Sayyid al-Qimny

Truth is one of the most sublime terms for the exalted being, for it is absolute truth, absolute sincerity and absolute justice.  Truth is the loftiest of virtues, which is why the Almighty described His perfect self as truth, for He is truth and emanates nothing but truth and judges only in truth.

But all the meanings of truth and all the values built upon it, and deriving from it, have vanished from our societies to the point that we engage in lying to ourselves and to others and the entire world. We practice lying in science, we lie in the economy and we lie when we legislate. We even lie - and here's the catastrophe - in religion, and to lie in religion is to lie against it, against those who believe in it and against the origin of the faith, the Almighty. There is no clearer indication, in my view, of the spread of the plague of lying and the perversion among virtues of the value of sincerity than what we see in our streets, in our media, in our mosques, in our churches, our education system, our politics and our religious discourse. This is the real disgrace, this is the object of the discussion here.

qaradawitv.bmp - 181.34 Kb
Shaykh al-Qaradawi on the programme 'Sharia and Life'

One of the more exalted names in our contemporary clerical firmament is the authoritative jurisprudent Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi.  He, like all of his colleagues, cannot see a saving solution to our falling short among the nations and our ignominious backwardness other than to set up an Islamic state which would apply Sharī‘a law over all matters. This would earn the favor of heaven and with its amazing powers would intervene to grant victory to the Nation that has been true to the Faith. This, of course, is if it has indeed been true to its faith since faith and belief is something that cannot be measured or weighed by any standard. For you cannot say that I have 10kg of belief or 20m of piety.  These things cannot be measured, in which case judging the pledge of divine intervention to save the Nation remains dependent on something that cannot be defined or gauged. All of which renders this elastic terrain dependent upon a constant state of deferment among our sheikhs, until such time as the Abābīl birds[1] do, or do not, come to our rescue.

In al-Jazeera’s program Sharī‘a and Life (a series on the Constitution and the Sharī‘a) the broadcaster asks Shaykh Qaradawi disapprovingly:

Doesn’t the call for Islamic Sharī‘a in a state in which there are Muslims and non-Muslims actually conflict with the principle of equality of citizenship?

All the meanings of truth have vanished from our societies

The question is a deadly serious and important one, and the answer to it has to be very clear, transparent, sincere, decisive and unequivocal. That is because the consequences we see of the application of Sharī‘a in states where there are non-Muslims are what is happening in Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan−something which we would not wish for ourselves. So let us see if perchance we may find in the words of our jurisprudents a true solution to the problem, one that will not plunge us into a civil war that eats up the land until we have nothing green left to eat. [We should do this] particularly since these clerics are the ones who, since the dawn of history, present themselves as the sincere conscience of the Nation and the ones who are preserving our Faith and watching over it.

The Shaykh has previously answered this question more than once in his published books. In his answer he has defined the concept of moderate Islam in terms of nation and citizenship. We hear this when he speaks in his book (the Muslim Brotherhood):

The imperialists have encouraged the clamour for national identity, aiming to replace the Faith with the nation, and loyalty to God with loyalty to the nation, and the people swear by the nation and not by God, and die in the nation's path and not in God’s path.

The long-awaited saviours of the Islamic Nation

His Excellency goes on to explain to Muslims how ‘intellectual imperialism’ stands behind the institution of the nation state, and how this intellectual imperialism is nothing other than a process of removing Sharī‘a from the judiciary and confining it to cases concerning the individual, and making a separation between religious and civic schools.  Imperialist policies were able to fight against the Sharī‘a of Islam as a philosophy of life, a system of dealings and a constitution that draws for individuals the border lines of equality and freedom … even the Wafd party never called for Islam as a system for life but only made use of religion as a means to consolidate their leading position.

Qaradawi concludes in his book that the nation and nationalism and the concept of a state with historical borders, is entirely one of “imported secular philosophies that separated religion from daily life.”  After conjuring up to us scenarios of horrendous collapse and then granting us the good tidings of the birth of the long-awaited savior of the Islamic Nation and the agent of divine Providence, he says:

“in this dark and cloudy climate there was born the call of the Muslim Brethren, a call to revival and salvation, as explained by the Imam Hassan al-Banna (18:22)”.

So, what if we were to ask ourselves what it is that brings together the sons of one nation? Or what promotes the loyalty of the citizen to his fellow citizens and to their collective interests? Qaradawi gives us an answer that is entirely removed from all political concepts. He reminds us that

“Loyalty belongs to God and to His Prophet; he who takes God as his patron – his enemy has taken [Him] as an enemy; the Abode of Islam is the Islamic Nation - it is seamless, and the Muslim’s nation is the Abode of Islam (p.79,80 of his book Features of Muslim Society). He concludes with a formula which is against everything the nation and nationality stands for, and states with a truly alarming succinctness: “nationalism and nationality and suchlike are all idols.” (Al-Ikhwan: 24,25)

So this means civil war; this means Somalification, Sudanization, Lebanonization, Afghanization, Caucasization. This is what the blessings of Qaradawi’s thinking and those of the nation’s fatwa mongers leads to. Everything their blessings come into contact with splinters and shatters. This is the answer to the question of what happens when we sacrifice the nation for the sake of religious or sectarian or racist ideology.

Read Part 2 of this article


[1] The Abābīl were tiny birds described in the Qur’ān as dropping red clay bricks on the army of elephants sent by the king of Yemen to attack the city of Mecca in the year (571 AD) when the Prophet Muhammad was born. For more on this see Footnote 3 of Al-Qimny's article on Almuslih, Mosques of Mischief, Part 1.