Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

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Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Arabic: يوسف القرضاوي, September 9, 1926-) is a sheikh, theologian and head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He was born in a village in the Nile Delta named Safat Turab, to a family of fellahin (peasants).

When Qaradawi was two years old, his father died. Qaradawi managed to memorize the Qur’an in its entirety by the age of nine or ten.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Source: BBC)

He now lives in Qatar and is a Qatari citizen. He is considered by many to be "one of the most influential religious authorities in Sunni Islam". It is said that his weekly show on Al-Jazeera Al-Shari`a wal-Haya (Shari`a and Life) "draws millions of viewers from across the Muslim world."[1]


Education and Views

Al-Qaradawi studied Islamic theology at al-Azhar University in Cairo and graduated in 1953.[2] In 1958, he received a diploma in Arabic Language and Literature. He then received his PhD in Usul al-Din (the fundamentals of religion) in 1973[3] "for his thesis on how Zakat (Islamic alms) can contribute to solving social problems."[4]

He joined the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and was arrested for the first time in 1949 when he was in high school. He was again jailed several times between 1954 to 1956 for his affiliation with the MB.[5] He left Egypt in 1961.[6]

Al-Qaradawi held several important positions. While he was still in Egypt, he was "a member of the Board of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Awqaf [religious endowments in] Egypt. He was also "Chairman of the Islamic Scientific Council of the Algerian Universities." He then became "Dean of the Faculty of Shariah and Islamic Studies and the Director of the Center for Sunnah [Muhammad's sayings and actions] and Sirah [Muhammad's life] Studies at the University of Qatar."[7]

Al-Qaradawi is banned from entering the US and is hated by Israel for his endorsement of the Palestinian attacks on Israelis.[8]

When the Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed, he condemned the act and even issued a fatwa (a religious edict) allowing American Muslims to fight for America against aggressors even if they were Muslim.[9]

In 2009, when Egypt was building an iron wall across its border with Gaza, al-Qaradawi made a religious ruling in which he said that the building of this wall is impermissible in Islam. He said this is especially true since the wall was being built "to choke Gazans, to further restrict their movement, to humiliate them, and to pressure them into giving into what Israel wants." He even compared that wall to the separation wall being built in Israel itself. He called on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border to Palestinians, saying it is their duty as Muslims and Arabs, but first and foremost as fellow human beings.[10]

After January 25, 2011

Symbolic Friday Sermon

After thirty years in exile, Yusuf al-Qaradawi led the first Friday prayer in Tahrir Square after Mubarak's ouster. It was the first time he led prayers in Egypt since 1981 when he was banned from preaching after Sadat was assassinated.[11] He started his speech by saying that he is not only addressing Muslims, but Muslims and Copts. "You are all children of Egypt... This is not a day [of rejoice] for Muslims only," he said to hundreds of thousands of flag-waving citizens coming out to celebrate. He said that the revolution was not only a victory against Mubarak but against injustice, theft and corruption. In an interesting juxtaposition, al-Qaradawi compared Mubarak to Moses's pharaoh.[12]

He then went on to praise the steadfastness of the youth and the cooperation between Muslims and Christians. He urged Egyptians to maintain this interfaith solidarity and harness it. He then saluted the Egyptian military, "the people's armor, support and pride." He commended the army, saying that he knew it would never support one person and betray its people after all the wars its generals honorably fought. He requested that the military rid Egypt of the regime that Mubarak put into place. "We want a new government...devoid of people who remind citizens of the injustice, the poverty". He also called upon the military to release all political prisoners. Toward the end of his 40-minute long sermon, he said that he hoped that God would allow for the conquest of al-Aqsa Mosque just as He allowed for the conquest of Egypt.[13]

Growing Influence

To many Arabs, al-Qaradawi acted as "a spiritual guide for their revolutions." Before Qaddafi was killed on October 20, 2011, al-Qaradawi endorsed NATO's intervention in Libya, thus giving the contentious mission legitimacy.[14] He had also issued a fatwa calling for the immediate deposition of Mu’ammar Qaddafi through whatever means necessary: "I hereby issue a fatwa to the officers and soldiers who can kill Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi: Whoever among them can fire a bullet at him, thus relieving the country and the people of him, should do so [sic]."[15]

It is often believed that "his pragmatic views on Islam and democracy could be a useful moderating guide for Arab societies." He sees Turkey as the perfect example to follow, saying, “Our brothers the Turks … were able to serve their country and produce an economic and social renaissance … they have won over secularism calmly.” He adds that "Turkey is the model of moderation," one which all Arab countries can and should learn from.[16] In an interview, al-Qaradawi refuted the popular belief that he wished to establish a theocracy in Egypt. “On the contrary," he said, "my speech supported establishing a civil state with a religious background, I am totally against theocracy. We are not a state for mullahs.” Indeed, according to David Kirkpatrick who writes for the New York Times, “Scholars who have studied his work say… Qaradawi has long argued that Islamic law supports the idea of a pluralistic, multiparty, civil democracy.”[17]

In December 2011, al-Qaradawi made a statement in which he advised the Islamists parties that steadily gained influence in the Arab world (most notably in Tunisia and Egypt) to be moderate in every aspect or policy, including how they deal with the West and with Israel. He is reported to have said, "The rise of the Islamists in countries undergoing change is inevitable." He added, "The forbidden is most desired, and we Islamists have always been forbidden [or banned]."[18]

In February 2012, al-Qaradawi stated that he supports Abdel-Moneim Abol-Fotoh for president.[19]

Later in February 2012, al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa, declaring that non-Palestinians' visits to Jerusalem is haram or unlawful. This caused a huge uproar among Palestinians. Al-Qaradawi reasoned that non-Palestinians who wish to visit Jerusalem have to deal with the "enemy's embassy", thus legitimizing the occupier. "We have to have a sense of longing for Jerusalem so that we may fight to liberate it," he argued.[20]

In March 2012, the United Arab Emirates government deported several Syrian activists and their families for taking part in "an unauthorized" protest in front of the Syrian consulate in Dubai. As a supporter of the oppositional and revolutionary forces in Syria, al-Qaradawi condemned the UAE's decision. He appealed to the UAE leaders directly on the show Al-Shari`a wal-Haya, and "reminded them of their religious duties and of the Day of Judgement." Reportedly, Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan threatened to report al-Qaradawi to Interpol.[21]


Yusuf al-Qaradawi received numerous awards including the "Excellence in Knowledge Contribution Award" from the president of the International Islamic University in Malaysia in 1996 and the Sultan Hassan al-Bilqayya (Sultan of Brunei) Award for Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) in 1997.[22]


  1. Khalaf, Roula. "Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution." Financial Times. December 8, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/96a52b92-21a7-11e1-a19f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gIwckR6Q
  2. Abdelhadi, Magdi, “Controversial Preacher with ‘Star Status.’” BBC, July 7, 2004, accessed May 19, 2011: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3874893.stm
  3. "Yusuf Al-Qaradawi". Al-Shahd Foundation. Accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.shahfoundationbd.org/halim/yusuf_al_qaradawi.html
  4. Abdelhadi, Magdi, “Controversial Preacher with ‘Star Status.’” BBC
  5. "Yusuf al-Qaradawi." Al-Jazeera. October 3, 2004, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/254D323C-3E0C-465C-B550-B68AE388323E.htm
  6. "Yusuf Al-Qaradawi". Al-Shahd Foundation. Accessed December 11, 2011.
  7. "Yusuf Al-Qaradawi". Al-Shahd Foundation. Accessed December 11, 2011.
  8. Khalaf, Roula. "Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution." Financial Times.
  9. Khalaf, Roula. "Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution." Financial Times.
  10. "Al-Qaradawi: Jidar Misr al-Fulathi Muharram Shar`an." Ad-Dustour. December 29, 2009, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.addustour.com/ViewTopic.aspx?ac=%5CArabicAndInter%5C2009%5C12%5CArabicAndInter_issue810_day29_id200208.htm#.TuWuXHOd1JR
  11. Ismael, Farrag. "Banned Qaradawi returns to lead Friday prayers in Egypt." Translated by Mustapha Ajbaili. Al-Arabiya. February 18, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/02/17/138093.html
  12. According to the Qur'an, sorcerers who were supposed to demonstrate to the people that Moses was a fraud saw that Moses had unfathomable powers that could only be given by God, and they believed in him. Pharaoh asked them, "Do you believe before I give you permission to believe?" After citing these Qur'anic verses, al-Qaradawi said that Egypt's (newer) "pharaoh" who did not believe in the revolution asked his people whom he tried to brainwash, "Do you revolt before I give you permission to revolt?" Nothing could change, al-Qaradwi cried, nothing could be done unless we had pharaoh's permission.
  13. "Khutbat wa Salat al-Gum`a 2/18/2011 lil-Sheikh al-Allama Yusuf al-Qaradawi min Midan al-Tahrir fi Misr." Youtube. Febraury 18, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1nYUUguWE&feature=related
  14. Khalaf, Roula. "Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution." Financial Times.
  15. Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, Quoted in: McCarthy, Andrew C., “Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi Issues Fatwa Calling for Gaddafi’s Death,” National Review Online, February 22, 2011, accessed May 23, 2011: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260423/sheikh-yusuf-qaradawi-issues-fatwa-calling-gadhafis-death/andrew-c-mccarthy
  16. Khalaf, Roula. "Outspoken cleric guides Arabs on revolution." Financial Times.
  17. Kirkpatrick, David D. “After Long Exile, Sunni Cleric Takes Role in Egypt.” New York Times. February 18, 2011, accessed December 13, 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/middleeast/19egypt.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
  18. "Al-Qaradawi: Ad`u al-Harakat al-Islamiyya ila al-I`tidal wa Atawwaqa` 'Ta`amul Hakim' ma` al-Gharb wa Isra'il." Al-Ahram. December 9, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011. http://gate.ahram.org.eg/News/146750.aspx
  19. Al-Sharqawi, Haytham. "Al-Qaradawi: Da`mi al-Kamil li-Abol Fotoh li'anah Bashush wal-Awla Sinnan wa Khibra." Al-Masry al-Youm. February 26, 2012, accessed March 14, 2012: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/681246
  20. Zabbun, Kifah. "Hujum Filastini ala al-Qaradawi ba`d Tahrim Ziyarat al-Quds." Asharq al-Awsat. February 29, 2012, accessed March 14, 2012: http://aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&article=665850&issueno=12146
  21. "Ithat al-Qaradawi li-Hukkam al-Khalig Tuthir Azma bayn al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin wal-Imarat." Al-Shorouk. March 11, 2012, accessed March 14, 2012: http://shorouknews.com/news/view.aspx?cdate=11032012&id=ee7a794b-9e27-47e0-a2fb-31c23296dc5e
  22. "Yusuf al-Qaradawi." IkhwanWeb. Accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.ikhwanwiki.com/index.php?title=يوسف_القرضاوي

Other References

"Al-Azhar grand sheikh: Failure to vote is a sin." Al-Masry al-Youm. November 27, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/521221

"Al-Qaradawi: ala Al-Islamiyyin al-Istifada min al-Namuthag al-Turki." Al-Youm al-Sabi`. December 9, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www3.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=550824&SecID=65&IssueID=0

"Al-Qaradawi full transcript." BBC. July 8, 2004, accessed December 11, 2011: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/3875119.stm

"Al-Qaradawi: Man Dahhaw bi-Hayatihim li-Tahrir Libya 'Shuhada' wa Sayudkhiluhum Allah Jannat al-Khuld." Al-Sabq. Accessed December 11, 2011: http://sabq.org/sabq/user/news.do?section=7&id=3040

"Al-Qaradawi: Min Haq al-Suriyyin Talab Tadakhul Dawly itha lam Yatamakkan al-Arab min Himayatihim." Al-Khaleej. December 10, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.alkhaleej.ae/portal/3b66f8fa-d75b-4f76-a264-d914a8af540b.aspx

"Al-Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi fi-Huwar Mutawwal ma` al-Shorouk. Youtube. February 15, 2012, March 14, 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYQ0oBP_dP8

"Arab League intervenes in conflict between Brotherhood and UAE." Egypt Independent. March 12, 2012, March 14, 2012: http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/709241

Fajri, Sufyan. "Ma Wara' Qadiyyat Yusuf al-Qaradawi wal-Imarat wa Qa'id Shurtat Dubai." France 24. March 13, 2012, accessed March 14, 2012: http://www.france24.com/ar/20120312-القرضاوي-الإمارات-قطر-دبي-الدوحة-الإخوان-المسلمين-الغزلان-ضاحي-خلفان-السويدان

"Khutbat al-Gum`a min Benghazi- al-Sheikh Yusuf al-Qadarawi 9/12/2011." Youtube. December 9, 2011, accessed December 13, 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnxV_YbAGlo

Murphy, Dan. "Egypt revolution unfinished, Qaradawi tells Tahrir masses." The Christian Science Monitor. February 18, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0218/Egypt-revolution-unfinished-Qaradawi-tells-Tahrir-masses

Peel, Michael. "Egyptians celebrate revolution with ‘victory march." Financial Times. February 18, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3166037e-3b60-11e0-9970-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gIwckR6Q

Shakir, Marwa. "Video: al-Qaradawi li-Thuwwar Suria: Ithbatu fa-Innakum Muntasirun." Al-Wafd. December 9, 2011, accessed December 11, 2011: http://www.alwafd.org/أخبار-وتقارير/18-عربى%20وعالمى/132985-فيديو-القرضاوى-لثوار-سوريا-اثبتوا-فإنكم-منتصرون

Wikipedia, “Yusuf al-Qaradawi,” Wikipedia. May 14, 2011, accessed May 19, 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusuf_al-Qaradawi

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