Al-Qaradawi: Freedom takes priority over Islamic law

Preserving the people’s freedom is more important than setting up a system of Sharia (Islamic law), even though freedom remains part and parcel of Sharia, said Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Friday evening in an interview with Al Jazeera television network.

Al-Qaradawi, who is an influential Islamic thinker and president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group.

Recently, some members of the Brotherhood have tried to alleviate concerns that they want to establish an Islamic state by asserting that the Brotherhood does not seek to the rule the country or establish an Islamist government in Egypt.

Al-Qaradawi also emphasized that the army should protect the nation and the rights of the people, rather than rule the country. He stressed that the right to protest peacefully for the sake of a better life is granted by Islam and recognized by every human rights convention. He congratulated the Egyptian people and the Arab nation on the departure of President Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of the revolutionary struggle.

He described the young revolutionaries as honorable Egyptians who went beyond the call of duty to achieve national justice.

Al-Qaradawi expressed his confidence that God had aided them because he aids those who sacrifice in order to bring about justice, adding, “I was sure that God would aid the revolutionaries. I swore in my Friday sermon that God would soon help these youth, and that is indeed what turned out happening.”

Holding the ousted president responsible for the bloodshed, he said that “God wanted to award this victory to the Egyptian people” and denounced claims that Egyptians were servile and slavish.