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Unity in Action: Shaykh al-Qaradawi Defends the Creed of al-Azhar University

Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi |Translated by Suhaib Webb

Moderator: “There are some people who attack the creed (`aqida) of al-Azhar.”

The shaykh responds, noting that the Arabic usage was strange, signifying that “all of Azhar is `aqida only…”

Shaykh al-Qaradawi: “You mean, they attack the creed of the Ash`ari?”

Moderator: “Yes.”

Shaykh al-Qaradawi: “Azhar is not the only (representative) of the Ash`ari creed! The entire ummah is Ash`ari! Azhar is Ash`ari! Zaytuna (in Tunis) is Ash`ari. Deoband is Ash`ari. Nadaw al-‘Ulema is Ash`ari. The great schools in Pakistan are Ash`ari.”

“The Salafis are a small minority and there are even parts of Saudi Arabia which are not Salafi such as parts of Hijaz and the East. The majority of the Muslim Community is Ash`ari.”

Note: While Shaykh al-Qaradawi may not follow the Ash`ari creed, he defended it eloquently and adamantly. In times like this, the Muslim community is not only in need of scholars who can teach, but who can lead with their knowledge as well and muster the bravery to speak to their fans. Shaykh al-Qaradawi, although he  follows the creed of the traditional salaf/athari, set a profound precedent, acting as a lighthouse guiding the community as it struggles to swim the cold seas of today. Some Western Muslims still don’t get it – they have not moved beyond the simplistic vision of labels, restricting the once wide definition of orthodoxy to that of a few. Shaykh Yusuf, in da`wah for more than 70 years, lays out an important path for many to follow by embracing an expansive, facilitating vision of orthodoxy that agrees with the parameters set by the great scholars. Leaders in the West did the same some years back with the famous “Pact” on creed and it is hoped that they will continue to speak to their flocks, teaching them by example.

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