing; meaning that an apostate is to be sentenced to death."

Note that when Al-Qaradawi speaks about 'Muslim jurists', that does not refer to Muslims trained in the secular law, as what the term 'German jurist' or 'Christian jurist' means ('Christian jurist' as opposed to 'canon law specialist'). In non-Muslim countries, one distinguishes 'religious law' from 'secular law'. For Al-Qaradawi, the only kind of jurists he mentions when the rules of the state are discussed, are the specialists of religious laws.

Danish cartoon controversy

Qaradawi called for a "Day of Anger" over the cartoons, but condemned violent actions in response to them.


On June 5 2006, on the Al Jazeera "Sharia and Life" programme he regularly features on, al-Qaradawi reiterated orthodox views on homosexuality. When asked about the punishment for people who "practise liwaat (sodomy) or sihaaq (lesbian activity)", al-Qaradawi replied: "The same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator." (MEMRI translation)


After the September 11 attacks, Qaradawi, urging Muslims to donate blood for the victims of the attacks, stated,

"Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur'anic verse which reads:

:Who so ever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind," (Al-Ma'dah:32).

"The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, 'A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person illegally'"

"Islam never allows a Muslim to kill the innocent and the helpless." He denies that Palestinian suicide bombing attacks constitute terrorism, claiming that "when Palestinians face such unjust aggression, they tend to stem bloodletting and destruction and not to claim the lives of innocent civilians", but qualifies that with "I do agree with those who do not allow such martyr operations to be carried out outside the Palestinian territories."

In modern times, Qaradawi has suggested the legitimate use of suicide bombings against enemy combatants if the defending combatants had no other means of self-defense.

Entry into western countries

Qaradawi has been banned from entering the United States of Americamarker since 1999 and the United Kingdommarker since 2008, though he visited London in 2004. In July 2003 he visited Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker, for a conference at the Stockholm Mosquemarker arranged by the Muslim Association of Sweden. During the conference al-Qaradawi expressed his support for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians which he called a "necessary Jihad".

Fatwa controversy with MEMRI

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), citing Asharq Al-Awsat, alleges that Qaradawi issued a Fatwa following the Iraqi insurgency, saying,
"...all of the Americans in Iraq are combatants, there is no difference between civilians and soldiers, and one should fight them, since the American civilians came to Iraq in order to serve the occupation. The abduction and killing of Americans in Iraq is a [religious] obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately. The mutilation of corpses [however] is forbidden in Islam."

Qaradawi, however, denies this allegation:

I have not published a Fatwa on this issue.
At the Egyptian Journalists' Union a few days ago I was asked about the permissibility of fighting against the occupation in Iraq, and I answered that it is permitted.
Afterwards I was asked concerning the American civilians in Iraq and I merely responded with the question – are there American civilians in Iraq?
It is a matter of common knowledge that in Fatwas such as these I do not use the word "killing" but rather I say "struggle," which is a more comprehensive word than the word "killing" and whose meaning is not necessarily to kill.
In addition, I have condemned the taking of hostages on a number of occasions in the past and have demanded that they be released and that their lives not be threatened."

Shaker Al-Nabulsi, a former Muslim who writes for the liberal site Ethal, called for the creation of a petition to the UN calling to put Qaradawi and his like on trial for incitement and support of terrorism.

Alcohol fatwa controversy

Qaradawi issued a fatwa in recent months stating that the consumption of small amounts of alcohol (<0.5% concentration="" or="" 5=""></0.5%>1000) was acceptable for Muslims. The statement was made regarding energy drinks, where fermentation occurs naturally as part of the production process. This does not contradict with the widespread view that consuming alcohol is totally forbidden to Muslims. (chapter 5: verses 90-91). The fermentation in this process is natural and unavoidable, similarly it is an extremely small proportion. [54046] This opinion held by Imam Abu Hanifa, ibn Uthaymeen, the Supreme Council of Saudi Arabia, etc. [citation?]. Many Muslims took exception to it[54047].


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