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Middle East and Africa

Al-Azhar Answers Qaradawi

It has not been difficult for all the intellectuals who have read the fatwa of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi to understand the bias of his judgement and the unfounded character of his statements. Dr. Qaradawi, indeed, considered the going onto the streets of millions of Egyptians on 30 June, in a form that had never hitherto been witnessed, as a military coup d’état where General al-Sisi was supported by people who do not represent – in his view – the Egyptian people, amongst whom also figures the Grand Imam Prof. Ahmad at-Tayyeb, Shaykh of al-Azhar. I can do nothing else but clarify as follows.



First: His Excellency the Gran Imam Shaykh al-Azhar could not avoid an invitation that had been addressed to him by all the national forces and political and religious leaders, amongst which was the Freedom and Justice party itself, at a historical moment when feelings had become exacerbated and in a national situation when to have withdrawn would have meant a betrayal of the task that responsibility imposed. And this in response to the voice of the people expressed in a peaceful and civil way that was different in no way from that of 25 January 2011 (translator’s note: the date of the first revolution).



Second: the fatwa of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi solely reflects the opinion of those people that he supports. The principal reason why people have fought and still continue to fight is government and politics in the name of religion. As Shahrastânî observed: ‘In all epochs, swords have been taken out of their scabbards for no religious rule in Islam as much as for the imamate’.



The Grand Imam is above taking sides with one group against another and everyone knows the breadth of his past efforts to impede arriving at the current critical situation, about which he for long warned people, without importance being given to the matter. As regards this situation one should call to account those who led the country to the edge of the precipice. Whoever does not know them, can read the recent communiqués issued during this period to realise this, without taking into account the efforts and the stances [adopted in private], known to God and to the noble leaders of the umma who supported them.



Third: the position of the Grand Imam has its origins in, and continues to have its origins in, the national constants of al-Azhar, which are made up of the finalities of the Law (maqâsid al-sharîʿa) and a profound and penetrating knowledge of the texts of the Sharia applied to reality and not detached from it, with a necessary concern to conserve the constants and the rules of the Law. Indeed, a wise man (ʿârif) is he who knows his epoch. He is not a wise man who can distinguish good from evil but he who can distinguish which of the two goods is bad or which of the two evils is good.



Four: with respect to the words and phrases, allusion and calumnies, that the fatwa contains, they are nothing else but an incitement to discord (fitna) and they spread the custom of offending groups that make up the umma, its representatives and its leaders. al-Azhar abstains from answering or commenting: ‘Say: 'Every man works according to his own manner; but your Lord knows very well what man is best guided as to the way' (Koran 17:84).