Yasir Qadhi condones (Islamic) state-sanctioned intolerance and violence

Posted on October 6, 2014

Yasir Qadhi at iERA's 'Eternal Challenge' Birkbeck, University of London, 2013

Yasir Qadhi at iERA’s ‘Eternal Challenge’ Birkbeck, University of London, 2013

In the video below, Qadhi discusses the act of destroying the idols of other religions, specifically those religions outside of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He bemoans Islamic groups which take part in such acts of destruction – not because such actions are un-Islamic but because these acts should only be carried out with the authority of a legitimate Islamic state.

He explains that in an Islamic state, followers of these religions cannot only expect to see their public statues destroyed but must not worship outside of their own community. Any worshipping must take place solely inside their own places of worship. Qadhi attempts to dress up intolerance and violence as an example of religious pluralism in an Islamic state. There won’t be many takers out side of ‘normative’ Islam.

“…there were around six months before, between the Siege of Taif and the Battle of Tabouk. What happened in these six months? Around seven or eight mini expeditions, which we’re not going to go into the names of the small expeditions. The Prophet (SAW) did not participate but he sent the Sahabah to neighbouring tribes and neighbouring lands, and one of the main purposes was to destroy large idols, to destroy public idols and also to bring in the small tribes around Mecca, around Medina that were still remaining, to bring in, so there’s no need to go into all of the names. But, for example, just so that you know the more famous ones, Tufayl ibn Amr was sent to destroy the idol of Dhul-Kaffain and Ali ibn Abi Talib was sent to destroy the idol of al-Qullus and other idols were destroyed aswell. Now, it’s a very important point, especially in light of modern political issues where we have these groups that are destroying basically sacred sites or what not, and they use these incidents from the suwar as evidence to destroy modern sites. Now, one thing needs to be reiterated and that is that the Prophet (SAW) only did this after he had established his political authority in the land. In other words, he’s not destroying Dhul-Kaffain, he’s not destroying al-Qullus and others of these idols until he has established political authority, right? So this is after the conquest of Mecca, after the Battle of Hunayn when central Arabia is basically his completely and he’s now expanding and conquering all of Arabia. So when the political power is with the Islamic state at this point in time they might contemplate destroying the idols of, the pagan idols, but there’s another issue here now. There’s another issue. And that issue is what do our scholars say, what do the madhahib say about the freedom of other religions to worship in an Islamic state, right? This is another issue that many people bring up. And the fact of the matter is that there has been a controversy from the very beginning of Islam. By unanimous consensus, Jews and Christians of course are allowed to practice their faith in the Islamic state, this is something well-known. And the Quran is explicit on this, and hadith are mentioned about this point, there is no…at all. The question comes how about paganistic religions? How about religions that are not Ahl al-Kitab religions. This is the question, and the responses that we’ve had from the very beginning of time, by almost unanimous consensus, there is no idolatry allowed in the Arabian Peninsular, the Jazīrat al-ʻArab. And this was perhaps the greatest success of our Prophet (SAW) is that he permanently got rid of idolatry amongst the Arabs, amongst Jazīrat al-ʻArab and the ethnicity of the Arabs, right? So to this day you really don’t have idolaters amongst the Arabs. And this is something that is the success of Islam that it completely wiped it out. How about worshipping idols outside of the Arabian Peninsular? Would an Islamic state tolerate that? And the four madhahib have differed on this issue. Some of the madhahib said you can only take as citizens in dhimmi status Jews and Christians and Zoroastrians.


…some of the scholars have said only Zoroastrians have an exception from Jews and Christians. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, no other group. However, two points, firstly there’s always been an opposing view and the most famous madhhab that championed it very strenuously was the Hanifif madhhab. The Hanifi madhhab said you may (inaudible) on all of the religions, why do we stop only at Zoroastrians?


…by unanimous consensus all of the madhahib said that the Zoroastrians are treated like Ahl al-Kitab. Now, based on this, the Hanifi madhhab, and also some in the Maliki and Hanbali madhhab, they said that therefore all non-Arab paganistic religions have the same exception. They didn’t allow the exception for the Arabs. Why? Meaning when I say Arabs, the Arabian Peninsular, and in those days it was basically the same. You didn’t have Arabs in Egypt at the time of the Prophet (SAW). So, by Arabs, we mean Jazīrat al-ʻArab. Why? Because Jazīrat al-ʻArab has a sacred, not a sacred but maybe a better status or a holier status, even sacred is not a bad word to use in English. It has a status that the other lands do not have. And our Prophet (SAW) said on his deathbed  أخرجوا المشركين من جزيرة العرب meaning in the Arabian Peninsular you cannot have two religions flourishing. You can have another religion that is on the side but not apparent, not public. So you can have other religions in small communities but not flourishing. This is the hadith of the Prophet (SAW)  أخرجوا المشركين من جزيرة العرب but he never said that you have to expel them from non-Jazīrat al-ʻArab, is the Arabian Peninsular. So, based on this, the other opinion, and the opinion that pretty much everybody has acted upon in the history of Islam, and this is a very important point that most people who want to just study a book, they don’t even know, they ignore history, historically speaking what did our Khalifah do? The Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Ottomans, what did they do? All of the Khulaffa they, by in large, they tolerated every minority as long as that minority was civil. What do I mean by civil? They didn’t go murdering, they didn’t go on a rampage, they didn’t go killing other people. And that is why we have the most bizarre ideologies and religions, to this day, in places in the Muslim world, right?


In an ideal Islamic state you could not practice shirk publicly. So if you were of another religion, you will worship in the way you want to worship in your place of worship. And these idols that were destroyed were public idols. So there is a difference between a public icon of shirk, you have a public idol, right, versus the temples that are closed and only the people of that religion come into that temple. Historically speaking, this is how it had existed in Muslim lands, that the people of other religions they had their places of worship. Zoroastrians, from our perspective they worship fire. Now, I say this, Zoroastrians don’t agree with what I what I said, they would say we’re not worshipping fire and from their perspective they don’t consider it worship. From our perspective, when you present offerings and you bow down and you consider fire to be holy and what not, we call this ibadah. From our perspective they are worshipping, from their perspective they say they don’t worship. My point being the Islamic state allowed them to worship other than Allah in their lands but within their temples. They were not allowed to go public in this regard. So here we have an extremism that we see in our times of these groups and they want to destroy anybody that doesn’t agree with them. And in our religion, firstly if you want to do this properly you need to have authority in the land. You need to have statehood. Our Prophet (SAW) didn’t begin his dawah by destroying the idols around the Kaaba did he? When did he destroy the idols? When he conquered Mecca. After twenty years of preaching. And these guys, they want to start from this exact point when nobody will accept this from them. And then number two, they selectively apply, they don’t know properly which thing to go and destroy. Our Prophet (SAW) allowed, and the sharia allows, the freedom of worship of other religions if it is done in their own places of worship. And this is the standard position, the majority position and also historically this is how the Ummah has always done it.

The Ummah tolerated the beliefs of other religions as long as some conditions were met, and of those conditions is, and this is a common sense condition, don’t practice your shirk out in public, don’t have an idol in the town square and sacrifice to the idol in the town square. If you want to do something that goes against the worship of Allah’s religion that’s something in your own religion basically, then you do it in your own community not in front of others. And I say this again because these types of incidents are misused and abused by the modern groups in our times and this is not, in my opinion, a correct understanding of the sharia.”

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