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Yusuf al-Qaradawi



Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

(1926-) Egyptian Muslim scholar, now working from the University of Qatar.
Qaradawi is often claimed to be a moderate on religious and social matters, one of the most influential among modern Muslims. His views are still very much to be considered conservative in its understanding of the Sunna, and he is often accused of really being an Islamist. Some confusion among Western observers has risen from him sometimes appearing to speak with two tongues.
How moderate he is, is often hard to detect, he clearly advocates the Islamic state and the superiority of Sharia. Still, he has opposed the strict understanding of Islam exercised by Wahhabi scholars and to some extent Islamists theoreticians.
Qaradawi is strongly disputed among many of his colleagues, most likely because he is considered inclined to define regulations of Islam relatively close to a Western point of view. Yet, his ideals differ quite often from Western ideals. Initially, many Western observers thought that he exercised poor understanding of Western societies when in 2006 he attempted to dictate sovereign non-Muslim societies like Denmark and Norway to change their legislation to limit the freedom of expression to better fit Sharia. However, in 2009, the Norwegian three party government which includes the Centre Party (the former party of World War 2 Nazi collaborator, Vidkun Quisling, who was executed for high treason in 1945), issued a proposal for a new legislation on freedom of expression that perfectly fitted Qaradawi's demands. Denmark, however, has stood firmly by freedom of expression.
Qaradawi's views of atheism is often overlooked by Western commentators, but it is expressed on his website that atheism is the "...the biggest sin ever committed..." This within the framework of a theologian defending death penalty for serious crimes.
His method of working involves a revival of fiqh al waqi', a modernization of a traditional Islamic method, aiming at solving contemporary problems not well regulated by Sharia.
Qaradawi has a moderate view on the differences of opinion between Muslim orientations and between scholars. He clearly defend the right to disagree and claims that Muslims should be tolerant to Muslims with views different from their own.
Among the acts alleged to indicate a moderate thinker, is having allowed women to be candidates in municipal elections, although with some restrictions for young women.
On the other hand, his views on female genital mutilation in Africa is only summed up in the weak "....whoever chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin".
In matters concerning the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, he has stated that Muslims are obliged to aid the Palestinians. He has supported the right to perform suicide attacks, yet he has claimed that the conflict only concerns territory. With this he clarifies that it is not a conflict between the two religions of Judaism and Islam, and Jews and Muslims.
He has published more than 42 books on matters concerning religion and all aspects of life. He is also the man behind the popular and influential website Islam Online.

Biography

1926 September 9: Born in Egypt.
1928: His father dies, and he moves to his uncle in Qatar.
1940's: Returns to Egypt, start studying at al-Azhar University.
1949: Is imprisoned for political activities, after having joined the Islamist movement of Hassan al-Banna.
1973: Receives his doctorate from the al-Azhar University.




By Tore Kjeilen