Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi has passed away at an advanced age. His death has become the subject of controversy between those who mourned his passing and consider his death a loss for Islamic thought and the moderate spirit of preaching, and those who hold him responsible for the bloodshed of Muslims, the justification of extremism, the allegiance to corrupt and unaccountable regimes, and the issuing of politically motivated fatwas linked to these regimes.
By H’mida Ayachi*
Should we blame only Youssef al-Qaradhawi or rather attribute his excesses to the limits of the Muslim Brotherhood’s thinking, which has always adopted a two-speed strategy: calling for fraternity and moderation when it needs allies and support in the face of despotism; resorting to exclusion, extremism and totalitarianism as soon as it holds power and finds itself in a position of strength?
This was resoundingly proven when the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt manoeuvred with the Military Council to abort the Egyptian youth revolution. And when they took the peppercorn, becoming new despots themselves, before being overthrown by one of their former military allies: Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
Al-Qaradawi is a vivid and tragic representation of this ambivalent and contradictory political journey of the Muslim Brotherhood. This has led him, in the end, to participate in the bloody excesses of political Islam.
From his first writings, al-Qaradhawi chose to put the West on trial. But he did not hesitate to take refuge in it, to make it a rear base to fight Middle Eastern Arab authoritarianism. And in doing so, he ended up turning a blind eye to Western political interference in Muslim countries, even accepting to become an ideological mouthpiece and a zealous servant of NATO, when its protectors in the Gulf States decided to bring down Arab regimes that refused to submit to their diktat.
Youssef al-Qaradawi also served as a political-religious front for a plan to bring the Arab revolutions under the control of political Islam, thus diverting them from their democratic aspirations and turning them into obscurantist counter-revolutions.
Youssef al-Qaradhawi’s ideas cannot be separated from his personal journey and impulses, which betray both human and conceptual ambivalence and weakness, and which actively contributed to ending the democratic dream in the Arab world. So much so that al-Qaradhawi’s death also marks the death of the spirit of moderation that the Muslim Brotherhood has long claimed. This so-called moderation has collapsed in a spectacular manner reminiscent of the tragic end of the communist ideology of the dictatorship of the proletariat!
* Algerian essayist and Islamologist, last book “Reflections on Secret Islam, the religious versus the political”.