By Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi | Translated by Yasir Fikry Fahmy
In a time when the Islamic arena is wrought with varying perspectives, some to the far left and some to the far right and many floating around in the center, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has summarized his entire life mission of calling to a balanced and moderate understanding of Islam into thirty key principles. Let these be a guiding light for those who seek to tread the waters of Islamic knowledge in a manner that is both traditional and modern. One should read these principles with an open mind, not allowing preconceived notions to skew the great benefit that can be realized by internalizing these principles.
“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” (Qur’an, 2:143)
- A complete and comprehensive understanding of Islam, which is characterized as being a creed and a way, knowledge and action, worship and interaction, culture and character, truth and strength, an invitation and political engagement, religion and reality, civilization and a nation.
- Belief in the authority of the Qur’an and the authentic prophetic Sunnah as the source of legislation and guidance for the Islamic way of life, with the importance of understanding particulars in light of universal principles.
- To firmly establish Godly ideals and characteristics and to put a significant emphasis on worshiping Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala – exalted is He), as this is the reason humanity was created.
- A balanced understanding of obligation and action by placing each obligation in its proper legislative order, in light of the source material of Islam (the Qur’an and Sunnah). This process is also known as the fiqh (jurisprudence) of priorities.
- Affirming the call to tajeed (renewal), which encompasses a variety of fiqhi concepts: fiqh of the natural order of the world, fiqh of the purposes of Islamic legislation, fiqh of ma`alat (outcomes and consequences), fiqh of balances, fiqh of disagreement, fiqh of reality, fiqh of change and fiqh of priorities.
- A focus on the characteristics and values that Islam emphasizes, whether individualistic or societal; a rejection of those who assume ritualistic worship to be the ultimate end and of those who assume character to be everything.
- A renewal of the religion from within and a revival of the principle of ijtihad (the process of independent interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah by which a legal decision is made), without which legislation does not become lively, and that ijtihad only comes from those who are capable and only takes place when needed.
- A balance between the constants of legislation and the variability of time with the need for consistency in the goals, objectives, principles, and universals. To achieve this balance, we must be flexible in the means and mechanisms used as well as in the branches and particulars of Islam.
- The adoption of the approach of facilitation and mitigation in jurisprudence and fatwa (legal opinion), and if there must be any firmness, then let it be in the fundamentals and not in the branches. The facilitation we seek does not necessitate a justification of present realities, nor does it mean to simply seek the pleasure of those in positions of power.
- Redeveloping the methodology applied when calling to Islam. With regards to Muslims, this entails a nuanced understanding of the teachings of Islam and a correction of the comprehension of Islamic concepts. Furthermore, it entails an affirmation and remembrance for the believers and a representation of the truths of Islam with an ability to refute the mistruths. With regards to non-Muslims, it entails adopting a methodology of bringing glad-tidings that goes hand-in-hand with facilitation in fatwa.