July 8, 2004 Special Reports No. 30

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in London to Establish 'The International Council of Muslim Clerics'

July 8, 2004 | By Steven Stalinsky*
Special Reports No. 30

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi , who is currently visiting the U.K., is one of the most prominent clerics of Sunni Islam, and is among the top spiritual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement . He is also a spiritual guide for many other Islamist organizations across the world, including supporters of Islamist terrorist organizations such as Al-Qa'ida . The European Council for Fatwa and Research is also headed by Al-Qaradhawi. [1]

At a conference on "Jihad and Denying its Connection to Terror" in Stockholm held by the European Council for Fatwa and Research in July 2003, Al-Qaradhawi stated, "The martyrdom operations carried out by the Palestinian factions to resist the Zionist occupation are not in any way included in the framework of prohibited terrorism, even if the victims include some civilians." [2]

This week Al-Qaradhawi, who has been barred from entering the U.S. since 1999, is visiting London to convene the European Council for Fatwa and Research and announce the establishment of the "International Council of Muslim Clerics ('Ulama) ." [3] In his weekly program 'Shari'a and Life' on Al-Jazeera on July 5, 2004, Al-Qaradhawi stated that this new council "will engage in diverse activities and deal with many areas, and will include many committees such as a cultural committee, a communications committee, an aid committee, and committees engaging in specific Islamic issues."

In describing the goals of the council, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi made clear that it will be an Islamist council by emphasizing its future role in countering trends speaking for reform Islam: "The general overall goal is to preserve the identity of the Islamic nation, and its essential entity – to protect it against the attacks that seek to tear it from its roots and change the identity of the [Islamic] nation and turn it into a different nation with a different philosophy that will make it merely a tail, while Allah has created it to be the head; make it a nation in vassalage to others, while [its destiny] is to be followed by others; and to preserve the message of the nation in its true Islamic face, and to counter the destructive currents that want to change the identity of the nation and also to counter even the inner currents that seek to change the nature of Islam and make of it a religion of violence or something like that. We are against these currents and we seek to highlight the civilized face and the message of Islam…" [4]

Many of Al-Qaradhawi's sermons contain religious supplications directed against the U.K. and the U.S. For example, in a sermon on March 7, 2003 from the Umar Bin-al-Khattab mosque in Doha: "O God, destroy the Zionist, the American, and the British aggressors. O God, shake the ground under them and protect us from them." [5]

The following report details Al-Qaradhawi's teachings on Jihad and martyrdom, September 11 and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Judaism and Jews, and wife beating. It also includes Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi's rulings that "Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror." [6]

Al-Qaradhawi's Teachings on Jihad and Martyrdom

Following Al-Qaradhawi's arrival in England on July 7, 2004, BBC2 TV aired an interview in which he said that Islam justifies suicide bombings in Iraq against the U.S. military and in Israel against women and children. [7] In a Friday sermon following the Al-Qa'ida attack in Bali on October 18, 2002, he explained, "Islam does agree to such acts." [8]

About recent efforts to change Islamic curricula, which include lessons on Jihad and Islamic heroes, Al-Qaradhawi stated: "… They want to omit all teachings about Jihad, pride, and dignity, and set away the Koranic verses on Jihad and the military expeditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from his biography. There are other attempts to get Muslims to forget such great characters as Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed, Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi [Saladin],and Omar Al-Mukhtar,from the chapters of our history." [9]

In a special edition of its weekly religious program, Al-Jazeera presented the Prophet Muhammad as a model of a Jihad warrior, and held a discussion on the modern implications of this image. When program host Maher Abdallah asked Al-Qaradhawi how this relates to the lives of Muslims today – that is, whether they should restrain themselves from preparing for Jihad, or launch an immediate armed JihadSheikh Al-Qaradhawi replied: "The youth who wish to hurry to establish an Islamic state with an Islamic rule seek clashes with the existing regimes in the Arab states, despite the fact that they don't have sufficient strength, they don't have military strength, and not even the mental strength to establish an Islamic rule."

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi argued that there are two types of Jihad: "A Jihad which you seek [an attack], and a Jihad in which you repulse an attack. In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for the enemy and invade him. This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other [countries] in order to spread the word of Islam and to remove obstacles standing in its way. The repulsing Jihad takes place when your land is being invaded and conquered… [In that case you must] repulse [the invader] to the best of your ability. If you kill him he will end up in hell, and if he kills you, you become a martyr [Shahid]…

"There are various ways to prepare for Jihad: there is mental preparation, there is physical preparation, and there is material preparation, meaning the preparation of the weapons. The Prophet [Muhammad] prepared all his friends first mentally, since equipment and weapons cannot fight by themselves but rather need hands to operate them, and those hands must also have a purpose.

"Why were we defeated in 1967? Officers stated that we had vast amounts of weapons but we did not provide the warrior with mental preparation. We did not prepare him to fight for religious belief and for defending religious sanctuaries. We are the oppressed, and the duty is [incumbent up]on us. He who got killed is a [Shahid] in heaven… The first assignment is to prepare the hero who is willing to put his life in his own hands for Allah's sake, and he who does not care whether he encounters death or death encounters him…" [10]

When asked again about this issue, Sheik Al-Qaradhawi argued that someone committing this act "is not a suicide [bomber]. He kills the enemy while taking self-risk, similar to what Muslims did in the past… He wants to scare his enemies, and the religious authorities have permitted this. They said that if he causes the enemy both sorrow and fear of Muslims … he is permitted to risk himself and even get killed." Throughout his appearances at that time, Al-Qaradhawi maintained that Palestinian suicide attacks are "self-sacrifice" and not suicide, and are thus permitted and even welcome from a religious standpoint. [11]

As early as 2001, [12] Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi expressed his support of the act of martyrdom (suicide) operations as an important aspect of Islam, and has often praised the terrorist organizations responsible for these attacks. For example, on October 18, 2002, in a sermon on Qatar Television, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi called Hamas the mouthpiece of the Islamic nation, and said that it cannot be eliminated: "Hamas and its counterparts cannot be wiped out, for they are the mouthpiece of the Islamic nation all over the world." [13] On March 7, 2003, in another sermon aired on Qatar Television, Al-Qaradhawi stated that organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and Abu-Ali Brigades are not terrorist organizations, but are defending their homeland and should be praised by Muslims. [14]

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi explained that martyrdom operations are an important weapon in the arsenal of those waging Jihad, even against civilians and in non-military situations: "The Mujahid becomes a 'human bomb' that blows up at a specific place and time, in the midst of the enemies of Allah and the homeland, leaving them helpless in the face of the brave Shahid." [15] Al-Qaradhawi opposed Muslim clerics who prohibit suicide bombings, citing these attacks as "the supreme form of Jihad … that is allowed by the Shari'a… These are heroic operations of martyrdom." [16] On another occasion, Al-Qaradhawi explained that Fatwas issued by Muslim clerics condemning suicide bombings "were not issued by authoritative religious sources … but rather by a group of people who are alien to the Shari'a and the religion." [17]

He added that "the term 'suicide operations' is incorrect and misleading, because these are heroic operations of martyrdom, and have nothing to do with suicide. The mentality of those who carry them out has nothing to do with the mentality of someone who commits suicide." [18]

During the first week of July 2003, the European Council for Fatwa and Research convened in Stockholm for its 11th session, called "Jihad and Denying its Connection to Terror." The five reports that were presented focused on dictionary definitions of the word "terror." The London-based Arabic language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsatreported at length on research by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, who classified terror according to the following categories: colonialist terrorism, state terrorism, international terrorism, political terrorism, terrorism that is permitted by Islamic law, terrorism that is prohibited by Islamic law, and martyrdom operations. He stated, " First of all, due to the colonialist, occupying, racist, and [plundering] nature of Israeli society, it is, in fact, a military society. Anyone past childhood, man or woman, is drafted into the Israeli army. Every Israeli is a soldier in the army, either in practical terms or because he is a reservist soldier who can be summoned at any time for war. This fact needs no proof. Those they call 'civilians' are in effect 'soldiers' in the army of the sons of Zion.

" Second , Israeli society has a unique trait that makes it different from the other human societies, and that is that as far as the people of Palestine are concerned, it is a 'society of invaders' who came from outside the region – from Russia or America, from Europe or from the lands of the Orient – to occupy Palestine and settle in it…

"Those who are invaded have the right to fight the invaders with all means at their disposal in order to remove [the invaders] from their homes and send them back to the homes from whence they came… This is a Jihad of necessity, as the clerics call it, and not Jihad of choice… Even if an innocent child is killed as a result of this Jihad – it was not intended, but rather due to the necessities of the war… Even with the passage of time, these [Israeli] so-called 'civilians' do not stop being invaders, evil, tyrants, and oppressors…"

Al-Qaradhawi also explained that there are two types of Fatwas: "Fatwas concerning a situation of calm and choice, and Fatwas concerning a situation of distress and necessity. It is permissible for a Muslim, when in a situation of extreme necessity, to do what is prohibited to him [in circumstances allowing] choice… Thus, one of the clerics has espoused the rule 'Necessities Permit Prohibitions.' Our brothers in Palestine are, without doubt, in a situation of extreme necessity to carry out martyrdom operations in order to unsettle their enemies and the plunderers of their land and to sow horror in their hearts so that they will leave, and return to the places from whence they came…

"What weapon can harm their enemy, can prevent him from sleeping, and can strip him of a sense of security and stability, except for these human bombs – a young man or woman who blows himself or herself up amongst their enemy. This is a weapon the likes of which the enemy cannot obtain, even if the U.S. provides it with billions [of dollars] and the most powerful weapons, because it is a unique weapon that Allah has placed only in the hands of the men of belief. It is a type of divine justice on the face of the earth… it is the weapon of the wretched weak in the face of the powerful tyrant…

"In contrast, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation does not think of himself. He sacrifices himself for the sake of a higher goal, for which all sacrifices become meaningless. He sells himself to Allah in order to buy Paradise in exchange. Allah said: 'Allah has bought from the believers their souls and their properties for they shall inherit Paradise…[Koran 9:111]'

"While the [person who commits] suicide dies in escape and retreat, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation dies in advance and attack. Unlike the [person who commits] suicide, who has no goal except escape from confrontation, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation has a clear goal, and that is to please Allah…" [19]

Al-Qaradhawi on Islam and Europe: 'Islam will Return to Europe as a Conqueror'

In a Fatwa posted online about the pending Islamic conquest of Europe, in response to a reader's question, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi wrote of the "signs of the victory of Islam," citing a well-known Hadith: "… The Prophet Muhammad was asked: 'What city will be conquered first, Constantinople or Romiyya?' He answered: 'The city of Hirqil will be conquered first' – that is, Constantinople… Romiyya is the city called today 'Rome,' the capital of Italy. The city of Hirqil was conquered by the young 23-year-old Ottoman Muhammad bin Morad, known in history as Muhammad the Conqueror, in 1453 [CE]. The other city, Romiyya, remains, and we hope and believe [that it too will be conquered]. This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice – once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens." [20]

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi qualified his statement: "I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology…" [21] Al-Qaradhawi made similar statements on other occasions, on his weekly religious program 'Shari'a and Life'on Al-Jazeera television. He declared: "This means that the Companions of the Prophet heard that two cities would be conquered by Islam, Romiyya and Constantinople, and the Prophet said that 'Hirqil [i.e. Constantinople] would be conquered first.' Romiyya is Rome, the capital of Italy, and Constantinople was the capital of the state of Byzantine Rome, which today is Istanbul. He said that Hirqil, which is Constantinople, would be conquered first and this is what happened…

"All right, Constantinople was conquered, and the second part of the prophecy remains, that is, the conquest of Romiyya. This means that Islam will return to Europe. Islam entered Europe twice and left it… Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword… [The conquest of Mecca] was not by the sword or by war, but by a treaty [meaning the treaty of Hudaybiyya], and by peace… Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies. We want an army of preachers and teachers who will present Islam in all languages and in all dialects…" [22]

On another occasion, Al-Qaradhawi explained, "The Hadith says that the city of Constantinople, the city of 'Hirqil, will be conquered first. We conquered Constantinople and the second part of the prophecy remains – the conquest of Romiyya. The conquest of Romiyya means that Islam will return to Europe. In one of my previous programs, I said that I think that this conquest would not be by the sword or armies, but by preaching and ideology. Europe will see that it suffers from materialistic culture, and will seek an alternative, it will seek a way out, it will seek a lifeboat. It will find no lifesaver but the message of Islam, the message of the muezzin who gives it religion but does not deny it this world, brings it to Heaven, but does not uproot it from Earth. Allah willing, Islam will return to Europe and the Europeans will convert to Islam. Then they themselves will be able to be the ones to disseminate Islam in the world, more than we ancient Muslims. This is within Allah's capabilities." [23]

Al-Qaradhawi and the War on Terror: September 11 and Afghanistan

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi made several controversial statements in the days following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the U.S. After first issuing a communiqué condemning the attacks, he appeared on his weekly program 'Shari'a and Life'on September 16, 2001 saying: "The West has made Islam his enemy for many reasons. One is [the Middle East's natural] resources. [Since] the days of the Crusades, there are some mental complexes from which the West has not freed itself. [The West] attacked the Muslim countries, but Islam triumphed, with 'Immad Al-Din Zangi, Saladin, Baibars , and others… Colonialism's aspirations are greedy and full of hate; this hatred still motivates it… The Taliban have nothing to do with this matter; they are preoccupied with their own internal problems… I also think that Osama bin Laden no longer has the means to carry out something like this."

Referring to the war on terrorism, and in response to the question, "What do you advise the Arab leaders to do now?" Al-Qaradhawi answered: "… A Muslim is forbidden from entering into an alliance with a non-Muslim against another Muslim… Allying with others to kill [Muslims] is collaborating in sin and aggression… It is also forbidden to hand over Muslims to others. Something like this is inconceivable. Shari'a says that if a Muslim country is attacked, the other Muslim countries must help it, with their souls and their money, until it is liberated. Islam sees Muslims everywhere as one nation, and it does not recognize geographical borders or [differences of] race, color, or language. It sees Muslims as one nation in Dar Al-Islam, united in Islamic belief and Muslim brotherhood. Co-religionists must not rise up against each other for other peoples' causes, particularly when it is not proven that the crime was carried out by one of those [Islamic] countries."

Al-Qaradhawi continued, "Even if the U.S. is guilty, in that it supports Israeli terror, I say that this does not mean that we may attack civilians in the U.S., because the civilians are not guilty. We should fight the American military if we can, and if we cannot, we should fight the U.S. economically and politically. Let us boycott the U.S.…" He added, "It is absolutely forbidden for Arab and Islamic countries to allow their bases to be used to attack Afghanistan…"

A viewer faxed in the following comment to the program: "I personally place the responsibility on the Islamic clerics and sheikhs, who continuously attacked the Christians with invalid claims, in the mosques and on the Arab satellite channels, including the Fatwa recently issued by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi himself stating that suicide operations are not terrorism and that anyone perpetrating them is a Shahid. This has incited many youths to carry out such suicide attacks…"

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi responded: "I do not know where he gets these claims, and involves my name as well. I call for tolerance between religions, and dialogue even with the secularists… Regarding my Fatwa on the martyrs – whom he calls suicide attackers – I do not think that [the viewer] is a Muslim, because I do not think that a Muslim would let an Islamic homeland like Palestine, and Jerusalem, remain in the hands of the Zionists, who plunder it and damage its holy sites… All I said is that this oppressed people that was expelled from its home has the right to defend itself, and that every man has the right to become a human bomb and blow himself up inside this military society. Israeli society is a military society; anyone who is not currently a soldier is a soldier in the reserves. I issued this religious ruling, and all the Islamic clerics have ruled like me, except for a few. Hundreds of Muslim clerics have ruled that these martyrdom operations are one of the most sublime types of Jihad for the sake of Allah. Many have asked me whether it is permitted to carry out operations outside of Palestine, and I always say no. I support what Hamas says, that every martyrdom operation must be within the lands of Palestine… [If the clerics in Afghanistan call Muslims to Jihad], Muslims must help as best they can, as they did during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan…" [24]

Al-Qaradhawi and the War in Iraq

In his March 7, 2003 sermon at the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque in the Qatari capital Doha, Al-Qaradhawi issued a Fatwa stating that it is not permissible for Arab and Muslim countries to let the U.S. use their airports, seaports, and territories as a launching pad for striking Iraq. He added, "Resisting the invaders is an individual duty [incumbent] on all Muslims. If the enemies invaded a Muslim country, the people of that country should resist and expel them from their territories… It is an individual duty on all Muslims, men and women."

Al-Qaradhawi explained, "If they succeeded in forcing the enemies out, it is all right… But if they did not, it is incumbent on their Muslim neighbor countries to defend them…" According to Islam Online, he added that the U.S. war was aimed at seizing control over Iraqi oil, annihilating the military and human power of Iraq by destroying its weapons, and tearing down Arab powers, which represent obstacles in the way of the Zionist state. [25]

Months before the first Mujahideen appeared in Iraq, Al-Qaradhawi maintained in an interview with the Islamist agency Al-Quds Press that a distinction should be made between American civilians, and the U.S. government and military which are a colonizing force encroaching on the land of Muslims: "Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs, given their good intentions, since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will."

In the interview, Al-Qaradhawi further explained: "The issue is not with the Americans who are peace-loving, but with their arrogant government." On the U.S. war on terrorism, and the issue of reforming Islamic schools, charities, societies, and figures, he stated: "This mentality is considered by the U.S. administration as a threat. So it was at pains not to allow the rise of a strong Muslim man or woman objecting [to] injustice and keen on applying the right things as well as ready to sacrifice himself or herself for the sake of Allah." [26]

In his Friday sermon broadcast by Qatar TV on April 9, 2004, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi discussed the situation in Iraq and mentioned the murder of four Americans in Fallujah: "It so happened that some people killed a few Americans and mutilated the corpses of four of these soldiers. The Americans went out of their minds: How could their soldiers' corpses be mutilated? They wanted to take revenge on all the people of Fallujah because of those few individuals. This is the logic of the terrorists themselves! They fight the terrorists, claiming that the terrorists do not distinguish between a civilian and a non-civilian and fight entire groups because of one or two individuals. They do the same." [27]

Recently,during a sermon on May 14, 2004, Al-Qaradhawi stated, "O God, deal with the oppressive tyrants, including Zionists and Americans and their supporters. O God, take them and their supporters with Your might. O God, inflict Your might on these criminals." [28]

Al-Qaradhawi on Judaism and Jews

Many of Al-Qaradhawi's sermons call for the destruction of the Jews. For example, on October 18, 2002, he stated, "destroy the aggressive Jews." [29] In a May 28, 2004 Friday sermon broadcast on Qatar TV , Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi discussed his participation in a dialogue with Christian clerics. He claimed that Jews should be allowed to join the dialogue, but only after the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved: "The Jews caused us a great injustice, the greatest injustice. They have expelled our people, stolen our land, shed our brothers' blood, and are still shedding blood, and there should be no contact between them and us. How could I agree to meet with them? They have killed our brothers in Rafah and destroyed their homes, and today I am supposed to shake their hand? The problem between them and us should be solved first. There is no way I will take part or agree that any observant Muslim take part in a dialogue with those Jews before our problem with them is solved. True, there are a few Jews who do not agree, but about these, Islam says that the majority rules all, while the minority has no influence. We judge according to the majority. I know that there are some Jews whom our brother Ahmad Mansour [Al-Jazeera talk show host] interviewed, who reject Israel and see it as defying Allah's will and so on. But they are a drop in the ocean. The Jews around the world, as a rule, support Israel. And this is well known. Therefore, we will not agree to meet with them until our problem with the Zionist entity and those Westerners and Christians who support them is solved." [30]

Two weeks earlier, on his 'Shari'a and Life'show of May 15, 2004 on Al-Jazeera, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi accused American culture and Judaism of spreading violence in the world: "Violence exists everywhere and terrorism exists everywhere, even within America, and America may be one of the reasons for the spreading of the violent ideology around the world because of the culture it spreads, violent films, the violent TV series, westerns… This is America and even the children… We have seen children shooting their classmates. Judaism is the No. 1 propagator of violence. As I said in the last program, the Torah itself states that when you enter a certain country, you must offer peace, and if they agree, all their residents are your slaves. In other countries, you should not offer peace or conversion. You must destroy them all, do not leave a living soul. In the first country you must slay all males and leave only the women, but in the second country, you must not leave… you must uproot them. This is in Judaism, in the Torah." [31]

Al-Qaradhawi's Position on Wife-Beating

On January 14, 2004, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, the imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, was sentenced by a Barcelona court to a 15-month suspended sentence and fined €2160 for publishing his book 'The Woman in Islam.' In this book, the Egyptian-born Sheikh Mustafa writes that wife-beating is permitted by Shari'a.

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, as a major authority for Sunni Muslims all over the world, addressed this issue in his 1984 book The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, in which he permits wife-beating in accordance with the Koran and Shari'a.

In his book, he wrote: "Because of his natural ability and his responsibility for providing for his family, the man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife, and accordingly it is not permissible for her to rebel against his authority, causing disruption. Without a captain the ship of the household will flounder and sink.

"If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury. Rather, this 'beating' should be of the kind which the Prophet (peace be on him) once, when angry with his servant, mentioned to him, saying, 'If it were not for the fear of retaliation on the Day of Resurrection, I would have beaten you with this miswak (tooth-cleaning stick).'

"The Prophet (pbuh) admonished men concerning beating their wives, saying 'None of you must beat his wife as a slave is beaten and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day.' It was reported to the Prophet (pbuh) that some of his Companions beat their wives, whereupon he said, 'Certainly those are not the best among you.'

"Says Imam Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar, 'The saying of the Prophet (pbuh), 'The best among you do not beat,' could imply that beating wives is in general permissible. To be specific, one may beat only to safeguard Islamic behavior and if he (the husband) sees deviation only in what she must do or obey in relation to him. It is preferable to warn (her) or something of the sort, and as long as it is possible to achieve things through warning, any use of force is disallowed because force generates hatred, which is inimical to the harmony expected in marriage. Force is applied only when sin against Allah is feared. Al-Nasai has reported 'Aishah as saying, 'The Prophet (pbuh) never beat any of his wives or servants; in fact, he did not strike anything with his hand except in the cause of Allah or when the prohibitions of Allah were violated, and he retaliated on behalf of Allah.'

"If all these approaches fail, and the rift between the husband and wife deepens, the matter then devolves on the Islamic society for solution. Two individuals of good will and sound judgment, one from the wife's and one from the husband's side, should meet with the couple in order to try to resolve their differences. Perhaps the sincerity of their efforts may bear fruit and Allah may bring about reconciliation between the spouses." [32]

On his 'Shari'a and Life'programof October 5, 1997, Al-Qaradhawi said: "Beating is permitted [to the man] in the most limited of cases, and only in a case when the wife rebels against her husband… The beating, of course, will not be with a whip, a stick, or a board. The beating will be according to what the Prophet said to a servant girl who annoyed him on a particular matter, 'If it were not for fear of punishment in the Hereafter, I would have beaten you with this miswak.'

"Likewise, the beating must come only after admonishment, and expelling [the wife] from the bed [as is said in the Koran 4:34], 'Admonish them, leave them alone in their beds, and beat them.'

He also said: "Beating is not suitable for every wife; it is suitable for certain wives and for other wives it is not. There is a woman who cannot agree to being beaten, and sees this as humiliation, while some women enjoy the beating and for them, only beating to cause them sorrow is suitable…

"The Prophet said about those who beat their wives: 'They are not the best among you.' The respectable and honest Muslim man does not beat his wife, and his hand is not accustomed to beating. If [the husband] beats [his wife] he must beat her in the way of which we spoke. He must refrain from beating her in sensitive places or on her face." [33]

In a Fatwa posted on, Qaradhawi said on the same matter: "It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary, and she 'is in a state of rebellion' against the husband, and flouts him. This is temporary discipline [ta'adib] that is permitted to him according to the Koran in exceptional circumstances, when other efforts of admonishing [the wife] have failed and removing her from the bed as Allah said: 'As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them pretexts (for annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).'[Koran 4:34] Despite this permission for the hour of necessity, the Prophet said: 'The good men from among you do not beat [their wives].'" [34]

* Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI.

[1] Biographical note: According to IslamOnline, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi was born in Egypt in 1926, and now resides in Qatar. In 1953, he graduated from Al-Azhar University. The following year he headed the College for Imams in Egypt's Ministry of Awqaf. Afterwards, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi worked for the Department of Islamic Culture at Al-Azhar University , and in 1961 moved to Qatar to head the Religious Institute in Doha. In 1973 he established the Department of Islamic Research at the University of Qatar , and in 1989 founded the Research Center of Sunna and the Sirah (biography) of the Prophet at the University of Qatar. In 1997, Al-Qaradhawi established the European Council on Fatwa and Research , which is registered in Dublin, Ireland , and has remained active in Muslim causes in Europe.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 19, 2003. MEMRI Special Dispatch 542, July 24, 2003, "Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden."

[3] On July 7, British MP Louise Ellman, Labor member for Liverpool, called on Home Secretary David Blunkett to bar the sheikh from Britain ( Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia, July 7, 2004). The same day, Opposition leader Michael Howard asked Prime Minister Tony Blair why the cleric had not already been barred from the U.K. Blair responded that the government had "already indicated we will keep this under very strict review." ( BBC News , U.K., July 7, 2004,

[4] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), July 5, 2004.

[5] Doha Qatar Television Service, March 7, 2003. Translated by FBIS, March 7, 2003.

[6], December 2, 2002. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 447, December 6, 2002. "Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome."

[7] News Night, BBC2 (United Kingdom), July 7, 2004.

[8] Doha Qatar Television Service, October 18, 2002. Translated by FBIS, October 18, 2002. Other sources such as, on October 15, 2002, reported that he had denounced the attack.

[9] "Those Who Die Fighting U.S. Occupation Forces are Martyrs: Qaradhawi." Islam for Today, January 8, 2003. See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 145, August 14, 2003, "Leading Egyptian Islamic Clerics on Jihad Against U.S. Troops in Iraq: March – August 2003", by Steven Stalinsky.

[10] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), June 19, 2001. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 246, July 24, 2001, "The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model."

[11] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), June 19, 2001. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 246, July 24, 2001, "The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model."

[12] Al Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), February 3, 2001. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[13] Doha Qatar Television Service, October 18, 2002. Translated by FBIS, October 18, 2002.

[14] Doha Qatar Television Service, March 7, 2003. Translated by FBIS, March 7, 2003.

[15] Al Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), February 3, 2001. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[16] Al-Raya (Qatar), April 25, 2001. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[17] Al-Istiqlal (Palestinian Authority), August 20, 1999. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[18] Al-Raya (Qatar), April 25, 2001. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[19] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 19, 2003. MEMRI Special Dispatch 542, July 24, 2003, "Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden."

[20], December 2, 2002. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 447, December 6, 2002. " Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome."


[22] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), January 24, 1999.

[23] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), November 30, 2000.

[24] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), September 16, 2001. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 277, September 25, 2001, "Terror in America (10): Prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, Sheikh YussefAl-Qaradhawi: 'Islamic religious law dictates that we join the Taliban's Jihad, not the US coalition; It is forbidden to attack American citizens, but permitted to attack the American military.'"

[25] Talima, Essam. "Resisting Invaders Individual Duty: Al-Qaradhawi." Islam Online, March 8, 2003. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[26] "Those Who Die Fighting U.S. Occupation Forces are Martyrs: Al-Qaradhawi." Islam for Today, January 8, 2003. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 53, May 2, 2001, 'Debating the Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings.'

[27] Doha Qatar Television Service, April 9, 2004.

[28] Doha Qatar Television Service, May 14, 2004. Translated by FBIS, May 14, 2004.

[29] Doha Qatar Television Service, May 14, 2004. Translated by FBIS, May 14, 2004. In addition, in a sermon given on June 13, 2003 Al-Qaradhawi called to "destroy the usurper Jews, the vile Crusaders, and infidels." Doha Qatar Television, June 13, 2003. Translated by FBIS, June 16, 2003.

[30] Doha Qatar Television Service, May 28, 2004.

[31] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), May 15, 2004.

[32] Islam Online, . See MEMRI Special Report No. 27, March 22, 2004, "Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating," By Steven Stalinsky & Y. Yehoshua.

[33] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), October 5, 1977.. See MEMRI Special Report No. 27, March 22, 2004, "Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating," By Steven Stalinsky & Y. Yehoshua.

[34] Islam Online , See MEMRI Special Report No. 27, March 22, 2004, "Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating," By Steven Stalinsky & Y. Yehoshua.

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.