by Hesperado

Let me begin at the end, with the punchline of my title:

Yusuf Qaradawi, a major Sunni cleric in our time — and one of the stars of the recent Egyptian Revolution — is a “Shaikh” (or “Sheik” in its more Anglicized form), which generally speaking is, in Arabic-Islamic culture an official leader of some kind (of a village, a tribe, a school, etc.). It is a title of respect in Islamic culture, perhaps akin to the Western titles of “baron” or “earl” or “don”.

“Booty”, as we know, refers to plunder — i.e., the things a person or group has taken in war by force from someone else.

What some people may not know is that the book revered as most holy by Muslims, the Koran, has an entire chapter (or sura) devoted to Booty — in Arabic, al-Anfal: Chapter 8, often titled “The Spoils of War”.

What does Shaikh Yusuf Qaradawi have to do with war booty, the reader may ask (other than the unremarkable fact that, as a major cleric, scholar and teacher of the Koran for decades, including at the most prestigious Islamic university in all Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar, he takes reverently and literally Chapter 8)?

Well, I’ll tell you, dear reader. As documented by Memri.org (which regularly translates from Arabic into English key documents out of the Muslim world), Shaikh Qaradawi presided over a discussion at a major conference among Islamic clerics (held in 1997 in Stockholm, of all places — God help us) in which he supported the following statement articulating the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the context of the justification for terror attacks:

It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of [their] blood and [their] property…

I.e., our “property” is so much booty for Muslims, rightfully theirs as the spoils of war. (Also, don’t fail to note that our lives are forfeit as well under the same logic.)

Now, Islam Apologists (whether Muslims or clueless Westerners defending Islam) could try to argue that the bellicosity with which the formulation quoted above bristles depends upon the West’s meddling aggression against the Muslim world — and, by implication, if we’d only stop meddling and invading them, all would be copacetic.

A rigorous counter-argument to this fudge factor would tend to embroil us in, among other things, a rather lengthy and complicated explication of the tafasir (plural of tafsir)– the various exegeses of the Koran written by respected Islamic scholars deemed authoritative. For now, I can give an indication of how we would proceed.

These tafasir (e.g., that of Ibn Kathir) show that phrases describing us non-Muslims in terms of “…they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims…” (which in the quote above is supposed to justify our booty — and our lives — being theirs for the taking) are not merely limited to Muslim self-defense against violent offenses perpetrated by Infidels, but also include a broader conception whereby the mere fact of Infidels flourishing anywhere on Earth successfully and independently under their own laws (which, not being Islamic laws, are ipso facto wicked and blasphemous) constitutes aggression against Muslims.

Thus Ibn Kathir, in his tafsir on Koran 5:32-33 — in which the punishment for those who “wage war against Allah and his Messenger” includes “that they should be killed” — says explicitly that “wage war…includes disbelief”.

To prove all of the aforementioned more substantially, and to prove that it is the mainstream belief of Muslims today, however, would embroil us in a lengthy and complex discussion. If the AIM (the Anti-Islam Movement) could produce a comprehensive yet concise PDF Manual of all relevant points and counterpoints about the problem of Islam, I could simply link to this particular subpoint among thousands we need to have at our fingertips. Apparently, influential members of the AIM are not interested in using their influence to raise the necessary funds and do the necessary networking to get this done. But that’s another story.

So given that all of the above is true, why is Qaradawi so important? Maybe he’s just an “extremist” flake of a cleric, reflecting only the TMOEWAHI (the Tiny Minority of Extremists Who Are Hijacking Islam), right?

Wrong. As this report from the mainstream media shows, Qaradawi was at the epicenter of the recent Egyptian Revolution, and in an unprecedented rally of over 200,000 in February of this year, he delivered the solemn Friday prayers to all those Egyptian “secularists” gathered there. The writer of that news article also notes that Qaradawi is “spiritual leader to the Muslim Brotherhood” in Egypt, and is “very much in the Sunni mainstream”.

Another mainstream Islamic leader, the Ambassador of one of the North African sultanates, not too long ago in the scheme of things (in 1786) in a meeting in London with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who had asked him the simple question — Why are you Muslims attacking our ships, kidnapping and killing our men, and stealing our booty? — answered in perfectly appropriate Islamic fashion. According to Thomas Jefferson in his report:

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

Further Reading on Qaradawi:

A list of disturbing facts about Qaradawi

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Hesperado July 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

The definitive citation for that Barbary pirates quote in my essay:

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
pp. 357-9, vol. 9
Julian P. Boyd, Editor
Princeton, NJ
Princeton University Press, 1954.

For the full story of how difficult it was for me to finally pin down the correct citation — and how everyone in the AIM bandies this quote around without proper attribution — see:


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: