Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Arabic: يوسف القرضاوي Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī; or Yusuf al-Qardawi; born 9 September 1926) is an EgyptianIslamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh (“Shariah and Life”), broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide. He is also well known for IslamOnline, a popular website he helped found in 1997 and for which he now serves as chief religious scholar.
Al-Qaradawi has published more than 120 books, including The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam and Islam: The Future Civilization. He has also received eight international prizes for his contributions to Islamic scholarship, and is considered one of the most influential such scholars living today. Al-Qaradawi has long had a prominent role within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian political organization, but twice (in 1976 and 2004) turned down offers for the official role in the organization.
Having established “his excellency’s” credentials and his stature among Islamists, we can now turn our attention to what he thinks about people who at one point were Muslims, and subsequently abandoned that faith (which includes, as it happens, Your Truly):
In February 2013, on an episode of “Shariah and Life” show, which broadcast on Al-Jazzera, Qaradawi stated since the 15th century, the application of the death penalty for those who leave Islam is a necessity, stating that “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam wouldn’t exist today.” Qaradwai also cited several speeches and writings by Muhammad and his followers, such as Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:33, which Qaradawi quoted as “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is that they should be murdered or crucified.” Qaradawi further explained that “… many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad’s companions state that any apostate should be killed. Ibn ‘Abbas’s hadith: ‘Kill whomever changes his faith [from Islam].’”
And here are a few more gems from the good sheikh:
Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] 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.
In connection with the Syrian Civil War, he has denounced the Alawite sect, which many describe as an offshoot of Shia Islam and of which President Bashir al-Assad is a member, as “more infidel than Christians and Jews.” He has called on Muslims “everywhere” to help insurgents in Syria “be victorious … Everyone who has the ability and has training to kill … is required to go” to Syria. “We cannot ask our brothers to be killed while we watch.”[For the context, see my post on this subject-No Cross No Crescent]
Hilariously, that has been an “evolving” position:
In 2006, in response to Muslim scholar Abdullah Ibn Jibreen’s fatwa declaring that it was forbidden for Muslims to support or pray for Hezbollah because they are Shia, al-Qaradawi issued a contrary fatwa, stating that it was mandatory for all Muslims to support Hezbollah in its fight against Israel, stating 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 Iraq to end the civil war.
Seven years later, during the Syria civil war, Qaradawi urged all Sunnis to wage jihad against Hezbollah, attacking Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iran: “The leader of the Party of Satan comes to fight the Sunnis… Now we know what the Iranians want… They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis.” Qaradawi also stated that he now regretted having advocated rapprochement between Sunnis and Shias and his 2006 defense of Hezbollah.
And yet, this is the man who has the nerve to make this statement, also:
Al-Qaradawi has written on the danger of extremist groups of Islam, in his dissertation on the subject Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism. In it he warns of the dangers of blind obedience, bigotry and intolerance; rigidity—which deprives people of clarity of vision and the opportunity for dialogue with others; commitment to excessiveness, including the excessive application of minor or controversial Islamic issues to people in non-Muslim countries or to people who have only recently converted to Islam; harshness in the treatment of people, roughness in the manner of approach, and crudeness in calling people to Islam, all which are contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
This is precisely why I maintain that Islamic organizations cannot be taken for their word, no matter how much they condemn nebulous villainies such as “extremism”, “terrorism”, etc, and must give serious consideration to changing some of their doctrines. As long as doctrines behind such actions are not dumped, the very same people can just as easily endorse what everyone else considers extremism and terrorism to a different audience, and there is ample precedent for that.