Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi

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Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi
Born1975 (age 43–44)[1]
EducationM.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]
OccupationInstructor, sheikh
Muslim leader

Yasir Qadhi (also spelled Yasir Kazi[3]) is a Pakistani-American Muslim scholar. Since 2001, he has served as Dean of Academic Affairs at the Al-Maghrib Institute, an international Islamic educational institution with a center in Houston, Texas. He also taught in the Religious Studies department at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.[citation needed]

Qadhi has written numerous books and lectured widely on Islam and contemporary Muslim issues.[2][4] A 2011 The New York Times Magazine essay by Andea Elliott described Qadhi as "one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam."[5]

Early years[edit]

Qadhi was born in Houston to parents of Pakistani origin.[2][5][6] When he was five, the family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he attended local schools. He graduated from high school two years early as class valedictorian.[5] He returned to the United States, where he earned a B.Sc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston.[2]

At 17, Qadhi became influenced by the teacher Ali al-Tamimi,[7][8] under whom he studied. Years later in 2010 he stated that al-Tamimi "played an instrumental role in shaping and directing me to take the path that has led me to where I am today."[9] Al-Tamimi was sentenced in July 2005 to life imprisonment in the United States for inciting terrorism.[10]

Islamic University of Madinah[edit]

After a short stint working in engineering at Dow Chemical, in 1996 Qadhi enrolled at the Islamic University of Medinah 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 working and studying for nine years in Saudi Arabia.[6] He completed a doctorate in theology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.[2][4]

Professional career[edit]

Qadhi taught in the Religious Studies Department of Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee. He also has served since 2001 as the Dean of Academic Affairs and an instructor for the AlMaghrib Institute.[4] This is a seminar-based Islamic education institution founded in 2001. The instructors travel to designated centers in the US (Houston, Texas), Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), and the UK (London) to teach Islamic studies in English. A center has been added in Malaysia.[6]He has 4 children. He moved to the Dallas metropolitan area in early 2019 becoming the resident scholar of the East Plano Islamic Center.

Qadhi notes that some of the practices he endorses are similar to those practiced by conservative Christian groups and Orthodox Jews in the United States. For instance, he says that each group observes dietary laws (which sometimes cover acceptable drinks), stresses family values, and requires modest dress for women.[6]

Qadhi was a guest subject on an episode of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates's television genealogy series Finding Your Roots on PBS.[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 September 2009, he presented a paper at an international conference at the University of Edinburgh on understanding jihad in the modern world. He discussed how the specific legal ruling (fatwā) of the 13–14th century theologian Ibn Taymiyya has been since used in the 20th and 21st centuries by both jihadist and pacifist groups to justify their positions.[12] The paper has been critiqued 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 of Muslims. He has criticized United States foreign policy, which he believes many Muslims object to in terms of US actions in Muslim countries. He has also criticized how extremists use religious claims 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 Western Islamic scholars, as murtadds (or apostates).It threatened to kill them for denouncing ISIS and the shooting attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo offices.[15]


In January 2010, the British The Daily Telegraph 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."[16] 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 in 2008 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".[17] 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.[17] More generally, he has admitted that he "fell down a slippery slope", expressing anger at actions of the Israeli government in the form of anti-Semitic remarks he later recognized as wrong.[5]

In December 2009, one of Qadhi's former students Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a transatlantic aeroplane with explosives concealed in his underwear.[18]

In July 2010, Qadhi was selected to participate in an official delegation of eight U.S. imams and Jewish 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]

The Times newspaper reported that British Charity Commission regulators contacted three Islamic charities about Qadhi's 2015 tour, where he made controversial comments and told students that "killing homosexuals and stoning adulterers was part of the their religion".[20][21]

Books authored or co-authored[edit]

Books authored or co-authored
Title Description
Riyaa: Hidden Shirk Dar-al-Fatah, 1996
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 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 Profile: "Yasir Qadhi" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, Finding Your Roots, PBS
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 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. Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2014-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d Murphy, Caryle (September 5, 2006). "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e Elliott, Andrea (April 17, 2011). "Why Yasir Qadhi Wants to Talk About Jihad" Archived 2013-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, The 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. Archived from the original on 2017-09-11. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  7. ^ "An American Cleric - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. 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. Archived from the original on 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  9. ^ Macedo, Diane (2010-08-09). "Plans to Build Massive Islamic Centers Raise Concerns in Tennessee | Fox News". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  10. ^ Markon, Jerry (2005-07-14). "Muslim Lecturer Sentenced To Life". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. 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. Archived from the original on 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
  12. ^ ""Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict in the Arab World & Beyond; Programme",". University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2010-01-05. Archived May 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Did Modern Salafi Scholars Invent the Notion of 'Istihlal'? A Critique of Yasir Qadhi's Paper" Archived 2010-12-06 at the Wayback Machine, Salafimanhaj
  14. ^ "Are Mosques Conduits For Extremism? How Muslim Leaders Are Fighting Terrorism" Archived 2015-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, International Business Times
  15. ^ Goodsteinmay 8, 2016, Laurie (8 May 2016). "Muslim Leaders Wage Theological Battle, Stoking ISIS' Anger". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-05-12. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  16. ^ Sawer, Patrick (January 2, 2010). "Detroit bomber's mentor continues to influence British mosques and universities" Archived 2010-01-05 at the Wayback Machine. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Qadhi, Yasir (2008-11-10). "GPU '08 with Yasir Qadhi: When Islamophobia Meets Perceived Anti-Semitism". Archived from the original on 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  18. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (11 April 2017). "Hardline cleric is invited to UK by Islamic charity for fundraising tour". The Times. Archived from the original on 2018-01-02.
  19. ^ "U.S. Muslim group denounces 'historic injustice of the Holocaust'". CNN. Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  20. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (2017-04-11). "Hardline cleric is invited to UK by Islamic charity for fundraising tour". The Times. Archived from the original on 2018-01-02. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  21. ^ Kay, Liam (2017-04-11). "Regulator contacts three Islamic charities about Yasir Qadhi tours". Third Sector. Retrieved 2018-03-06.

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