In articles written by Islamic clerics, the clerics herald the imminent conquest of Rome by Islam, in accordance with the prophecy of Muhammad. The issue is also discussed in Friday sermons. Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, one of the most influential clerics in Sunni Islam, often makes this claim in his religious rulings and on his television programs. The following are remarks made by Al-Qaradhawi and other Muslim clerics:
Al-Qaradhawi: "Islam will Return to Europe as a Conqueror"
In a fatwa posted on the website www.islamonline.net,
 in response to a reader's question, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi wrote of the "signs of the victory of Islam," citing a well-known Hadith: "â€¦ The Prophet Muhammad was asked: 'What city will be conquered first, Constantinople or Romiyya?' He answered: 'The city of Hirqil [i.e. the Byzantine emperor Heraclius] will be conquered first' - that is, Constantinopleâ€¦ Romiyya is the city called today 'Rome,' the capital of Italy. The city of Hirqil [that is, Constantinople] was conquered by the young 23-year-old Ottoman Muhammad bin Morad, known in history as Muhammad the Conqueror, in 1453. The other city, Romiyya, remains, and we hope and believe [that it too will be conquered]."
"This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice - once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens."
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi qualified his statement: "I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideologyâ€¦"
Al-Qaradhawi made similar statements on other occasions, on his weekly religious program on Al-Jazeera. He declared: "This means that the friends of the Prophet heard that two cities would be conquered by Islam, Romiyya and Constantinople, and the Prophet said that 'Hirqil [i.e. Constantinople] would be conquered first.' Romiyya is Rome, the capital of Italy, and Constantinople was the capital of the state of Byzantine Rome, which today is Istanbul. He said that Hirqil which is Constantinople, would be conquered first and this is what happenedâ€¦"
"All right, Constantinople was conquered, and the second part of the prophecy remains, that is, the conquest of Romiyya. This means that Islam will return to Europe. Islam entered Europe twice and left itâ€¦ Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the swordâ€¦ [The conquest of Mecca] was not by the sword or by war, but by a [Hudabiyya] treaty, and by peaceâ€¦ Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies. We want an army of preachers and teachers who will present Islam in all languages and in all dialectsâ€¦"
Another time, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi said, "The Hadith says that the city of Constantinople, the city of Heracles, will be conquered first. We conquered Constantinople and the second part of the prophecy remains - the conquest of Romiyya. The conquest of Romiyya means that Islam will return to Europe. In one of my previous programs, I said that I think that this conquest would not be by the sword or armies, but by preaching and ideology. Europe will see that it suffers from materialistic culture, and will seek an alternative, it will seek a way out, it will seek a lifeboat. It will find no lifesaver but the message of Islam the message of the muezzin who gives it religion but does not deny it this world, brings it to Heaven, but does not uproot it from Earth. Allah willing, Islam will return to Europe and the Europeans will convert to Islam. Then they themselves will be able to be the ones to disseminate Islam in the world, more than we ancient Muslims. This is within Allah's capabilities."
Saudi Sheikh: "We Will Control the Land of the Vatican"
The Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-'Arifi, imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy, discussed this Hadith in an article posted on the Kalemat website. Under the headline "Don't be sad, Allah is with us," the article read: "â€¦ We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians, who carve crosses on the breasts of the Muslims in Kosovo - and before then in Bosnia, and before then in many places in the world - will yet pay us the Jiziya [poll tax paid by non-Muslims under Muslim rule], in humiliation, or they will convert to Islamâ€¦"
In a sermon at the Al-Nour Mosque in Khobar, Sheikh Naser Muhammad Al-Naser quoted the sage Al-Albani, who said: "The first conquest was carried out, as is known, by Muhammad the Ottoman conqueror, 800 years after the Prophet told of it, and the second conquest [that of Rome] will be carried out, Allah willing, and it is inevitableâ€¦"
In another sermon, Sheikh Al-Naser said: "This Hadith predicts that the two cities will be conquered. The first was already conquered, remained under the control of the Muslims for a time, and then was again stolen [by Ataturk]. There are signs that it will again be conquered and will return to the hands of the Islamic state. Rome also will be conqueredâ€¦"
PA Deputy Minister: When Islam Reaches Its End, the Sun and Stars will Extinguish
In a sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian Authority's Deputy Minister of Awqaf, Sheikh Yousef Juma'a Salameh said: "Romiyya is Rome, the capital of Italy, and Constantinople is today Istanbul, known in Islamic history by the name of Islam-Boulâ€¦ The great conquest [of Constantinople] was carried out two centuries after the Tatars entered Baghdad and after the fall of the Caliphate. The people thought that Islam had reached its lowest pointâ€¦ and forgot that Islam had not reached its end in the world, because on the day it reaches its end, there will be no world: the sun will be extinguished, the stars will go outâ€¦"
Sudanese Sheikh: "Rome Will be Conquered"
In a sermon at a mosque in Khartoum, Sudan, Sheikh Muhammad Abd Al-Karim said: "â€¦The Prophet said that the Muslims would take India, saying: 'Allah saved two groups of my nation from the fire of Hell: one group that would attack India and a second group that would be with Jesus the son of Mary [in the battle of Judgment Day].' The Prophet Muhammad told us of the conquest of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine state, and of the conquest of Rome, where the Vatican is situatedâ€¦ Some of what the Prophet said has already come to pass. The Muslims conquered Persia, the Muslims conquered Byzantiumâ€¦ the Muslims attacked India and Allah conquered it for us, until they reached the borders of China. The Muslims conquered Constantinople, where Eastern Christianity is situated, and in the future, a mighty king will arise for the Muslims; through him, Islam will spread and Rome will be conqueredâ€¦"