Sheikh Qaradawi Seeks Total War

Mark Gardner and Dave Rich did yeoman's work not long ago, analyzing the Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi's 2003 book, Fatawa Min Ajl Falastin, or Fatwas on Palestine, and came to the conclusion that this putatively moderate Islamic cleric argues clearly and consistently that hatred of Israel and Jews is Islamically sanctioned, and that the destruction of Israel is mandated by God:

Qaradawi underlines the need for Muslims all over the world to involve themselves
in the Israel/Palestine conflict when he goes on to discuss the question of Jerusalem:
The Palestinians do not have the competence to decide on the fate of Jerusalem
without resorting to the Muslims all over the world. This, consequently,
makes it obligatory upon every Muslim wherever he is to defend Jerusalem,
and al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an obligation upon all Muslims to participate
in defending Jerusalem with their souls, money, and all that they possess,
otherwise a punishment from Allah shall descend on the whole nation...
Qaradawi compares this call for action with what he sees as the collective Jewish
participation in the oppression of the Palestinians:
The conquerors [of Palestine] are those with the greatest enmity toward the
believers, and they are supported by the strongest state on earth - the USA,
and by the world Jewish community.
If every Jew in the world thinks himself a soldier, and supports Israel as much
as he can, surely every Muslim should be a soldier using his very soul and
wealth to liberate al-Aqsa. The least the Muslim can do is to boycott the
enemies' goods.

Qaradawi personalizes the conflict, warning Muslims not be friends with Jews, because such friendship might diminish the desire on the part of Muslims to wage jihad against Israel. Qaradawi writes:

Receiving enemies in our own countries and visiting them in the occupied
lands would remove such a psychological barrier that keeps us away from
them, and would bridge the gap that keeps the desire for Jihad against them
kindled in the hearts of the Ummah.

Gardner and Rich make the connection between Qaradawi's disapproval of all Jews with a famously antisemitic hadith, or saying of Muhammad:

Qaradawi's classification of 'every Jew in the world'  as an enemy may refer
to contemporary events for its justification, but it has a deep theological purpose. A
chapter of the book is devoted to a discussion of the hadith that reads:
'The last day will not come unless you fight Jews. A Jew will hide himself
behind stones and trees and stones and trees will say, "O servant of Allah - or
O Muslim - there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."'
This hadith is used by many radical Islamist groups to incite conflict between
Muslims and Jews.

Gardner and Rich point out that the saying in question is cited in the charter of Hamas, and that Qaradawi refers to it as "one of the miracles of our Prophet." He then continues to describe "how this battle between Muslims and Jews is one of the preconditions that needs to be fulfilled before the Day of Judgment can come," writing:

[W]e believe that the battle between us and the Jews is coming ... Such a
battle is not driven by nationalistic causes or patriotic belonging; it is rather
driven by religious incentives. This battle is not going to happen between
Arabs and Zionists, or between Jews and Palestinians, or between Jews
or anybody else. It is between Muslims and Jews as is clearly stated in the
hadith. This battle will occur between the collective body of Muslims and the
collective body of Jews i.e. all Muslims and all Jews.
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.


The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"


This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.


What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.


Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in Global

From This Author

Just In