Adnan Ibrahim was born and brought up in a refugee camp in Gaza/Palestine, later moving to Yugoslavia and studying medicine in Sarajevo. In the 1990s he moved to Vienna because of the Third Balkan War, where he became Imam of the Shura mosque in Leopoldstadt in 2002. He holds Austrian citizenship. He speaks Arabic, English, German and Serbo-Croatian.
He is known for shedding new light on some old matters in Islam and analysing them in controversial methods usually using logic and philosophy. His preaching in Arabic reaches a wide audience through digital media.
According to Raphael Israeli, “After the London bombings in 2005, he issued a fatwa saying Muslims who hear of plans for a terrorist attack must report them to the police immediately.” He is also known for having preached and lectured against female genital mutilation.
Adnan Ibrahim has produced an entire video series in Arabic that introduces the theory of evolution and reconciles it with Islamic scripture through the use of a traditional Islamic framework. Episode one of which has already been translated into English.
Adnan Ibrahim holds a number of nonconformist views when it comes to the final events of history. He has pointed out a number of inconsistencies and contradictions that exist within the secondary sources (namely the Hadith literature) used to support concepts such as the Dajjal, Mahdi and the return of Christ. In one of his lectures, held in 2012, Adnan Ibrahim argues that the descriptions of the Dajjal, as told in a number of hadiths, are all contradictory and therefore cannot possibly be true, and that the concept of Dajjal contradicts the Qur’an.
A number of Salafi clerics such as Uthman al-Khamis have criticised Adnan Ibrahim for his views on some of the Prophet’s companions. Most notably, he has produced a series on Muawiyah consisting of 27 episodes that contain criticism of Muawiyah – it discusses Muawiyah’s hate for Ali, the battle of Siffin, bribery, being cursed by the Prophet, and more.
Adnan Ibrahim does not believe that any verses of the Qur’an have been abrogated. Instead, he maintains the view that the verses regarding abrogation refer only to previous scriptures (i.e. the Bible).
Adnan Ibrahim rejects the punishment of stoning for adultery. He argues, through the use of a traditional Islamic framework, that the hadiths on stoning cannot possibly take precedence over the Qur’an. This is because the hadiths on stoning are all solitary narrations (ahad), and according to the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (usul ul-fiqh), a narration must reach the level of tawatur (a tradition that is mass-transmitted) in order for it to abrogate a verse of the Qur’an. Ibrahim argues that Surat an-Nur, a chapter of the Quran (one of the last Suras to be revealed) doesn’t mention stoning as a punishment. While all the Hadiths which mention stoning are shown to have been said before this Sura was revealed. Moreover, they also seem to be based on the laws of the previous religions (i.e. Judaism and Christianity) prior to the completion of Islamic laws having been revealed. A similar opinion to this has been offered by other influential scholars such as Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi while declined by others.
In 2007 Austrian media described him as a controversial figure: liberal in theology and opposing terrorism in Europe, his preaching on Middle Eastern politics has praised anti-Israeli militants and led to accusations of supporting Hamas against Israel. Known as an “enlightened and reforming imam, particularly with regard to women’s issues”, in 2014 he again reportedly preached in support of Hamas, although the accuracy of the translation was called into question
During a speech at the Strasbourg Islamic center, a video of which was posted on the internet in January 2011 (as translated by MEMRI), Ibrahim claimed that Nicolaus Copernicus had actually stolen ideas from the Arab Islamic astronomer Abu Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Shatir. He is not the only writer or speaker to suggest this. He also claimed that other western scientists, including Galileo Galilei, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Leonardo da Vinci were actually “thieves…who robbed the Islamic heritage, which was kept in the darkness of church crypts for over 200 years.” Ibrahim claimed these comments were made by “a Polish prime minister” when, on a visit to Syria, supposedly admitted all of this to then president Hafez al-Assad that all of these scientists had stolen knowledge from Islamic scholars. Ibrahim also claimed that Muslim scientist Baha Al-Amili had developed a formula for “perpetual energy” and created lighting in a mosque in the city of Isfahan that burned indefinitely without any energy source.