Monday, March 7, 2011

Exclusive: Transcript of Qaradawi's Speech in Cairo

(Update, 12 March:  A Translating Jihad reader has brought it to my attention that a pair of Arabic linguists from Hartford Seminary produced a full transcript of this speech on 23 February.  Their transcript can be seen here.)

The spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, triumphantly entered Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, February 18, just days after former president Hosni Mubarak, the man Qaradawi had disparagingly referred to as 'Pharaoh', stepped down and relinquished power. Qaradawi, who is originally from Egypt, had been banned from speaking in the country for more than 30 years prior to this occasion. An estimated 1-2 million Egyptians packed into the square to hear Qaradawi, who has been called by some the Khomeini of Egypt's revolution. Truly if Egypt's revolution has a Khomeini, Qaradawi is that man. What follows is the first-available English transcript of his historic speech.

As I reported previously, Qaradawi closed this landmark speech by calling for the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which can only mean the conquest of Jerusalem itself. This portion of the speech was met with loud cheers of "Amen!" from the 1-2 million Egyptians packed into the square. It seems certain that the victory of this revolution will usher in a new chapter in Egyptian-Israeli relations, which could very well be marked with renewed violence.

A note about the transcript:  this is the only transcript available anywhere, as far as I know, in either English or Arabic. This is probably at least partly due to the fact that the available audio for the speech is very choppy, and there are words and phrases in the video that are simply inaudible. Throughout the transcript, you'll see some places marked with an ellipsis or an "[inaudible]" tag, representing those parts that I could not make out. In other places, which are also marked accordingly, I provide only a gist of what is said. In sum, this transcript is not complete, but instead represents a best effort on my part to bring the text of this speech to the English-speaking audience.
Praise be to Allah. [...] I testify that there is no god but Allah.  I testify that He has no associate.  I testify that there is no god but Thee.  [...] Thou art capable over all things.  I testify that our lord and Imam, our example and friend, Muhammad, is the slave and prophet of Allah.  Peace be upon him, and upon his brethren from among the prophets and messengers.  All glory especially be to the prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.  Peace be upon all of them, and upon all those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

Now, O brethren, my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters, my guardians, from the children of Egypt [...]  O Muslims and Copts, O children of Egypt.  This is a day for all of the children of Egypt, not just for the Muslims.  I declare from this pulpit, and from this square, Tahrir Square, that from this day forth this square should be called the Square of the Martyrs of the 25 January Revolution.  O brethren [...] from the voice of this pulpit, and from the Square of the Martyrs of the 25 January Revolution.  This revolution, which taught the world how a revolution should be, was not a [inaudible] revolution, but rather it was a revolution which instructed (others).  The youth, who were victorious in this revolution, were not only victorious over Mubarak.  They were victorious over Mubarak, but they were also victorious over oppression, falsehood, control, [inaudible], and selfishness.  They established a new life by this revolution.  [...] I congratulate these youth, some of whom did not think they would be victorious.  In my last Friday sermon, I swore upon the pulpit, I swore by Almighty Allah that this revolution would be victorious, and that these youth would never fail. the laws of Allah, which will not (fail).  [...] Allah has promised to the believers in Egypt [...] Falsehood cannot prevail over truth.  Falsehood has its dominion for an hour, but truth has its dominion for all time and eternity. [...]

This revolution, and its faithful children, had to prevail over that tyrant, that Pharaoh [...]  But the faithful of Egypt, when Egypt believed, said to Pharaoh, who had said to them:  “You believe before I give you permission?” [Qur’an 20:71].  Thus said Pharaoh, “Have ye rebelled before I gave you permission for the revolution?” It is not permitted for minds to know, or hearts to believe, or for your arms to move, without a permit from Pharaoh. “Have ye rebelled before I gave you permission for the revolution?” “You believe before I give you permission?” [Qur’an 20:71]. [...] When Egypt believed, it challenged Pharaoh, saying, “Never shall we regard thee as more than the Clear Signs that have come to us, or than Him Who created us! so decree whatever thou desirest to decree” [Qur’an 20:72]. Look at the difference (between) a man when he believes, and a man before he believes. Those who (were united behind) the Pharaoh have (withdrawn) from all corners of Egypt. […]

This is Egypt when it believes. Wherefore we saw these people, from all corners of Egypt, from all classes--rich and poor, learned and illiterate, workers and intellectuals, and most of them were the learned and intellectuals. Their differences melted away. They melted together in one pot:  Muslims and Christians, radicals and conservatives, rightists and leftists, men and women, old and young, all of them were united.  All of them are working on behalf of Egypt, and liberating Egypt from oppression and tyranny. Egypt had to be liberated, because these youth willed it. Their will emanated from the will of Allah. A long time ago we memorized the poem of Abu-al-Qasim al-Shabi, “If, one day, the people desire life, then fate will answer their call.” Some people will ask, Is destiny subject to man? Allah Almighty said:  “Allah does not change a people's lot unless they change what is in their hearts” [Qur’an 13:11]. Change what is in your hearts, and Allah will change your situation. The people changed themselves, and Allah changed (their situation). The people and the country were patient, and sacrificed, and persisted. Its fear was taken away.

From old the pharaohs would instill fear in the people, and conquer by terror, (casting it) into the hearts of men. But the people did not give heed to Pharaoh, or Qarun, or Haman, or the state security, or torture, or the camels, or the horses, or the snipers, or any of these things. The young people insisted—the youth of the revolution—that they would continue, and Allah enabled them to achieve their hopes and goals. I congratulate this people. I congratulate these youth, the revolutionary youth. I wish I could kiss their hands, one by one. They raised our heads by what they achieved, and endured, and how they stood firm. These youth, who created this revolution, and who uprooted those in power, I consider them as the Ansar described by Allah in His book, saying, “prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them” [Qur’an 59:9]. They are as the Ansar who were described by (the saying), “They increase when there’s fear, and decrease when there’s greed.” [...]

These are the young people of Egypt. I counsel these youth to maintain this spirit, for the revolution has not ended. Do not think that the revolution has ended. Consider it on-going. For you [inaudible] participate in the country, in the new Egypt, which has learned a lot from this revolution. Keep your revolution going and guard it. Beware that no one steals this revolution from you. I warn against the hypocrites, who are ready to put on a new face, and speak with a new tongue each day. When they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe;" but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: "We are really with you” [Qur’an 2:14]. Yesterday they were against the revolution, and now they’re with the revolution. I warn against these. I say to the youth: guard your revolution. [Inaudible] from this revolution and continue to maintain it. I call on my children, the people of the revolution, to continue their revolution, and preserve their unity. Beware that no one enter among you and corrupt these good ties which have come together in this square. This is my word to the youth of the revolution.

Another word to the Egyptian people, to all of the Egyptian people--the great people which Allah mentioned in the Qur’an. The Qur’an only mentions two countries by name:  [Babylon], and Egypt, which is mentioned five times in the Noble Qur’an. No country is mentioned multiple times in the Qur’an except this country, of which it is said, “Enter Egypt in safety, if Allah will” [Qur’an 12:99].

(Note: Qaradawi talks about how the deceivers wanted to gather the people in Egypt in fear and hunger.  He says that over the years, 3 trillion dollars was stolen from Egypt.  Just half or even a quarter of that amount could have covered all their debts and built great roads for Egypt.  He mentions the Christians of Egypt, and contrasts them with the Crusaders.)

Egypt was the qibla of Islamic culture, and also of Islamic learning and the Arabic language throughout history. Egypt, o brethren, was victorious in this revolution. It was victorious over what is called ‘sectarianism.’ In this square, the square of martyrs, on 25 January, Christian and Muslim were standing side by side.

(Note:  Qaradawi then talks about how when he was traveling from Qatar to Cairo, Christians greeted him and wished him well and said they followed his program Shariah and Life.)

In Tahrir Square, our Coptic brothers were standing, guarding their brethren while they prayed. I invite them today, not to guard their brethren, but to worship with their Muslim brothers, giving thanks to Almighty Allah. Muslims and Christians (should) worship together. This cursed sectarianism was eliminated in this square. The critical writer Ahmad Rajab said yesterday that he visited Tahrir Square, and saw a (Christian) girl pouring the ablution water on a Muslim man. He said, “Now the revolution has succeeded.” My granddaughter said that a generation of youth was cleaning the squares, and painting some things which needed to be painted.

(Note:  He talks about Christian and Muslim youth working together to clean things up.)

This is the Egyptian spirit, the spirit which seeks (the good) for everybody. I ask the Egyptian people to hold on to this unity. There is no (room) for intolerance. All of us are believers. We must believe in Allah and deepen our faith. We are all Egyptians. We are all revolutionaries against evil. We are all angry for truth. We must discard sectarianism, o brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters.

A word to the Egyptian military. I salute the Egyptian military. I salute this military. It is the shield, support, and pride of the people. Some brothers told me to not rush to praise the military, for they will disappoint you, and will not support the revolution. I said to them, by Allah, I will not be disappointed. When I delivered the last Friday prayer, after the first (military) statement which was issued, many people were frustrated. I said that I believed that the Egyptian military would not be less patriotic than the Tunisian military. The Tunisian military supported the Tunisian revolution. The Egyptian military, which entered into four wars on behalf of Egypt and Palestine, cannot betray the country, and cannot betray the people for one person. This military is too wise and too noble to do that. I swore that the military would unite with the people, and the military has united with the people. These decisions which we explained were published. Now today I declare that the right to free expression is a (requirement) of the people [...]

(The military) never, ever lifted a finger to use force against the peaceful revolutionaries and protesters. This is the military, which announced it is not a substitute for the legitimacy which (comes from) the people, and which is sanctioned by the youth in this square. It also announced that it holds fast to freedom and democracy. (The military) created the committee to amend the constitution in 10 days, and they are urgently (working) to make the transition to a civilian life. This committee, which is presided over by this honorable man, this law counselor, historian, intellectual, the moderate and fair Tariq al-Bishri. We ask this committee to carry out its work as quickly as possible.

We call on the Egyptian military to free us from the government which Mubarak appointed during his reign. We want a new government, (without) any of these faces whom the people can no longer stand. Whenever the people see them, they are reminded of the oppression, the killing and the evil. They are reminded of the raids of the camels, mules, and horses. They are reminded of the snipers which killed people, and the car which went in all directions, running over people. Twenty people were killed by this car. The people don’t want to see these faces. The military and their leaders must free us from this government and establish the first civilian government for the children of Egypt. […]

We demand that the military immediately free the political prisoners, who have been imprisoned for long years due to the rulings of military or emergency courts. (These courts) are not concerned with evidence or truth. The influence of these courts must cease. I do not want our valiant and noble military to bear iniquity. Every day they remain in prison […]

The oppression must cease. Before I finish my remarks, I want to address the people of Egypt. I know that the children of Egypt were oppressed often. People from different classes, (such as) workers, peasants, and employees, were frequently oppressed. But Allah did not create the world in a day nor in an hour, but he created it in six days. He was able to build it by merely saying, “Be,” and it was. (But) the (creation) teaches us that we must be patient for a little while. I call on all those who know how to work … to work to support this revolution. Egypt needs to work. The Egyptian economy is falling behind day by day. It is not permissible for us, who have supported this revolution, to (negatively) impact the rebuilding of Egypt and its economy. Rather, we must convince all of our brethren who are striking, to wait a little. I call on the Egyptian military to get in contact with them, and support them, even in deed. This is what we want, so that Egypt can move to a stage of rebuilding. I say that all of the children of Egypt are now ready to begin. Everyone is ready to hold a [inaudible] and build something in this country. I call on all the children of this country to [inaudible] in the country. We are in a new stage, a stage in which truth is confirmed and falsehood is invalidated, and where it is the right of all Egyptians to obtain their rights, and receive what they deserve. But it is also our right to be patient with our brethren in the military until they can accomplish all of their work, one after the other. […]

Praise be to Allah. I testify that He has no associate. …to Him be the sovereignty and praise. He is capable over all things. I testify that our Imam, our exemplar, and our Prophet, Muhammad, is the slave and apostle of Allah, and the warning messenger, and the lit candle. Peace and blessings be upon him, as well as upon his family and companions, who believed in him and supported him, and followed the light sent down to him—those have cause to rejoice. May Allah be pleased with whoever proclaims his mission, or is converted to his Sunnah, and struggles in his struggle, until the Day of Judgment. In the name of Allah, the most merciful, “Say: "In the bounty of Allah. And in His Mercy,- in that let them rejoice": that is better than the (wealth) they hoard” [Qur’an 10:58].

We ask Almighty Allah to make today better than yesterday for this ummah. <Crowd shouts:  Amen!>

And to make its tomorrow better than today. <Amen!>

Bless us rather than despise us. <Amen!>

Give to us rather than deny us. <Amen!>

Increase us rather than decrease us. <Amen!>

Choose us rather than choose over us. <Amen!>

Set us in our place. <Amen!>

We ask thee for forgiveness and health in our religion and the world. <Amen!>

And for our people and our money. <Amen!>

Allah conceal our imperfections. <Amen!>

Protect us from between our hands and from behind us and from above us. <Amen!>

Protect our faith, our virtues, and our voice. <Amen!>

We seek refuge in your greatness that we not be killed from underneath. <Amen!>

Allah conquer this country with a clear conquest. <Amen!>

Allah guide it in the straight path. <Amen!>

Allah achieve for it a great victory. <Amen!>

Allah bestow thy grace upon them. <Amen!>

Allah send down tranquility into their hearts. <Amen!>

Allah spread thy favor and mercy upon them. <Amen!>

Allah [inaudible] our words from [inaudible] <Amen!>

And our deeds from futility. <Amen!>

And our souls from weakness. <Amen!>

And our hearts from [inaudible] <Amen!>

And our tongues from lying. <Amen!>

And our eyes from shame. <Amen!>

And our worship from hypocrisy. <Amen!>

And our lives from contradiction. <Amen!>

Make today better than yesterday for us. <Amen!>

And make tomorrow better than today for us. <Amen!>

Improve the outcomes of all our affairs. <Amen!>

Protect us from the disgrace of this world and the torment of the afterlife. <Amen!>

[…] <Amen!>

Reconcile all our affairs. <Amen!>

There is no god but thee. <Amen!>

Allah we seek the aid of thy mercy. <Amen!>

Before I finish my remarks, I say a word to the ruling regimes in Arab countries. I say to them, do not stubbornly resist, do not collide with Mars, and do not stand in the way of history. No one can fight fate, or delay the day when the sun has already risen. The world has changed. The Arab world has changed from within. Do not stand in the way of the people. Try to come to an understanding with them, not (overpower) them. Don’t try to take them with empty words, for the people cannot (be taken). Have a true dialogue with them--not to deceive, but to build, to return things to their proper places, to respect the intellects of the people. This is my message to the Arab leaders.

A message to our brothers in Palestine:  I have hope that Almighty Allah, as I have been pleased with the victory in Egypt, that He will also please me with the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque, to prepare the way for me to preach in the al-Aqsa Mosque. <Amen!>

May Allah prepare the way for us to preach in the al-Aqsa Mosque in safety! <Amen!>

Not in fear,  <Amen!>

Not in haste. <Amen!>

May Allah achieve this clear conquest for us. <Amen!>

O sons of Palestine, I am confident that you will be victorious. The Rafah border crossing will be opened up for you. I call on the Egyptian Army and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces—open the Rafah border crossing. Open what is between us and our brethren, what (divides) Gaza from Egypt, and Egypt from Gaza. Egypt should be merciful, humble, and good. Egypt, who fought four wars on behalf of Palestine, should not break from this path. (Egypt) must open the border crossing which is in our hands, the Rafah border crossing. We will open it for the (convoys) which were prohibited from delivering aid to our brethren. This is what I demand from our great, valiant, and noble army. I ask that Almighty Allah prepare this issue for us, and that our Lord guide us, our brethren, and those that preceded us, in faith. (I ask) that you not create a sickness in our hearts for those who have believed. O Lord, thou art Merciful and Compassionate, the God of the Two Worlds. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon thy slave and messenger, Muhammad, as well as upon his family, his companions, and those who follow him in righteousness until the Day of Judgment. I pray, that this prayer may prevent us from shame and evil.


  1. Good to see you have comments enabled again.

    You're not the first to translate even part of his speech though, Al-Mutarajjam. Besides the media (such as Al-Jazeera English), this was already captured far more eloquently and in its entirety by an established academic from the Hartford Seminary on Feb 28th and published online here for all to see.

    I would advise anyone interested to look at this text in its entirety for a more accurate and fuller rendering of the sermon.

  2. Dawood,

    Thanks for finding that. I wished I'd known about that before taking all the time to render my own transcript! I looked all over the net to see if anybody else had one, but I was unable to locate this one.

    Your link is broken BTW. This should be the correct link.

    I'll update my post to include the link.