Indeed to Allah We Belong and To Him We Shall return
September 26, 2022 marked the end of the earthly sojourn of one of the most erudite, prolific and prominent scholar of the Muslim Ummah, Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. He was a globally renowned ideologue whose teachings stood at the centre of world-shaking events. He authored over 100 books and more than 50 other publications. He was, perhaps, the most internationalised Muslim scholar that Islam had in modern history, probably the single most influential. His teachings was not limited to a specific section of Islam. Shaykh Qaradawi was not just a theologian, he also made invaluable contributions to contemporary issues from the premise of permisibility of relationships to elections and democracy, to social justice issues and climate change. His propagation of mutual respect, diversity and pluralism in religion reached such height that he founded the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in 1997 to provide religious advice for millions of Muslims in Europe.
Born in 1926 in the Nile Delta of Egypt, then under British colonial rule, Shaykh Qaradawi, who was educated at the prestigious Al-Azhar University, combined religious education with anti-colonial activism in his youthful days. He completed his higher education and post-graduate studies in the Cairo-based institution and eventually obtained his PhD in 1973, emerging top of his class. Qaradawi was actively involved with Egypt’s largest socio-political movement, Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1940s under the guidance and mentorship of Shaykh Hassan -Al-Banna who inspired his understanding of the role of Islam in public life.
He was unwavering in his teachings and belief in the Palestinian and other justice causes. He remained intransigent in his belief that Palestinians have the right to resist illegal military occupation. And on the Arab Spring, he was vehement in his support for the people to rise up against oppresive regimes in Egypt, in Syria, in Yemen and other places. This uncompromising stance earned him the wrath of Military and despotic regimes in the region. He, however, remained an inspiration and source of guidance to millions of faithful as his legacy of scholarship and service continues to benefit Muslims in the United States, Indonesia, Africa and around the globe. With the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which he founded in 2004, he achieved significant success in bridging some of the gaps that existed in the sectarian divides of the global Muslim community. Though, he influenced a lot of the political movements in the Muslim world, yet, he was unequivocal in his condemnation of the violence perpetrated by armed groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIL which earned him huge acclaim as an important voice against terrorism. In the inter-faith arena, he, among other scholars, was the first to establish the inter-faith dialogue in Qatar, 2003 , after the 9/11 attack in America.
He was appointed the Dean of Faculty of Sharia of the then newly established Qatar University after moving to Qatar in early 1960s, following which he started publishing for wider Muslim readership. He was an unusal prolific writer with over 120 books under his belt. Among his first major work is The Lawful and the Prohibited which was commissioned by Al-Azhar as a guide for Muslims living in the West. He rose to fame as a notable Islamic scholar following the publication of his 1973 book Fiqh al-Zakat (The Jurisprudence of Zakat) which sought to explain the rules governing Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam. Some of his other scholarly works include, Modern Fatwas on Issues of Women and Family, The Desired Muslim Generation, Time in the Life of a Muslim, Islamic Awakening Between Rejection and Extremism, to mention but a few. Throughout his career as a public intellectual, he mainatined a writing style that was highly accessible that his books could be read and easily understood by a lay reader. This ability to communicate ideas in plain language would later earn him millions of followers around the world. Similarly, his appearance on the Doha-based Aljazeera channel, as a regular guest on the network’s weekly prime-time religious show, al-Sharia wa-l-Hayah (The Sharia and Life), garnered tens of millions of viewership from around the world.
Shaykh Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi retired from public life in 2018 and then began to compile his collection of works into a single 50-volume encyclopedia. Until he breathed his last, he has established himself as a fount of knowledge and wisdom, an expert in a range of Islamic schorlarly fields. His demise brings to a close the career of one of the most important scholars of the last century and will be fondly remembered for his agitations for Islamically inflected democractic reforms in the Middle East and most especially for championing the Palestinian cause, at the heart of which is Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. He was highly decorated with international awards and prizes, some of which are, The Islamic Development Bank Prize in Islamic Economics (1991), Sultan of Brunei Award for Islamic Jurisprudence (1997), Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award for Islamic Personality of the Year (2000), Award for Contributions in the Field of Islamic studies by the Government of Qatar(2008), among several others.
The entire world bears witness to the contributions of Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi to the Muslim Ummah and the world at large. The death of Shaykh Qaradawi is a loss that is almost impossible to replace.
And from us at The Muslim Congress, we pray Allah (SWT) makes him a place in the highest Paradise and grant solace to the entire Ummah, his students around the world and his loved ones among whom are the 3 sons and 4 daugthers he was blessed with. Aamiin.
Allaahumma–ghfir lahu Warhamhu wa ‘aafihi, Wa’fu anhu… (O Allah, forgive him, and have mercy on him and give him strength and pardon him…)
Alhaji AbdulWasi’I Taiwo Bangbala, Alhaji Hassan Taiwo Adesina,
Amir, The Muslim Congress Secretary General, The Muslim Congress