Fatwa of Shaikh Yusuf Qaradawi on the military coup in Egypt
Posted: 30 Sha'ban 1433, 9 July 2013
The fatwa by Dr. Yusuf al-Qardawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, regarding the obligation of supporting the elected president Muhammad Morsi and retaining the Constitution. A call to the Seesi faction and its supporters to withdraw in order to protect the Shariah and democracy.
All praises are due to Allah and may He send His salutations on our Master and leader Muhammad Messenger of Allah and on his brethren amongst the Prophets and Messengers and on their families and companions and whoever followed them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.
This is a fatwa issued to the Egyptian people with all of its members, those who are pleased with Allah as their Lord, Islam as their religion, the Qur'an as the guide and Way, Muhammad as their Messenger, and who consider the Shariah--- with its comprehensiveness, perfection, balance, and moderation --- the reference whenever matters become confusing and difficulties become pronounced and people go left and right looking for answers. At that point no one can find anything better and more clear than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger…. And whomsoever Allah does not grant light, then he will have no light at all.
The summary of the fatwa endorsed by many scholars of Azhar and scholars of the Arab and Muslim world and scholars of International Union for Muslim Scholars which I am honored to preside over is as follows:
The people of Egypt lived for thirty years—if not sixty—deprived of the right to elect their own president until Allah granted them for the first time a president that they chose themselves on their own accord, President Muhammad Morsi. They gave him their pledges and oaths of loyalty and obedience in hardship and ease, in matters they liked and disliked. All sectors of society including the civil and military sectors submitted to his rule, foremost amongst them being Abdul Fattah as-Seesi who was the Minister of Defense and Military Production under the Prime Minister Hisham Kandil. He too had taken a solemn oath before our very eyes to be obedient to President Morsi and continued to be such until we saw him change suddenly and transform himself from being a minister to becoming a supreme ruler, deposing the President and betraying his pledge of loyalty to him and aligning himself with a faction of the citizens against the rest of the countrymen, claiming that he was siding with the larger faction.
But the faction led by Seesi and his cohorts have committed a mistake by taking this course of action from the perspectives of both the Constitution and the Shariah.
From the constitutional perspective, any president elected democratically without dispute, must be allowed to complete his appointed term of four years as long as he is capable of carrying out his duties and is not afflicted with anything that would hinder him permanently from his job.
If he has mistakes (that he personally has acknowledged) then it is upon the nation and its different political forces to correct his mistakes and advise him sincerely and be patient with him, but he remains the president for everyone.
But for a group to depart from the obedience to the ruler, to grant themselves authority over the people, to depose the ruler, abrogate the constitution, and appoint another president and another constitution—such a course of action is completely null and void as they have tried to exercise power that the people did not authorize. In fact, they have broken their pact with Allah and with the people and nullified a great revolution that all the people had brought out together, which had established the democratic system that people had dreamt about for ages and sacrificed for its sake for years upon years until they finally reached it. Thus, the constitution and democratic system reject all of these unconstitutional actions that have taken place.
And from the point of view of the Shariah (which the people want as their authority in a civil state, not a theocratic state)—it requires upon everyone who believes in it and refers to it to enact full obedience to the chosen ruler, to implement his commands, and accept his directives in all matters of life, as long as two conditions are met:
First, that he does not command people to disobey Allah openly. This is established from many ahadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim and others:
"Listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is appointed over you whose head is like a raisin" (reported by Anas ibn Malik) [Albalagh Note: i.e. even if he is a person of low social status and unattractive appearance]
"Whoever sees something in his ruler that he dislikes, then he should be patient, because anyone who departs from the community even the length of a hand-span and dies in that state, will die the death of Jahiliyyah" (reported by Ibn Abbas)
"Listening and obeying is a duty on every Muslim in matters that he likes and dislikes as long as he is not ordered to commit a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no obedience" (reported by Ibn Umar)
"Obedience is only in matters of virtue" (reported by Ali)
This all emphasizes what is referred to in the Quran where Allah talks about the pledge of loyalty by women, "and that they will not disobey you in what is right."
And there is not even one incident in which President Muhammad Morsi commanded a single citizen to openly disobey Allah. Rather what we see in the demonstrations and actions in Tahrir Square are all part of the good deeds of Muhammad Morsi.
Secondly, he should not order his people with anything that will result in them leaving their religion and making them enter into open disbelief (kufr bawah), which is a state that carries no doubt regarding its being kufr. This is based on the hadith reported by Ubadah radi Allahu anhu, "The Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, took a pledge of obedience from us that we shall listen and obey in ease and hardship and when others are given preference over us and that we shall not vie for rule with the rulers." He said, "Except if you see open disbelief (kufr bawah) regarding which you have clear evidence from Allah."
Thus, we discern with certainty that President Morsi did not order any act of disobedience, nor did he perpetrate any act of disbelief. Rather he is a man who fasts often and stands up at night in prayer, a man who is ardent in obedience to Allah.
Thus, it is necessary that he remain the president and no one can claim any right to depose him.
And Seesi's claim that he undertook this action in the greater interest of the people to prevent them from being split into two does not justify his supporting one side over the other.
Those people from whom the Seesi faction sought support do not represent the Egyptian people, but rather constitute a very small segment from it. Imam Dr. Ahmad Tayyib, president of the Council of Senior Scholars (I am one of them) did not consult us and we did not authorize him to speak on our behalf. He has erred in supporting the rebellion against the legitimate Shari'i ruler of the land and has gone against the consensus of the Ummah. He presented no evidence from the Qur’an or Sunnah in support of his position; rather all of the Qur’an and Sunnah supports the position of Muhammad Morsi. He (Ahmad Tayyib) violated the tradition of the scholars of the Muslim Ummah who do not sell their knowledge for anyone or anything. The gist of what he said is: (this is) taking the lesser evil. Who can ever say that deposing the Shari'i ruler, abrogating the constitution that was ratified by two thirds of the population, and plunging the nation into complete chaos is the lesser evil? Rather it is the greater evil regarding which the Book of Allah, the Hadith of the Messenger, and the sayings of the scholars had warned.
If only Dr. Tayyib had dealt with Dr. Morsi as he did before with Hosni Mubarak. Why does he have double standards? This is a sabotage of the role of Azhar, which always stands with the people, not with the despotic ruler.
As for Pope Tawadros, he was not appointed by the Coptics to talk on their behalf. In fact, amongst the Coptics were those who participated with the Freedom and Justice Party and other Islamic parties.
And as for Elbaradei, he was not appointed by the National Salvation Front. He only has a handful of people with him and none of the opposing parties claim that he represents them.
As for those who speak in the name of Hizbun Noor (al-Nour Party), it is a party that represents a small known minority of people. All of the Salafis, Islamic parties, nationalist parties, and respectable leaders are against this turn of events which may lead to dire consequences for the nation and human rights.
I call upon the Seesi faction and its supporters with love and sincerity, I call upon all of the political forces in Egypt, upon my scholarly brethren throughout the world, and upon all those who seek freedom, dignity, and justice, to stand united to defend the truth and to restore President Morsi to his rightful position; to continue to advise him sincerely; to develop plans to find solutions and enact programs of action that will protect our freedom and democracy that we secured with our blood. It is necessary that we never renounce it. Indeed for thirty years, Hosni Mubarak, continued to spread corruption in the land, to humiliate the people, to usurp the wealth and transfer it outside, to hire thugs to protect his men, and so on, until he left the nation in a complete state of destruction for whoever came after him. Yet, despite all of this, the army never deposed him and left him to appoint it to take the charge after him. We can be patient with Hosni Mubarak for thirty years, and we cannot be patient with Muhammad Morsi for just one year? The defects are not in the democratic system, rather it is in those implementing it. The way to reform is to implement it, not to demolish it from its foundations.
It is haram on Egypt to do this, to abandon its constitution, its elected leader, and the Shariah of its Lord. Nothing can come after this except Divine wrath and punishment. "Do not ever think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do…"
I call out to all of the Egyptian people from the depths of my heart, whom I love and am ready to sacrifice for, and from whom I seek no reward or thanks, rather I seek the pleasure of Allah alone….I call out to the people in the plains and on the coast, in the villages and cities, in the deserts and countryside, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, officers and workers, Muslim and Christian, liberal and Islamist to stand together united on one platform to protect the fruits of the revolution… freedom, democracy, and liberation from every dictatorship. We must not abandon them for any despotic ruler, whether he is military or civil, for this is what happened to some nations that ended up losing their freedom and did not regain it until years later. There is no power or strength except with Allah.
Oh Allah, guard Egypt, protect our people, and do not destroy us because of the actions of the foolish people amongst us. Ameen.
President of International Union for Muslim Scholars