Date: 29 Shaaban 1444   Tuesday 21 March 2023

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Al-Qaradawi... A nation in a man

13:04 26 December 2022 Author :   Dr. Abdul Hai Youssof*

The life of the great scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi was a living example of what our Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, said: “The best of you are those who live long and do good deeds.” He lived a long life, may Allah have mercy on him, nearly a hundred years - and Allah is his witness- in obedience to Allah Almighty. The Sheikh spent his life spreading knowledge and awareness, fighting falsehood, and defending sanctity. He lived to refute suspicions, establish morals, and strengthen the bonds of religion. He devoted himself, his time, effort, money, thought and honor to that, without fear, apprehension, or hesitation.

Many people wrote about him during his life and after his death. I do not think my writing about him is more than what the people have said and what the common people know. However, I worship Allah Almighty by this, for the sake of spreading his virtues and exploits, and noting his merits, because we live in an era in which the wicked, the rulers of injustice and immorality, and the sick of hearts and souls deliberately destroy the role models and the people of knowledge and virtue. They destroy the people of merit and righteousness in an effort to nullify the truth and give sovereignty to those who do not deserve it.  

Now the whippersnapper talks about important matters, the ignorant claims to know, and the non-eloquent claims eloquence and people are praised for what they are not. Nowadays, innocents are accused and blamed, the generous, the righteous, the chaste, and the compassionate, are accused of traits that are the opposite of perfection and the qualities of righteousness, by which they are known, there is no power but from Allah. Our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was true when he said: “Years of treachery will come over people in which liars are believed and the truthful are denied, the deceitful are trusted and the trustworthy are considered traitors, and the disgraceful will deliver speeches.”

Here, I list a number of points that both his detractors and supporters may agree on:

First: Allah gave him abundance in knowledge, breadth in the horizon, fluency in tongue, gracefulness in pen, smoothness in style, and robustness in thought. He was an accomplished speaker, poet, and author. These qualities are rarely found in one man. If you hear the sheikh preaching, his style will captivate you. If you read his books and articles, you will be pleased with his ideas. When he sings poetry, you think he is a knight of his field. It was a unique version in combining all these talents. "Allah gives His kingship to whom He will." (Al-Baqara: 247), and it is true for us today that we remind the saying of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, when he finished the burial of Zaid bin Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him: “Today much knowledge has been buried.”

Second: He was a proponent of oneness and unity rather than engaging in combat with the people of the Qiblah. He did not mean his pen to keep track of what so-and-so said. In addition, he did not respond to those who disagreed with him on an issue or issues. Rather, he was a pardoner, an order of custom, turning away from the ignorant. When it was said to him: So-and-so said such-and-such about you; His answer was: “My battle is not with these, but rather my battle is with the opponents of Islam!”  What a reaction from a working scholar who had a goal in mind, stuck to his plan, and didn't stress over little matters!

Third: The Sheikh, may Allah Almighty have mercy on him, used to return to the truth whenever it became clear to him. He does not disapprove of that and does not see in it a lowering of his status or a lessening of his value, rather he announces it publicly.

 He spent time calling for rapprochement with some of the sects affiliated with Islam, bearing in that bitter criticism and successive questions. However, when it seemed to him that this desired rapprochement was “like a mirage in a desert, the thirsty one thinks it to be water.” he did not care to declare his innocence from it, and to return from it. When he realized with certainty that the people were lying and that their only concern was advancing their doctrine and spreading their falsehood, he had had enough. He also realized that they were using him and other people like him from the trustworthy group as a crutch to shield them from the corruption of their circumstances and the wickedness of their faith.

Therefore, he uttered those words, showing that he had always advised them in secret and asked them to desist from what kept them away from the truth - from cursing the Companions of the prophet and praying for the Magian who killed Omar, may God be pleased with him, fought and tried to spread their false doctrine among the Sunnis. That is only because he is one of the people of knowledge from whom Allah took the covenant to explain it to people and not to conceal it.

Fourth: Humility and loyalty are prominent characteristics of his character, may Allah have mercy on him. We notice this in his dialogues and reviews. When Sheikh Ibn Baz, may Allah have mercy on him, gave a fatwa following the “Oslo Accords” that this was permissible, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi responded to him with great politeness and high manners befitting the people of knowledge and virtue. Moreover, the scientific dialogues between them continued, and when Sheikh Ibn Baz died, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi went in a hurry to attend his funeral, setting the most wonderful examples of the ethics of scholars.   You can see this clearly in his obituaries for his elders and colleagues when one of them dies, and it is rare to find an episode of his famous program “Sharia and Life” except that it contains something of that.

Fifth: The Sheikh's moral courage made him a role model for those who value justice. He did not care about the cost he had to incur in expressing the view that he was persuaded of. You can see this noble nature in his writings as he strikes a balance between sayings while applying his legal expertise and astute academic acumen.

When our brothers in Palestine possessed nothing but their own bodies, so they killed the enemy in those martyrdom operations - the beginning of the nineties of the last century - he, may Allah have mercy on him, loudly declared the permissibility of these operations. Although some of the top jurists claimed, they were not legitimate operations; he declared they were legal with evidence.

When some judged the demonstrations to be heresy - before the "Arab Spring”, his answer was that it is neither a Sunnah nor a heresy, but rather it is nothing but a habit. However, when he was issuing his fatwa with solid knowledge, he did not care about these campaigns, and he was not affected by this nonsense.

Sixth: He devoted his life to the truth. He was not seeking the satisfaction of the Sultan, nor was he seeking to flatter the masses of the common people. Rather, he used to express his opinion, even if it contradicted the whims of the vast majority of people. He was affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and throughout his life, he defended them and spread the virtues of its leaders. This did not prevent him from being his greatest affiliation with the nation of Islam. His passion for any Islamic endeavor that benefited the Islamic nation, regardless of who issued it, made him a preacher of goodness and a messenger of peace who worked to unite Muslims and those with whom they disagreed.

Seventh: He presented his life to others as an open book. In four parts, he reviewed the events of his life and work, including the stages of his marriage, travels, studies, and imprisonment while highlighting the scientific, intellectual, and social developments he underwent. His writing was of the highest literary caliber.

Then, a word must be said to those who made a concerted effort to hide the sun's light. I say to them: Why are you angry with this revered imam? Wasn't he the one who stood up to the people of secularism and atheism? He published numerous works to disprove their lies and answer to their likeness, wasn't he? Wasn't he the one who traversed the earth of Allah, east and west, calling to Allah, revealing the truths of Islam, and strengthening the believers? Who, among us, did not benefit from his writings and research?  Who, among us, did not review what this meticulous investigator wrote when he wanted to deal with an updated legal issue?   

All scholars and students are indebted to this great Sheikh. The venerable Imam who spent his life, about a hundred years, striving with his tongue and his pen, calling to Allah with insight and repelling from Islam the arrows of its enemies and the suspicions of those intrigued by its followers. We learned from him the chastity of the tongue, the soundness of the chest, the right speech, and the good opinion of Muslims. His intensity and strength, May Allah have mercy on him, was only in the face of atheists, secularists, advocates of sedition, and people of deviance.

O Allah, raise his rank among the guided believers, and replace him in his descendants among those who remain behind, and forgive him and forgive us, O Lord of the worlds.


*Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies - University of Africa

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