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Contemporary Muslim Scholars
Autor: Dr. Safvet Halilović
Objavljeno: 03. Apr 2014. 14:04:26
The fourth meeting of disciples of sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Multaqa Talamidh al-Qaradawi) was held in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in early March 2014. The meeting was organized by the International League of Disciples of Sheikh al-Qaradawi (Rabita Talamidh al-Qaradawi), established in February 2010. It was attended by disciples and followers of sheikh al-Qaradawi’s thought and work from more than forty countries from Australia, Asia, Africa, and Europe, practically all continents, and the United States. From the Balkans there came Dr. Safvet Halilović from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bedri-effendi Sulja, imam in the town of Skenderaj in Kosovo. In this article we shall give the most important details of the gathering in Doha and several important messages by sheikh al-Qaradawi.

By Dr. Safvet Halilović: The Doha meeting was a wonderful opportunity for the people who appreciate and study sheikh al-Qaradawi’s thought and works to get to know one another and socialize. The five days spent in the company of the esteemed sheikh also provided an excellent opportunity to listen to and learn directly from him in the manner of the earlier Muslim generations, when disciples would learn from their teacher (sheikh) in direct communication, first by listening to him and then discussing various issues and topics that would arise.
The disciples of sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who participated in this meeting are prominent professors, Islamic scholars, missionaries, writers, journalists, college deans, university presidents, calligraphers, scientists and other public figures holding different offices in their communities and commanding respect of their fellow citizens. Some of them are converts to Islam, like Lina from Norway, Anna from Poland, and David W. from Great Britain. The desire to know more about Islam, as rich and universal as it is, motivated them to learn the Arabic language thoroughly, become acquainted with the ideas and works of sheikh al-Qaradawi, and become his disciples.
This meeting brought together nearly 150 disciples of sheikh al-Qaradawi, a prominent contemporary Muslim scholar who is held in high esteem by millions. The meeting, held in a wonderful climate, lasted five days, with two morning and two evening sessions held each day. A total of 37 papers were presented. The author of this article had an opportunity to take part in many discussions following the presentations and to talk about the sheikh’s works translated into the Bosnian language and their effect on the preservation of the Islamic constants or fixed principles (thawabit al-islam) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Balkans.
The esteemed sheikh al-Qaradawi, who comes from Egypt but has lived in Doha for the past fifty years, was present throughout the whole duration of the Multaqa. Despite his age of 88, the esteemed sheikh enjoys a very good health, praise be to Allah, he is full of vigor, walks independently and, more importantly, he is as intellectually avert and active as ever. Such meetings are an excellent opportunity for his disciples, male and female alike (some twenty female disciples of the sheikh attended the meeting), to talk with their teacher, ask him about many details, rulings (fatwas), positions, and contemplations, and also for the sheikh to put questions to his disciples and discuss with them his ideas, books, works and projects.

The Path of Balance and Moderation (al-wasatiyya al-islamiyya)

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a prominent erudite Islamic scholar, jurist, and author. He wrote more than 200 books and studies about Islam, Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh and fatwas), culture, civilization, ethics, upbringing and education. He is the chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, the European Council for Fatwa and Research, and many other Muslim international associations. He is known as an advocate of the middle or moderate course in the interpretation of the religion of Islam and its regulations (al-wasatiyya al- islamiyya). This is a course that does not permit any extremism, but it does not permit any laxity in religion, either. It is owing to this fact that sheikh al-Qaradawi enjoys trust of an enormous number of Muslims around the globe, from Indonesia to Morocco, from South Africa to Russia, and especially among the Muslims living in Western European and American countries. Sheikh al-Qaradawi often notes that he is proud of that approach, that he has worked on its establishment, and that he will abide by it until the end of his life. All his works are imbued with the idea of al-wasatiyya al-islamiyya, the Islamic middle path or moderation. Such approach to the interpretation of Islam leaves no room for extremism or exaggeration of any kind.
On the other hand, just as sheikh al-Qaradawi’s approach to Islam does not allow extremism, it also does not allow laxity, arbitrariness, or “tailor-made” interpretations of Islam to suit anyone’s personal sake, interest, favor, or satisfaction. Al-Qaradawi often stresses that Allah’s pleasure is above anyone else’s. A relaxed, irresponsible, and tendentious interpretation of Islam is very dangerous and harmful for the Muslim community (ummah). It is, actually, one of the greatest threats for contemporary Muslims and it is for that very reason that sheikh al-Qaradawi often stresses that raising doubts about the Islamic constants (al-tashqīq fi thawabit al-islam), that is, discrediting what is permanent and unchangeable in Islam, is very perilous for Islam and Muslims. It is probably because of such views that this prominent scholar is not welcome in those circles, in the West and the East alike, that would like to modify Islam in a way. However, that did not diminish at all the sheikh’s greatness and respect he commands with the millions of people around the world, praise be to dear Allah.

Sheikh al-Qaradawi rejoices every time a book of his translated into another language

Sheikh al-Qaradawi emphasizes in his works that one of the very important specific features of Islam is the fact that it is a teaching that combines knowledge and faith, strikes a balance between the spirit and the matter, and does not separate this life from the afterlife. This is, actually, the very quality that distinguishes Islam from the other world views that give precedence to the material aspect of life, needs of the flesh, and human instincts, paying greater attention to this life and, therefore, looking for and finding the ways for an ever faster satisfying of the need for pleasure, but failing to find an appropriate position for the God and the afterlife in their philosophical and educational systems. The Islamic civilization made a man closer to the God, connected the Earth to the Heaven, subordinated this life to the future one, tied the spirit with the matter, established a balance between the mind and the heart, and created a link between knowledge and faith thereby attributing the same importance to moral advancement as to material development. It was owing to this that Islam and its followers gave an enormous contribution to the development of the world civilization.
Taking this as the starting point, it is clear why the esteemed sheikh al-Qaradawi addressed diverse topics and walks of human life in his works, as in each segment should Allah’s faith be made closer to human beings and the position of Islam presented, but with due caution not to overstate or understate the things. All works and fatwas of the esteemed sheikh are imbued with the ideas of balance and Islamic moderation. This was extensively discussed in the scholars’ papers and sessions during the Doha meeting. It was also emphasized in the presented papers that an important feature of sheikh al-Qaradawi’s missionary methodology is the so-called as-silmiyya, a call for a peaceful solving of problems and refraining from the use of force. In his works, public appearances, speeches and sermons, sheikh al-Qaradawi has never called for violence ( ‘unf); on the contrary, he has opposed it. He was the first among the Muslim scholars who condemned the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001 and who called them a terrorist act, which was reported by the world media.
However, despite the foregoing and the fact that he has dedicated his whole life to the struggle against extremism and exaggeration, it is obvious that sheikh al-Qaradawi has lately been a target of numerous media attacks, some of which have even come from certain Arab-Islamic countries. This is, indeed, a very bad and worrying phenomenon which can bring about many consequences if it continues, one of which would certainly be a radicalization of Muslims and a rise of extremist groups that do not acknowledge the authority of any Islamic scholar and that are guided in their actions by their own perception of things and corresponding answers. Such outcome would not be good at all, either for the Muslims or the others, especially not for the people living in the West.

Important Messages of Sheikh al-Qaradawi

The Doha meeting was a wonderful opportunity for the people who appreciate and study sheikh al-Qaradawi’s thought and works to get to know one another and socialize. The five days spent in the company of the esteemed sheikh also provided an excellent opportunity to listen to and learn directly from him in the manner of the earlier Muslim generations, when disciples would learn from their teacher (sheikh) in direct communication, first by listening to him and then discussing various issues and topics that would arise.
In his addresses, comments, and answers the esteemed sheikh al-Qaradawi presented a multitude of thoughts and messages, some of which we noted down and wish hereby to share with the respected readers. He emphasized the following thought several times: “Nahnu lā nukaffiru man yukaffirunā!” This means: “We do not resort to takfir, that is, we do not declare an unbeliever (kafir) the one who has declared us unbelievers.” This is a very important message, indeed, especially in this era when the phenomenon of takfir (declaring a Muslim an unbeliever) is widespread and when some ignorant but arrogant and irresponsible Muslim individuals (and lately even whole organizations) ever so easily declare other Muslims unbelievers, especially targeting Muslim scholars, sometimes even for the slightest difference in opinion. The sheikh often stresses that takfir is an extremely dangerous phenomenon and that it should be approached with utmost caution.
“A believer never loses hope; he always hopes for a better future and endeavors in that respect.” This is a thought that sheikh al-Qaradawi continually stresses, as the enemies of Islam strive vigorously to lead Muslims into a state of despair and hopelessness, since persons in such a state of mind will not do anything to change their situation. A Muslim always hopes for good and God’s mercy and strives to mend what is mendable. In that respect the sheikh often prays the following prayer: “Allahuma-j’al yawmanā khayran min amsinā, wa-j’al gadana khayran min yawminā”, or “O Allah, we pray to You to make our present better than our past, and our future better than our present!” A Muslim does good, thinks good, hopes for good, and, as long as it is so, things will be good, if God wills. The esteemed sheikh hereby tells us that despite the difficult situation that the Muslims of our time have found themselves in, they should not lose hope, but hope for good, work for good, and endeavor on that road, since this life is a house of test and we are all at a kind of test and we will all return to Allah.

“Oppressors, between us and you there stand the Days of Allah!“

Sheikh al-Qaradawi repeated a message of this meaning several times at the gathering in Doha. The message is actually addressed to oppressors, tyrants and the unjust who abound in today’s world, especially in the Islamic part of the world. Unfortunately, even among the ones who are qualified to interpret the religion and who rank as Muslim scholars there are individuals doing injustice, and the greatest injustice is an abuse or betrayal of faith for the sake of achieving some interest and profit in this life. The painful and bloody events in the Islamic world over the past years, especially in Egypt and Syria, have made all masks go off and everyone show their true colors. The violence and injustice done in that part of the world have not bypassed sheikh al-Qaradawi, either. He was accused of “treason” in his native Egypt for having taken the side of a legitimately elected president (who was ousted in a military coup), having supported his legitimacy, and having said that peaceful protesters on the streets must not be killed. General al-Sisi’s military regime pressed criminal charges against sheikh al-Qaradawi, while the Egyptian and other media have launched an all-out war against him. Also, the sheikh was earlier a target of many smear media campaigns by different Shi’ite organizations as he warned of the dangerous tendencies of Shi’ism spreading in the Sunni world, which he observed on the basis of obvious and ample evidence.
In the foregoing message which invokes “the Days of Allah” the esteemed sheikh reminds that a lie, however convincing it may look like, always gets discovered with the passage of time, and the impostors and swindlers get discovered and humiliated already in this life. “The Days of Allah, that is, a passage of time reveals treason by traitors, deception by deceivers, lies by liars, slander by slanderers, and they all receive a part of the deserved punishment already in this life, while the afterlife shall be the life of an absolute justice and judgment”, said sheikh al-Qaradawi. He hereby suggested that one should genuinely dedicate oneself to the work for the common good of the ummah and disregard those who are bothered by it and who spread lies and calumny, as there will always be people who are bothered by the work for the renown of the ummah and who will spread their lies and slander.

Qatar – the Land of Honest People and Great Visions

This meeting, as well as the preceding three, was held in Doha, the capital of the state of Qatar. In Doha, a captivatingly beautiful city with its lovely architecture combining different cultures and styles, the esteemed sheikh al-Qaradawi has lived for more than fifty years. He arrived in Doha long ago, in 1961, and Qatar has been his second homeland ever since.
This small Gulf country has experienced a great economic, cultural and scientific boom in the past twenty years, which is primarily a result of a wise and well-considered development strategy of the country’s leaders, primarily the Qatari Emir, sheikh Hamad bin Khalīfa Al Thānī, who had come to power in 1995. Mid-last year (on 25 June 2013), the news of his abdication and transfer of power to his son, sheikh Tamīm bin Hamad Al Thānī, spread around the globe. Analysts state that the 18 years of his rule (1995-2013) changed the state of Qatar from the core and turned it into an important factor on the economic, cultural, media and political map of the world. In the beginning of the 21st century, Qatar, a small and rather undeveloped Gulf country hitherto, has become synonymous with development and excellence among Muslims and the Arab countries. The visions and commitment demonstrated by Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalīfa Al Thānī filled many people around the world with admiration.
The Qatari Emir proved himself to be a very wise politician, a great visionary and humanist. He helped many projects in the world that were very important for Islam and Muslims. Owing to his donations in our region, the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo was renovated and a new building for Ghazi Husrev Bey’s Library was built across from Ghazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque, in the heart of Sarajevo’s old bazaar. He also helped the building of the Islamic Center in Rijeka (Republic of Croatia) and contributed to the funding of the construction of a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Ljubljana (Republic of Slovenia), where the Muslims have been fighting for almost forty years to obtain a permit to build their religious institution.
After having run the country successfully for eighteen years, last year Emir Hamad transferred the power to his son Tamīm. Emir Hamad will go down in the history of Qatar as a ruler who has done a lot for his country, as well as for Muslims in different parts of the world. The esteemed sheikh al-Qaradawi found refuge in this small Gulf state more than a half a century ago when he had to leave Egypt because of the injustice and terror done by the authorities of the time. Likewise, nowadays, when terror and violence reign in different corners of the Islamic world (suffice it to refer to the events in Syria and Egypt), Qatar has again opened its doors to many Islamic scholars, intellectuals, journalists, and writers, who do not enjoy freedom or security in their own countries so they have settled in Qatar, the land of honest people and great visions.

Some od the meeting participants together with sheikh al-Qaradawi

We pray to Allah, the Exalted, to bestow His reward on the former Emir of Qatar, sheikh Hamad, and to bestow on his successor, Emir Tamīm, the wisdom and ability to govern the friendly state of Qatar as wisely and successfully as his father did. And we particularly pray to the Exalted Creator to give a long life in Islam to sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, his family and disciples, to bestow on them His mercy and protection, and help them on the path of promoting the Islamic balance and moderation, which does not allow any extremism, but also does not allow a relaxed and unsubstantiated approach to Islam, its teachings, culture, and regulations. Wa sallallāhu alā sayyidinā Muhammad! - May Allah’s blessings be upon our master Muhammad!

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