Over the weekend, I attended the ‘International Dialogue Between Islam & Oriental Religions’, which was attended by more than 60 participants including from Qatar, Nepal, Pakistan and India. Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, an Islamic scholar, was to attend, but had to be operated on, on February 19, so he sent his deputy, Dr Ali Al-Quradaghi of the World Council of Muslim Scholars.
In late August 2007, several media reports including one from Islam Online, a news portal owned by Qaradawi, reported that he was to be discharged from an Algerian military hospital after a three day stay suffering from a minor stomach ulcer. Only two days later, Islam Online denied that he had been admitted to an Algerian hospital. In September 2007, however, the International Islamic News Agency as well as Qatari media reported that Qaradawi apologized for not leading Ramadan prayers as he has done for many years and repeated that he had been treated for a stomach ulcer during his trip to Algeria.
As well as being an enormously popular Muslim cleric, Youssef Qaradawi is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. Qaradawi has written that all Jews and all Muslims will fight each other in a final battle in which Muslims will emerge victorious. He recently reaffirmed his support for suicide bombings in Israel.
These reports raise the question of Qaradawi’s “successor” as he is 81 years old and appears to be preparing for his posterity. An earlier post reported that Faisal Mawlawi, one of Qaradawi’s close associates and leader of the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood leader,was seriously ill and was replaced as General Secretary of the Lebanese Brotherhood.
Another earlier post discussed the conference referred to above.