Shaykh el-Qaradawi continues to grab headlines. His latest announcement about resigning from the advisory Committee of Ulama at Al-Azhar has been welcomed by most sincere Muslims. He resigned because he accused Al-Azhar and its shaykh of failing to condemn the military coup and its massacres of the Egyptian people. Muslims, however, have questioned el-Qaradawi's sectarian outbursts and his acceptance of patronage of the Qatari amir.
December 02, 2013, 20:19 EST
Shaykh Yousef el-Qaradawi, an Islamic scholar with close links to the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon (Muslim Brotherhood), announced his resignation from an advisory body of Al-Azhar.
Living in exile since 1961 and currently settled in Doha, Qatar where he is provided comfortable living by the amir, Shaykh el-Qaradawi condemned the military coup in Egypt that overthrew the first-ever elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.
The Shaykh, who has a regular program on the Qatari channel Al Jazeera and a huge following worldwide, had returned to Egypt following the ouster from power of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Three weeks of mass protests had forced the Egyptian military to get rid of the old pharaoh to dissipate public anger in order to save their privileged position within the system.
A statement that appeared on Shaykh el-Qaradawi’s personal Facebook page on Sunday said he was resigning from Al-Azhar's Supreme Committee of Ulama. The committee plays an advisory role within the institution.
Al Azhar, however, has lost its prestige and clout over the years, especially since the days of Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian demagogue who grabbed power from General Neguib after the ouster of King Farouk from power in 1952.
The Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb, supported the military coup of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi provoking el-Qaradawi’s wrath. He lashed out at the head of al-Azhar. There were immediate calls within the institution to expel el-Qaradawi from the body but after consideration, they realized there was no mechanism to expel anyone from the advisory body.
El-Qaradawi seems to have solved their problem but in an elliptical way. He did not send his resignation letter directly to Al-Azhar. Abbas Shouman, a senior official at the institution, told Mehwar TV today that no official letter had been received of the shaykh’s resignation.
So does this mean that Al-Azhar still considers him to be a member of the advisory committee? El-Qaradawi does not think so. His Facebook page statement reads: “I present my resignation to the Egyptian people because they are the true owners of Al-Azhar, and not the shaykh of Al-Azhar.”
El-Qaradawi used pretty strong language against El-Tayyeb, and other key members of Al Azhar. He said they supported a military coup that “raped the office of the Egyptian president.” He also chastised the Committee of Ulama for failing to condemn the recent massacres of civilians perpetrated by the military.
He was referring to the August massacres of Brotherhood supporters as well as subsequent crackdown on the organization by arresting key figures as well as putting them on trial through kangaroo courts.
His stand against the military has earned him admiration from members of the Islamic movement but in Egypt, he has been attacked by the pliant media as well as on social networks.
Shaykh el-Qaradawi, however, has not always adopted principled positions. He has fallen for sectarian rhetoric and made wild allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran accusing it of pursuing a “Shi‘i agenda” in the region.
Far greater wisdom is expected from a scholar of his caliber rather than the emotional outbursts that he has indulged in recently. Since the military coup in Egypt, however, his time has been taken up by condemning the military’s excesses. Sincere Muslims have also asked how a scholar of his caliber could accept the patronage of the Qatari ruler who has no legitimacy in Islamic law.