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The Doha Debates: An Insider’s Perspective (Yasir Qadhi, Asra Nomani & Women’s Freedom to Marry)


yq_doha_debates_01The ‘Doha Debates’ is a brainchild of Tim Sebastian, the BBC award-winning journalist who rose to fame in the last decade as the host of BBC’s ‘HARDtalk’. It is held in Doha, Qatar, and occurs eight times a year; this year marked the completion of its fifth season. It discusses and debates – Oxford Union style – topics of relevance in the Middle East, spanning religious, social and political issues. Tim proposes a “motion”, two people debate for it, and two against it. Tim and the audience have the opportunity to grill all four of the speakers, after which the audience votes on the motion, and it either “passes” or “fails” the house. It is aired on BBC, and estimated to have a viewership of a few hundred million people.

Four months ago, while attending the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) conference in Doha, some of us were invited to be part of the audience for a debate over the motion, ‘This house believes that political Islam is a threat to the West’. I managed to squeeze in a question directed at Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation (which was slightly edited in the final airing) in which I asked him to explain why it was permissible for politicians to derive their ethics from Western philosophers, while according to him it was not allowed for other (Muslim) politicians to derive their ethics from what they considered to be Divine sources. Being a part of the audience was an interesting experience, as it gave me an opportunity to see how the Debates worked. Little did I know back then that I would be back in the same hall, only this time I would be sitting on the platform rather than in the audience!

Last week, the producers of the program contacted me to check my availability and willingness to participate in the Debates. I was referred to the program by a close friend, and the producers had also seen some of my talks online. The motion in question was to be ‘This house believes that Muslim women should be free to marry anyone they choose’.

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The suddenness of the whole thing took me by complete surprise. I already had travel plans prior the debate call: I was to leave the next day for a long trip to Canada, England, and Turkey, and had to be in South Africa four days after the scheduled debate. If I committed to the Debates, and went to Qatar, I would not be able to return home, and would be committing myself to a 20-day trip spanning five countries! Additionally, I barely had time to prepare, as well as being already overwhelmed with the other lectures I had to give.

More problematic than the logistics of travel was the motion itself. Any time a male opposes a motion with the three words, “Muslim”, “women” and “freedom” in the motion, he is simply asking for trouble! It was as if I had to be the “bad guy” arguing for the subjugation of women. Of course, my completely stereotypical background as a bearded male cleric would do little to alleviate such a backlash.

I asked the producers what they meant by the motion. Did they mean that a Muslim lady had the freedom to not be forced into any marriage? In which case I could not oppose the motion, as Islamic law guarantees her the right to choose her spouse. Or did they mean that she had the right to marry anyone – including non-Muslims, and even other women (the wording of the motion clearly said anyone and not any man)? They responded that they meant it as it is – anyone!! Well, in that case, of course I opposed the motion. Islamic law does not allow a woman to marry a non-Muslim man, and of course same-sex marriages are prohibited as well!

I realized that this would be a very, very difficult debate. I was treading on ambiguous ground here. The motion was worded very broadly (I was later explicitly told by one of the staff that all motions must necessarily be ‘sexy’ in order to bring about an exciting discussion). Most women would read into the motion the “freedom” to marry any Muslim man that they wanted to marry; in other words, the freedom to choose a partner, rather than be forced into a marriage. And that freedom was one that I would not have opposed, especially on a platform such as the BBC!

As an asides, the issue of whether a Muslim woman requires a wali or not is a fiqh issue which should be debated between the schools of law; such debates have no place in front of a public, non-Muslim, audience, and I would not have participated if that had been the issue.

So my dilemma can be summed up as follows: how can I get the message across that I oppose the motion because of the extreme generality of its wording, yet support the basic premise of granting women more of a say in their marriage? In other words, I wanted to present myself as a champion of a Muslim woman’s legitimate rights (some of which they are clearly not getting in that part of the world), while being opposed to illegitimate rights that the motion also hinted at.

To further make matters seemingly impossible, I had a full one-hundred and twenty seconds to make my rather complicated and nuanced point! I had never, in my life, given a talk consisting of two minutes. And as any public speaker knows, the shorter the time allocated, the more difficult it is to prepare the speech.

yq_doha_debates_02I asked the producers if they could send me an outline of what the other speakers were talking about. I didn’t want to repeat the same points my fellow speaker would mention, and also wanted to prepare myself for what the other side would say. To my surprise, the response came that it is against their policy to provide opposing views to each team, and in fact we would not even have a chance to talk with the other team before the debate! I guess this all added to the drama of the debate itself.

Speaking with me, against the motion, was Dr. Thuraya Al Arrayed, a Saudi writer, columnist and member of the advisory board of the Arab Thought Foundation. Speaking on the other side, in support of the motion, was none other than Asra Nomani, an American-Muslim feminist who had authored several books, and who was a close friend of Daniel Pearle, the Jewish journalist who was brutally murdered in Pakistan by extremists. Along with her was Dr. Muhammad Habash, an MP from Syria and a graduate of an Islamic university. That was all the information I was given.

In any case, I took a deep breath, prayed istikhara, and began writing out my first draft. I thought I had done a good job of gathering my essential points in a succinct format, but when I timed myself reading it aloud, it was almost five minutes long! Obviously, most of my points had to go. But which ones to keep and which ones to discard? I kept on thinking about this issue throughout my travels to Canada, England and Turkey. I continued editing my speech in hotels and in the plane, in academic conferences and during Islamic seminars. In fact, I finished the final draft only two hours before the actual debate. That two-minute speech took up at least twenty hours of my time!

When I arrived in Qatar, I was met at the airport (before customs) by a special representative, and whisked away in a brand new Jaguar to Doha’s newest and swankiest hotel, the ‘W’. I have probably stayed at over a hundred and fifty hotels, but this one has to take the cake in terms of luxury and the “chic” factor. All of this glitzy display of material wealth actually repulses me, and I am grateful to Allah for that. Give me a decent, clean standard room any day, without the pretentious atmosphere and snobbish crowd!

Dr. Thuraya and I were supposed to meet Tim Sebastian and the producers the next morning in the lobby of the hotel.  When we got there, Tim was wrapping up a conversation with the other two speakers (Asra Nomani and Dr Habash). We politely introduced ourselves, after which the two of them were led away. Tim then began engaging us in conversation, eventually making his way to the topic and getting a feel for our perspectives. He was taking notes, and it was obvious that he was preparing himself for his counter-offensive. Once again, we had no idea where Tim would be coming from. This was getting more and more daunting by the moment. Dr. Thuraya would be approaching the issue from more of a psychological and social perspective, whereas I would concentrate solely on the religious one.

An hour before the debate, we were driven to the studios (each team in a separate car), where the audience had already begun to settle down. We were told of various protocols to follow on stage (don’t tap the mic, always remember you might be on camera, etc.) and then finally were led onto the stage.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was nervous, but I kept reminding myself that insha Allah I was there to try to present the truth in the best manner possible, and prayed that Allah would enable me to make a good and sensible case.

The debate was thoroughly enjoyable. It was quite clear that all four of us had very unique and specific perspectives, and the ‘line’ dividing the two sides appeared to shift back and forth. (I’m not going to go into too many details here as the readers can view the entire program in a few days).

The two opposing religious sides were championed by myself and Asra Nomani. My basic premise was that the motion was illogical in its very wording: a “Muslim” by definition is one who submits to the laws of Islam, hence there could be no ultimate “freedom” if she wanted to truly be Muslim. I decided against quoting any verses or hadith, as this was not a theological debate, but merely one of definitions (what makes someone a Muslim). I also decided to avoid all controversial fiqh issues and stick to what was agreed upon by the scholars of Islam. I do believe this helped my argument immensely.

Dr. Thuraya’s point was concisely and cheekily summarized by Tim as: ‘Mother knows best’. Her basic premise was that Muslim girls are too young and immature to make such major decisions. This, of course, earned her the wrath of many of the young, educated, female audience members, who claimed that they knew best what was good for them. I did not get involved with this tangent as I wasn’t the one who brought it up. I do believe, with all respect to her, that her argument did not help the motion and dampened the impact of some of my points.

Dr. Habash initially stated that he would not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man unless he affirmed the Prophet and believed in him. I said that in that case he’s a Muslim, so it’s a moot point! He then modified his position to state that he would allow such a marriage only if a Christian or Jew agreed to respect the Prophet and not ridicule him, otherwise he would be opposed to such a marriage. Instead of going down the tangent of how that position contravened ijma, I told him that even in that case he was not arguing for ultimate freedom for Muslim women, and therefore he would be more appropriate on our side of the motion. Overall I felt that he gave a confused message for his side.

Asra Nomani argued from a completely progressive point of view, stating that my claim of Muslim women not being allowed to marry non-Muslims was simply “Yasir’s version of Islam”. Even though I repeatedly pointed out that there was unanimous consensus on this issue, she continued to retort back that that was “my version”. Asra said all that I expected her to say, throwing in the standard red-herrings of “the wife-beating verse”, “forced marriages”, “loveless arranged marriages”, and of course “‘male domination”. I tried my best to always bring it back to the topic, as I did not want to waste time going down these other tangents. I was, however, offended at one tactic of hers. She asked (twice actually!), “What would you do if your own daughter wanted to marry a non-Muslim man?” I really felt like saying,
“Let’s leave our children out of the debate”. I found the question crude, undignified, and, frankly, insulting. I handled it as well as I could on the spot, although in hindsight I could have done better.

I was waiting for the opportunity to ask her one of my prepared questions, which was to demonstrate the logical consequences of destroying all boundaries.  Very late in the debate, the opportunity did arise, and I said, “Asra, a very simple and blunt question: would you allow a Muslim woman to marry another woman?” Her response was, as I expected, in the affirmative. That was all I needed! My main point throughout the entire debate was: if you remove all limits, you have nothing left, and there is no point attaching yourself to any religion. Do as you please, but don’t bring religion into it to justify it.

yq_doha_debates_03Tim had a nice go at me once when I engaged him in dialogue. Reverting to my debate habit of dishing it back to the opponent, I asked him how he would define something (trying to corner him into a contradiction), at which point he very correctly pointed out that I was the speaker, not him, and that’s why I had been invited. That brought a good laugh from the audience! I did stumble on one other occasion, but overall I think I did alright, and I’ll leave the readers to be the judge of that when they view the program.

I was not expecting to win the motion. It was simply too vague of a motion, and women (and men) were arguing more for their freedom to choose their partner than freedom to contravene the Shariah. And I understand and respect that point of view, especially in the ultra-repressive climate of the Gulf where women have a much more difficult time, culturally and socially, in saying “No!” to someone whom their family chooses for them. However, my ultimate goals in this debate were:

  1. To make sure that Islam was not blamed for these evils; rather lay the blame squarely where it was deserved (culture).
  2. To underscore the fact that the Islamic system was the perfect system and the need to understand it properly and return to it.
  3. To illustrate that importing cheap slogans such as “total freedom” is in fact meaningless, and would lead to consequences that the vast majority of people in the region would be opposed to.

I also wanted to make sure that I myself did not appear as some evil villain perpetuating the stereotypical figure of a male bearded Muslim cleric out to dominate women and deprive them of their rights to marry, divorce, live, or even breathe!

In these goals, I do believe that alhamdulillah I was successful. The vote was 62 % for the motion, and 38 % against. I was actually happy at the result; I feel that if the implications of such a broadly-worded motion had not been successfully shown, the motion would have been closer to a 95 – 5 split! And, as the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘A third, and a third is a lot!’

After the Debate, we all went out for dinner, and I had the opportunity to engage in a friendly conversation with Tim Sebastian. Tim is clearly a skilled debater and an intelligent person, but he’s also very down to earth and genuinely concerned about the affairs of the world. Initially, I had assumed that he was merely “doing his job” and that this project was just one more feather in his hat, but it was clear that he is passionate for what he does and believes in bringing about change. I was very impressed with his humbleness, character and manners. Just one point to illustrate this: our dinner table was very long, and he made a point to stand up and move to each part of the table throughout the course of the evening so that he could get to know all the guests.

The debate succeeded in illustrating that marriage and female rights are complex issues that involve many aspects of culture, religion, social status, and society. The fact that the conversation took place was a step forward for the region. And in the end of the day, that is the ultimate goal of the Doha Debates – to talk about controversial topics in a public forum and to began dialogue for a more productive and healthy future.

And now your thoughts…

The Debate will be aired on BBC World News at the following times (all in GMT) :

  • Saturday June 6th:  07:10, 15:10, 19:10
  • Sunday June 7th:  00:10, 07:10, 15:10, 19:10

Also see

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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.



  1. Talha

    May 26, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Your question to Maajid Nawaz was brilliant, Mashallah

    • Loga

      November 20, 2009 at 4:21 PM

      BarakAllah fiikum.

      jazakAllah khier for the post. Interesting in that field of newly popular and western-promoted peoples I wrote about Hirsi Ali’s books, which are full of untruths. Unfortunately this book is a best seller so inshaAllah read and spread that paper around. If you have feedback on it, please send in as well. The site linked above (my name) will direct you there. Looking forward to your input, dawah and jazakAllah khier.

      salaam alaykum.

  2. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    May 26, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    I found this quite fascinating – I’ve only ever seen a few clips of the Doha Debates before, but I enjoyed it (even if I didn’t fully understand the issues being debated).

    I personally find Asra Nomani (and all others who espouse proggie talking-points and accuse their opponents of having their own version of Islam) to be, quite frankly, obnoxious and irritating. I look forward to watching this episode of the DD, just to see how much airtime she got in comparison to you.

    I have one question for you: What kind of effect do you think such appearances and programs have on the ‘real world’? Do you think that your participation in the debate resulted in any tangible change of attitude/ thoughts in the other participants, or in the audience?

  3. Kashif

    May 26, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    Masha’Allah and well done Sh. Yasir!

  4. Amad

    May 26, 2009 at 12:38 PM

    sometimes I do wonder, in the case of hyper-progressives such as Asra, and others in similar category, if they hate so much about Islam, why even bother being a Muslim or pretending to be one (Allah only knows the state of the hearts)? Is their stickiness to Islam due to the fact that a Muslim arguing against Islam (e.g. Asra quoting a verse of Quran) is more effective (psychologically and financially) or is it because of something more sinister– that they want to destroy Islam from within? Consider Irshad Manji’s example… I believe she first came out as an apostate (correct me if I am wrong), but then reverted to a Muslim “reformer”. Definitely got her more publicity.

    Ever since Asra had her child out of wedlock, she has been on a mission to make the rest of the Muslim world accept this as being just fine. The rest of the time she seems to be roving around mosques to get the next big scoop on Muslim women oppression in the States. Honestly, if she came near our Masjid, and I had anything to do with the administration, I’d put a restraining order on her :) Okay probably not. But she’d be watched closely to ensure that she doesn’t create a new fictional episode for the neocon Wallstreet journal.

    • Ibrahim

      May 26, 2009 at 7:09 PM

      sometimes I do wonder, in the case of hyper-progressives such as Asra, and others in similar category, if they hate so much about Islam, why even bother being a Muslim or pretending to be one (Allah only knows the state of the hearts)?

      Irja from Amad in all its glory. She says it’s ok to be lesbian and marry two women in Islam. But, you still won’t make takfeer of her. If you are a murji’ then please at least don’t corrupt the aqeedah of those who read your blog. You didn’t have to add what you said in the parenthesis.

      • Amad

        May 26, 2009 at 7:26 PM

        We don’t do takfeer on these pages, unless there are scholars who clearly have stated so. At least I won’t put myself in that position.
        Thank you for protecting Islam.

        • Ibrahim

          May 26, 2009 at 7:40 PM

          Ok, don’t make takfeer. But, then don’t write the type of statement you did above.

          It is amazing that you think that a person who openly campaigns for homosexuality in Islam can’t be made takfeer of. Also, read what scholars have to say about a person who legitimizes homosexuality in Islam (i.e. such a person is not a Muslim). If you didn’t know, ok. But, again, don’t write the stuff I pointed out to you. I can’t think of a reason why you would add it. Were people making takfeer on these pages that you had to present your point of view (which is wrong)?

        • crespoh69

          May 27, 2009 at 8:32 PM

          Asalaam aleykum, sorry what is takfeer? I thought I had mistaken it for takbeer but I guess I’m wrong?

          • Suleiman Bin Salim alMuslim

            June 11, 2009 at 3:43 PM


            Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah…

            The term refers to the verbal affirmation of a certain person or group of people being Kafir…

            So if I were to call person x a kafir, I would be making takfir of him…

            Keep me in your duas,


  5. Mezba

    May 26, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Jazaks for sharing this – I will be sure to watch this episode of Doha Debates. To answer one commentator’s questions – these shows do provoke and prod one into thinking about the world around them – and that can never be a bad thing.

    To Sheikh Yasir, I appreciate (and agree with) your stance. However, you must also understand that Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji etc. do not exist as a vacuum – they are created because we oppress women in the Muslim world in the name of Islam. Asra and Irshad have merely not been able to seperate culture, politics and power from Islam, and therein lies their waywardness.

    • Amad

      May 26, 2009 at 1:13 PM

      Asra and Irshad have merely not been able to seperate culture, politics and power from Islam, and therein lies their waywardness.


    • Zainab (AnonyMouse)

      May 26, 2009 at 5:16 PM

      you must also understand that Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji etc. do not exist as a vacuum – they are created because we oppress women in the Muslim world in the name of Islam.

      Is that really why they think the way they do? Though I don’t have any evidence to prove otherwise, I honestly don’t believe this – or at least, I don’t think it’s the entire reason for why they behave the way they do. I wonder if it doesn’t simply have to do with arrogance, deliberate ignorance, and a liking for the spotlight.

  6. Sadaf

    May 26, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum Shaikh Yasir,
    This was an intriguing read. 20 hours’ preparation for a two-minute speech! You work hard!
    And yeah, that question about your daughter was offensive. How did you manage not to react?

  7. Nahyan

    May 26, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    Jazakallahukhair Sh.Yasir Qadhi,

    It’s great to see legitimate Muslim leaders representing Islam and Muslims.
    Your approach for this debate seems to be strong mashaAllah. (wallahu alim, i’d have to watch the debate).

    Question: when was this? you were in Toronto just few days ago…
    Also – what benefit do you see coming out with your involvement in this kind of public discussions

    wa salaam alaikum

    ps. Qatar is really doing it up these days, for better or for worse. Like a whole new country from when I used to live there.

    • bro

      May 26, 2009 at 3:52 PM

      …and in London last week!

  8. 'Uthmaan

    May 26, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    As-salaamu ‘Alaykum

    Sheikh Yasir, JazakAllah Khayr. I really look forward to watching this.

    It seems that I don’t have access to BBC World News from here in the UK. Does anybody know if there will be any way for me to watch this online? Or will MM be able/allowed to post up a video after it has aired?

    • Amad

      May 26, 2009 at 1:59 PM

      It should be available online inshallah.

      • 'Uthmaan

        May 26, 2009 at 4:32 PM

        JazakAllah Khayr akhee. Do you mean online on MM?

        • Amad

          May 26, 2009 at 4:33 PM

          online on the Doha debates website.

  9. Adil R

    May 26, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    JazakAllah Khairan Shaykh for representing us in a very appropriate manner on such a sensitive issue especially in the West

  10. iMuslim

    May 26, 2009 at 2:15 PM

    Sh. iYQ… in a suit?

    • Amad

      May 26, 2009 at 2:24 PM

      sherwani would have been cooler?

      • iMuslim

        May 26, 2009 at 2:35 PM

        I just didn’t think he had anything other than sherwanis in his wardrobe.

        Maybe it was a rental.

        • mirza

          May 27, 2009 at 5:17 PM

          you should take precious provision with him, and observe one of power point slides ( may Allaah accept whosoever made those), shaykh yasir was amazing in his first suit appearance in jan 09.


  11. iMuslim

    May 26, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    On a more serious note, I was quite impressed by the sheikh bringing up the issue of same-sex marriage. That point never even crossed my mind. I guess because I still find it to be such an alien concept – even though I am no stranger to the moral relativism of Western liberal culture.

  12. Irfan

    May 26, 2009 at 2:41 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Now I know … This is why you didn’t came to ICNA :) this year, right?

    MashaAllah Sh. Yasir this was awsome debate and it’s always pleasure to listen to you.



  13. Marya

    May 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    jazak Allahu khayran Sh. Yasir Qadhi! This made me a little sad however.

    Why must a “bearded male cleric” – amazing as he is – be put in the awkward and stereotypical position of defending a woman’s legitimate rights in Islam? We need to cultivate more women leaders who can speak for us! Reminds me of Sh. Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s point in Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase:

    “However, we have to admit that women’s Islamic work has not yet reached the desired level, though the call has spread among women, especially university students and secondary school pupils.
    Although over sixty years have passed since the Movement emerged into existence, no women leaders have appeared that can confront secular and Marxist trends single-handedly and efficiently. This has come about as a result of men’s unrelenting attempts to control women’s movement, as men have never allowed women a real chance to express themselves and show special leadership talents and abilities that demonstrate their capability of taking command of their work without men’s dominance.”

    (For that last line, I do not agree that it is simply male dominance – which is definitely a problem in many parts of the world. There is also socialization, erroneous information being disseminated to female believers, etc.)

  14. Pingback: An Insider’s Perspective Doha Debates « Talk Islam

  15. Nazir

    May 26, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    It’s interesting to note that the way the motion is phrased conveys the impression that there is no debate when it comes to Muslim MEN having freedom to marry whomever they wish – as though this is only an issue when it comes to women!

    I think the most important point to make first is that there is absolutely no difference when it comes to men and women, in that both of them DO have complete freedom in choosing their spouse, provided that they follow the general guidelines which the shariah has specified for each gender. Right from the get-go you eliminate any possibility of your opponent to misconstrue your position as one of inequality, because you have spoken about BOTH men and women.

    Next, you lay out for them the exceptions, but you do it in a clever way. A witty debate trick is to present your opponent’s position as being ludicrous by showing the complete ramifications of the position. So you say, “Of course Islam allows men and women to choose whomever they wish to be their spouse, as long as it is not something the religion obviously forbids like marrying animals – like the case of the indian man who married a dog! – or marrying someone from the same gender, or marrying pagans, or other examples of conflicting religious identities.”

    I wonder what Asra Nomani’s expression would be like if you asked her, “What would you do if your own daughter wanted to marry a dog?” !!

    Also, I believe that it is always useful to discuss potential wisdoms when communicating these things to non-muslims, even if we do not make that the bedrock of our response. So I would point out that Islam has guaranteed so many rights to women, that to ensure the preservation of these rights it requires the husband to be someone who accepts and upholds the Islamic beliefs and values. A Muslim man has to provide from his wealth for his wife (to the extent that she can take from his money without his permission if he doesn’t!), while a woman’s money in Islam is entirely her own. A Muslim man is obligated to honor his wife and provide her with a dignified environment and home. So how can Islam allow for a non-muslim man to marry her when he may not uphold such rights but instead may even – God forbid – be abusive towards her!

    • mirza

      May 27, 2009 at 5:20 PM

      i remember someone quoting a hadith something to the effect that, if you do not have shame, then do as you please.

      progressives, i won’t call shameless, but have really given up the idea of basis of islaam, which is submission, complete and unconditional towards our rabb, and to follow his messenger’s sunnah.
      great start..

      barakallahu feekum shaykh yasir

    • kazim

      June 11, 2009 at 7:14 PM

      I think that women should be allowed to marry whoever they want to marry. Those arranged marriages don’t always work, of course, some are successful. But in the last past years the number of divorce in Saudi Arabia has increased and most of these divorcees complaint about being forced into a union that was not healthy from the beginning. There should be some kind of flexibility into this matter, with that being said I also understand some conservatives when they push their arguments. Why Arabs men can do whatever they want, but not women? There a double standard here it is time for the religion of Islam to reconsider some aspects of this beautiful religion. Bring about some changes that both treat women and men equal.

  16. ExSalafi

    May 26, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Dear YQ,


    You were obviously not well prepared.

    I heard you in a lecture saying that in shariah, the marriage contract is actually a contract between the groom and the bridegroom’s father. Why didn’t you use this in your debate to convince the participants about the great rights that women enjoy in the Islamic world?

    In addition you should have mentioned the following rights that the perfect Islamic system gives her which were given to her 1400 years ago at a time when girls used to be burried alive. This would have made all the participants utter the shahadah right there!!

    For example, you could have said:

    A. After the marriage has been announced, the invitations given, the party prepared, the food cooked, the guests have arrived, a woman DOES have the right in front of the Qadi and all her relatives to refuse the marriage.

    B. If she is a Saudi and gets beaten up regularly for not obeying her husband, she does HAVE the RIGHT to go to a Qadi and request a Khula. BUT DON’T mention who is going to TAKE her to the Qadi, since she cannot drive and cannot go alone without a Mahram. AND DON’T MENTION (for the sake of dawah), how growing in an environemnt where she never went to a bank, post office, or even the shopping mall unescorted, she will not have the confidence to escape her husband’s abuse. JUST HARP ON THE FACT THAT SHE DOES HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR KHULA.

    C. If she is a child, her father can marry her off to an older man to settle his debts. She DOES have the right, according to our esteemed saudi scholars, to ask for a divorce once she reaches the age of puberty, since of course she will be living in such a secure, nurturing, and safe environment that when she is 10 or 11 she will be able to make such decisions with confidence and her father will NOT beat her to death.

    Dear YQ: there is not perfect system for imperfect human beings. Stop making a living out of this non-sense. Invite people to the true Islam based on the true teachings of our beloved Prophet (SW) which is based on true empathy, compassion, and the plight of others.

    PS : Why get offended when she mentioned your daughters? It is the same technique our beloved Messenger used when he told the boy “How would you like it if someone fornicated with your mother, aunt, etc.”. What she was saying was: Are you ready to apply the same principles to your own life that you preach to others?

    • Amad

      May 26, 2009 at 3:44 PM

      You were obviously not well prepared.

      interesting observation considering no one has seen the debate yet.

      Also, pls leave out the reeking sarcasm and pointed diggs out of your comments. It doesn’t add any value to your comment, except to make them inflammatory.

      P.S. It also seems you are infatuated with Saudis… so fyi, the debate happened in Qatar and it was about Muslim women in general, not Saudi women.

      • ExSalafi

        May 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

        Dear Amad,

        Please consider what you wrote about another person (who you disagree with):

        sometimes I do wonder, in the case of hyper-progressives such as Asra, …
        …or is it because of something more sinister– that they want to destroy Islam from within?
        I had anything to do with the administration, I’d put a restraining order on her

        Is this the ‘Akhlaq’ you’re preaching to me, just because the person in question happens to be someone you are blindly devoted to and worship to the extent that if someone criticizes him you make him your enemy?

        YES, I WAS SARCASTIC. SO WHAT? Am I going to be pelted with stones form the sky for my impertinence aginst a holy shaikh?

        I am amazed that you are more bothered by my sarcastic tone against YQ than by the examples I mentioned of oppresison and tyranny against our Muslim sisters perpetuated by our own religious clergy- monarchy complex.

        Grow up, learn Tawheed and stop worshipping holy men!!

        • Newsalafi

          June 9, 2009 at 12:11 PM

          TO EXSALAFI



      • ExSalafi

        May 26, 2009 at 4:20 PM

        P.S. It also seems you are infatuated with Saudis… so fyi, the debate happened in Qatar and it was about Muslim women in general, not Saudi women.

        Saudi is where the ‘perfect verison’ of Islam has been revived, implemented, and spread far and wide, so that is where we should look for inspiration for a society based on this true and perfect understanding of Islam. If you don’t find the true Islam there, where else will you find it? After all, I keep hearing repeatedly that the problem is that we don’t *implement* Islam. Well, that’s where it is implemented on the individual, societal, and government level, isn’t it? That is the only country I know where Shariah is implemented. So why isn’t it an example for Western women to look up to?

        • Siraaj

          May 26, 2009 at 5:34 PM

          Um, because it’s not.


          • ExSalafi

            May 26, 2009 at 7:48 PM

            Why not?

            Doesn’t the government rule by the shariah? Aren’t the laws of the land and the court system (which is supposed to provide and implement justice based on shariah? So, what’s missing? That the people follow culture, and not Islam? But it is the laws and legal institutions that gurantee rights in modern societies (as in the West) not people’s implementation of those laws based on voluntary piety. And in Saudi these are totally based on the shariah. So, where is the ‘true’ liberation of women that this perfect system provide that you fantasize about?

            Do you think we will be able to convince any one of the perfection of a docrine without providing a real world, practical, example?

    • bro

      May 26, 2009 at 4:10 PM

      Dear YQ: there is not perfect system for imperfect human beings. Stop making a living out of this non-sense. Invite people to the true Islam based on the true teachings of our beloved Prophet (SW) which is based on true empathy, compassion, and the plight of others.

      Can the true teachings of our beloved Propet(SAW) be imperfect?

      • ExSalafi

        May 26, 2009 at 4:30 PM


        Please try to understand the substance of what I am saying, instead of cornering me on words and semantics that you would like to test if I am a good Muslim or not.

      • Umm Fulaanah

        May 26, 2009 at 5:49 PM

        Nicely put Bro… I love how you caught that… *_*

    • Anum H

      May 27, 2009 at 12:40 AM


      Akhi, I usually admire sarcasm, but in this situation, I don’t know what to take it as.

      Honestly reading all your posts, I really don’t see where you are coming from, and what your beliefs are on this matter. But I will comment on few statement of yours.

      You said Saudi is enforcing the shariah, and should be a role model society to the whole world as it is a perfect system. We should agree, and should have no difference of opinion on that the shariah IS a perfect system, the laws in the Qu’ran and sunnah are indeed perfect, and are meant for all of time, which is what makes the Qu’ran miraculous. So the question is, why is the Saudi government looked down upon? Well first, anything they follow according to the Qu’ran and Sunnah, is correct, and I will not and cannot apologize for the laws in our religion. The Islamic system isnt messed up, the people are. After the ‘golden age’ of Islam, people began to pick and choose what they wanted to practice, and this is the exact same thing you can see today.

      This debate was over, simply not liking something in the religion, and fighting to have things your way. One can’t pick and choose what they want from the religion. Islam is like one building or structure, you start taking out things you dont want or like, the structure becomes weak.

      I’m gonna be pretty straightforward, you said pretty insulting comments in your posts both to the shaykh, and other people. And many of what seemed to be your views, I really dont agree with.

      Again, I don’t know your views and beliefs, but I do hope that we agree with the aspect that we believe in the laws of Allah, and see it as perfect, for Allah Himself is perfect. And we can both agree, these laws and rules, that Allah has given us, we may not understand in our finite minds, but we do know it has hikmah behind it, for a wisdom Allah knows best.

      That was the point Sh. Yasir was trying to make, and if we both agree, then no need for a heated discussion here. All other issues and matters are side topics, and perhaps can be discussed later.

      And Allah knows best.

      • zaytoon

        May 31, 2009 at 1:35 PM

        I would worry too much about ExSalafi. From what i have read from his comments, it seems that he is what Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki calls a “Rand Muslim”. Or he could be an extremist Sufi. Its hard to tell these days, they are usually one and the same. WalAllahu A’lam.

        • zaytoon

          May 31, 2009 at 3:31 PM


  17. brother

    May 26, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    as-salaam alaikum
    Hasnt Sister Asra had a child out of wedlock?
    Seems she is going down the path of some who commit sins of rather than repenting, as Islam calls for, trying to encourage others to indulge in the sin or similiar so they feel better/equal

    There is absolute ijma and a clear Quranic verse that Muslim women are forbidden to marry non-Muslims.
    The ones say they can are going against ijma and making haram halal

    Dangerous territory indeed

  18. brother

    May 26, 2009 at 4:39 PM


    “It’s interesting to note that the way the motion is phrased conveys the impression that there is no debate when it comes to Muslim MEN having freedom to marry whomever they wish – as though this is only an issue when it comes to women!”

    An excellent point. I notice in discussions with Islamophobes they always insist that Muslim women should be allowed to marry non-Muslim men and Muslims by not agreeing to this are backward/evil/ unintegratedetc etc – yet they arent so keen to have their daughters marry Muslim men!

    And before anyone says anything the rules on Muslim men marrying Chritsians and Jewish women in non Muslim lands are so strict as to make it virtually haram. Indeed some ulema have said as much,

    Why would anyone male or female want a non-Muslim partner?

  19. Mustafa

    May 26, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    Allowing that which Allah and Rasoolullah(S) have prohibited, with no qualms as the whole world watches… what a despicable position to be in. Look at her situation and reflect how the intellect (‘Aql) is a gift from Allah. Whoever doesn’t have it will not be able to refrain from uttering lies against Allah.

  20. MR

    May 26, 2009 at 5:07 PM

    MOTION PASSED by 62% to 38%

    Pretty sad that 62% of the audience agree in same-sex marriage. May Allah guide them all.

  21. 'Uthmaan

    May 26, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    As-salaamu ‘Alaykum

    Let us all refrain from backbiting Inshaa’Allah. :)

  22. Rabiah

    May 26, 2009 at 5:59 PM


    Waiting to see the debate. I was just thinking of Ahmed deedat .May Allah shower his blessings on him.

    Being a scholar is really hard work.May Allah accept all of your work .

  23. ilmsummitee

    May 26, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    Barakallahu feek ya shaykh, you did us proud!

    Allah iy zeedaak taqwa wa ilm wa yajalak mina al-latheenah ahsanu alhusnaah wa ziyaadah.

  24. ilmsummitee

    May 26, 2009 at 6:46 PM

    By the way, I was looking to watch this video on youtube before realizing that it won’t be aired until June and I ran across this segment, which I thought was interesting:

    Discrimination debate: Women-only hotel floors

    Subhanallah, even though this is probably just a great marketing idea on the hotels’ part as a way to attract the growing sector of traveling businesswomen, I was happy to see something of this sort

  25. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    May 26, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    Bismillah was salamu alaykum.

    I had never, in my life, given a talk consisting of two minutes.

    Am I really the first person to quote that line in a comment?!?!? Certainly I was not the only person to laugh out loud in affectionate appreciation at the shaykh’s admission.

    Giving speeches on short notice and of short duration on specific and defined topics is a skill worth practicing. I have heard that it was recommended by ulema, and I know from experience that it is a skill that almost anyone can cultivate.

    May Allah increase you, Shaykh Yasir, in ‘ilm, in speaking prowess, in barakat, and in all good things — not just frequent flier miles. May He forgive you your mistakes and your sins, make you firm in every defense of Islam, and enter you in Jannat al Firdaus with those who did the utmost in that effort in this dunya.

  26. Ataa-ur Rahamaan

    May 26, 2009 at 6:49 PM


    I am in shock, Shaykh Yasir in suit, mashaaAllah looking quite dapper too. Its nice to have representative scholars on the podium. On a side note. I love the doha debates my fave ones were the one with Shaykh Hamza and the one with Ustadha Khola v interesting.

    Anways I look forward to viewing the program


  27. MentalMuslim

    May 26, 2009 at 7:45 PM

    AsSalamu Alaykum,

    I’m really proud of you Shaykh Yasir. Thanks for doing your best to represent this Deen/Ummah well…I think you get a 110% for that!

  28. ZawjatuSaid

    May 26, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I loved reading this article. It’s always nice to have an inside look on Sh YQ’s experiences (I loved the article about Tony Blair’s class as well!).

    I like reading the comments too until people start causing drama. Why is there always a need for that?!

    Anyway, will this be up online after it airs? If so, please do post the link!

  29. Siraaj

    May 26, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    Doesn’t the government rule by the shariah?



  30. Ibn Masood

    May 26, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    Looking forward to watching the debate.

    And may Allah swt grant victory to the knowledgeable over the ignorant.

  31. Tee

    May 26, 2009 at 10:05 PM

    Please post the link of the show on muslimmatters whenever it goes online.

  32. darthvaider

    May 26, 2009 at 10:38 PM

    “The fact that the conversation took place was a step forward for the region. And in the end of the day, that is the ultimate goal of the Doha Debates – to talk about controversial topics in a public forum and to began dialogue for a more productive and healthy future.”

    Jazak Allah khayr shaykh yasir for the wonderful writeup and explanation of what took place.

    Although I am glad you were selected to participate in the debates rather than someone without the same foresight and perspectives as yourself, I honestly have to question the intention and objectives of the debate. Are the Doha Debates truly healthy for the region? And will they really result in a more productive and healthy future?

    I’ll admit that I have never heard of the Doha Debates prior to this article, but typically debates and programs within this niche use terms like ‘dialogue’ and ‘healthy conversation’ as euphemisms to question/downgrade indigenous culture and faith in favor for westernization. By presenting western/secular values as ‘intellectually superior’ to tradition, the ultimate end is that the normative culture of those eastern societies cave.

    I’ll even go a step farther and say that by importing western academics to argue what the social and religious norms should be within a given society, the debates espouse a sort of cultural-religious egalitarianism without allowing locals the opportunity of self definition of their own religion, culture, and society….and by participating in the debates, arent we giving credence/dignifying that industry in our minds?

    I’m trying to think about topics that the debates may cover years from now: perhaps the existence of God, the authority of the Sunnah, Salfivic Exclusivity (did we ever get past part 1? :) )- These are core foundations of our belief as Muslims, and open forums where these beliefs get challenged dont feel healthy to me.

    The fact may be that the Doha Debates are merely a microcosm of an inevitability where everything and anything in our deen becomes subject to questioning under the magnifying glass of western-european religio-moral judgments. And in that context, alhamdulillah I’m overjoyed at your participation rather than someone else; but labeling the debates (along with others of the same ilk) as healthy or productive betray the very premise that these debates are conducted upon. Just my 2 cents, and I could be way off base. Allahu Alam.

    • Zainab (AnonyMouse)

      May 26, 2009 at 11:06 PM

      I honestly have to question the intention and objectives of the debate. Are the Doha Debates truly healthy for the region? And will they really result in a more productive and healthy future?

      Exactly what was going through my mind. I’m extremely cynical about the benefits of such programs and debates, especially when ‘our’ side tends to be biased against from the very beginning – not to mention the shady tactics employed by the opposing side (intellectual dishonesty and emotional manipulation, for the most part!).

    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      May 28, 2009 at 7:59 AM

      well said DV..

  33. Hidaya

    May 26, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    It took place in Qatar so would I be wrong to assume that majority of the audience was Muslim? If so, then why could majority vote for such a motion?

    • Qas

      May 26, 2009 at 11:45 PM

      As Sheikh Yasir said:

      “It was simply too vague of a motion, and women (and men) were arguing more for their freedom to choose their partner than freedom to contravene the Shariah. “

  34. muhsinaa

    May 27, 2009 at 12:21 AM


    JazakaAllahu khair for representing sh. Yasir! We are all *really* proud of you and proud of all of our scholars who stand up for the deen!

    I agree with br darthvaider and sis Anonymouse that a lot of these “dialogues” tend to water down Islam in favor of a more secular humanist philosophy of ‘all paths leading to God.’

    Was it possible for you to steer the topic towards tawheed by any chance? I think if practicing Muslims do appear on these shows and places in the global arena, it is an opportunity to display the beauty and magnificence of Islam rather than be on the defensive.

    On that note, I would’ve loved to see you quote a powerful ayaah of the Qur’an such as an ayaah about : doesn’t Allah know best what He created? (No one in the world can argue this. Even Asra Nomani or any other modernist. Otherwise they are questioning their Rabb, Most High).

    I also agree with sis Marya about getting some qualified sisters to represent the sisters’ voice. I recall the likes of Fatima as-Samarqandiya and wonder if people like her were here today how the discourse on feminism vis-a-vis Islam would be different. :D Well, let’s do what we can.

    I look forward to seeing the video.

    was-salaam and barakallahu feek shaykhana.

  35. Naeem

    May 27, 2009 at 1:08 AM


    Sh. Yasir, I’m confused why you felt so insulted and taken aback by Asra’s question about applying the Islamic ruling (of not marrying a non-Muslim) to your daughter? It’s a valid question, and one easily responded to. And as one commenter suggested above, its a tactic used by the Prophet (saw) himself.

    Looking forward to this episode, IA-

  36. Stranger

    May 27, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    Very interesting. Yes I also think that the question was a little broad and left a lot of room for interpretation and opinions, hence probably why it was the chosen topic for discussion. Maybe if the topic had been “This house believes that Muslim women should have the final say in who they marry (thus leaving out the option of being forced into marriage) it would have leaned more towards the Islamic tradition, instead of saying they “should be free to marry anyone they choose.” Allahu A’alam. Jazakallah khayr Sheikh for your efforts, it should be very interesting to watch the debate soon.

  37. abu Rumay-s.a.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    As usual, jazak Allahu khairun katheerun for your noble efforts and intentions.

    The nature of the whole show and how it is operated perplexes me a bit, the motto is “The Power to Change Minds”. One may logicially ask, which power, what change, and whose minds?

    Its also quite ironic and unfortunately disheartening that a somewhat bias western media outlet is hosting these events in a Muslim country and “debating” the core aspects of our faith, some of which are Tawqeefiyah (legislated directly from divine sources). It should be the other way around where Muslims are conducting events debating the issues we believe are important to discuss with others.

    Moreover, just look at the “handpicked” participitants and what they represent, the amount of time you were alloted compared to others and the nature of the topic itself, the tactics used, etc. At the end, this does not qualify as a “true” debate in my book.

    At the end, what is the net gain or loss for any person watching such an event, particularly for Muslims who do not know much about their religion and generally for the non-Muslim community? I would consider this my litmus test to determine whether any benefit is served by such events.

    If something stirs more controversy, more confusion, and more doubt, then I would consider it uneffective. If on the other hand, it clarifies an issue, sheds light, clears doubts, then I would agree that it is beneficial.

    and Allah knows best…

  38. abu Rumay-s.a.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM

    According to their website, this the organizaton that initiated the Doha debates..

    The first joint venture to be created was the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, a think tank that is providing public policy and management consultancy services in Qatar and the region. The partner is the RAND Corporation, based in Santa Monica in California.

    • Amad

      May 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM

      RAND and the Qatar Foundation created RQPI in 2003. RQPI harnesses the research and analytic skills of RAND experts in Qatar, the United States and Europe to study some of the most important issues facing the Middle East. It also works to train the region’s policy analysts in research methods that can help leaders make informed policy decisions.

      Rand does more than research on Islamic issues… they are employed for a variety of purposes. Still, their involvement at any level is troubling. I don’t doubt that there is a deeper agenda to the debates. I think the West is doing what they feel is in their best strategic interest and we have to try to do what we can to protect our interests when they there is a conflict between the two.

      I think another way of looking at it though is that if there is an opportunity to express a viewpoint, would we rather have someone like YQ represent our voice or someone else less “orthodox”? I mean the debate was going to happen, and would be witnesses by millions, regardless of YQ’s choice to participate or our choice to see it. So, unless the Shayookh are asked to repress their opinions or to lie or to mislead people on Islam, if they are able to speak the truth, what are we afraid of? Whether we like it or not, the platform is theirs, watched by millions. We don’t have that platform. So, if we can use what they have built, why not?

      I think we should weigh the pros in addition to the cons of any issue, and then settle upon what we feel is heavier on the scales. Personally, I think it would be an incredibly valuable opportunity missed if YQ didn’t agree to go. The more we get our Shayookh on the national and international stage, the greater the chance that next time BBC wants to interview an “Islamic personality” for an “Islamic opinion”, they might skip Irshad Manji or Zuhdi Jasser for YQ… credibility counts and this debate builds it.

      • abu Rumay-s.a.

        May 27, 2009 at 11:42 PM

        What you are saying makes sense and I wasn’t necessarily arguing that the shuyookh should not attend such events.

        I was trying to determine was what is the “net” result of our participation at the end? With Shk YQ’s participation, I’m hopeful that it was productive, I’m looking forward to watching it.

        The valuable time and energy spent for such events can also be used to collaborate and connect with more balanced platforms, as you well know these platforms are structured in ways that essentially they will get the last word on things and the effectiveness of getting the message across becomes diminished and more difficult as the shaikh alluded to.

        I think one on one interviews/venues or shows such as Riz Khan or one of the MSNBC programs on specific topics would be much more valuable and more productive if it can be arranged.

  39. Mezba

    May 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    What everyone must realize is that a Muslim woman SHOULD have the legal right to marry any one she chooses (any ONE would imply human).

    This is because the law has to be secular.

    As for not doing the righ thing Islamically, for that, she can answer to Allah.

    • Hassan

      May 27, 2009 at 11:40 AM

      SHOULD have the legal right to marry any one she chooses (any ONE would imply human).

      Legal in islamic country? I thought Sharia meant legal framework of islamic society, although I do not know if islamic government is supposed to interfere in this matter or is it just like gheebah or lying that a person can deal with Allah?

      • Mezba

        May 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM

        Four points.

        First, it is documented in Islamic history that Christians/Jews etc. were allowed to follow their own legal codes in these matters. In many Christian churches in the West, homosexual marriage is allowed. So if a United Church sets up in an “Islamic” country, they will be allowed by history to marry homosexuals.

        Two, nowadays if a Muslim woman is adamant in marrying a non-Muslim man, she has to leave Islam officially to do it. Wouldn’t you rather permit her to marry in a legal capacity, so she remains Muslim so in the future, maybe she has a chance at redemption? Or her husband converting?

        Third, marriage is a civil act. As such, the laws should be secular. Remember, in Saudi, a Saudi woman cannot even marry a foreigner.

        Finally, if the Sheikh had said In Islam a Muslim woman is not free to marry … he would have a stronger point.

        • Hassan

          May 27, 2009 at 11:57 AM

          1. Your point number 1, very interesting, although I think muslims allow jews and christians to live by bible, not anything goes, since homosexuality is sin in their religion, it would not be allowed.

          2. I did not know that woman has to leave islam to marry non-muslim man. Sins do not take someone outside the fold of islam

          3. I thought marriage was islamically regulated (regardless civil act). Saudi woman can marry a foreigner by giving up her saudi citizenship, and Saudi Arabia example should not be cited always.

          4. In Islam a Muslim man is not free to marry either… he can not marry hindu, (would be considered zina), he can not marry another man, or animal, his sister, mother etc.

    • Hassan

      May 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM

      Also, it just struck me, that a woman marriage (or non-marriage) to non-muslim is not recognized by islam, and hence she would be committing zina, which for sure is punishable in shariah

    • abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      May 27, 2009 at 4:50 PM

      …because the law has to be secular.

      First of all, no, the law does not need to be secular.
      Second, what are the premises on which you assume the law should be secular? Chances are those premises are based on weak assumptions. For example, being secular does not guarantee civil liberties: the laws of China are secular, for example. As are the laws of the United States, where a woman cannot marry any human, either, alhamdolillah.

      I recommend that you approach the issue of Who is the Lawgiver from the point of view of one seeking truth, rather than one who insists on what she believes is truth. Go all the way back to the beginning of the question: “Who” is Allah.

      If you study and accept “la ilaha illAllah.” Then study at least those of His Names and Attributes that deal with law, justice, knowledge, mercy, and compassion, you will find unequivocally that He is the best of those who assert sovereignty. Indeed it is a blessing simply to be His slave — even those who defy Him receive from His Provision and Mercy in this life. To accept Who He is, and to be grateful for what He has given — those are fundamental to being a Muslim.

      Allah’s Laws are those in which there is no fault. From His Mercy is that He has given man ‘aql/reason such that even men with distorted guidance or without any guidance could order their own affairs. But no law of man is ever better than the Law of Allah because no man can surpass Him in knowledge of mankind and the human condition. No man can even approach Him in mercy or compassion. Thus no justice which man may assert is properly limited by mercy, and we see every day the evils of man’s standards of justice.

      Yet the best of those people who judge are those who make their rulings by the Law of Allah, because while the man or woman will be imperfect the Law they implement is Divine. And may Allah forgive those who rule by His Law with fear of Him and in accordance with His Command to enjoin good and forbid evil, and may He Forgive us likewise. May He Guide them, and us. May He be pleased with them and with us. Ameen.

  40. anon

    May 27, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    “As for not doing the righ thing Islamically, for that, she can answer to Allah.”

    ….I suppose we can disregard the Shariah then, after all one can answer to Allah right?

  41. time_gone

    May 27, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    – You know, these comments are a waste of time.
    – MM should just block comments

  42. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    I believe the problem in this discussion is the conflict between the shari’ah, the law of the land, and its cultural norms. The reason discussion on this matter is both emotional and counterproductive is because the lines are blurred too greatly among the three for reasoned discourse to provide solid answers.

    And, as mentioned above by one of the commentators, this issue (as with other women’s rights issues) is littered with loaded questions, the focus shining brightly on women’s rights as though men, from the perspective of shari’ah, are allowed to marry whomever they wish to.

    I believe that if Muslims are to have this discussion among themselves, they must do so in light of the Shari’ah (else, why call yourself Muslim?). If it is to happen with nonMuslims, then it should be to emphasize the primacy of shari’ah law for Muslims over all systems minus the cultural norms which violate the shari’ah.


    • Kaja Moinudeen

      June 7, 2009 at 12:42 PM

      Shk.Yasir ,

      Given the circumstances .Good show Shaykh!!

      I would also expect/request an article from you refuting Asra’s accusation saying clerics like you customise intrepretaions of the Qura’an to work against women.

  43. muslimah4good

    May 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM

    What upsets me the most is why women like asra nomani are chosen to represent Muslim women and their rights? Asra Nomani does not even represent the “common not so practicing” Muslim women who don’t observe hijab but still live by the rules and regulations of Islamic conduct. Her life is an open book so I cannot be labeled as judgmental when I say; she has committed many sins OPENLY, PROUDLY and still continues to FLAUNT herself as a Muslim?
    I am not the type of person who makes remarks about anyone’s personal life but Asra Nomani is an exception only because instead of repenting, she insists on legalizing sinful behaviour. She is poisoning the world with her whims and lies just to please her nafs.

    The situation which Shaykh Yasir talks about reminds me of a hadith
    “A time will come upon people wherein the one steadfast to his religion will be like one holding a burning coal.” Tirmidhi

  44. AsimG

    May 27, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    I’m really uncomfortable with Shaykh Yasir taking part in such a rigged debate.

    I’ll wait for the actual debate to come out before I say anything else.

    • Amad

      May 27, 2009 at 4:19 PM

      I’m really uncomfortable with Shaykh Yasir taking part in such a rigged debate.

      rigged how?

      • AsimG

        May 27, 2009 at 11:50 PM

        The resolution and its “sexy” wording basically guaranteed YQ was going to lose.

        I understand your point of establishing YQ’s media cred, but was this the best way?

        YQ knows his stuff, speaks english and can engage in debate. He is our ace and we played him against people with weak hands like Asra AND he lost.

        Allahu Alim, I don’t know. I have to see the debate before saying anything else.

        I don’t like the spin the Gulf Times is giving…

        • J

          May 29, 2009 at 10:32 PM

          I agree with bro AsimG. I think Ustadh YQ should have politely declined.

  45. umtalhah

    May 27, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    as salam alaikum.

    jazakAllahu khairan sh. yasir, mm and all involved in bringing this wonderful piece to us.

    may Allah accept every second (make that a nano) of his time spent on this as a good deed on his scale on doj. can’t wait to see the debate.

    it is good to know (and hopefully appreciate) all the time and effort defenders of Islam put in their work. may Allah accept it from them and us all.

    i found a lot of (if not all) of the comments from exsalafi full of meaningless sarcasm and/or ignorance. he says,

    So why isn’t it an example for Western women to look up to?

    my answer is many of the western women would want to look up to it if the entire picture is shown to them in all honesty and not one-sided selected (often twisted) bits and pieces of the whole picture.

    why am i so confident? check the statistics – many women living in the west with all the freedom in the world have chose islam with all its restrictions!

  46. umtalhah

    May 27, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    p.s. and i agree with amad and wonder the same where he says,

    Is their stickiness to Islam due to the fact that a Muslim arguing against Islam (e.g. Asra quoting a verse of Quran) is more effective (psychologically and financially) or is it because of something more sinister– that they want to destroy Islam from within?

    Allahu alam wa hua al-musta’an!

  47. DrM

    May 27, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    As much as I respect Sheikh Yasir, I must say he should have done his homework before even considering to appear on such a “show.” The “Doha debates” are a joke. They should be called “Doha rebates” because I wanted the hour of life I wasted watching one of their shows. Most of the audience tend to be people belonging to local westernized elites. The vague wording of the “resolutions” are intentional, as well as the choice of guests they bring on.

    One of the reasons I got into blogging was to expose Nomani and her neocon supported pro-regressive munafiqs. The fact that western media organizations continue to bring on and promote those who aren’t part of the Muslim community as representatives(Ed, Hussien Nomani, Sultan, Hirsi Magan etc) is part and parcel of how dishonest and unprofessional they are. It’s a set up, and I wish some of us would wake up to that reality.

    Commend edited by moderator for language.

    • mirza

      May 27, 2009 at 8:56 PM

      subahan Allaah, how much time did you waste typing this text?

      • DrM

        May 27, 2009 at 10:46 PM

        Less then the amount of time it took you to come up with a “reply.” Get back to me when you have something relevant to add.

  48. Umm Ibraheem

    May 28, 2009 at 5:34 AM



    I really do not understand the benefit of us debate when no good comes out of it. IF we know we will not change the mind of a Muslim or the statements that they do make will take them out of the folds of Islam (i.e. Thinking Muslim Women can actually marry another woman audibillah)—why go debate? Was it actually beneficial to respond to the invitation?

    They just want to ride the tidal waves of controversies. Oh the US is going through this gay marriage issues, women in Islam and their freedom is always at question, so why not make a hot debate out of this subhanallah.

    Allahu Musta’n.

  49. midatlantic

    May 28, 2009 at 6:28 AM

    Thank you Darthvaider for taking us to the ‘dark side’. There was something bothering me about this whole Doha Debates thing and I couldn’t pinpoint it but I think you hit the mark.

    The participation of someone like Sh. Yasir Qadhi just helps give legitimacy to arguments that heretofore have been non-arguments in mainstream Muslim society (ex. same-sex marriage). Moreover it makes the progressives appear more mainstream rather than the wackos on the fringe that most Muslims still consider them to be.

    The motion might as well have been, Allah has no right to tell Muslims what to do (and we seek Allah’s refuge).

    Let’s fight the battle for hearts and minds on our terms.

    • darthvaider

      May 28, 2009 at 12:15 PM

      man….taking people to the dark side sounds so wrong (though my name would suggest otherwise, lol). Jazakum Allah khayr midatlantic for the….ermmm…complement?

      Just to clarify my statement: given the circumstances, I’m glad shaykh yasir was participating over someone else, alhamdulillah. And I’m really not trying to throw some sort of bash parade (which seems to have taken place, lol).

      My entire point was merely to say that characterizing debates like these as healthy or productive isnt always true. I provided the reasons behind that in my last comment, alhamdulillah.

      Sorry, not trying to be argumentative; insha’Allah I’m done with this comment :)
      Allahu Alam.

  50. Abdullah Badr

    May 28, 2009 at 8:49 AM

    For all those who are complaining:

    First, let’s see the debate in full.

    Second, the debate would have taken place anyways. Instead of seeing things as if we are always portrayed in a positive light, let’s wake up and smell the coffee and realize that having someone Orthodox speaking for us is a million times better than not having him there. Let’s always judge things as they are, and not as we would wish them to be, or else we find ourselves living in a different reality.

    Hundreds of millions of people would have heard Asra Nomani on the Debates; what better way to counteract her than to have someone show what the orthodox side of things says?

    I personally find it frustrating that people always need to find faults and can’t see the obvious good.

    • Amad

      May 28, 2009 at 9:23 AM

      My sentiments exactly.

    • J

      May 29, 2009 at 10:28 PM

      “Having someone Orthodox speaking for us is a million times better than not having him there.”

      That is true, but we have to think long-term. Like someone else said, YQ is our ace, and his image should be preserved. In other words, the short-term benefit (of educating people on this issue) may not have been worth the long-term damage (to YQ’s usability in the future).

      I really think Ustadh YQ should have declined to participate in this debate. But you’re right: let’s see the debate. Plus, YQ is much wiser than I am. Wallahu Aalim.

  51. Aga_juice

    May 28, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    The problem with this debate is that the women sitting in the audience in Qatar interpretted the motion differently to the audience sitting in the west. The women in Qatar (who voted for the motion) most probably interpretted the motion to mean “do muslim women have the freedom to marry any muslim man” and not nessarily someone from their own qabeela or someone their parents pick. Whereas we sitting in the west viewed the motion as “do muslim women have the freedom to marry “anyone!”” I lived in the gulf most of my life and have never heard of any muslim women wanting to marry a non muslim man but have heard many stories of women wanting to marry muslim men who are not part of their exclusive qabeela.

    Nonetheless, as the Shaykh mentioned, the motion was flawed but jazakAllahu khayran to the shaykh for standing up for the haqq.

  52. Aga_juice

    May 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    Also we should not be upset or concerned with the final poll numbers. We know there is no “shura” in such matters and as is always the case, most of the audience members probably had pre-concieved notions how they would vote before they even heard the arguments. So the results are definitely not representative of how our Shaykh did.

  53. Muna

    May 28, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Excellent post. I loved how Sheikh Yasir brought up the issue of the limits of an individual’s freedom in Islam, because if a person chooses to be Muslim, its always a choice even for those of us born into this beautiful faith, then he or she chooses to abide by the laws that govern a Muslim’s conduct, not completely though ;) because at the end of the day Islamic law is very stringent and we are only human and thus imperfect. But for a Muslimah to “marry” (its not really a marriage) a non-Muslim is where anyone with the slightest connection to the Islamic tradition would draw the line.

    I also think that Muslim “reformers”, progressives or whatever they want to call themselves should be marginalized and are not really worth debating especially by someone like Yasir Qadhi, they don’t deserve the time of the day. Because if someone wants to be “progressive” then fine, ma issalameh! Nomani, Manji and their ilk can be as liberal and westernized all they want, they should just drop the Muslim pretenses and leave us alone.

    • unconventionally-traditional

      May 28, 2009 at 10:12 PM

      they will NEVER drop it, it guarantees a steady cash flow, so why give that up.
      I shouldn’t say never, I wish guidance for them.

  54. zaytoon

    May 28, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    I really wish that Sheikh Qadhi brought up her zina in the debate since she sought fit to bring his personal life into it. How does this Ummah ever expect to be succesful if we are idle to the actions of people who are exhibiting blatant signs of nifaq?

    • Amad

      May 28, 2009 at 2:18 PM

      I think there is a certain level of debate decorum that would not be befitting of such a personal inquisition. It would quickly spin out of control.

      By the way, here is Asra’s own writings:

      Shibli [Asra’s son out of wedlock] is proof that I, an unmarried Muslim woman, am guilty of zina, or “illegal sex,”

      If that’s not flaunting the laws of Allah, I don’t know what is. It is one thing to be guilty of sin, which we all are, but quite another to openly display them. As we know from one of the statements of the Prophet (S), publicized sins are far worse than secret sins. I can’t locate the exact hadith so if someone can add it, it would be great.

      Regardless, let’s not waste time on this charlatan, but instead focus on the debate itself inshallah.

      • zaytoon

        May 29, 2009 at 12:45 AM

        I also really wish (I have a lot of wishes!) that the Sheikh would do a lecture or write a paper on how to deal with munafiqs on a social/political level. As far as I know, the sheikh has only dealt with the topic of nifaq at an aqeeda level (Allah Knows Best).

    • J

      May 29, 2009 at 10:24 PM

      That would have been disastrous. Ustadh Yasir would have come across as just another mean-spirited and nasty cleric. It would have been a case of winning the battle and losing the war.

      Ustadh Yasir must always remain calm and well-mannered (which he does), since he has to fight off the stereotype.

  55. mirza

    May 28, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    instead of criticizing with personal viles, can’t we learn from his, hafidhahullah manners in which he stood for the motion ( haqq ) and the manners in which he presented how situations went around him, within which he could squeeze

    only thing i wished was mm to publish this on the day the debate was being broad casted to avoid personal immature mud slicing, with/out base. whatever has happened, has happened. any ways, its time for damage control.

    don’t we know, from the sunnah that we are suppose to avoid arguments, even if we are right? arguments that leads to nothing but heart burn.

    nothing except grave dust will fulfill desires of such. iyadobillah.
    assalamu alaikum

  56. Imtiaz

    May 28, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    MashAllah very well …. :D

    I love that nowadays our Muslims faces are seen on television … (and that in a somewhat USEFUL light)…we had Yusuf Islam on the Colbert Report… I believe Imam Zaid has been on a few PBS shows… and moreso now our Ustadh’s are moving on television with Shaykh Yaser and Shaykh Yasir …..

    May Allah give us all strength in new endeavors and allow us to courage of tongue and mind. Ameen

    Also – there is one question I just had – but I will ask you Abu Ammar in person inshaAllah.

  57. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    May 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Has anyone taken a look at the Doha Debates main page? Because I just did – check out the wording of the first paragraph:

    The male-dominated Arab world was given a sharp warning by Qatar’s Doha Debates that Muslim women expect greater freedom in choosing a husband.

    As someone else pointed out, herein may lie the true reason why the motion was passed, despite its very open wording – the audience members may be supporting the notion that a Muslim woman is free to marry any Muslim man that she chooses, not neccessarily anyone (man, woman, transgender, or animal!).

  58. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    May 28, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    And check out Sh. YQ’s bio!

    Yasir Qadhi is a Muslim American cleric who lectures throughout the English speaking world. He has written several books on Islam and is a teaching fellow at Yale University, where he is completing his PhD in Islamic studies… In 2007 he started blogging at

  59. 'Abdil Kareem

    May 28, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    Critical question, where did you eat in Doha?!

    I love that place! Oh how I miss it…

  60. butter

    May 28, 2009 at 6:02 PM

    Its interesting how Asra claims that arranged marriages are ‘loveless’ – just because she had a bad experience… I would ask her if all ‘love marriages’ sustain their love and actually last. I dont think so!

  61. Khalid

    May 28, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    salaam aleikum,

    a cursory perusing thru Ms. Nomani’s background should tell you that this is kufr of the RAND variety that is being promoted by neo-cons from the top. It is absolutely sheer coincidence that the “pro-regressive” Muslim individuals such as the ‘Muslim lesbian’ Irshad Manji and the proud adulteress Nomani were heavily promoted by U.S. media and govt. types after 9/11 and right around the time of the Iraq war.

    Some rather interesting stories to back up what is written above:

    1. Loosening (LOSING?) their religion

    2. “The Web site ( summarizes the column’s goals: “To address modern day Muslim sexual experiences even if they do not match Islamic prescriptions for sexual conduct.”

    source: Muslim Women Talk Sex

    but probably my absolute FAVORITE thing about her, is that like every pseudo Muslim con artist and liar that the media, Fox Noise, the WSJ, and every other right wing outlet uses as props, she has to lie about her background to gain any currency or fiction of any standing among Muslims.

    This is from one of her bios:

    Asra Nomani claims her ancestral lineage from Maulana Shibli Nomani who was a distinguished scholar of Islam in India and is renowned for writing Seerat-al-Nabi among several other books.

    This was an open notice published by said family of Maulana Shibli Normani:

    Asra Nomani no kin of Allama Shibli

    DAWN, Pakistan
    Apirl 22, 2005

    WE were extremely embarrassed to read in ‘Books & Authors’ (April 17) about Asra Nomani, a controversial personality, who claims to be a direct descendant of Allama Shibli, after whom she has named her son. Asra is in NO way connected to the Shibli family. We five real granddaughters are
    the real direct descendants of Maulana Shibli, who had one son and two daughters, Rabia Khatoon and Jannutul Fatima. Both the daughters died in their youth in 1904 and 1909. They were married and their family lived in their ancestral villages in Azamgarh.

    Allama Shibli had only one son, Hamid Hassan Nomani. He was born in 1882 and died in 1942. He had no sons but five daughters. They are:

    A) Dr Nasim Jehan, retired director of health, Bangladesh, died in Karachi in 1997. She was married to Dr Zafrul Huda of Dhaka University. He died in 1978 at Dhaka. They have one daughter Shahla living in the US.

    B) Shamim Jehan, married to Ehtesham Ahmed, who died in Azamgarh in 1982.
    They have eight sons and seven daughters all married and living in Pakistan, except one, who is in Kuwait.

    C) Tahsin Jehan, married to Shaukat Sultan, principal of Shibli College, Azamgarh. He died in 1986. They have three sons and four daughters, living in India, the UAE and Karachi. The above three daughters were married in 1940 at Azamgarh.

    D) Mohsina Sultana, married in 1950 to Amanullah Khan, director of industries, India. They have five children, all married, one daughter and three sons living in the US and one son in India.

    E) Momna, the youngest, was born in 1935 and married in 1952 to Capt. Khan Sohail Sultan, who retired as general manager of Pan-Islamic Steamship Co., Karachi in 1993, now living in North Nazimabad. They have four sons, all married. Eldest Maj Khalid Sultan, Sitara-i-Jur’at, met ‘Shahadat’ at Siachin in 1992, Capt. Danish Sultan is managing director of Pac Marine Singapore, Wamiq Sultan, MD, living in the US, youngest Capt. Toaha Sultan is serving in the Pakistan Army.

    Considering our sentiments and Maulana Shibli’s fame as writer of Seerat-un-Nabi, we hope you will publish this clarification.


    online source:

    There is more to say about this, but I will let others fill in the details. But one needs to ask, Why is it that people like manji and nomani who are so Islamically impoverished, are constantly getting media attention from right wing, pro-“family values”, anti-gay marriage, Iraq war loving media outlets?

  62. muslimah4good

    May 28, 2009 at 11:02 PM

    There is a fundamental flaw in interpretations of sharia that say a woman or man should be punished for sex outside of marriage”
    -Asra Nomani,
    Author and Journalist

    for more about asra

  63. Faraz Omar

    May 29, 2009 at 3:20 AM

    The fitnah mongers in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia are babies when compared with the western ones. may Allah give izza and nasr to Islam and Muslims.

  64. Dawud Israel

    May 29, 2009 at 9:49 PM

    Ma sha Allah! Now, this is REAL Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimullah) level stuff!! :)
    As we say in Urdu, “Ikhdum must!” (totally awesome!)
    (see Amad, I DO make positive comments lol)

    Jazaka Allahu khayran shaykh iYasir Qadhi for representing us, Allah and His Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam with such tact, precision and enthusiasm. I know it must’ve been challenging but you’ve set a real great example for your students. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels more motivated and dutiful to defend this great religion of ours.

    I also really wish (I have a lot of wishes!) that the Sheikh would do a lecture or write a paper on how to deal with munafiqs on a social/political level. As far as I know, the sheikh has only dealt with the topic of nifaq at an aqeeda level (Allah Knows Best).

    I concur. But actually, I think this applies to the entire ummah- shifting to thinking on a real world level and not just strictly theologically.

    Of course, this is a non-Muslim program…I personally hope one day we have public forums and debates just like this, in our own Muslim communities so we can grow intellectually and responsibly. I’m thinking of trying it at my masjid but we’ll see in sha Allah…

    Jazaka Allahu khayran again.

  65. Dawud Israel

    May 29, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    “Feminism? First empower femininity.”
    -Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad
    I think that says a lot…if you think about it.

    When Irshad Manji came to a university for a series of talks…the MSA agreed unanimously that no Muslim would attend these events. And nothing happened, even though the Yahoodis who sponsored her kept bringing her back. Until finally one brother broke ranks and went…and was torn to shreds in his argument at the even.

    Sh. iYQ’s discussion was a different scenario but for most of us you should not give these personalities ANY attention or else it translates into credibility for them. “Use silence to suffocate falsehood, not truth.” Because they don’t give any care for the truth unless it serves them.

    When you are talking about feminists…like REAL feminists they are very radical. I know sisters in our community like to be given more freedom, especially when they want to do Islamic work and they think it to be feminism…but its not. REAL feminists do stuff like pay men to rape them…just take a read of this:

    I blame my recurring rape fantasy on the fact that I’m a feminist. I’ve never made any bones about getting boned in exactly the fashion that I want. But as a girl, my equipment can be trickier to manage, therefore I need to be a boss in the bedroom to ensure I get worked the right way. It gets really tiresome always being the one in charge, and don’t shrinks say that people usually fantasize about the opposite of their reality? I guess that’s why I find myself wishing that my typically sugary-sweet sexual encounters were sometimes peppered with assault. I decided that the best way to forfeit that control—while still holding on to a modicum of it for safekeeping—would be to hire someone for the job. Not to put too fine a point on it, I wanted a male whore to rape me.

    Now, I think the real question here is…how would you guide someone like Asra Nomani to the Haqq?

  66. intellect1429

    May 30, 2009 at 1:15 AM

  67. MentalMuslim

    May 30, 2009 at 1:16 AM

    Has the debate been put up yet?….just curious

  68. Dawud Israel

    May 30, 2009 at 2:58 AM

    Salam aleikum,
    Here is my assessment of the strategies, tactics and overall dynamic of this debate. I’ll leave it at this and hope Sh. iYQ considers this.

    First of all, it was tightly played shaykh. Compared to you, the others were very sloppy. I think this is testimony to the fact we can contend in these sorts of discussions with our Islam, by showing it full-out without hesitation. Alhamdulillah, a BIG blow to our inferiority complex!

    But, to keep everybody’s heads clear: We aren’t much better than Progressives. Our merit is largely relative, not absolute. In comparison, yes, we are better than them but not by much. We aren’t following Shariah in its entirety–no hudud, khilafah, jihad, little dawah, empty masjids, etc…we shouldn’t get too cocky and know our place.

    I don’t think she is as sinister as the comments here portray. Let’s look at Sr. Asra Nomani objectively and step back: She has laid out her whole life to us. We know all her dirty and evil deeds, or at least the big ones. So we can either try and attack her on that basis, which isn’t really an attack cuz she sees no problem with it. So only one real option remains: trying to guide her. I think the onus, is now on us in guiding this person. I think, in a strange way, she is crying out for help. Money isn’t enough justification to lay bare your whole spiritual life. Am I the only one who feels this way? Which leads me to my big point…

    I for one think this debate IS possible to dominate AND win. Let’s get over the defeatist attitude. The one argument which I think should have been used is reminding Asra about death and how we are going to die one day. Our Shariah is in this world, yes, but we will leave this world one day and have to face our Lord. Progressives are very much attached to the dunya and if you were to remind them of death you could effectively swing the debate into your favor. The audience, and most of the speakers were Muslims so it is a perfect set-up for using some dawah strategies. If you discussed death, you would remind them of their own personal spiritual experiences, their emotional prayers, the funerals they’ve attended, and their hope in Allah’s Mercy. If you connected that back with the Shariah- you could show how a violation of the Shariah, by extension of their own emotions is a violation of their own souls! I think this strategy would shake them up, make them think twice and get the audience to vote on your side. Remember this IS a Muslim country- so I think this is likely to happen. Now, even if they argued back, they still KNOW, deep down, you are right. You’ve put things into perspective and they WILL remember when a big bearded shaykh had the courage to give dawah to them on the BBC! They are human and do make dua at the very least, so if you speak to their souls, and do what Allah sent you to do (dawah) when He put you on that show, He will help you actually win this debate, take control of it, and win the larger victory: which is to have a positive effect on the eman and souls of the viewers, audience, and speakers.

    This is the Tableeghi in me talking when I say, Allah WILL help you, no doubt about it. I think this is the greater victory to aim for and what we all really want out of these engagements.

    Lastly, I think it would be a good idea to talk to the Doha Debates people and give them nasiha…the fact they are discussing topics like this shows how foreign and out of touch they are with Arab society, since it could be understood differently by Arabs and Westerners and this sort of mistake doesn’t really help change anything. I think talking to Tim, who seems very earnest about this would help them get some real direction in making a difference in the region.

    Be glad they didn’t mention polygyny…shaykh. ;)

    May Allah guide Asra Nomani, the BBC and all the viewers of this program to the Expansive Freedom of Islam, Ameen.

  69. zaki

    May 30, 2009 at 4:48 AM

    Does anyone know where I can watch the debate online?

  70. Fawaz Ahmed

    May 31, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    As-salaamu alaykum..Can’nt wait to see it…Does anyone know when it will be broadcast in India.Or wheter i could see it online?

  71. mirza

    May 31, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    dear dr m, assalamualaikum,
    you assessment of opponent of shaykh yasir in this debate may be right; i don’t have first/second/third/any hand experience with the person(s); my only concern was using bad words to describe them on platform like muslimmatters, whom many regard with great respect. hope it is understood. respectfully, mirza

    ps imtiaz, shadi mubarak; i dont have your email address :)

  72. Hidaya

    June 5, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    What tme is the debate tomorrow EST?

  73. Fawaz Ahmed

    June 6, 2009 at 5:09 AM

    As-salaamu alaykum …..Sheikh Yasir Qadhi,Maa Shaa’ Allah I think you did an incredible job.I must admit out of all 4 panelists I thought you were the most convincing…(Or maybe thats bcoz I already agreed with you to begin with!!).

    But I must say I have watched the Doha Debates for sometime and poeple tend to mix things up.Foe eg-the Syrian politician quoted the Hadith that forbade forced marriages.The motion was not wheter women should not be forced into “loveless marriages” as Nomani put it.The motion was about whether women should have full freedom to choose anyone.This would obviously include non-Muslims and women as she explicitly stated.
    Also in the other debate on political Islam,the panelists brought up issues like banning girl’s education etc.What does that have to do with an Islamic state(Khilafah)?

    Also, sheikh I must say I admire your composure especially when Nomani asked you about your daughter.Maa shaa’Allah you remained calm.You did’nt fall into the trap of reacting emotionally.Unfortunately most Muslims lack that kind of composure.

    May Allah reward you for defending His deen in the most calm and composed manner!!


    On another note I want to make more dawah,do you have any suggestions as to how to remain calm and not react emotionally?

  74. Amatullah

    June 6, 2009 at 6:32 AM

    Assalamu Alykum Warahamtullah

    Just finished watching the debate….

    I agree with Br. Fawaz mashAllah Shiekh Yasir you were the strongest speaker…even if I didn’t know you from before I would’ve still agreed since truth stands out clear from error.

    But Br. Yasir – how can one who respects Prophet Muhammad (s) be considered a Muslim as you raised a counter point on you opponent’s stance , one who respects the person of Prophet (s) may not necessarily believe in him?

    JazakAllahu Khair,

  75. Amatullah

    June 6, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    The newer comments are being lined at the top for some reason…

    I thought Sr. Thuraya’s point would’ve been stronger if she stressed on the benefits of consultation, and how wisdom is not necessarily associated with education but rather experience.

    Being young and gullible, I personally bore the consequences of an irresponsible decision, the advice of elders (parents, shuyookh, etc.) is really in our best interest…Allah Knows Best.

    But how does one explain the fatawas issued by reliable authorities that rid the Muslim man of the necessity to seek his parent’s opinion, I know religious brothers venturing young into marriages and informing their ‘non-religious’ parents only after the contract?

    JazakAllahu Khair,

  76. tasneem

    June 6, 2009 at 8:49 AM

    i watched the programme this morning…and found it the most interesting one by far…
    i loved what you said in your speech and totally agreed. i just feel that when Tim asked you why it was not right for a woman to marry a non muslim, but for a man it was okay… you should have said something about how it would be difficult for the muslim mother to bring up their children as muslims if the husband wasnt a muslim, and how christianity of today is not authentic. Nevertheless, i felt that u were the best speaker, masha allah, and i hope that you continue to educate Islam.

  77. Hidaya

    June 6, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    Doha debate in about 30 mins- 11:10 EST

  78. Ibn AbuAisha

    June 6, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum, you can watch the debate right now here:

    Also at the times posted above (at the end of the article)

    Wassalamu Alaikum

  79. Umm Ali

    June 6, 2009 at 12:38 PM

    I just watched the whole thing and I found the Asra woman disgustingly sticky! She was the one who kept addressing the women in the audience in dulcet tones as if they had no brains of their own!

    Although Dr. Thuraya was entertaining but I do think she spoilt it a bit for her team.

    Sheikh Yasir, JazakAllah Khayr.

    • Umm Ali

      June 6, 2009 at 12:42 PM

      How did this comment come up here???

  80. Hidaya

    June 6, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    I was able to catch the entire show and I must say , I benefited from your interaction with Tim and its always beneficial to see people of knowledge interacting with Non-Muslims and answering their tough question yet remaining firm on what they believe.

    I wonder if the outcome would have been different if it was only Asra and Sh YQ. With all the due respect to other 2 speakers, they hardly said anything to help their respective positions.

  81. Faraz Omar

    June 6, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Missed it. Can someone upload it on youtube?

  82. Rashaad

    June 6, 2009 at 1:05 PM


  83. QasYm

    June 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    So where can one watch this? Is it online somewhere? And I thought all 4 debaters are supposed to be Muslim…what is Asra doing there?

  84. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    June 6, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    I caught some of the beginning of the show last night at midnight… Asra and Sh. YQ’s opening arguments.

    Asra: Scared me. Also, her arguments were tired and old; I was bored hearing her go on and on about how “the daughters of Islam” deserve to be happy. What, and marrying a non-Muslim is going to make you happier than marrying a Muslim? Pffft.

    Sheikh YQ: Sounded somewhat jittery :) Opening argument was good, although I think that instead of talking about ijmaa’ when Tim asked why a Muslim woman can’t marry a non-Muslim man, you should’ve just quoted from the Sunnah and said that the authenticated words of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) trump any opinion of Hasan Turab’s. They can’t argue against established textual evidence the way they can against consensus of the scholars, even though the latter is based upon the former.

    Am hoping to see the full debate again tonight insha’Allah (actually a re-play of it starts in a few mins but I don’t have a TV here).
    It played at 8am PST, and is being aired again at 12pm and 5pm (today, Saturday) and 12am Sunday.

  85. Hala

    June 6, 2009 at 8:51 PM

    Did anyone else find Asra Nomani slightly patronizing?

    MashaAllah, sh Yasir you did the best you could and handled it very well I thought!

  86. Yasir Qadhi

    June 6, 2009 at 9:04 PM

    I just saw the debate on BBC.

    I’m very disappointed that they decided to edit out my question to Asra Nomani about same-sex marriages, which Asra explicitly allowed. Her response was crucial in exposing the weakness of her position.

    There were of course other edited questions – we actually debated for around an hour and forty minutes, one of the longest debates according to the staff. They only took 50 minutes of that.

    Khayr, Qaddar Allah…

    • Dawud Israel

      June 6, 2009 at 9:51 PM

      -cue applause-
      Just saw it. Jazaka Allahu khayran for the clarification and for the awesome performance shaykh.

      I thought I was the only one who noticed it was edited…it seemed to lack masala actually. You can tell something was missing just by the flow of it. Is it possible to get the 100-minutes perhaps?

      Asra, apart from a stunning performance as psycho diva…little more than some half-brained cheer leader trying to appeal to the other half-brainers in the crowd. You can tell this isn’t about women’s freedoms…[edited]

      Contrastingly, Thurayyah sounded like…while everyone’s mom lol. I was hoping shaykh would go out on a limb and really blaze some guns…I think it was the editing made you come off as more reserved, and using much of the same arguments everyone has heard all their lives (and deep down know are correct!). Other than that, I think you differentiated successfully enough from the stereotypes of cliche Muslim cleric. I’m sure that made an impression. The Syrian dude seemed very out there…I think he tried to pull off some Sufi thang, but just failed, by any standard. I can imagine somewhere his murshid is shaking his head lol.

      I’d say my same points as earlier- if it was full out dawah: Return to Tawheed! I felt everyone there was practically screaming for hidayah. Remind them about death, ask them who they are in front of Allah, give them the big picture of the akhira- the debate was about the dunya…remind them, the only safety they have is with Allah! You could pull this off- they wouldn’t deem it a threat…you are after all an American Muslim cleric! ;)

      All in all, the debate seemed very hum-dum, and Tim Sebastian kinda made it seem like a typical masjid argument where everyone is shouting lol. I can safely say though, that you definitely made an impression. Not ultra modern, college boy, chillaxing like how Sh. Hamza comes off sometimes, nor super defensive-hostile guerrila style, like some desi scholars- but a fresh mix of youth, maturity and openness…just the fact you have an American accent, gave you more legit than anyone else there. You represent the authority of Islam- and in the end of the day- people can’t successfully go against that no matter how much they talk. The good thing is however, you represented the authority of Islam in a much more friendly and straightforward manner.

      I felt this was a good beginning to something great…well done. :)

  87. Ibn Masood

    June 6, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    I just finished watching it on BBCW.

    I have to say… may Allah swt preserve you Sheikh Yasir, it requires a great amount of patience to deal with such individuals as those who were on the opposite end of the table (especially one in particular).

    I have had to deal with such individuals within my immediate family and I can understand how aggravating it can get, especially when the person starts attacking your character/family.

    If its any consolation Sheikh, I’m sure that you already know that the only reason Asra Nomani talked about your daughter is because she had nothing else to run on. When they’re ultimately defeated by common sense, logic, and the pure and noble deen of Allah swt, these are the kind of tactics they refer to, so that perhaps you may break and so they can further degrade your point of view.

    One of the individuals on the other side made me absolutely angry. It was not just their words, but their facial expressions and overall attitude through which you could just sense the amount of arrogance and ignorance present therein. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to punch through drywall.

    In my experience, when it comes to such individuals, it’s only knowledge, controlling anger, hikmah and keeping a cool head that can produce any results. Again for that, may Allah swt preserve you Sheikh.

    And that 38% is a clear victory considering the religious and cultural composition of the audience.

    Btw did anyone notice, in the end when people were voting, that niqabi sister said something to the one sitting next to her that made them both laugh… probably something like “HAHA like we already don’t know what we’re voting for”

    • Dawud Israel

      June 6, 2009 at 9:57 PM

      Brother stop gawking at the Qatari sisters!?!?! :P


      • Ibn Masood

        June 7, 2009 at 12:16 AM

        LOL… they should make sure the cameramen have more hayaa’ next time

  88. mirza

    June 6, 2009 at 9:53 PM

    it was my first time seeing doha debates ( will watch more on youtube soon insh Allaah.

    mash Allaah, many things learned from the manners of our shaykh from how to represent ourself in debate in calm, composed manner (managing time effectively),

    jazakumullah kheir

    ps my 12 year old nephew said, ewww, asra nomani looked so just show off with baseless and bogus rants!

  89. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    June 7, 2009 at 4:14 AM

    I stayed up to watch the Doha Debates and took a few notes.
    My thoughts in brief:

    Asra Nomai: Quite frankly, pathetic. Took the usual proggie stance of putting words in “conservative” mouths, tried to make the orthodox opinion look ‘bad’, and attempted to appeal to emotions (didn’t do a good job of it though). Acted more like a brat in trying to make people listen to her by interrupting constantly and raising her voice.

    Habash: Came off as quite confused and rather ignorant. Didn’t really address the motion clearly, nor were his answers to questions particularly intelligent.

    Thurayyah: Made some good points, although I didn’t fully agree with her entire premise. I also didn’t think she was too prepared for the questions and didn’t always answer them fully or address the points in an encompassing manner.

    Sheikh Yasir: To be brutally honest, I was slightly disappointed. I felt that you were a bit flustered and perhaps that caused a bit of a waver in the delivery and strength of your arguments. Then again, you did say that they edited out a lot of the actual program, so no doubt that had a lot to do with it.
    While your basic premise was excellent, I felt that you didn’t make your points strongly enough, nor did you make them in an entirely convincing manner. It seemed that you had missed a few good opportunities to make your point, although this again may be due to the editing (any way to get the full footage?).
    Finally, I felt that the way you used the term ijmaa’, both in your opening arguments and in response to a questioner, was a bit confusing and not very clear – for example, you didn’t state explicitly that ijmaa’ is based upon Qur’an and Sunnah in the first place. Perhaps it was this that allowed Tim as well as others to wonder about just how the opinions of scholars can hold so much weight in Islamic Law, when there was little to no mention about how those opinions must be based upon authentic textual evidences.

    Audience: I was quite impressed with the questioners, particularly one of the Qatari sisters. They made good points and posed intelligent questions (even if I didn’t agree with them), and I honestly found the question period more interesting and educational than the debate itself.

    Overall, I found the debate itself to be quite weak; various factors, including the broad wording of the motion as well as the fact that all the debaters were on different wavelengths, contributed to this. Basic concepts and foundations were being defined differently by each debator (as well as the audience, no doubt), which to me rendered the debate both pointless and useless. Furthermore, the debate kept going off topic and venturing into different tangents not directly related to the motion itself.

    While it was good to see one of “our guys” on a mainstream media program, on a subject that matters to us, I don’t really see what the benefit of the debate was. The way the topic was discussed felt manipulated, and just wasn’t authentic in its attempt for dialogue because it all felt hijacked from the beginning.

    In any case… it was interesting, if not impressive.

  90. lozah

    June 7, 2009 at 4:56 AM

    Watched the debate yesterday. I must say, I was disappointed in the Doha Debates this time. Usually I enjoy the debates but the panel this time was just ridiculous (with the exception of Sh.Yasir). The guy from Syria was obviously struggling with English and consequently he was inarticulate and unclear, he oftentimes sounded like he was arguing against the motion rather than for it. At one point he argued that women should be allowed to marry christian & jewish men, although the motion clearly said “anyone” meaning no restrictions whatsoever. But Sh.Yasir pointed this out in his counter-argument, good job!

    Asra Nomani was only there to tell the same sob story “I’ve experienced the horrors of Islam firsthand but I came to America and was enlightened and now I want to liberate and englighten the rest of you poor opressed folk” we’ve heard over and over again from Manji et al. She tried to steer the debate towards other “controversial” issues of Islam that had absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand, and Sebastian failed to steer her back on course! I understand that spicing things up is an important way to increase viewership, but come on, this show is of a certain caliber and should ensure that certain standards of debating are met, or else I can just go watch the Jerry Springer show.

    The psychologist on the side arguing against the motion (alongside sh.Yasir) was arguing pretty much out of what sounded like her own personal opinions of 25-27 year olds. Again, a very limited perspective as the motion talks about women in general, so her argument should not have been accepted in the first place. Add that to the fact that there is no scientific evidence that indicates that 25-27 year olds make impulsive choices based only physical attraction, in fact it sounds like she’s describing teenagers. So for me, her argument carried no credibility.

    As for Sh.Yasir, I was irritated that someone of his caliber would be on such a weak panel. There are plenty of people who could have been chosen to make both sides of the debate stronger. I think he performed very well in responding to the contradictory statement of the Syrian guy and Nomani. The only thing I would have done differently is make even clearer the point that marriage restrictions are placed on both genders with only a minor difference (men can marry people of the book, women can’t, but neither gender can marry non-believers or people of the same gender). Sh.Yasir made that point well, but I would have liked to see it fly in the face of anyone who argues unconditional freedom for women and ask: why aren’t you fighting so passionately to allow muslim men to marry athiest women or other men?

    Overall I think Sh.Yasir did a great job and I hope to see him in more debates in the future!

  91. Nameless

    June 7, 2009 at 5:09 AM

    Salam Alaykum Sheikh Yasir,

    I am a student who currently lives in Kuwait, which is a country that is seeing increasing popularity and support, particularly amongst the youth, for liberals and secualrists the likes of Asra Nomani. Whether it be within the society, or on the political level, we see sadly the rise of figures that use the terms of freedom and choice to lower and distort the image of Islam. The media in this country is further controlled by certain groups that are heavily under western influence and hence are packed with destructive agendas.

    I personally experienced being a student under one of the staunch liberals, who is also a professor of Philosophy, in this country who had recently won in the recent elections. A huge portion of class time was spent in degrading the image of Islamists- which only confirmed the message the media were giving, and subtly destroying and weakening certain fundamentals of this deen, including matters of Hijab, authenticity of Hadith, significance of Sahabah, etc..

    The efforts of such figures in the Kuwaiti society are becoming all too clear. It was said that the overwhelming majority of votes that were given to this Professor was from youth under 25. On the other hand, the Islamists lost seats and their popularity amongst the youth appears to be minimal- which with all fairness is sadly somewhat understandable considering the issues that we have internally fallen into. And as a university student I see the same situation happening amongst the various student bodies. The islamic student movement in my college for instance, have been losing greatly over the past 4 years, giving ground to the secularists to continue their faithless efforts to break the importance of religion in life, and to reduce this great deen to what is befitting for the enemies of Islam.

    I am sure you too are well aware of the reality in this region, and I would just like your advice on how someone like me may be able to counter-act and try to reverse the deep-rooted issues, which seeped into our society as a result of ideological western colonisation and intervention.

    wa Salam Alaykum

  92. Usman

    June 7, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    I had the chance to watch the ending half of the debate.
    Just want to let Sh Yasir know that you spoke brilliantly, to the point, succinct and obviously made sense.
    Allah will reward you with the best as you represented the Truth.
    JazakAllak khayr
    love you for the sake of Allah

  93. Saleemah

    June 8, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    I saw the program over the weekend.

    Sh. Yasir was the most cogent of all the panelists.

    Asra Nomani was the most angry and bitter. If individuals like her and Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali continue to “speak” for Islam unchallenged then the distortions will be spread even further demoralising young Muslims in the West.

    The br from Syria was not really all that good in his presentations. The sister from Saudi made some good points but for most young female viewers she sometimes came across as patronising.

    What I would like to know is out of a worldwide Muslim population of 1 500 000 000 how many actually have access to seeing the Doha Debates or other similar programs?

    Also I would be interested in finding out the types of viewers (demographic characteristics) who tune in to these types of shows.

    Can anyone enlighten?

  94. Irfan

    June 8, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Does anybody have a link for the debate or when gonna be published on doha debates website?



    • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

      June 10, 2009 at 2:35 PM

      The debate has been posted; jazâkumullâh khayr for your participation Ustâdh Yasir.

    • Habeeb

      June 10, 2009 at 4:45 PM

      Assalam Aleikum,

      the debate is now available on the doha debates website:

      Available in either low resolution or high resolution


  95. abdazizrehman

    June 8, 2009 at 7:44 PM


    WOW THAT DEBATE WAS AWESOME !!! Shaykh Yasir May Allah Preserve you Ameen.

    I could not believe that woman ( was she a muslimah?) accused you and was attacking you, this is very sad when the Ummah is bickering and arguing in governments, masaajids and even blogs!!! Just go over some of the posts on this page!

    I was also confused on the position of Muhammad Habash, what was his position I still dont understand what he was saying Shaykh Yasir? Did you get a chance to speak with him afterward so that he was able to elaborate his understanding?

    I found it weird that you were defending what unanimous consensus was, against Tim and the audience, most of the people in the audience should know what that was. I hope people actually start learning about their own religion!

    I have been watching this show for so long and when I heard that SH Yasir was going to be on it, it was just amazing.

    May Allah grant us all Tawfiq and give us Ikhlaas. Ameen

  96. Nihal Khan

    June 8, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    They should post the other 40 minutes of footage…

  97. Ibrahim ibn Imran

    June 9, 2009 at 8:26 AM

    I haven’t seen this debate yet, but I did see most of another one, the one in which Sh. Yasir was in the audience and asked a question. The nature of the program (at least the one I saw) seemed to be based almost totally on semantics / wordplay.

    As some others have already pointed out, it seems like the ‘motion’ is intentionally tailored to be vague and difficult for the orthodox muslim side to defend, or even comprehend accurately. Adding to this is what we now know about heavy editing (truncating) done to slant the televised outcome even further.

    That being said, may Allah reward Sh. Yasir for his efforts and make him successful in them, ameen. It was a couragious thing to do mashaAllah, and I’m sure he performed well in the debate bi-idhnillah. But there is a question I have had for some time, and this seems like a good time to ask Sh. Yasir:

    Sh. Yasir, alhamdulillah I have attended a few of your classes and met you on a few occasions besides that as well. In your (aqeedah) classes you have drawn clear parallells between the modernists/progressives and the mutazilah of old. My question is – do you think there are any parallells between the asha’irah stepping into the arena of the mutazilah in order to defend Islam from their deviance…and us orthodox muslims stepping into the arena of the modernist/progressives (who are unlike the mutazilah, are actually backed by the enemies of Islam) to defend Islam from their evil? And due to our going into their tightly-controlled side of the game, is their any risk of us unknowingly being influenced by some of their ideas, or developing an ‘inferiority complex’ as was the case with philosophy in the early muslim world? Simply put, are we at risk of being falling into similar traps the asha’irah did, even though their intentions were also noble? (and we seek refuge in Allah from such an outcome)

    The question is not meant to cast any doubt whatsoever in your participation in the debate; may Allah reward you for that.

    (interestingly enough, I think the question could be similarly applied to gung-ho, full-fledged political participation [at the federal level, not local], but please that’s a whole ‘nother discussion ;) )

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  99. Hamdi

    June 10, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    I got so nervous when I saw that it had been posted it felt like I was about to watch myself on the screen and not someone else. I was pleasantly surprised by your performance, shaykh. I got the impression from your blog post that it didn’t go that great, but I thought you did a great job. Jazzak Allah khayran!

  100. Saleha H.

    June 10, 2009 at 7:25 PM

    I commend Shaykh Yasir Qadhi for being there and being, in my opinion, the best speaker up there.
    SubhanaAllah a lot of people are really confused and we need more people to give them proper education instead of tools to create random metaphors out of the verses of the qur’an. I really didn’t appreciate it when Asra tried to act like she was on the “Muslim Womens” side in that they have a ‘choice’ and blah blah freedom, she tried acting like the good person but for some people who can think for themselves and quite critically, it just doesn’t work with me, sorry. She completely tried to put you in that stereotype that you were afraid to be put in however I saw the progressiveness in that and it is getting to be completely old and utterly ridiculous. The bearded Shaykh representing me as a muslim women is something I would prefer over her, people can judge all they want. Excellent answer when she tried to attack you with the daughter question, that was the best answer I could think of, I wish I saw the cut out parts, it would have made you look stronger!

    MashaAllah, work well done. May Allah (swt) preserve you and grant you success in this life and in the next. Ameen.

  101. mirza

    June 11, 2009 at 7:43 AM

    a reminder

    If Islam is dearer to us than our own selves, we must defend it and protect it and get angry for its sake more than we get angry for our own sakes and defend our own selves. It is a sign of not having religious feel‐ings if we see a man getting angry for his own sake if someone insults him, but not getting angry for the sake of Allaah’s religion if anybody insults it; at most, we may see him feebly defending it in an embarrassed manner.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) often used to forgive those who made mistakes in their interactions with him, especially the hard‐hearted Bed‐ouin, in order to soften their hearts. Al‐Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh that Anas ibn Maalik said:

    “I was walking with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. A Bed‐ouin accosted him, grabbing his cloak in such a manner that the collar left a mark on the Prophet’s neck, and said, ‘O Muhammad! Give me some of the wealth of Allaah that you have!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.” (al‐Fath, 5809).

    But if the mistake had to do with some issue of religion, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would become angry for the sake of Allaah.

    ps i am loving reading this book ‘The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes’ by shaykh saalih al munajjid rahimahuAllaah and recommend it to those who has not read it to read it and those who had to read it again…assalamualaikum

  102. Sh

    June 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    You know what the funny thing is when I took my first al-maghrib class, it was with Shayk Yasir Qadhi..his Light of Guidance class. And guess what I was reading during that class?? yes that’s right, it was Asra Nomani’s Standing alone in Mecca. At the time I was confused about Islam and really looking for better understanding. And subhanallah look at Allah’s plan: that I would be in a class that would not only take away my confusion but also make me throw away that book I was reading.

    However this is the danger of the progressives……someone in my family was reading that book and she had recommended it to me and she had agreed wholeheatedly with Asra’s point. I wonder now had she been exposed to al-maghrib, would she have thought the same way.

    Also someone on here noted Asra was in a “loveless marriage”…well I could be wrong but from as far as I read in the book she never married the guy she had her son with…it was her fiance (however I am not sure how she is using the term fiance…nikkah or just engagement…wallahu alim)

    Jazakallahu khayir Shaykh Yasir for putting the sincere truth of Islam that is truly the light of guidance for confused people like me out there. There are some who are critical of your “hardcore” views but it was those unapologetic, sincere, unashamed of Islam views that really made a difference for me.

  103. Arslan

    June 11, 2009 at 2:34 PM

    Asalamu alaikum Shayk,
    I thought your opening argument right after Asra Noumani was perfect.
    “I also wanted to make sure that I myself did not appear as some evil villain perpetuating the stereotypical figure of a male bearded Muslim cleric out to dominate women and deprive them of their rights to marry, divorce, live, or even breathe!” It’s clear that that was exactly what she thought of you, and that’s what she wanted the audience to think of you, evident in several of the remarks she made against you, especially in the completely uncalled for question about your daughter.
    Overall, I think you did a superb job Shayk Yasir.

  104. Fouzia Am

    June 12, 2009 at 12:46 AM


    Well bowled shaikh YQ (yasir Qadhi)…u r right when u say that the motion is broad…and ASRA was just trying to pick on u and ever since she had a child out of wedlock she is moving around different cities corruoting and healing wounded hearts of married women n brainwashing their griefs by asking them to take divorces that wacko lady shud know that every marraige has ups n downs thats wat keeps it balanced and satisfied..

    If she is in my community i wud never let her enter any masjids..

    tc jzks

  105. Yousef

    June 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum, may Allah reward you Shaykh Yassir…

    It was a great step up to see a trustworthy face on the scene of mainstream debates.

    My opinions on the debate…

    I personally feel had you thrown in some verses and hadith, that it would further helped expose Nasra’s claim that it is your version of Islam that you are speaking of, and would have helped show all that her view was not of classical Islam, and is that of new attempt to remake Islam from a 21th century perspective. In highlighting this divide, it would be easy for people to understand that her point of view is not Islamic at all, even if the people agree with her. I believe it would have helped further your goals.

    I also feel that trying to argue that “Ultimate Freedom is against Islam” is a correct in it’s statement, however in western society, they believe they have ultimate freedom while totally ignoring that there are certain Laws they must follow. If the question came, who they believe has the right to set the laws, then it would further help expose that they are not arguing from an Islamic perspective. In doing so, if you could establish that whatever point of view they have, that it is not Islamic, at least people will realize what these people are offering is not Islam. They really pose the greatest danger when they argue on mainstream forums as Muslims, misguiding non-Muslims into thinking they know what Islam is, when they have no clue.

    My thoughts.. Jazakum’Allahu Khairaa!

  106. Raied

    June 12, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    The votes were rigged!! OMG Sh. Yasir cannot loose! lol
    no Sh. Yasir you did a fantastic job. May Allah reward you immensely for your effort.
    The topic was too sensitive to be talked about i think in the public. There are many things to take into consideration.
    I also think the speakers should have had more time to speak.

    Great Work Sheikh Yasir

  107. saeed

    June 14, 2009 at 2:27 AM

    Did anyone uptill now try to do dawah and tabligh to tim sebastian. Sh.Qazi should have taken this opportunity to do so.

  108. Ammarah

    June 14, 2009 at 10:50 PM


    SHaykh, you did a great job on the debate!!!!

    How dare she bring your daughter into the debate??? That was offensive.

  109. AsimG is NOT a sister

    June 15, 2009 at 2:14 AM

    We should invite Asra to an Al-Maghrib class. uloom qur’an maybe?

  110. Zaid

    June 16, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Assalamo alaikom,

    Some general notes:

    1. I felt that what Asra Nomani was doing is truly undermining the Muslim woman’s intellect. To say, that if she cannot marry a non-Muslim man then she’s being forced and that she’s being belittled, is truly undermining in itself. Any Muslim woman would take offense to that. Asra was talking to the Muslim women in a condescending way saying: I feel for you, you’re oppressed, because you do not have the choice to marry a non-Muslim man! I was waiting for someone from the audience to say: Asra speak for yourself, we take offense to what you’re saying.

    2. I liked the example of Sh. Yasir Al Qadhi where he says that the analogy is similar to a Muslim man saying that I can drink anything and therefore I can drink alcohol. Islam has rules.

    3. Sh. Yasir Al Qadhi could have responded to the last question by saying that the consensus should have been done by people knowledgeable about Islam and not the people in the room. I felt that the answer could have been more satisfying to me.

    4. The position of the Dr. Habash is weak. He is truly against the notion. Sheikh Yasir pointed this out in the debate. Maybe we could have stressed his position more by using his definition of Muslims. Instead of saying ‘Muslims’, we can say ‘people who believe in the prophet (p.b.u.h)’

    5. It should be stressed more and more and more that women can make all the choices but they cannot marry a non-Muslim man while stressing on ‘having all the choices’.

    6. I felt that the Dr. Thuraya was not very helpful to the discussion. She was indeed talking about Arab/Gulf women and she was pro marrying someone from your same background (way beyond religion) – that has extended the scope of the discussion. I feel that her presence extended the scope of the argument and weakened their position.

    7. I felt Sh. Yasir stumbled twice. First, as he says when he dished out the question to the host (as he mentioned in his insider post) and second, when he was asked by Asra about what he would do if his daughter chooses to marry a non-Muslim man? I liked his answer but his body language seemed a little shaken (the question itself is inappropriate but she used it!).

    8. I liked the opening of Sh. Yasir Al Qadhi. He is truly an eloquent and focused debater. I like him on my side. May Allah reward and bless him. An excellent example is when he said: I didn’t say you’re not a Muslim, I just said do not bring Islam into the discussion.

    Jazakom Allaho khairan,

  111. Farhan

    June 17, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    The moderator kept interrupting people, no one finished their points except in the introduction…

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  113. AbuMoosa

    June 24, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Ya Ustadh, may Allah guide you

    Why didnt you respond to Asra by mentioning “[2:221] Do not marry idolatresses unless they believe; a believing woman is better than an idolatress, even if you like her. Nor shall you give your daughters in marriage to idolatrous men, unless they believe. A believing man is better than an idolater, even if you like him. These invite to Hell, while GOD invites to Paradise and forgiveness, as He wills. He clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may take heed. ”

    It is not only a matter of ijmaa-which a lot of people interpret as ‘scholarly opinion’ alone. It is explicitly mentioned in the Quran.


  114. a sister

    July 1, 2009 at 3:04 AM

    AA Sheikh Yasir,

    Thank you for giving us the background to the debates. It actually made me understand and appreciate your side a little better. You wrote that you did not want to mention hadith and Quran to support your case, but I think that was a mistake as it made Asra’s side seem much stronger in making it seem like it was your interpretation and that no real Quranic evidence existed to limit a woman’s right to choose to marry a non-Muslim.

    I have very personal experience in regards to this debate. I have a couple of women in my family who married non-Muslim Christian men. In their daily lives, they are very happy with their husbands and these husbands are much better to their wives than I have seen many Muslim men are to theirs. Both these husbands don’t drink, don’t party, respect the religion of their wives as Muslims, and are very respectful to our family. In the past I was 100% supportive of the right of a Muslim woman to choose to marry outside of Islam if he was a good religious person in general. But then the war in Iraq happened, and suddenly these very understanding husbands became very disrespectful to practicing women like me who chose to wear the hijab and preach Islam. Then I realized the real wisdom behind the prohibition of a woman marrying a non-Muslim. The women in my family had to decide either to side with their faith or side with their husbands. Both chose to side with their husbands, even though they consider themselves still believing Muslims. Actually one of them is now even questioning being a Muslim. So basically, marrying a non-Muslim man has led these two women to either not practice their religion in most aspects (not praying, fasting, modesty, etc) or to leave it altogether. They did this even though no one in my family ever questioned their decision and even accepted their marriage as a valid and “good” choice. So no one pressured them to leave their husbands for the sake of Islam, but still they left Islam for the sake of their husbands.

    Now that is the real and only reason why Islam forbids such marriages. Women are loving and giving creatures who want to have happy marriages. They compromise a lot for the relationship and some even their religion. God does not want to put them in such a trial. It is bad for their afterlife, bad for their children, and bad for the growing Muslim community.

    Yes, I agree there are many horrible Muslim men who say Shahada but practice anything but Islam. I think you should have pointed out that in this case women should also be careful in choosing a spouse.

    Dr. Thuraya’s point was also well taken about being young and naive. In my youth, there were several men I would have wanted to get married to who were most likely not good for me in hindsight, even though they were so called “Muslim”. My mother would not have objected, but it was Allah’s grace that protected me from such decisions. That is why I am a firm believer that it is our duty in finding a marriage partner to first doing your utmost research and learn about the true Aqeedah and practice of the person, and then make Istikhara. It was the Istikhara that guided me to my husband, who at first I was not so sure about, but alhamdullilah, he has turned out to be one of the best human beings I have ever known. I had met him only twice before we got engaged. But I trusted my family and Allah to find me the best husband that would be good for my religion and for my life’s happiness. I have been given both alhamdullilah. What sister Asra has left out of her debates is the frailty of human judgment, and forgetting that if we want the best, we should ask it from Allah, not anyone else. It’s not so much about the “freedom to choose” a marriage partner, but to find one that will be best for us. Family involvement may or may not be the case, but asking Allah for help and guidance is a must! But trusting our own limited knowledge alone to make such choices usually ends up not as great as it may first seem, for both women and men.

    Again, good debate and sorry you didn’t have more time to make your arguments.

    With respect
    your sister in Islam

  115. zahid

    July 7, 2009 at 4:51 AM

    Sh. Yasir,

    I just finished watching the debates and to say the least, it was very interesting. Prior to watching the debate, I was leaning some what towards ‘for’ the motion and by the end of it, my stance hadn’t changed.

    Firstly, the points brought up by Arsa and the Syrian man were completely baseless so I won’t even touch upon them. The Saudi journalist who was also debating your side of the argument was really there for comedic purposes so I’m going to ignore her too.

    That leaves you ofcourse. My issue with your argument was how you kept on stressing the point on that a consensus was made by scholars that negates a Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim man. I feel that argument has many weakness.

    I mean what group of scholars? What defines them as a scholar? At the end of the day, they are humans. You said in the debate that a consensus can over ride the existing translation. I mean if you have ten “scholars” and they decide to legitimize something that wasn’t legitimate before, then what do you do?

    I truly believe that the beauty behind Islam is that in every single order of Allah, there is a logical reasoning behind that order. I felt that you failed to convey that logical reasoning behind this order if there indeed is an order.

    Jazakallah Sh. Yaser.


    PS. loved your lecture at journey of faith!

  116. Bilal Saeed

    July 20, 2009 at 9:45 AM


    Owing much to my volatile temper i was forced into closing the video 15 minutes into it. Alhamdullilah, the way Shaikh Qadhi dealt with the vague topic and countered questions posed by the panel, which i thought to be illogical and lacking appropriate level of intellect, was MashAllah outstanding to say the very least.

    Alhamdullilah, that people are given the gift of wisdom and patience to handle such matters by Allah subahana-wa-taala. Not everyone can do this with such serenity as the Shaikh did.

    Jazak-Allah Shaikh Qadhi for being on that show, may Allah subahana-wa-taala reward you for your effort.

    Now, i have calmed myself a little Alhamdullilah and think will have another go at watching the video, inshAllah this time going the distance.

  117. n

    August 2, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    As-Salaam Alaikum

    What makes me sad is that many of the posts above are in favour of the motion. SubhanAllah.

  118. insider outline

    August 10, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Excellent article for technical students. Thank you very much.

  119. The Ghazzali Blogger

    August 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Very beneficial. I seen this 3 times now. I will write my thoughts soon.

  120. The Ghazzali Blogger

    August 22, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    1st a little on Ms. Nomani\26\story_26-7-2009_pg3_3
    The “Unhappy” marriages and failed relationships were all HER choices and she got bored of the men.

    2nd I think the definition of a Muslim was not made clear. A definition of a Muslim is someone who believes that there is one God; Allah and Muhammed (pbuh) is his last and final messenger. And that even if a Muslim commits a sin he/she is STILL a Muslim. The Kawarij believed if one committed a sin that person was a kuffar. However as we all know that is not the case. Hence what the syrian guy said about soemone believing in the Prophet a woman can marry Shaykh YAsir Qadhi made an excellent point that the person is MUSLIM

    Ms. Nomani however was accusing (from what it looked like) was that if people don;t follow HIS interpretation of Islamic law then they are considered outside of Islam or Kaffirs. Which the Shaykh doesn’t believe for reasons mentioned above. If someone breaks a law s/he is STILL Muslim (only the kawarij believed if you broke a law you were not a Muslim anymore – please keep in mind that doesn’t mean you CAN break laws. Many “progressives” nowadays use this as a means to not follow any laws.). They need to repent or have one really good reason on the day of judgment on why they broke the law. And if you’re satisfied on breaking the marriage laws on the basis because you really loved a hindu, well make sure you’re satisfied at giving that excuse to Allah. Because I sure as hell would not be satisfied with giving that excuse to Allah.

  121. AB828

    September 5, 2009 at 5:21 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I read this a few months back, but just watched the actual video.

    Normally, I am a calm and reasonable person, but this Asra woman is making me SO extremely angry. Her “arguments” are anything but intellectual, she has no idea what she is talking about, and her tone is just condescending and pitying. As a Muslim woman, I do NOT feel oppressed, and do not need her pity.

    I thought Sheikh Yasir did the best of all of them, and came off as the most intellectual. Although the motion was obviously messed up and could have been worded differently, he did a great job arguing against it, yet showing that women should have freedom.

    The Syrian guy was just confused and shouldn’t have even been there. I think he badly wanted to switch over to the other side and get away from that creepy woman.

    I really wish I had been there so I could use my and my family’s personal experiences to show what kind of freedom is and should be allowed, since that seemed to be the trend instead of actual debating (Except Sheikh Yasir).

    Either way, I think everyone, including the audience agrees that women should have freedom within boundaries. The only one REALLY for the motion, in its entirety, is Asra.

  122. faraz

    November 12, 2009 at 7:26 AM

    Assalaamalaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatahu,
    I saw the DD video and felt bad about the fact that you weren’t given enough time to say what you had to,otherwise it would have been more interesting, as we would have heard more from you.
    I found Asra and Habash to be very irritating,ignorant and unaware of the basics of islam.
    You did a very good job in the amount of time that you had and as it was about “muslim”,”women” and “freedom” ,it had to be difficult for a muslim to convince the people who are highly influenced by the western culture and the media, about the difference between the islamic laws and the cultural norms.
    And as it has become a day to day practise of people to label the muslims who actually follow the quran and the sunnah properly,as “wahabis”,”extremists” etc. it is a challenge in itself to convey the message of the true teachings of islam to such people who have been filled with hatred towards the practising muslims.You have always done a great job,as it is the intention that matters more than the deed itself.
    Keep up the good work.
    JazaakAllah Khair brother.

  123. Camblogger

    November 19, 2009 at 6:41 AM

    You’re debate stance has allowed me to question you’re fundamental beliefs about women, or specifically Muslim women. I understand your argument that says with the work Muslim means women are void of certain freedoms. However how can you say that you want to support Muslim woman’s legitimate rights? I personally disagree with the treatment of women however technically your argument was, in my opinion, a very sound one.

    I agree with The Ghazzali Blogger about defining Muslim for the public. The Ghazzali Blogger makes a very interesting point that despite sin, a Muslim is a still a Muslim. Just because a Muslim man or woman breaks the law, they are still a Muslim. I understand you’re approach because including this would create holes in your argument. Technically speaking, you were very conscious of how you delivered your argument as well as responded to the other speakers. I believe the crucial thing to remember is that the fundamental wording of the issues is contradictory in actuality. Being a Muslim woman by religious definition means that you are to marry a Muslim Man and certainly never a woman. I applaud your intelligence however question certain fundamental issues.

  124. hendersoncnc

    November 28, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    ihear yall saying i wouldve done that or he shouldve done this..but going to 3 countries and then coming on this show and only getting a few seconds to speak each time..idont think he couldve done better…but far the marraige things goes isnt there an ayat where allah says not to marry women to the kuffar???

    or am i crazy???

  125. faheem

    January 25, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    salam o alekum ya sheikh!!!!!
    i saw the debate and think u did a fantastic job….i relly love to listen to u and one of ur brother imam suhaib webb… :).wha i personally believe that Asra Nomani was taking benifit of dubious question.she was mixing the islamic laws and cultural problems and she keep bring more rights of woman in islam.but never ever in the whole debate clearly and specifically talked about the main topic of ” woman marrying a non mulsim”.
    yes islam allows muslim woman to make decission about who to marry and not to but within limits of islam.
    i think one of the reson i dunno whether it is right or wrong but islam stops muslim woman to marry non muslim man because of childeren.i think naturally childeren have religion of dad.if muslim woman marry a non muslim man the childeren will carry a religion of dad,therefore childeren will be non muslim.on the other hand if muslim man marry non muslim woman then childeren still would carry a muslim religion.i think islam protects islamic identity.
    But Ya Sheikh i really love listening and learning from u and imam Suhaib Webb.. may allah protect u guys bless u increase ur eman and may use for wha he thinks is the best of u and all of us…
    jazak allah…
    fiaman allah

  126. Muminah

    January 25, 2010 at 11:31 PM

    I downloaded it, watched it. I can’t believe I sat through the whole 45 minutes (i think) of it.
    It was horrible.
    The whole motion.
    It was frustrating, and the whole rule is known that muslim women cant marry non muslim men…it was like they were arguing over something which had already been written, the law cannot be changed.
    and then the muslim side that was against the motion looked like they were the bad people and all that.

    i think this is probably the only way they get people watching their debates.

  127. Faqir

    February 11, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    LOL Sheikh Yasir you did a great job of not getting PISSED. I dont have that kind of patience that you portrayed. You were awesome! And props for not tossing your notebook at the other side ;)

  128. Loga

    March 3, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    Have you seen this commentary on Asra’s book:

    I’d be interested to hear all your thoughts on it.

  129. Rosmaro

    April 3, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    I wanted you to explain more about that unanimous consensus in Islam. Wouldn’t that also mean totalitarian control, against human rights? You lost any way, and I am glad.

  130. Zaid Mohammad

    July 22, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    I think because the other speakers went on a tangent, Sh,Yasir should have also done so it, would have been more effective. I think him staying on topic prevented him from addressing other issues being raised. But in his role he did and excellent job.

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