International Union of Muslim Scholars

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Emblem of organization.

International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) (also International Union for Muslim Scholars; Arabic: الاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين‎‎ al-Ittiḥād al-ʻĀlamī li-ʻUlāmāʼ al-Muslimīn), and formerly translated as the International Association of Muslim Scholars, IAMS) is an organization of Muslim scholars headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi,[1] founded in 2004, and headquartered in Qatar.[2]

The organization is alleged to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.[1] In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the union called upon the United Nations to make “contempt of religions and the prophets and holy sites” illegal.[3] IUMS also issued a fatwa in 2004 asserting that resisting U.S. troops in Iraq was the “duty” of Muslims.[4] In 2014, the organization was designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates.[5] The designation list was met with skepticism by the United Kingdom[6] and rejection by the United States and Norway.[7]


There are at least 90,000 Muslim scholars to be found in the union, who claim to bring together Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi Muslims.[1] According to Islamopedia, "membership in the Union is open for scholars who graduated from shariah universities and Islamic Studies departments at various universities or have a relevant background."[2] They also accept all of those who care of and attend to the sciences of Shari’ah and Islamic Civilization, who have significant writings in the field, or have contributed to some tangible activity thereof.[8] According to the IUMS website the IUMS does not follow any certain country, group, or sect. It is not hostile to governments, but rather seeks to open windows of cooperation for the good of Islam and Muslims.[8][9]

According to president al-Qaradawi, the international union plays a political role in Arab and Muslim issues through mediation efforts. For example, they tried to mediate between various factions in Egypt before 2013 and Yemen before the Houthi expansion.[5] They claim to have conducted successful mediation efforts in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks.[5] The IUMS distinguishes itself from other Muslim organizations (being "truly different from all that exists") in its aims to be international[2][10]

IUMS is not a local or a regional union, neither an Arab nor a national one, neither an eastern, nor a western union; rather, it represents all of the Muslims in the entire Islamic world, as well as all of the Muslim minorities and Islamic groups outside of the Muslim world.[2][10]

According to one source, the IUMS was founded to "promote dialogue between Muslim scholars of all stripes and includes prominent Shia figures."[11]

In its "desired characteristics", the IUMS includes being by Muslims for Muslim and about Islam; international; independent of governments(though "not hostile to governments") and sects ("it is only proud of belonging to Islam and its transnational community - Ummah"); interested in scholarly Islamic knowledge, teaching, and education; concerned with the call (Da'wah) to Islam "by tongue, pen, and every contemporary legitimate medium; be it recorded, audio, or visual"; moderation ("the centermost approach of the centermost Ummah"); and vitality.[10]

Also according to Islamopedia, IUMS sets as "a goal the representation of Muslims living in countries where non-Muslims constitute the majority, such to enhance bilateral cooperation and promote Islamic scholarship and dissemination."[2][10]


Scholars who are currently or have been at one time officials include the president:


Notable vice presidents[edit]

The Secretary General is:

Other notable figures in the IUMS, include Faisal Malawi, Jamal Badawi, and Essam Al-Bashir.


The IUMS was headquartered at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland near Dublin, Ireland, with the offices of the Secretary General in Nasr City, Egypt.[2]


In May 2012, a charity dinner in Qatar raised the equivalent of US$6.5 million for the “Renaissance of a Nation” endowment project of the IUMS.[16]


In 2002, the International Association of Muslim Scholars ruled that resisting occupation troops in Iraq is a “duty” on all able Muslims whether they are in Iraq or outside Iraq and that aiding the occupier was impermissible.[17]

In 2008, Salim Al-Awwa, secretary general of the IUMS opposed Egypt's birth control program, stating: "The state is not God and the state is not the creator. We should not try to limit the number of children."[18]

In 2010, the International Union for Muslim Scholars caused controversy when it called for the tomb of Piruz Nahavandi to be destroyed, a suggestion which was not well received by some in Iran, having been perceived as a specifically anti-Iranian act.[19]

In 2015, the leader of IUMS speaking about Hamas stated, “We view Hamas from the perspective of the Palestinian cause, which must remain the pre-eminent cause not just for the union but for all Arabs, Muslims, and free humanitarians in the world. We stand against oppression, tyranny, displacement and detention tactics that Israeli occupation forces rely on; this is a humanitarian and an international stance. Hamas is defending the rights of the nation, and the nation must stand by those who defend its preeminent cause.”[5]

In 2015, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, IUMS condemned the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign with the words, “all is forgiven” written below.[20] The group appealed to Muslims to continue to protest but not to resort to violence.[20]

IUMS condemned the Houthi coup in Yemen. They advised the Houthi to return home and to stop compromising the “legitimate government” of Yemen. They fully endorse the Saudi-led war in Yemen.[5]

From a religious legal perspective IUMS says “one must stand with the legitimate government and cannot back a coup.”[5] They used this mentality to disagree with Saudi Arabia on the coup in Egypt and the ousting of Mohamed Morsi.[citation needed]

International relations[edit]

On 13 June 2013, Abdullah Bin Bayyah met with Obama administration officials in Washington where he lobbied for help with the Syrian opposition forces.[21] U.S. National Security Council official Gayle Smith asked for the meeting looking for "new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars". Bin Bayyah also met with Rashad Hussain, U.S. envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[22]

The IUMS was designated a terrorist organization in the United Arab Emirates in 2014, with the Emirati government alleging that the organization has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The action was taken amid a controversy between Qatar and other GCC states, during which a number of states downgraded relations with Qatar and recalled their ambassadors as a result of Qatar's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.[23] The designation was met with skepticism by the United Kingdom[6] and rejection by the United States and Norway.[7] The IUMS rejected the designation and expressed "extreme astonishment of its inclusion by the UAE among the terrorists groups and rejects this description completely," said the group, which says it seeks to promote scholarship and awareness of Islam."[23]

The group waivers between rejection of and support for Russian intervention in the Syrian war. In early 2015, they called for a “rejection of Russian engagement in Syria” but after the appeal of about 40 Muslim scientists in Russia, the Union changed their minds.[24] The Russian Muslim scientists argued that the Union should not allow themselves to be “led by the nose by Western Globalization, and should first try to eliminate the threat of IS together with Russia.”[24] Russian members of the Union appealed to the International organization on the basis that “Russia has never helped create a tense situation in any Arab country.”[24] After the Russian scientists threatened to leave the Union, the IUMS declared that, “the Russian Federation should be actively involved in the restoration of security and peace in Syria.”[24][additional citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c " - Why Qatar Wants "to Make Friends" With Russia". Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f International Union for Muslim Scholars. (Dublin, Ireland) Islamopedia
  3. ^ "Radical Muslim Scholars Demand UN Impose Worldwide Ban on 'Contempt of Religion' - Breitbart". Breitbart. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Official confirms, defends White House meeting with controversial Muslim scholar | Fox News". Fox News. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Qaradaghi: We support action against Houthis - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  6. ^ a b Caroll, Lindsay (1 December 2014). "British ambassador seeks to 'clarify' UAE terror list". The National. The National. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Ibrahim, Arwa (13 February 2015). "US rejects UAE terrorist designation of American groups". Middle East Eye. Middle East Eye. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "International Union of Muslim Scholars". International Union of Muslim Scholars. 
  10. ^ a b c d International Union of Muslim Scholars Project (official web site)
  11. ^ Shia-Sunni rift overstated International Relations and Security Network| By Dominic Moran | 10 Oct 2008
  12. ^ a b "Muslim cleric who backed fatwa on 'killing of U.S. soldiers' promoted by State Dept.". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  13. ^ "Interpol Issues Arrest Warrant for Muslim Brotherhood Leader - Freedom Outpost". Freedom Outpost. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  14. ^ "Middle East Online: Qaradawi's deputy resigns from Union of Islamic Scholars". Middle East Online. Retrieved 2016-10-18. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Charity dinner raises $ 6.5 million for religious scholars’ union| By Habib Toumi| Gulf News| May 15, 2012
  17. ^ Islam Online: "IAMS Backs Iraqi Resistance, Opposes Killing Civilians" November 20, 2002
  18. ^ Egypt fights to stem rapid population growth By Will Rasmussen|| 2 July 2008
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b "Muslim scholars urge UN to outlaw 'contempt' of religions". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  21. ^ Martosko, David (26 June 2013). "Deputy of banned cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi who endorses Palestinian suicide bombers had White House meeting with National Security Council staff". The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. 
  22. ^ Muslim scholar tied to pro-Hamas group, radical cleric visits White House Fox News June 25, 2013
  23. ^ a b "Islamist group rejects UAE terrorism designation". Reuters. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  24. ^ a b c d "International Union of Muslim Scholars Supports Russia's Actions in Syria". Sputnik News. Retrieved 2016-02-18.