A Reading into Al-Qaradawi-Muslim Brotherhood Relation
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is a pure product of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. His only activist and ideological affiliation is to the Muslim Brotherhood and he has never frankly opposed it.
Al Qaradawi has been defined by the Muslim Brotherhood Movement perhaps as much it is defined by him. They have been related in all stages of his life. When you read his memoirs (released in three parts so far), you feel that his writing not about himself but about the history of the group. You feel also that he was writing about himself when he wrote a book about the history of group entitled: "The Muslim Brotherhood 70 years in Mission and Education".
Al Qaradawi"s age is nearly the age of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was born in 1926 and the group was founded two years later. His history in the group is nearly matching the most prominent periods in the Muslim Brotherhood group.
-A unique example between Azhar scholars and the Muslim Brotherhood
-Multiple perspectives and positions
-A map of ideas and activities that go parallel to the movement
- A unique relation with the organization
A unique example between Azhar scholars and the Muslim Brotherhood
Al Qaradawi was one of a generation of Azhar graduates who joined the group, were taught inside it, and were active in its mission. This generation included iconic names in the fields of jurisprudence and mission, including: Mohammad Al-Ghazzali, Sayed Sabq, Mohammed Metwalli Al Shaarawi, Abdul Moez Abdul Sattar, Abdul Sattar Fathallah Said, Abdul Rashid Saqr, Ahmed Al Assal, Abdul Azim Al Dib, Khaled Mohamed Khaled, Manaa Al Katan, Ahmed Al Sharbasi, Salah Abu Ismail, Ahmed Hassan Al Baqouri, Mahmoud Abdul Wahab Fayed, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, Mohamed Al Mokhtar Al Mahdi, Abdullah Al-Khatib, Mohamed Al-Rawi and Mohamed Al Bari... .
To consider him as a part of a founding establishing generation in the relation between Al-Azhar and the umbrella Islamic movement, and despite being of tens or even hundreds of Al Azhar Al Sharif students and graduates who joined the group, Al Qaradawi was a unique fabric. Others who joined the movement like him were fully absorbed by the Islamic movement and lost the character of an independent Azhar scholar, lacking any effect or presence outside it (like the cases of sheikh Mohamed Abdullah Al Khatib, a member of the group"s Executive Office who is dubbed "the group"s mufti", he is nearer to be the group"s representative among Azhar scholars, rather than Azhar"s representative in the organization, and also like him was sheikh Abul Hama Rabie, the late member of the group"s Executive Office).
Some of them clashed with it when they expressed themselves and their views, feeling their Azhar identities which require an independence for the Azhar scholar ( like sheikh Mohamed Al-Ghazali who was fired by the group among "Azhar group of scholars" in the wake of its clash with the Nasserist regime in 1954, and sheikh Abdul Sattar Fathallah Said who resigned from the group"s Executive Office in 1987 because of what he saw as the dominance of politicians over the group, and ignoring Azhar scholars), or that they adopted an early attitude based on making a distance between them Azhar scholars and the group as a movement that combines both mission and politics (like sheikh Mohamed Al- Bari who was later appointed chairman of Al-Azhar Scholars Font.
Even Mohamed Al Mokhtar Al Mahdi, the imam of the Sunnis and General Manager of Al-Jam"iya Al-Shar"iys, and sheikh Mohamed Metwalli Al Shaarawi- if the story of his joining the Muslim Brotherhood is true- who left the Muslim Brotherhood earlier, saw that it is better for the one to join the Muslim Brotherhood till he attains the Formation Period during which he takes the best part of movement and then he should leave it before he faces its harm- he meant its political conflicts).
Only Yusuf Al-Qaradawi was the sheikh who managed to weave a unique and special relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the relation of a credited sheikh, and a movement which was always skeptical at any independent leaning one in ideology or action to the extent that this saying spread: (no place in the Muslim Brotherhood for a military and an Azhar scholar).
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi possessed talents and abilities that enabled him to forge a special relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, a rare relation that rarely recurs between an Azhar sheikh and a movement that combines both mission and politics.
Understanding this unique and special relationship requires having main keys that may open wide doors to know still unknown areas in the life of sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the last of an iconic generation of top Azhar scholars who attracted the world.
Multiplle perspectives and positions
The first key of the multiple relation lies in: The multiple aspects of Al Qaradawi"s perspectives, the positions he occupied and the roles he played in the movement. Al Qaradawi is a unique type of Azhar scholars who possess branches of knowledge which are rarely found in one single person in this age in which the upper hand is to specialization- and accurate specializations in a single branch of knowledge. Al Qaradawi - who is seemingly affected by Imam Al-Shafii"s school- is the last of this type of comprehensive scholars.
Scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood"s school of facilitation:
Al Qaradawi in one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood school of facilitating jurisprudence, a school that managed to facilitate and simplify jurisprudence. It managed to get jurisprudence out from the specialists to the public, a school which was first initiated by sheikh Sayed Sabq with his book (Fiqh Al- Sunna) or understanding Sunna, on instructions from sheikh Hassan Al Banna who gave it a a prelude that appreciates it and shows its importance.
While sheikh Sayed Sabq was a predecessor, Al Qaradawi was the most famous, creative and persistent among scholars of this school. His beginning was with his famous book (Al-Hala Wal-Haram in Islam) issued in 1959, his first and most famous book that made him well-known in the Islamic world.
The importance of Al-Qaradaw"s book is not restricted to not only juristic fatwas that lean towards facilitating, a methodology that he has adopted throughout his life (Facilitation in Fatwa, Heralding the Mission), but it exceeds this to simply jurisprudence to make any ordinary Muslim unspecialized in jurisprudence to be aware of it.
Through this book with which he started his career in writing books, Al Qaradawi takes jurisprudence out of scholars books written in a specialized old, sometimes complex language, and simplifies it to be nearer to today"s cultured and educated persons. He did so in a way that allows those who aren’t specialists to directly tackle issues which are required in day-to-day life.
With the book (Al-Halal Wal-Haram) and other juristic books written by Al Qaradawi, contemporary Muslims feel no pains in dealing with jurisprudence and its related issues, to the extent that jurisprudence (Fiqh) books have become a part of every devout Muslim"s library, like this book itself (Al-Halal Wal Haram) which was printed about thirty impressions and was translated into more than twenty languages.
Al Qaradawi continued in this direction, especially after the popularity of his (Al-Halal Wal-haram) which was followed by writings that simplify jurisprudence (Fiqh) issues and bring them closer to readers. He released his book (Fiqh Al-Zakat) in two volumes, and issued after that (Contemporary Fatwas) in three volumes.
He then kicked off a complete series for this purpose entitled: "Facilitation of Jurisprudence" in which he issued: Fasting, Tahara (Purity), Principles of Facilitated Jurisprudence, making Al Qaradawi the most prominent scholar in facilitating jurisprudence through helping ending the religious establishments monopoly of religious knowledge.
Al Qaradawi"s role wasn"t restricted to facilitating and simplifying jurisprudence- although this is an important work if seen in its historical context-. He even tackled feared to be trodden territories through tackling-let alone solving-many unsettled juristic issues.
He was among the first ones who spoke about issues like: The juristic view towards music and singing, allocating a big section in his first book: (Al-halal Wal-Haram) to this issue. He also tackled it in his book (Contemporary Fatwas), then he issued full books about the same issue. He wrote a book entitled (Islam and Art) and a second book about (The rule on singing and music in light of the Book and the Sunna) and a third book entitled (Entertainment and recreation).
In these issues, Al Qaradawi adopted the method of facilitation and permissibility (Ibaha) and he did not expand, like others, in prevention and prohibition. Always at his consciousness was the need for an Islamic project for facilitation for the nation, not an individual project whose owner may expand prohibition under the rule of "Avoiding causes leading to corruption".
He has also been a pioneer in strongly handled the issue of women"s social and political rights. He backed Abd Al-Halim Abu Shaqah in releasing his famous encyclopedia about (Women"s Emancipation in the Age of the Message) which may be considered the most important reference in this issue. He has also fought extremism and prohibition-leaning tendencies in woman related issues that overshadowed the Islamic movement in the 1970s. He has even ignored teachings of his mentor and guide sheikh Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, over such issues including a permissibility of women"s work in politics and approving all its political rights like: voting and running for elections, although Al Banna saw the oppsite. Al Qaradawi an important message entitled: (Women"s position in Islamic life) in which he outlines his tolerant view and methodology in dealing with women"s issues.
There is also Al Qaradawi"s boldness as a scholar in dealing with a number of juristic problems that posed as obstacles in front of the development of movement in some of its stages, specially issues of political jurisprudence. Al Qaradawi came to tackle some of such problems for the movement, like his fatwa of allowing the foundation and multiplicity of political parties (considering parties in politics as similar to schools of jurisprudence) and allowing women"s right to vote and run for elections.
Preacher of the Movement and Sahwa "awakening":
In the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, Al Qaradawi wasn"t a mere scholar to which the movement resorts in special jurisprudence issues. His role wasn"t restricted to meeting the movement needs of a facilitated and facilitating jurisprudence. He was also a prominent preacher whose sermons were effective in mosques, in forums held for Islamic movement"s members and supporters, and those for public supporters of the Islamic awakening, which is another important aspect of Al Qaradawi"s influence in his relation with the Islamic movement.
Although there are no documented figures, we can say that Al Qaradawi was the most influential preacher in the history of the Islamic movement due to his thorough experience in this field through the thousands of sermons, lessons and lectures he delivered in front of private and public meetings of the movement, since he worked in the movement"s Message Spreading section, in his books, in his radio programs like: (Nour and Hedaya), and in his famous TV programs like: (Sharia and Life ), or (Guidance of Islam).
Al Qaradawi started preaching and giving sermons when he was still in the secondary stage of education. He gave sermons in his village mosque- he was then 16 years old, and he gained fame to the extent that the mosque was named after him.
Then he continued in the mission as a preacher and in Al-Azhar University and in the ranks of the Islamic movement that sought his help to work in the Spreading Mission Section. Even when the Movement asked him to work in the section of Contacting the Islamic World, his role was missionary based on giving sermons and preaching and defining the Islamic ideology abroad (according to his memoirs from his first journey to Syria and Lebanon).
Jailed with the Muslim Brotherhood members and leaders in their second ordeal during its first clash with the Nasserist regime in 1954, Al Qaradawi was the imam who led them in prayers, and was giving sermons to sow in them seeds of belief, perseverance and steadfastness, his first-if not the only - job, according to his memoirs.
When he traveled to the Gulf, his fame focused on being a successful preacher who has a strong memory, a sound, clearly worded language, a broad culture, quick-of-the-lip repartees and ability to move feelings of the public. These characteristics made a success all his missionary journeys all over the world and he is still successful while he is living permanently in Qatar .
In the second emergence of the Islamic movements in the 1970s, he was the most influential preacher among Islamic groups that emerged in Egyptian universities in this period. He shared with Sheikh Mohamed Al-Ghazali, who was older than him, and he didn"t the country during the Nasserist ordeal, the task of influencing a huge section of these groups, gradually leading to making them lean to the Muslim Brotherhood movement and to join its organization after that.
Al Qaradawi was the first preacher to deliver the sermon of the Feast Prayer, which the Islamic groups committed them again in open spaces. He delivered the first sermon of the first Lesser Bairam prayer performed in the open in Abdin Square in 1976 making it a repeated tradition and he delivered the sermon on the following feast in Alexandria stadium.
Al Qaradawi continued to be a preacher even after he became a professor at Qatar University , with his researches and writings. Even after he became a guest on religious programs in satellite TV channels. Although more than 40 million Muslims all over the world follow up him through Al-Jazeera satellite channel"s program (Sharia and Life), Al Qaradawi is still doing the role of a preacher in the simplest meaning of the word. He has never skipped the Friday Sermon in his famous mosque Omar bin Al-Khattab Mosque in Qatari capital Doha except if he is outside the country or if he is ill. He has never skipped a prayer or a sermon for the mosque goers whatever their number, and leading them in Tarawih prayers in Ramadan, and giving sermons between rak"ahs with a long prayer in the last rak"ah.
Al Qaradawi believes that all means of daawa should be adopted. He doesn’t accept that a sermon given to tens or even hundreds of people is skipped to attend for example a program in a channel watched by millions of viewers.
Al Qaradawi as a human being is inseparable from Al Qaradawi as preacher even in summer vacations. Whenever he visits a certain country and he is hosted by the Islamic movement which is spread all over the Arab world and in the west, he preaches to them. In times of recreation, he doesn"t separate between the time of travel for relaxation and entertainment and his missionary duties.
Once, we were guests in an Islamic meeting in Morocco in the summer of 2006, while Al Qaradawi was spending summer holiday with its family in the city of Tangier , and he fill ill. doctors ordered him not to move lest his ill health deteriorates (he was turning 80 years old at that time. When he knew that youth of the Islamic movement in the city of Meknas- hundreds of kilometres away- and their meeting that included thousands he was flown in his a private plane, and delivered a two full hours sermon only interrupted by chanting Allah is great or cheers welcoming him.
The Educator and Educational Theorist:
The Muslim Brotherhood Movement doesn"t see Al Qaradawi as only a scholar or preacher who provides the movement with juristic and missionary information. He is also an educator and an educational theorist, an important role carried out by him. Al Qaradawi has participated- in the early time of the movement- in laying down the educational and cultural structure inside the organization. He did so through a series of long articles- dedicated to this purpose- entitled "Culture of the Preacher", published by Al-Da"wah magazine that the Muslim Brotherhood issud in the 1970. (These articles were compiled later in a book with the same title). He then wrote another book entitled (Time in Muslim"s Life) originally addressing all preachers public, then he a very important third book about (The Phenomenon of Extremism in Takfir) which had a huge effect on protecting ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood from this wave that hit the Islamic case for two decades.
Also, Al Qaradawi his offered his view towards education in the movement in another book entitled (Islamic Education and Hassan Al Banna"s School), on of the top books that the movement is teaching in this branch.
He was also one of the most prominent figures who took part in the process of educating and preparing members of the group in its special educational forms like: meetings of Al-Usar (the groups) and Al-Kataib (battalions), closed door meetings inside the movement. He has continued doing do since he became known inside the movement till a seemingly recent time. He was also involved in educating and forming Muslim Brotherhood members outside Egyptian territories when he was working in the section of contacting the Islamic world, according to his memoirs about his journey to Syria , Jordan and Lebanon .
He has also intentionally monitored the movement during stages of its development, sending advice and instructions to correct it to the true path. He wrote several important messages about correcting the path of the movement, the most prominent of which are: (Islamic Awakening between Ungratefulness and Extremism), (Islamic awakening and concerns of the Islamic and Arab World), (Islamic awakening between an acceptable disagreement and an unacceptable schism), and (Islamic awakening from Adolescence to Maturity), (For the sake of a mature awakening that revives religion and renovates the world), and (Priorities of the Islamic movement in the coming stage) ... And other books that aim to advise the movement and those inside it and they may contain criticism but a constructive criticism from someone who loves this movement.
- The Political Instigator:
Al Qaradawi roles in the Muslim Brotherhood Movement are even beyond roles of an Al-Azhar scholar. He was also a political instigator who gave a religious momentum to the political movement"s cases and battles- both its own battles or those related to public issues or issues of the Nation, which became his top priority later, when he stopped engaging in politics merely through the Islamic movement.
Al Qaradawi has taken part- in his early life- in delivering political speeches campaigning for Muslim Brotherhood candidates in the parliamentary elections they ran for in early 1950s. He was moving from city to city campaigning and rallying people to vote for Muslim Brotherhood candidates till he reached south of Upper Egypt .
When he went abroad, and his organizational works gradually retreated, Al Qaradawi carried out this role for issues of the Arab Nation, making him the most prominent defender who rallied people to defend such issues.
He has been preoccupied with the Palestinian cause. He delivered sermons and speeches for its sake in all places that he visited it, and he defended the Palestinian rights, stressing that it is an Islamic land from the river to the sea, and that the only solution is establishing an Islamic state on its land with Jerusalem as its capital. He wrote poems defending it from which there is this famous verse: Palestine without Jerusalem is like a body without a head.
He was one of the top scholars who signed a fatwa (a religious) stipulating all the Palestinian land is an Islamic endowment that no one has the right to sell or concede, to close the door of the feared especially after the Arabs started negotiations with the Zionist entity.
He continued paying a special attention to the Palestinian cause considering it the nation"s central cause. He defended the martyrdom operations till the United States put him on black list of those denied access to its soil and the Zionist lobby sued him in Britain to prevent him from visiting it. He has also kicked off- for the sake of the Palestinian cause- spiritual and material support projects, topped by "Coalition of Good".
Al Qaradawi has been a key defender in any issue that attracted the Nation or the Islamic movement"s attention. He did so in the Soviet Union"s occupation of Afghanistan . He continued rallying support to holy warriors until the Soviets withdrew. He did so on the US invasion of Iraq and he was the highest and most influential voice. He rejected the US invasion on Iraq , gave a fatwa that the US invasion and occupation must be resisted, fought and driven out of Iraq . This triggered media campaigns that accused him of supporting terrorism.
This happened also in the crisis of the Danish cartoons offending the messenger peace be upon him. Al Qaradawi incited Muslims to declare their rage in protest at insulting the great messenger. He spearheaded a battle of protest against Denmark . He was also one of the most prominent scholars who called for holding a conference supporting the messenger held in the Bahraini capital of Manama . He also kicked off a boycott campaign against Danish companies and products until Danish government was obliged to take steps to calm down the anger of the Muslim public opinion.
The same happened also in the crisis caused by statements of Pope Benedict of the Vatican , which included an offense to Islam and the prophet Mohamed peace be upon him. Al Qaradawi was the most prominent voice and was more able to rally the Muslim public to protest against these statements.
Al Qaradawi"s position as a political leader and instigator was always highlighted in problems facing the nation, to the extent that his adopting an issue was certainly a curtain raiser for turning it into one of the issues of the Nation.
Al Qaradawi launched this very famous call (Pay a dollar, save a Muslim) through which he wanted to mobilize the nation"s efforts to support the missionary and charity deeds that it needs. Upon this call, the International Islamic Charity Organization was founded in Kuwait , was founded to realize this target.
Poet of the Movement:
The role of the poet has never been scrapped by Al Qaradawi who wrote poetry since his early years. His poetry has been read and chanted by members of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. When he was still a student in the secondary stage, he wrote his famous play (A Scholar and a Tyrant) in which he glorifies the resistance of scholars in the character of Said Bin Jobair to injustices committed by tyrant in the character Al-Hajjaj Ibn Youssef. Members of the Islamic movement-specially university youth- have been performing this play in their celebrations and festivities. There was also the famous poem he wrote in the military prison in which describes the horrors that the Muslim Brotherhood detainees faced in this horrible prison. This poem is considered along eith Hashem Al Rafie"s "My Father" amongst the most important prison poems that gained famed among members of the Islamic movement in the second half of the 20th Century.
Al Qaradawi released two collections of poems "Nafahat Wa Lafahat", and " Muslims Are Coming" whose poems enflamed youth of the Islamic movement planting seeds of revolution and a desire to get rid of injustices and giving them the meaning of sacrifice for their nation.
During the genocides committed against Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina , the activities held by the Islamic movement to show solidarity were beginning and ending with chanting his poem starting with:
"I will return by god because it is my right which is the best evidence
I will return armed by missiles, the Holy Quran and led by my belief "
In all public events held by the Islamic movement, Al Qaradawi was attending as a scholar, a preacher or a political instigator. If he were absent, his inflaming poetry was doing its duty of moving emotions and rallying the public to support these issues.
A map of ideas and activities parallel to the movement"s
As for the second key to understand the uniqueness of this special relation between Al-Qaradawi and the movement, it is the broad map of Al Qaradawi"s ideas, cares, activities and their corresponding to those in the movement to the extent that they seem to be one.
Al Qaradawi worked in issues of the mission and education, jurisprudence and Quran interpretation, economy and development, culture and ideology, relief and charity and in politics. He was in all of them matching the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. Also, we can say that his writings were either pushing ahead the intellectual and legal foundations of the movement or disambiguate specific that may be hindering it.
During the Nasserist era in the 1960s, when the movement was facing a challenge on its Islamic project which has been vulnerable to attacks and criticism from supporters of the Socialist ideology, Al Qaradawi defended this Islamic ideology against that devastating wave of criticism. He wrote at that him his famous series about the inevitability of the Islamic solution " The Islamic Solution a Duty and a Necessity", "Imported Solutions and what How they harmed our Nation", and "Proofs of the Islamic Solution", and "Enemies of the Islamic Solution".
When the Islamic awakening emerged in the 1970s, Al Qaradawi focused his efforts on the issue of correcting the path of the this budding awakening. He wrote a series of important papers and books in this issue, including " The Phenomenon of Extremism in Takfir... What"s Wrong?", "Jurisprudence of Priorities ", "The Islamic Awakening between Ungratefulness and Extremism", "The Islamic Awakening and Cares of the Arab and Islamic World ", "The Islamic Awakening between Legal Disagreement and Disgraced Schism", and " The Islamic Awakening from Adulthood to Maturity ", "For the a Mature Awakening that Revives Religion and Improves the World", and "Priorities of Islamic Movement in Coming Stage".
When the Islamic Awakening spawned several movements and groups that competed and even disputed with each other, Al Qaradawi tried to lay down bases for a cooperation between the Mission groups and workers. He wrote about: Comprehensiveness of Islam, Top sources of authority in Islam are the Quran and the Sunna, Islam"s rules towards inspiration, dreams, amulets, priesthood and incantations, and the lega policy in light of Sharia texts and their purposes, and how we deal with differences and schools of jurisprudence.
His writings in this topic were ACTUALLY AN explanation and An improvement to the twenty principles that Imam Hassan Al Banna put as a foundation for the Muslim Brotherhood, but Al-Qaradawi"s was with new wording and more appropriate to the multiplicity that the Islamic awakening has witnessed later.
When the Islamic movement began to challenge government, theoretically or realistically, like some countries where the movement assumed power, Al Qaradawi worked on explaining his view about an Islamic state, and solved problems of this stage. He wrote: "Characteristics of the Muslim Community We Seek", and "Islamic Sharia Applicabe at any time and any place ", and " Non Muslims in the Muslim Society", and "Religious Minorities and the Islamic Solution", and "Apostasy and Apostate"s Punishment in light of Quran and Sunna".
When the movement faced the issue of globalization and openness to the other, he was a pioneer in addressing such issues. He wrote:" Muslims and Globalization", and " Our Religious Discourse in the Age of Globalization", "Islam and Muslims", "Future Sciences on Thresholds of the Coming Century", "Muslims and Scientific Backwardness", "Environmentalism in Islamic Sharia", and "Rights of the Aged from an Islamic Perspective", and "West and Islam".
Some of his writings in issues like globalization, interfaith dialogue may have lost the required details due to their complicated intellectual nature and to his old age (he wrote about this after he turned 70 years), but he was a pioneer in advising the Islamic movement to pay attention to such issues.
Al Qaradawi has used several means and mechanisms in his work. They pertain to both the heritage and modernism, including sermons, academic lecture, radios programs, TV and satellite channels and websites. He also adopted the private and public lectures inside the organization and in public rallies. He appears to be the organizational official with all its levels and a public speaker who can speak to all sections of the society. Also, sheikh Al Qaradawi diversified his project between individual efforts and building institutions to the extent that he may be seen as an integrated establishment.
Al Qaradawi has managed to build an international network linked to and covering all his activities. He is linked with nearly all Islamic work institutions, like:
The board of Research Center of Muslims Contributions to Civilization in Qatar- Islamic Jurisprudence Academy affiliated to the Muslim World Leauge in Holy Mecca The Juristic Assembly affiliated to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah - the Royal Institute of Islamic Civilization Researches (Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought) in Jordan - the Board of Trustees of the Islamic University in Islamabad - the Board of Trustees of the Center for Islamic Studies in Oxford - the Islamic Literature Association - the Islamic Economy Society in Cairo - the International Islamic Charitable organization in Kuwait - the Board of Trustees of the Khartoum-based Islamic Call Organization in Africa - Board of Directors of Qatar Islamic Fund for Zakat and Charity - the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Endowment of Al-Muslim Al-Mu"asir magazine- the Academic Board of the European Faculty of Islamic Study in France - the Sharia Censorship Board of Al Raghi investment company in Saudi Arabia - the Sharia Censorship Board of the Islamic bank of Qatar, the Islamic International Bank of Qatar and the Islamic Faisal bank in Bahrain and Pakistan and Al-Taqwa bank in Switzerland- the International Islamic Media Organization in Islamabad - the Board of Directors of Al-Balagh Cultural Society for Serving Islam on the Internet.
A unique relation with the organization
Al Qaradawi possessed the aforementioned instruments but others possessed them more or less similar to him. As for the instrument he uniquely possessed was his ability to forge a unique relation with the organization without clashing with it. Al Qaradawi managed to do so because of enjoying some special characteristics and because of the strategy he followed in his relation with the Muslim Brotherhood Organization.
An activist commitment to general principles, legitimacy:
Al Qaradawi has settled it so early and throughout his relation with the movement as he gave his loyalty to the consensus-approved line in the movement, and loyalty to its generally legitimate leadership without connecting himself with side projects that may be considered organizational "enclaves" or breakaway movements in the group.
Al Qaradawi adhered to this regardless of his estimation of the efficiency of this leadership as long as it is legitimate and generally approved. He was not involved in side projects regardless of how far he agrees with their ideology.
Al Qaradawi adhered to this principle even when the 1954 well-known crisis took place, when there was a debate in the group over the election of the second MB chairman judge Hassan Al Hudaibi. Although Al Qaradawi was closer to the Azhar scholars breakaway movement (represented by scholars Mohammad Al-Ghazzali, Sayed Sabq and Abdul Moez Abdul Sattar) that opposed Al Hudaibi and his policies, Al Qaradawi didn"t join this front when left the group or protested against the decision of firing it. Al Qaradawi adhered to the mainstream leadership of the organization, lived with it the prison period, abided by its orders without declaring his disagreement with it or rejection to it in spite of the ordeal of prison, the horrors of torture and Gamal Abd An-Nasir"s bid to cause schism in the Muslim Brotherhood.
His loyalty emerged again in crisis of Al-Wasat (Centre) Party- the biggest organizational schism the group faced since the 1954 second chairman crisis. Although Al Qaradawi leaned to this project and was close to this generation- the medium-leadership generation - that made the experience and although the leaders of the party confirmed in its constituent paper that they were affected by his views in political jurisprudence (allowing party multiplicity, the idea of cultural Islam) but Al Qaradawi has never been directly involved in this project specially after it moved from a revivalist attempt to an organizational challenge with the Muslim Brotherhood and its legitimate leadership. He only advised the group and criticized its policy towards this file and indirectly he ideologically and morally supported these young men of the medium generation leadership.
Al Qaradawi continued delivering- every summer vacation- his annual lecture in the forum held by the Centre Party holds in the International Studies Center while he is also hosted in activities that the Muslim Brotherhood group holds in some professional syndicates or teaching staff clubs.
Ideological Affiliation to Hassan Al Banna"s Moderate School :
Al Qaradawi settled his affiliation to the mainstream line of the Muslim Brotherhood and he made it clear also regarding his affiliation to the mainstream ideology of Sheikh Hassan Al-Banna. Al Qaradawi has never abided by any other side trends that may make him derail from this ideology. He has even gone through early ideological confrontations against such trends specially hardline trends. He spearheaded such confrontations.
This happened early when Al Qaradawi clashed with his sheikh and professor Al Bahiy Al Khouli, the Mission official in the administrative office of the Muslim Brotherhood in Al-Gharbiya. Al Khouli gathered a number of smart Muslim Brotherhood members and formed a group called (Al Zabeeh Battalion) to give them a special spiritual education on the Sufi order that sees that (whosoever has no sheikh has devil as his sheikh) and exaggerates in the follower"s obedience to his sheikh. Al Khouli called on his student Al Qaradawi along with a number of smart colleagues (including Ahmed Al Assal and Abdul Azim Al Dib affiliated to Al-Azhar ), but the then young Al Qaradawi dismissed the call of his professor because he saw that this method violates the methodology of Hassan Al Banna. He saw that this method is based on full obedience and a full Sufi in which the follower"s personality melts into the will of his sheikh. This was an early awareness from Al Qaradawi who was then a young man in the secondary stage- of the ideological and educational movement in front some one who sees him as his student.
That happened again in another bigger and more effective on Al Banna methodology. It was Qotb movement (of martyr Sayed Qotb).
The Muslim Brotherhood was affected- since the mid 1950s and 1960s by the ideology of Sayed Qotb, an ideology which was seen as an intellectual coup on that of the founder Hassan Al Banna. Qotb"s ideology was more strict and self-centred and was leaning more to withdrawal from the society and resisting what it sees as violation to the Islamic methodology, and hence more ready to clash with this society.
Except for the message "Missionaries, not Judges" attributed to second chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood judge Hassan Al Hudaibi, the group has never offered any serious review of Sayed Qotb"s ideology. It actually made use of his ideas and writings as much intellectual and educational structure are concerned in various stages, especially after he was executed becoming an icon for the Islamic movement all over the world. I am near certain that sheikh Al Qaradawi was among the first who dared to criticize Sayed Qotb and sought to make the Muslim Brotherhood restore Hassan Al Banna"s methodology.
In the 1980s, when Qotb"s discourse was at its zenith, Al Qaradawi wrote an article- the first in his criticism of some ideas Sayed Qotb -in the Egyptian Al Shaab newspaper which was closer to the Islamic movement. He then allocated big spaces in the third part of his memoirs to complete this criticism, triggering the anger of a big number of writers and Islamic active leaders even inside the Muslim Brotherhood itself. It was one of the important Islamic intellectual battles in the recent years.
Revival on the founder"s, no imitation or violation:
Al Qaradawi defended the mainstream line of the movement against methodologies that expanded after the death of the founder like what he did with Sayed Qotb"s, he also represented this mainstream line of the movement intellectually and juristically with a revivalist energy. Although he was a juristic, intellectual and educational extension of the founder imam Al Banna, but is wasn"t the extension of an imitator but it was rather of a creative one who can disagree with his imam, a disagreement of pupil with his sheikh and not a full rebellion against him. For example, he dismissed Al Banna"s view of denying women their political rights. He also refused Al Banna"s attitude of rejecting parties and partisanship or his disagreement with what Al Banna said about the genies entering the human body. Al Qaradawi mentions his ijtihad in the context of a revivalist who follows the steps of his sheikh. He may disagree with him but he acknowledges his precedence and actions.
Awareness of his appropriate position in the movement:
As for the most prominent part of Al Qaradawi"s relation with the Muslim Brotherhood, it is his amazing ability to define his appropriate position in the movement, and developing this position according to his personal development so that his personal development matches with the movement"s general development.
Al Qaradawi has from the beginning defined his position in the movement and chose to make his work related to his specialization. He worked in the Mission Spreading section that matches his personal interests and abilities. When he joined the section of Contacting the Islamic world remained he continued working inside the section focusing on spreading the mission outside Egypt , which was not an organizational work. Al Qaradawi has never hesitated in rejecting any organizational work outside the ones related to his missionary work. Therefore he was reluctant in accepting organizational tasks. The first organizational position he accepted was an official for supervising the affairs of Al Azhar Al Sharif.
This man has an amazing ability in accurately defining when an organization work starts and ends in his life, when he meets and where it keeps away from it. He can feel that changes that may occur or should occur in his relation with the organization.
Therefore, this man who started his life in the Muslim Brotherhood did and was detained twice because of his affiliation to it, refused to assume the post of the Muslim Brotherhood chairman. Even before he wins this fane, Al Qaradawi refused this post in 1976 when the second chairman judge Hassan Al Hudaibi died, and the group remained without a chairman for two years. Al Qaradawi realized from the very begging that his right position to serve his mission is not in the organizational work in the group even if this position is that of the Muslim Brotherhood chairman. He sent his message to Dr. Mahmoud Abi Al Saud, the member of the Executive Body that offered him the post, saying:
"I think it is to the interest of the mission to which I belongs and to the interest of the religion of Islam in general that I pledged to serve to remain working in the field of studies and research to complete academic projects that will be important and useful. I currently managed- through my position and acquaintances- to contact various academic organizations in Arab, Islamic and international conferences. It may be good to maintain these contacts after I was remained in prison for a long time. Our group didn"t - and God willing will never lack- efficient people who can steer the ship honestly. You will never- with God"s Help- lack the (honest and strong) or (the knowledgeable and protector) inside the movement".
He again rejected this post, after the death of the fifth Muslim brotherhood chairman Mostafa Mashhour, when Ma"mun Al-Hodeibi"s offered to step down if he acceptes to lead the group. Al Qaradawi saw at this time that he is owned by all the nation in a way that prevents him from restricting himself restricts to a group or organization even if it is this huge, wide-spread and effective group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Qaradawi didn"t do this out of a pragmatic view. He was actually accurately estimating his position towards the group, and knows very well the possible changes.
Ability to develop his relation with the movement without clash:
In his relation with the organization, Al Qaradawi managed to move from the position of a subordinate or organizational membership to playing the role of a free electron that belongs to the movement without falling under its organizational logic. Therefore, everyone knows always that Al Qaradawi is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood without asking about his organizational position or whether he is rejected or approved by the organization leadership. This question has become in the course of time a source of mockery either because the answer may seem to be logical or because it is difficult. Therefore, Al Qaradawi has become a guide to the members and ranks of the group without questioning his organizational position inside it.
Also, Al Qaradawi has managed to exceed the organizational framework and its obstacles without being forced to clash with it. He managed to quietly move from the center to borders and gradually from borders to outside the organization without any clash. Therefore, no one knows about any organizational divorce although he is already outside the organization. The Muslim Brotherhood discovered later it is better not discuss this question that may cause mistrust to the one presenting it and that it may not trigger negative or positive reaction from Al Qaradawi.
Getting out of organizational framework without rebeling against it
Al Qaradawi"s unique relationship with the organization allowed him to exceed the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization and a movement to take other positions which weren’t open in front of the Muslim Brotherhood school like the case of the reformist Salafism movement that accepts and even see Al Qaradawi as a source of authority in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. He has forged strong ties between him and iconic figures of this movement like sheikh Salman Bin Fahd Al Awda, Safar Al-Hawali, and Ayed Al Qarni . This did not happen with any Muslim Brotherhood scholar except for Al Qaradawi, unlike Sheikh Mohamed Al-Ghazali in spite the nearly identical unity of thought between both of them- Al-Ghazali and Al Qaradawi. This wasn"t attributed to Al Ghazali"s sharp criticism to Salafism, triggering disagreements and stoking battles between him and this movement. It may actually be attributed to Al Qaradawi"s special ability in administering the relation with Islamic leaders in a way that makes him exceed organizational affiliations and its ensuing problems. He can exceed the intellectual and doctrinal affiliation to address those outside its umbrella.
*A researcher in Islamic movements