Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has a long list of accomplishments as scholar, speaker and struggler but his recent position has stunned many in the Ummah. How could he, of all people, be advocating civil war among Muslims?
I never thought that I would one day be writing such a column. Every word that follows in this essay is written with a heavy heart and a reluctant pen.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a prolific writer and an effortless speaker. Most of his writings and speeches are centered on what one may call “fiqhi” information. He has, or rather had (intellectuals who followed him for many years till today may have detected serious moments in his response to questions, especially on his weekly TV program on al-Jazeera) a memory capacity to quote ayat and hadiths, and poetry. That was and is quite impressive. To his unintended credit, he suffered many years of exile and hardships. This writer is not at liberty to divulge certain information pertaining to those years back in the 1960s and 1970s. May the Most-Merciful tip the weight of those years against the years that followed — years that would define this hitherto scholar as an instrument of imperialism and Zionism even when he is not aware of the dangerous role he is playing these days.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi stunned the Muslims when he, in some of his khutbahs and interviews, started advocating what amounts to an Islamic civil war. In the past few months he has gone on record as saying the following:
1. The ‘Alawis (the inference is to the Shi‘is) are more dangerous than the Jewish Zionists;
2. If he were still a young man he would physically go and fight in the Syrian city of al-Qusayr against those (that is, Hizbullah) who are fighting the Syrian rebels;
3. He called Hizbullah as Hizb al-Shaytan (the party of Satan), as well as Hizb al-Taghut (the party of hegemonic powers);
4. He apologized for his ignorance of past years when he (verbally) supported Hizbullah. This is in reference to the scholarly commotion that ensued during and after the 2006 Zionist attack and bombing of Lebanon and the Israeli-American military attempt to crush Hizbullah. The resistance movement was not crushed and the American-Israeli assault boomeranged. In that atmosphere Saudi “scholars” forbade anyone from rooting for Hizbullah; at that time al-Qaradawi “defended” Hizbullah and did not agree with the establishmentarian scholars of Arabia. Now he says he was wrong. He says that the Saudi Arabian scholars were right in knowing and identifying the true nature of Hizbullah. He literally apologized for his prior ignorance and commended the Saudi scholars for their prior intelligence!
5. In mid-June al-Qaradawi led a delegation of Muslim scholars to Egypt and met with President Mohamed Mursi. The purpose? To enlist Egypt in an active role inside Syria on the side of the rebels. This comes at a critical time in Egyptian politics when Ethiopia is beginning to construct a huge dam across the Nile that threatens the livelihood of tens of millions of Egyptians and is considered a national security threat. News reports tell us that when prayer time came, there was commotion as to who will lead the prayers, and it was settled by al-akh Mursi being the imam!
Of course there may be other words and deeds associated with al-Qaradawi that reinforce the above points — past, present, and future.
After this quick review let us begin by saying that al-Qaradawi, to the best of our knowledge, does not have one book or one speech that would explain the dynamics of power politics in the world, in the Muslim East, or even in his adopted country Qatar. This is the major problem with many Islamic scholars — they haven’t developed an Islamic ideological and political frame of reference.
In one of his khutbahs, al-Qaradawi called upon the United States to interfere in the Syrian civil war “for God’s sake”! Where is al-Qaradawi living? On another planet? Can he not see what the United States has done to the Muslim world? American foreign policy is standing on a mountain of Muslim skeletons because it has penetrated a mound of Muslim skulls! Doesn’t al-Qaradawi know that when he ascends the minbar in the masjid in al-Doha that he is beneath the shadow of the largest American military base in the region?
Al-Qaradawi is churning out fatwas calling on Muslims to go to Syria and fight other Muslims — a recipe for Islamic civil war that will spread like wildfire throughout the region and for many generations to come. Why didn’t he churn out fatwas calling on Muslims to go to Palestine and fight the common Zionist enemy — a cause that has the potential of uniting the Muslims masses across the religious and political spectrums? I guess Palestinian lives are cheap and dispensable.
Al-Qaradawi looks good in Saudi circles now. He is even equated with their much revered Ibn Taymiyyah. Why not? He is resurrecting the dead language and the kill-off vocabulary of sectarians. These days his khutbahs are inflammatory and amount to incitement to violence among Muslims.
Can anyone remember al-Qaradawi and his words when the Israelis attacked and bombed Ghazzah (Cast Lead)? Why didn’t he say that if he was still young he would personally go and fight the Zionists in Ghazzah? Does anyone remember just one fatwa coming from al-Qaradawi when the American military was laying Iraq to waste: depleted uranium bombs, Abu-Ghraib, al-Fallujah, etc.? Doesn’t al-Qaradawi and the other petro-scholars realize that their paymasters in the Arabian Peninsula were hand-in-glove with the imperialist Americans as they invaded and occupied Islamic lands and holy places?
Why are al-Qaradawi and all the status quo scholars so worked up about Hizbullah? Why are they spewing offensive and defamatory language against Hizbullah and Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah? Here is where their true character shines: these scholars-for-dollars are so unsettled at seeing Hizbullah and Islamic Iran on the verge of completing their military finishing touches on a policy aimed at liberating Palestine that they can no longer stand the consequences of “Shi‘is” liberating “Sunni” Palestine! In their contorted and twisted minds, what would that say about Sunnis? In reality, it does not say anything about Sunnis, but it does say a whole lot about the regimes governing Sunnis. But these court-clergymen do not distinguish between Sunnis and their regimes; and here is where the problem really lies.
If these pseudo-scholars feel derelict about their duty to liberate Palestine, there is plenty of border that would welcome their efforts. They have all of Jordan and the whole of Sinai Peninsula… why are they ganging up on Hizbullah and the liberation bloc extending from Islamic Iran to Islamic Resistance and trying to spoil it for them?
What a liberation theater that would be: the combined forces of the northern Islamic forces (Hizbullah, Iran, Iraq, Syria) with the southern Islamic forces (Hamas, Egypt, Arabia, and North Africa)! That is the juggernaut that free minds and free spirits are anticipating, not the internal strife and civil wars that come from stirring up sectarianism, nationalism, and other -isms to divide and conquer the Muslims — something al-Qaradawi and his band of scholars are doing. Why can’t the three countries that were “liberated” by Qatari largesse and Qaradawi fatwas (Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt) close ranks and get on with the Islamic strategy of liberating Palestine? The failure to have a North African coordinated policy that aims at liberating Palestine tells us that there is more to the “Arab Spring” than meets the eye. Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt are your pet projects, and if you are unable to match or complement Islamic Iran in its strategy to liberate Palestine, the very least you can do is not interfere in that strategy. But, no; here you are playing the role of spoilers and spilling Islamic blood with sectarian arguments and a detectable grudge that no straight thinking person can ignore.
Hizbullah has proved it is the Hizb of Allah (swt) — for no other reason than that it was successful in liberating Southern Lebanon when all the Arabian armies combined were not able to liberate one inch of Israeli occupied territories. Similarly, when Hizbullah defeated the mercenaries of 20–30 countries who are fighting inside Syria, not knowing they (the mercenaries) are being used by Washington, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv to bleed Islamic Iran to surrender its policy that aims at liberating Palestine, it once again showed who is taking Allah’s (swt) side.
Another legitimate question we must ask is why haven’t we heard al-Qaradawi attacking the United States the same way he attacks Russia? Why doesn’t he attack Saudi Arabia the same way he attacks Syria? Why doesn’t he attack the takfiris the same way he attacks Hizbullah? Does al-Qaradawi and his team of docile scholars want Syria to become another Iraq or another Libya? We are not here building a case for the Syrian government; we are here building a case against the anti-Islamic regimes and their imperialist makers.
If al-Qaradawi’s opinions were his own and if he were never to go public about his opinions, we think the Muslims could live with that. But when he enters the fray with fighting words and brings with him a constituency of viewers and listeners in the millions then we are faced with a problem of inexperienced scholars playing into the hands of imperialists and mercenaries thinking they are mujahideen.
And they thought that no sedition would befall them; and so they became blind and deaf [of heart]. Thereafter Allah accepted their repentance: and again many of them became blind and deaf. But Allah sees all that they do (5:71).