Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi

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Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi
Born 1975 (age 40–41)[1]
Houston, Texas
Residence Memphis, Tennessee
Nationality American
Education M.A. Islamic Creed
B.A. Islamic Sciences
Associate's degree Arabic Language
Islamic University of Madinah
Ph.D Islamic Studies
M.Phil Islamic Studies
Yale University
B.Sc Chemical Engineering
University of Houston[2]
Alma mater Islamic University of Madinah
Yale University
University of Houston[2]
Occupation Instructor
Title Dean of Academic Affairs
Al-Maghrib Institute
Religion Islam
Website MuslimMatters.org

Yasir Qadhi (also spelled Yasir Kazi[3]) is an American Muslim scholar and writer of Pakistani descent, and Dean of Academic Affairs at the Al-Maghrib Institute, an Islamic educational institution. He has written books and has lectured on Islam and contemporary Muslim issues.[2][4] A 2011 New York Times Magazine essay described Qadhi as "one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam".[5]

Early years[edit]

Qadhi was born in Houston, Texas, to parents of Pakistani origin.[2][5][6] When Qadhi was five, the family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he graduated high school two years early as class valedictorian.[5]

At the age of 17 Qadhi became influenced by the Salafi teacher Ali al-Tamimi[7][8] who was subsequently sentenced to life for inciting terrorism.[9] He studied under al-Tamimi and stated that he "played an instrumental role in shaping and directing me to take the path that has led me to where I am today."[10]

After a short stint at Dow Chemical, Qadhi in 1996 enrolled at the Islamic University of Medina in Medina, Saudi Arabia. There he earned a bachelor's degree in Arabic from the university's College of Hadith and Islamic Sciences and a master's degree in Islamic Theology from its College of Dawah.[2][4][6] Qadhi returned to the United States in 2005 after nine years in Saudi Arabia.[6]

Professional career[edit]

Qadhi teaches in the Religious Studies Department of Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee. Additionally, he has completed a doctorate in theology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.[2][4]

Qadhi is also the Dean of Academic Affairs and an instructor for the AlMaghrib Institute,[4] a seminar-based Islamic education institution. The instructors travel to designated locations in the US, UK and Canada (and more recently, Malaysia) to teach Islamic studies in English.[6]

He likens some of the practices he endorses as similar to those practiced by conservative Christian groups and Orthodox Jews in America, particularly with regard to dietary laws,[citation needed] family values, and modest dress for women.[6]

Qadhi was the subject of a segment of Henry Louis Gates television genealogy series Finding Your Roots.[1]

Views on jihad[edit]

Qadhi has presented papers on jihad movements. In 2006, at a conference at Harvard Law School, Qadhi presented a 15-minute analysis of the theological underpinnings of an early militant movement in modern Saudi Arabia headed by Juhayman al-Otaibi. The movement had gained international attention when it held the Grand Mosque of Mecca hostage in 1979.[11] In another paper, presented in September 2009 at an international conference at University of Edinburgh on understanding jihad in the modern world, he discussed how a specific legal ruling (fatwā) of the 13–14th century theologian Ibn Taymiyya was used both by jihadist and pacifist groups to justify their positions.[12] The paper has been critiqued, however, by some Salafi commentators.[13]

Views on Islamic extremism[edit]

Qadhi is a critic of extremist violence and believes that terrorism is antithetical to Islamic values. He tackles political grievances, criticizing both American foreign policy, which he views as the root of anger among many Muslims, and the religious claims extremists use to justify their violence.[14]

Death threat by Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria[edit]

In the April 2016 issue of Dabiq Magazine, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, declared Qadhi, along with Hamza Yusuf, Bilal Philips, Suhaib Webb and numerous other Islamic scholars as murtadds (or apostates),[15] and threatened to kill them for denouncing ISIS.[16]


In January 2010, The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported that in 2001 Qadhi had described the Holocaust as a hoax and false propaganda, and had claimed that "Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews."[17] The following year, the New York Times recounted his claim that most Islamic-studies professors in the United States are Jews who “want to destroy us.”[5]

Qadhi denied stating that the Holocaust was a hoax or that it was false propaganda, but admitted that he had briefly held mistaken beliefs about the Holocaust, and had said "that Hitler never actually intended to massacre the Jews, he actually wanted to expel them to neighboring lands". Qadhi acknowledged that his views were wrong and said "I admit it was an error".[18] Qadhi added that he firmly believes "that the Holocaust was one of the worst crimes against humanity that the 20th century has witnessed" and that "the systematic dehumanization of the Jews in the public eye of the Germans was a necessary precursor" for that tragedy.[18] More generally, he has admitted that he "fell down a slippery slope", expressing anger at the Israeli government in the form of anti-Semitic remarks he later recognized as wrong.[5]

In July 2010, Qadhi was selected to participate in an official delegation of U.S. imams and religious leaders to visit the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau. The imams subsequently released a joint statement condemning anti-Semitism and labeling Holocaust denial as against the ethics of Islam.[19]

Books authored or co-authored[edit]

  • Riyaa: Hidden Shirk, 103 pages, Dar-al-Fatah, 1996, ISBN 8172317530
  • An introduction to the sciences of the Qura̓an, Al-Hidaayah Pub., 1999, ISBN 1-898649-32-4
  • An Explanation of the Four Principles of Shirk, 60 pages, with Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Al-Hidaayah, 2000, ISBN 1-898649-52-9
  • Du'a : The Weapon of the Believer, Al Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, 2001, ISBN 1-898649-51-0
  • 15 Ways to Increase Your Earnings from the Quran and Sunnah, Al Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, 2002, ISBN 1-898649-56-1
  • An explanation of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's Kashf al-Shubuhat: a critical analysis of shirk, with Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Al-Hidaayah, 2003, ISBN 1-898649-62-6

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/profiles/yasir-qadhi/
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dooley, Tara (October 8, 2005). "A Changing World; American and Muslim; Islamic scholar, a Houston native, brings cultural insight to lectures on his religion". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.rhodes.edu/religion/22337_22349.asp
  4. ^ a b c d Murphy, Caryle (September 5, 2006). "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge". Washington Post. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Elliot, Andrea ( April 17, 2011). "Why Yasir Qadhi Wants to Talk About Jihad". New York Times.
  6. ^ a b c d e O’Leary, Mary E. (January 4, 2009). "An American Muslim envisions a new kind of learning". New Haven Register. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  7. ^ "An American Cleric - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  8. ^ Elliott, Andrea (2011-03-17). "Why Yasir Qadhi Wants to Talk About Jihad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  9. ^ Markon, Jerry (2005-07-14). "Muslim Lecturer Sentenced To Life". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  10. ^ Macedo, Diane (2010-08-09). "Plans to Build Massive Islamic Centers Raise Concerns in Tennessee | Fox News". Fox News. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  11. ^ "V International Conference on Islamic Legal Studies; "Lawful and Unlawful Violence in Islamic Law and History", Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, September 8–10, 2006, accessed February 2, 2010
  12. ^ "Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict in the Arab World & Beyond; Programme", University of Edinburgh, September 7, 2009, accessed February 2, 2010
  13. ^ "Did Modern Salafi Scholars Invent the Notion of 'Istihlal'? A Critique of Yasir Qadhi's Paper"
  14. ^ "Are Mosques Conduits For Extremism? How Muslim Leaders Are Fighting Terrorism"
  15. ^ "Kill the Imams of the West" (PDF). Dabiq 1437 Rajab (April - May 2016). Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (14): 8–18. Retrieved 2016-04-30. Yasir Qadhi, the “Salafī”-turned-“Revivalist” spokesman for Western society who has called upon his followers to cooperate with kāfir law enforcement officers, published an article he called, “A Proud, Patriotic, Shariah Practicing American.” Like other writings and speeches, Yasir emphasizes his love for the United States and his disavowal of anything and anyone who is against American ideals. He says, “The Constitution of my homeland – the United States of America – mandates the separation of church and state. My fellow American Muslims and I understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate.”.(p. 16) 
  16. ^ Goodsteinmay 8, 2016, Laurie (8 May 2016). "Muslim Leaders Wage Theological Battle, Stoking ISIS' Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  17. ^ Sawer, Patrick (January 2, 2010). "Detroit bomber's mentor continues to influence British mosques and universities". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  18. ^ a b Qadhi, Yasir (2008-11-10). "GPU '08 with Yasir Qadhi: When Islamophobia Meets Perceived Anti-Semitism". 
  19. ^ "U.S. Muslim group denounces 'historic injustice of the Holocaust'". CNN. 

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