July 28, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6116

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Permission Previously Given To Palestinians To Carry Out Suicide Attacks – No Longer Valid; They Now Have Missiles That Can Strike Deep Inside Israel

July 28, 2015
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 6116

On July 27, 2015, the office of International Union of Muslim Scholars head Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi posted on his website an announcement clarifying the sheikh's position on suicide attacks, in response to the airing by Egyptian television channels of a 2013 video of statements by him that can be interpreted as a call to carry out suicide attacks in Egypt.

The announcement cited passages from Al-Qaradhawi's 2009 book Fiqh Al-Jihad ("The Laws of Jihad"), in which he ruled that suicide attacks are prohibited by Islamic law, but were permitted at this time in Palestine because of its unique circumstances. However, it stated, now that the Palestinians have missiles capable of striking deep inside Israeli territory, this permission is no longer valid.

This ruling by Al-Qaradhawi banning suicide attacks in Palestine marked a reversal in his position on the matter, as he had previously referred to suicide attacks as "the most sublime jihad." He had also attacked other clerics with different views on the matter, such as Saudi Mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin 'Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh who held that such acts were prohibited since they were suicide, which is banned in Islam.[1]

Banner of Al-Qaradhawi's website.

Below are translated excerpts from the announcement:[2]

"A clarification on the great scholar Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi's position regarding martyrdom operations:

"The media channels supporting the [Al-Sisi] military coup [in Egypt] have published an edited video of the great scholar Al-Qaradhawi regarding martyrdom operations, in an attempt to mislead [the viewers] into thinking that he was speaking in it about Egypt - which is undoubtedly a lie and falsehood.[3] This video was produced on March 21, 2013, before the [July 2013[ coup, and anyone following the declarations and announcements of His Excellency the Sheikh will find that he vehemently stresses the matter of a coup that is nonviolent and congratulates the noble rebels for adhering to this despite the murder, torture, violations [of rights], arrests, expulsions, and horrific acts of aggression [by the Egyptian authorities] that they face.

"As for the law of martyrdom operations, His Excellency Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi discussed this topic extensively in his book Fiqh Al-Jihad ["The Laws of Jihad"], in which he concluded his words on the matter with the following two important comments:

"1.   I permitted these operations for the brothers in Palestine because of their special circumstances in matters pertaining to defending their lives and the lives of their relatives, children, and wives. [These circumstances] are what compelled them to use these operations, which have no substitute, and I do not permit these operations in any other place but Palestine, because of the absence of the duress that requires or permits the prohibition [against them]. Therefore, drawing an analogy [on this matter] from Palestine to another country such as Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, and so on, where Muslims use these operations against other Muslims, is inappropriate because this is an analogy to an exceptional situation and is invalid in Islamic law. This is the law also regarding those who acted against the U.S. deep in its territory, for example, in the events of September 11, 2001, which are also  not included in this exceptional permission.

"2.   "[Today,] Allah has obviated the need of the brothers in Palestine for these operations, after He made it possible for them to obtain missiles that strike deep into Israel's territory; even though they do not reach the level of the Israeli missiles [in effectiveness], they cause them [the Israelis] damage and worry. Therefore, there is no longer any justification for the martyrdom operations, as there was in the past. Every situation has its own law, and the statement that is appropriate for it; the fatwa changes as the time, place, and situation change (end of quote from the book Fiqh Al-Jihad).[4]

"The position taken by His Excellency the Sheikh at that time was not only his, but was also that of dozens of reliable clerics, including the late Sheikh of Al-Azhar Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who called the following operations 'self-defense and a form of martyrdom [shahada], because the punishment for an evil action is a similar evil action, and what Israel is doing in the Palestinian territories motivates every Muslim to vengeance and self-defense. Whoever blows himself up on an enemy in the Israeli army is thus responding to attack on him, for he has no other way to respond to the attack aside from blowing himself up, and he is a martyr, a martyr, a martyr.' Even if it is said that he [Tantawi] later retracted his position for reasons that are not hidden, [only] Allah sees what is behind [a man's] intention, and He directs [people] on the correct path."


[1], November 3, 2001;, April 21, 2001.

[2], July 27, 2015.

[3] A reference to video segments broadcast on Egyptian television from Al-Qaradhawi's weekly Al-Shari'a Wal-Hayat show on Al-Jazeera that has been off the air for three years., accessed July 28, 2015.

[4] Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, Fiqh Al-Jihad Vol. 2, p. 1092, Cairo, Maktabat Wahbah, 2009.

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