Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic theologian best known for his TV program Shariah and Life broadcast through Al-Jazeera to an audience of approximately 40 million people worldwide.
Al-Qaradawi was born in Egypt in 1926 to a poor family of devout Muslim peasants. He became an orphan at the age of two when he lost his father. Following his father’s death, he was raised by his uncle. He read and memorized the entire Koran by the time he was nine years old.
He then joined the Institute of Religious Studies at Tanta and graduated after nine years of study. While in Tanta, Al-Qaradawi first encountered Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, when al Banna gave a lecture at his school. Al-Qaradawi has written of the lasting impact of this encounter, describing al Banna as “brilliantly radiating, as if his words were revelation or live coals from the light of prophecy.”
After graduating from the Institute of Religious Studies he moved on to study Islamic Theology at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, from which he graduated in 1953. He earned a diploma in Arabic Language and Literature in 1958 at the Advanced Arabic Studies Institute. He enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of Quran and Sunnah Sciences of the Faculty of Religion’s Fundamentals (Usul al-Din) and graduated with a master’s degree in Quranic Studies in 1960.
In 1962, he was sent by Al-Azhar University to Qatar to head the Qatari Secondary Institute of Religious Studies. In 1973, he was awarded his Ph.D. degree from Al-Azhar.
His connection with the Muslim Brotherhood led to imprisonment under King Farouk in 1949, then three more times during the reign of former President Gamal Abdul Nasser. He left Egypt for Qatar in 1961 and did not return until the overthrow of the military regime by the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
In 1977, he laid the foundation for the Faculty of Sharia and Islamic Studies at the University of Qatar and became the faculty’s dean. In the same year, he founded the Centre of Seerah and Sunna Research. He also served at the Institute of Imams, Egypt under the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments as a supervisor before moving back to Doha as Dean of the Islamic Department at the Faculties of Shariah and Education in Qatar, where he continued until 1990. His next appointment was in Algeria as Chairman of the Scientific Council of Islamic University and Higher Institutions from 1990–91. He returned to Qatar once more as Director of the Seerah and Sunnah Center at Qatar University, a post he still occupies today.
In 1997, Al-Qaradawi helped found the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a council of important and influential Muslim scholars dedicated to researching and writing fatwas in support of Western Muslim minority communities based in Ireland, and he serves as its head. He also serves as the chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
Qaradawi has written and published more than 100 books and, in 1997, founded the popular website “Islam Online” for which he now serves as its chief religious scholar.
A 2008 Foreign Policy magazine poll put Qaradawi third on its worldwide list of public intellectuals. Qaradawi is widely viewed as a source of intellectual inspiration for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and, although he has twice turned down the opportunity to lead the group, he maintains strong ties with its rank and file.
Qaradawi supports Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombings in Israel. He regards all of Israel as Muslim territory and even derides the Palestinian Authority (he once called for the stoning of PA President Mahmoud Abbas).
Fhas issued numerous fatwas. For example, he has issued fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Jews, attacks against U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, the conquest of Europe “by the sword” and Jihad against the West. His status as one of the Islamic world’s leading Sunni clerics gives added importance, leverage, and legitimacy to his fatwas across Egypt and the region.
Qaradawi died in Doha on September 26, 2022.
On Muslim Obligation for Jihad
It [is] obligatory upon every Muslim wherever he is to defend Jerusalem, and al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an obligation upon all Muslims to participate in defending Jerusalem with their souls, money, and all that they possess, otherwise a punishment from Allah shall descend on the whole nation. –The Atlantic, February 2011
Lebanon and Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are all neighbors of Israel, and whoever wanted to set out [on Jihad] from these countries could have done so … But it is as if we have become the protectors of Israel. –Al-Jazeera, January 2009
A message to our brothers in Palestine: I harbor the hope that Allah…will allow me to witness the conquest of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. –Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011
On Suicide Terrorism
These martyr operations led by the Palestinian fighters against Israel spring from resistance and all Muslims who kill to defend their land, honor and religion are martyrs. –Agence France-Presse, June 2001
[Suicide bombings] are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out … are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors. – Los Angeles Times, May 2001
The conquerors [of Palestine] are those with the greatest enmity toward the believers, and they are supported by the strongest state on earth - the USA, and by the world Jewish community. –The Atlantic, February 2011
The least the Muslim can do is to boycott the enemies' goods. –The Atlantic, February 2011
The Jews' claims to Al-Buraq Wall [Western Wall] dates back only to recent times ... those who claim that [the Jews] have a long history in Israel are liar. –Islam Online, 2004
On Muslim and Islamic Views Toward Jews
Receiving enemies in our own countries and visiting them in the occupied lands would remove such a psychological barrier that keeps us away from them, and would bridge the gap that keeps the desire for Jihad against them kindled in the hearts of the Ummah. –The Atlantic, February 2011
We believe that the battle between us and the Jews is coming ... Such a battle is not driven by nationalistic causes; it is rather driven by religious incentives. This battle … is between Muslims and Jews… This battle will occur between the collective body of Muslims and the collective body of Jews. –The Atlantic, February 2011
Allah lies in wait for [Jews], and He will not forsake [Islam]. He will not allow [Jews] to continue to spread corruption in the land. We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and, Allah willing, it will be by our own hands…This is my message to the treacherous Jews, who have never adhered to what is right. – Al-Jazeera, January 2009
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. –Al-Jazeera, January 2009
On Libyan Leader Moammar Al-Gaddafi
[Gaddafi] is no longer reasonable; he has been crazy for a long time…Even the Jews did not do such things [as wantonly killing Arabs]. –Al-Jazeera, February 2011
I order a fatwa to the officers and soldiers who can kill Muammar Al-Gadhafi: Whoever among them can fire a bullet at him … should do it. –Al-Jazeera, February 2011
On The Holocaust
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. – Al-Jazeera, January 2009
On The United States and the "West"
My message to the West, which collaborates with Zionism, and especially to America, which acts like a god on Earth… Nobody holds [America] accountable for the things it says, because it is like a god in this world. … We say to the West, and especially to America, that Allah will not let you support falsehood. He will not let you support inequity against justice. –Al-Jazeera, January 2009
All of the Americans in Iraq are combatants…one should fight them, since the American civilians came to Iraq in order to serve the occupation…the killing of Americans in Iraq is a [religious] obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately. – Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, September 2004
On Arab Rulers in the Middle East
This is my message to our rulers: They should heed their peoples when they make their decisions, or else history will sweep them up with its broom. These rulers are desperate, powerless, and incapable of doing anything. – Al-Jazeera, January 2009
Many of the existing governments now do not have any popular support; they are governments that are hated by their peoples, and they govern their countries by brute force, and martial and emergency laws rather than governing through the consensus of the people. –Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, December 2010
We have a Starbucks. They used to hang a sign on the doors of their shops: 'We benefit our most important partner, which is Israel, we help in the education of students in Israel and we help build up the Israeli defense arsenal,' and so on…this Starbucks is Zionist. –Al-Jazeera, January 2009
On The Egyptian Army
I salute the Egyptian army…It is inconceivable that the Egyptian army, which waged 4 wars for the sake of Egypt and Palestine, would betray its country or sacrifice its people for the sake of a single person. ––Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011
Rest assured that you will be victorious… the Rafah border crossing will be opened … this is what I demand from the Egyptian army. –Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011
On September 11th
I was the first who condemned the crimes of Sept. 11, even before it was clear to many that al-Qaida was behind the attacks. There is certainly a difference if violence is used in a blind terrorist act or if it is used in rebellion against a foreign occupying force. –Der Spiegel, September 2005
It is clear that it is a crime to transform airplanes full of people into rockets and use them to destroy buildings. –Der Spiegel, September 2005
On Salmon Rushdie
Rushdie disgraced the honor of the Prophet and his family and defiled the values of Islam.” –Der Spiegel, September 2005
There was a demonstration against me in London because I spoke out against homosexuality. People seem to have forgotten that it wasn't me who came up with this [anti-homosexual] mindset. It's part of God's order spoken of by Moses and even mentioned by Jesus.” –Der Spiegel, September 2005
On Domestic Abuse
The man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife … If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife … it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands. The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, 1997 (book)
On The Muslim Brotherhood
The [Muslim Brotherhood] have tried [Jihad], but [jihad] has not been helpful, and we have not gained anything out of [jihad] other than detention, suffering, and victimization. –Der Spiegel, September 2005
On His Personal Dream
I am one of the soldiers of Islam. I am a soldier of God Almighty fighting with knowledge, work, and call for God. I wish to conclude my life by martyrdom for the sake of God …. I wish that God concludes my life with martyrdom, and that my martyrdom be at the hand of a non-Muslim.” –Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, December 2010
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Wikipedia.