Resignation letter from Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to the Egyptian people, Council of Senior Scholars

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Resignation letter from Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to the Egyptian people, Council of Senior Scholars

All praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His messenger, upon his family, companions, and those who follow his guidance.

Since Salahuddin took over its administration and for the past centuries Al-Azhar been the leader of the nation in religion, culture, education and reformation. Al-Azhar would say its word, declared by its senior scholars, and landmark preachers, and the hearts would resound, bodies obey, and the old and young would comply, and thus the people would walk in the footsteps of their leaders upholding God’s word, raising the banner of Islam.

Al-Azhar used to host in its study corners young people from the Muslim world, the east and west, north and south from all the known Sunni schools of fiqh: the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafei, the Hanbali, and graduate them as scholars for the nation who call to Islam with foresight, teach people on a basis of knowledge, and tell rulers to fear Allah and guard His religion.

Al-Azhar remained fulfilling the duties of its mission, observing its pacts, sincerely working for God and His prophet, His book, sincerely providing counsel to Muslim leaders and the Muslim public during the era of the Mamluks, the Turks, the Khedives, and kings. It lead the revolution against the French occupation, the English occupation, and remained steadfast in leading the people until the revolution came to change its conditions.

Yet at times when we were afflicted with an Azhar different from that one: an Azhar that goes with the flow, sweeps the floor for every liar, free scholars had to have a stand that only stems from the Quran and prophetic tradition.

Hence, I, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, submit my resignation from the Council of Supreme Scholars to the great Egyptian people, the true owners of Al-Azhar. I will not submit it to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as I consider this post – and other surrounding posts – to be hijacked by the power of arms to the benefit of the sinister, usurping military coup just like the presidency. When the people restore their freedom, and authority is restored to its rightful people, Al-Azhar scholars must elect their grand imam and their council of supreme scholars based on their free, independent will so that he may reflect their opinion, and not express himself apart from them.

I would like to tell the Egyptian people that I – with God’s grace – am in my eighty eighth year, and I am in no need of a position, and Allah has blessed me with acceptance from the people and rulers in the entire Muslim world. All I want is for my nation to restore the elevated rank it once had and was stolen from it, and for which it is eligible. And the free Al-Azhar must be one of its main pillars.

I put my hand in the hand of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar since he assumed the post, to act as a support for him along with my sincere fellow scholars. We forgot, or attempted to forget, that he was a member of the then-ruling National Democratic Party, particularly in the policy committee. We thought to start a new page, but – sadly enough – we found him running into the arms of the military coup that undermined the Jan 25 revolution, and all its gifts to the country of freedom, dignity, democracy, constitution, a new civil regime, and a state based on institutions which the coup destroyed altogether. This is not what Al-Azhar was established for, nor what the Council of Supreme Scholars was established for.

I was in Egypt, and was invited by some brothers to say a word on the stage of Rabia protest following the two-day ultimatum given by the Minister of Defense but I preferred to address my word to all the Egyptian people from a neutral platform, through satellite channels, to call for reunion, to resisting tyranny, to correct mistakes through the will of the people not through a military coup that brought back to the country the tyranny and corruption that the Egyptian people have tried and suffered their woes before.

Then we were mortified – along with the Egyptian people – to see the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar participate in the coup, giving his shameful statement where he declared that he opted for the lesser of two evils. But what harm is worse than the annulment of elected democracy, and summoning the military to rule the people?!

After assuming his position, the Imam of Al-Azhar declared immediately in all his interviews then that the regression of Al-Azhar started since the era of Abdel-Nasser, and since governing authorities caused Al-Azhar to lose its independence by interfering in its affairs. Based on this opinion, he was expected to keep Al-Azhar as the defender of the people, away from authority and its turns but he didn’t.

While I was in Egypt, before declaring my individual opinion, I waited for days in the expectation that the Sheikh would summon a meeting for the Council of Senior Scholars to review their opinion about the grave incidents which Egypt undergoes but nothing happened. So I issued a solitary edict declaring my opinion and defending what I believe to be the truth. So did Dr. Hassan Al-Shafei, the representative of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and head of the linguistic complex, and Dr. Mohamed Emara, the free Islamic intellect, both of whom are members of the Council of Senior Scholars.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, after several members of the Council of Senior Scholars declared their opinion, should have convened with the council to determine its view and issue a unified opinion either by consensus or majority, where it defends the truth and nullifies falsehood, in spite of criminals, and declare it to the Egyptian people.

When would a committee described as the Senior Scholars Committee convene if not in the wake of massacres and grave events that terrorized the Egyptian people in the Republican Guards, the Manassa Memorial, in Mansoura, Alexandria, other governorates, and in the breaking up of Rabia and Nahda encampments where thousands of lives were taken, where blood was spilled, and honorable, pure men, and pious women were driven to jails and arrest points. The armed police, backed by thugs and the army, broke into the Kaid Ibrahim mosque in Alexandria, Al-Fath Mosque in Cairo and other locations. Egyptian universities were stormed, on top of them Al-Azhar University. Al-Azhar students were given arbitrary sentences, with each sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Alexandrian girls arrested in demonstrations were given 11 years each, what never happened in the history of Egypt. 710 Al-Azhar students were dismissed, scholars were arrested, free people were chased and faced with tightened measures, religious channels were closed, freedoms were confiscated, streets were blocked with tanks and armored vehicles, and tear gas, birdshot cartridge, and other harmful substance were fired at people.

We have waited for the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to return to the truth and declare himself innocent from this unjust, repressive regime that within days and weeks committed what Abdel-Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak did not do in sixty years; killing thousands, and injuring and arresting times this number. We waited for the Grand Imam to call the committee to convene and advised him in more than one instance to return to the truth as returning to the truth is better than going further in falsehood. We sent mediators, and published a scholarly counter argument to establish evidence against him and others but it seems that the man prefers to sit with the generals of the Al-Azhar Rectorate (Mashyakha) over sitting with his fellow scholars, for everyone associates with their models.

And with this resignation, I am sparing the followers of the Grand Imam, and the followers of the tyrant government, the trouble of filing requests to dismiss me from the committee. A committee that follows such path, there is no good to be hoped out of it, there is no use staying in it, and it’s not appropriate for someone like me. I call all free, sincere scholars and Azhar graduates to declare their rejection of what is going on in Egypt courageously, to resign from this committee that has died and become a lifeless body, and to leave it for the Grand Imam and his followers.

Al-Azhar must have a free council of scholars chosen by its graduates, not by the Grand Imam so they won’t owe their allegiance to him. I am well aware of what this resignation will bring about of an escalation of the ferocious, mercenary campaigns against me for which a type of media - based on pure lying, that fears neither God nor the people – is dedicated. They are media for which God’s words apply {only those who do not believe in the verses of God that invent falsehood, and it is those who are the liars.} [Quran 16: 105]. They would also delegate public religious and political figures for the mission. I am aware of this and of what may befall my person and my family of conspiracies, but we place before our eyes God’s words: {those who convey the messages of God and fear Him and do not fear anyone but God. And sufficient is God as Accountant. } [Quran 33: 39], {Say, "Never will we be struck except by what God has decreed for us; He is our Protector.” And upon God let the believers rely.} [Quran 9: 51], and He is sufficient for us, and is the Ultimate Trustee.

Meanwhile, I await the fall of these unjust, tyrant oppressors soon. And Allah has said: {and disappointed, was every obstinate tyrant.} [Quran 14:15], {And he will have failed who carriesinjustice.} [Quran 20:111] and {and he has failed who invents such falsehood.} [Quran 20:61]. These unjust people have lost their respect in God’s eye and in that of the people, then Arabs and Muslims. Every day that passes, the country increases in corruption, and regresses in all moral and material aspects. They are taking the country from bad to worse, without making the effort to build a wall, or fill a hole, or cover the exposed, or feed the hungry, and everyday people increase in grumpiness and complaints. When the pressure increases, there must be an explosion and this is the end of tyrants. {So those are their houses, desolate because of the wrong they had done. Indeed in that is a sign for people who know.} [Quran 27:52], {And thus is the seizure of your Lord when He seizes the cities while they are

committing wrong. Indeed, His seizure is painful and severe.} [Quran 11:102], {And soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!} [Quran 26:227], {And God is not unaware of what you do.} [Quran 2: 74].

God Almighty keeps states as long as they establish justice even if they are non-believers, and eliminates states built on injustice even if they are Muslim. The Gulf Arabs will not continue to subsidize an Egypt that has combined corruption with tyranny forever. They will set their hands free of those who lied to them and told them it was only a matter of weeks and everything will change, and the Muslim Brotherhood and their followers will be gone. But Allah insists to prove them liars and, through all the incidents forcing them to swallow their words and proving them wrong. 

God’s unchanging rule is that the truth wins over falsehood and justice prevails over injustice, the people win over tyrants, and Allah gives his grace to those who were oppressed and makes them the leaders, heirs and empowers them, and shows the Pharaohs and their soldiers of them what they were wary of.

Oh, Allah, you are Al-Hayy (the Ever Living), Al-Qayyum (the One Who sustains and protects all that exists), the Owner of Majesty and Honour, we ask you to be merciful to the martyrs of our nation in Egypt, in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, and all the lands of Islam. Oh, Allah, cure our injured and wounded everywhere, and free the imprisoned, and relief those in grief, and unite the word of the believers, and seize the unjust a painful, severe seizure, and exercise your might that cannot be held back from criminals, and give our nation a powerful victory, and a clear conquest and guide us to the straight path, for you are the Best Guardian and the Best Defender.

And Allah we address with all our deeds, and He is the Guiding to the sound path.

Submitted by the needy to God

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Member of the Council of Senior Scholars

29 Muharram, 1435 H; 2 December, 2013