Influential Muslim Religious Leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi Dies

Doha– Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the Sunni Muslim world’s most influential religious scholars, has died.

Al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who was based in Qatar was also a spiritual leader for the Muslim Brotherhood. He was 96 years old.

His death on Monday was announced on his official Twitter account.

Born in Egypt in 1926, Qaradawi spent much of his life in Qatar, where he became one of the most recognisable and influential Sunni Muslim clerics in the Arab world thanks to regular appearances on Qatar’s Al Jazeera network.

Al-Qaradawi was highly critical of the coup that overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.

An Egyptian court sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015 alongside other Brotherhood leaders.

His death sparked strong reactions across the Muslim world, as people took to social media to mourn his death.

However, some social media users appearing to post from Egypt and Saudi Arabia among other countries celebrated his death and accused him of sowing discord between Arab nations.

Qaradawi was described by supporters as a moderate who offered a counterweight to the radical ideologies espoused by al-Qaeda. He had strongly condemned the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and supported democratic politics.

But he also sanctioned violence in causes he favoured.

In Iraq after a 2003 US-led invasion, he backed attacks on coalition forces and he supported Palestinian suicide bombing against Israeli targets during an uprising that began in 2000.

During the Arab Spring uprisings he called for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to be killed and declared jihad against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

He criticised Riyadh for backing coup against Morsi and his help for the Brotherhood fuelled tensions between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another supporter of Egypt’s new government, on the other.

He had moved to Qatar in the early 1960s when he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Shariah at Qatar University and then later granted Qatari citizenship.

One of his early famous works was the 1973 book Fiqh al-Zakat (The Jurisprudence of Zakat). Al-Qaradawi also sought to reinterpret historical rules of Islamic law in order to better integrate Muslims in non-Muslim societies.

 

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