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The Doha Debates on Muslim Women’s Freedom To Marry Whom They Choose – Yasir Qadhi


NOTE: Be sure to check out Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s insider perspective on the debate here.

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  1. 'Uthmaan

    June 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    JazakAllah Khayr. Sheikh Yasir, your arguments were very strong and clear. Any sincere person, be they Muslim or Non-Muslim, who looks at Islam objectively, should be able to see that Muslim women are forbidden from marrying Non-Muslim men in Islam.

    It’s not something that Sheikh Yasir made up, it’s right there in the sources of our religion and is known by ‘Ijma of the scholars.

    I’m always amused by the notion that Muslim women are oppressed by Islamic law. Ask any of my Muslim sisters whether they feel oppressed by Islam and they will tell you that, rather, Islam liberates them to a degree unmatched by any other ideology. If they don’t feel the need to re-interpret the Qur’an and Sunnah to suit their own whims and desires, then why should anybody else?

    • kazim

      June 11, 2009 at 7:30 PM

      that is just some bull man you know it damn well. “Ask any of my Muslim sisters whether they feel oppressed by Islam and they will tell you that, rather, Islam liberates them to a degree unmatched by any other ideology”

      • Amad

        June 11, 2009 at 9:30 PM

        what is “bull man”? Where Islam is practiced properly and where culture doesn’t upend Islamic principles, indeed the religion is liberating. In fact, the cultures are more suffocating than the religion used to mask it would ever be.

      • 'Uthmaan

        June 12, 2009 at 1:00 PM

        JazakAllah khayr akhee Amad.

        Kazim, you have accused me of saying something and knowing ‘damn well’ that it isn’t true. In other words, you have accused me of lying and that is a very serious accusation. You must understand that the creator does not oppress his creation and has provided them with the true means of liberation. Islam is that you submit yourself to the laws of Allah and truly nothing could be more liberating. By submitting to Allah’s law, we liberate ourselves from submission to our desires and to the desires and expectation of others. We all submit to something, whether we are aware of it or not, and the beauty of Islam is that it liberates us from being in submission to anything other than Allah’s law. That includes both males and females and many of my beloved sisters in Islam will attest to this.

      • Rani

        June 29, 2009 at 5:44 PM

        Brother, i guess im one of those sister that the previous brother was talking about, when he said that islam liberate us to another level unmatched by anything else. HE IS SO RIGHT.
        I wasnt practising : praying, covering properly, striving to be upright etc…
        I was just going with the flow as so many sister do, and brothers do for that matter.

        But life changed, Allah swt knows why. I began to seek knowledge, read quran, books on anything that interested me, from islam, history, Muhammad pbuh, to malcolm x.
        R&B, n 50 Cent was replace by nasheeds n zain bhika.
        I began to pray, cover properly, try to adhere to quran hukam and follow advice from hadith, check myself when i made mistakes. AND IM THE MOST CONTENT, HAPPIEST AND SECURE IN MYSELF THEN IVE EVER BEEN OR FELT.
        I still struggle to stay upon the right road, just like anyone. but i would never go back to a shallow, lost and vunerable state that is life without Allah and his light. Inshallah may He guide us, Salam x

  2. Amatullah

    June 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    Assalamu Alykum Warahamtullah

    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,

    • Yasir Qadhi

      June 11, 2009 at 4:44 PM

      At first, Dr. Habash said he would allow someone who respected and believed in the Prophet to marry a Muslimah; at which point I said that if he believed he’s a prophet, he’s a Muslim by definition.

      Later, he modified that (from what I understood – it wasn’t quite clear to me to be honest) to allow a marriage with someone who respected him but not necessarily believed in him. Instead of going down the ‘Islamic’ route, I merely said that Dr. Habash is STILL putting some restrictions on her, hence he’s not arguing for ultimate freedom (unlike Asra), hence he’d be more appropriate on our side of the motion.

      In other words, my silence at his remarks WAS NOT CONSENT!!! :D

      • Danish Hasan

        June 11, 2009 at 7:04 PM

        well i think you should clarify that….

        Just because someone just believes in Allah and the Messenger (salAllahu’alayhi wa Sallam) doesn’t make them Muslim….

        The key is the Shahaada and every key has its ridges….guess who said that?

        What I mean is the 7/9 conditions of the Shahaada, I think I first learned that from a private class that was held in the summer of ’04 in Houston, I wonder who taught that class?

        may Allah reward you for your awesome efforts…

        wasSalaam’alaykum wa Rahmatullah

  3. imz

    June 11, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    JazakAllah khair Sheikh Yasir!!

    I really did think you were the only one that seemed to be talking sense on that panel. Everyone else just seemed really confused. Your arguements were logical and clear Alhamdulillah

    May Allah accept all of your efforts, ameen

  4. nice

    June 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Sheikh Yasir was the only one that got an applause after he made the case, Alhamdulillah. The majority of the audience clearly did agree, however the motion was obviously not clearly defined….. Doha debates often make vey loose and broad motions which often hinders thier passing

  5. SaqibSaab

    June 11, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Shaykh Yasir,

    After viewing the video, I see now what you were saying in how difficult it is to explain one’s point fully yet concisely in two and a half minutes. That being said, I feel you successfully laid out your major points within that limited amount of time.

    What bothered me the most about A. Nomani’s points in the debate were three.

    1. The apocalyptic depiction of marriage in the Muslim Woman’s world

    I feel Nomani is unjustly painting a picture that every last Muslim woman in the world is forced to marry someone they don’t want to, that their marriages are loveless and devoid of any happiness, and if they refuse what is allegedly forced on them, 100% of Muslim women in the world are kicked out of their families, shunned, “jailed,” etc.

    I wish we could hear the millions of voices of Muslim women who (1) were never forced into marriage, (2) have completely happy marriages and lives while still following traditional boundaries of Islam, and/or (3) did have arranged marriages and are perfectly happy. While they aren’t really out there, they need to be heard.

    2. Her contradictions on individual interpretations vs. God’s exclusive right

    Nomani kept arguing that the restrictions mentioned in your being against the motion were your side’s way of saying everyone has to follow one and only one interpretation of Islam. But her ending quote really confused me.

    “Our challenge as human beings is to use our minds. To be able to say, ‘what is best for myself?’ Because God is the judge, not individuals.”

    So one on hand she claims everyone has their own right to interpret Islamic texts to their own liking, but on the other says individuals cannot judge, only God can. Would individual interpretation of Islam not fall under someone judging other than God?

    3. Her making of her own views the default of the world’s

    Whenever Shaykh Yasir brought religion into the picture, if Nomani didn’t say his interpretation was some sort of agenda pushed by “one voice” (of freedom limiters), she would then (literally) turn to the audience and try to say that this is “their” interpretation of Islam (Shaykh Yasir’s position) and that “our” job is to interpret is more openly and freely.

    In other words, she’s trying to show that the entire audience and, thus, the entire world is on her side, and against them are those from Shaykh Yasir’s camp. I think it’s quite a bit of a stretch to suggest such a notion.

    All in all, well done, as usual, Shaykh.

    • Danish Hasan

      June 11, 2009 at 7:08 PM

      yes yes yes…Saqib….

      it was a very fantastic and brilliant play on part of Asra Nomani…..

      of course people reading this probably wouldnt agree, because they got a somewhat biased synopsis in an earlier post on this very blog…

  6. Siraaj

    June 11, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    Salaam alaykum Shaykh Yasir,

    Excellent debate. In terms of content, knowledge, and thoughtfulness, you absolutely destroyed the other side. Very riveting to watch, and you may note that the few times applause came in, it was after one of your statements.

    I think you did an excellent job of answering Tim’s questions, and I also believe you walloped Asra Nomani when she asked that question about your daughter. And she very well knew it, and that’s why called your answer a “cop-out”. She had no response, and she knew she was overmatched and outclassed throughout.

    In your previous post, you made it sound as though you really flubbed. In fact, you did not, and your presence brought intelligence, gravitas, and balance (especially in acknowledging the cultural/social challenges women face) to a discussion which, without your presence, would have been a debate between people advocating the hopeless romantic position, the auntie position, a person who didn’t quite know his position, and possibly someone articulating the correct position, but in a harsher manner which would speak more loudly than the correctness of their words.

    The only thing I can see worth critiquing is your overestimation of the audience. Politicians often dumb down the language they use to simplify difficult concepts, and many audience members will sympathize with Asra Nomani’s position because it’s the bubble gum pop culture bollyfob pseudo-proverbial nonsense originating from a WB type of show.

    So, when we explain a concept with, “By definition…” or “Ijmaa'”, that won’t make sense to most people because their perspective is not that nuanced. I’d say, generally speaking, we need to understand how to communicate our textbook, mathematically rigorous and verified perspectives with equally tangible imagery and human emotion. Some places to mine are the Seerah and personal experiences.

    Awesome job, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife and I were both literally at the edge of chairs watching.


    • h

      June 12, 2009 at 9:37 AM

      I don’t think many would have known what unanimous consensus is.
      I think Tim understood it as consensus of lay-men Muslims….

  7. MR

    June 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    The audience is made up of both non-Muslims and Muslims. I can understand why 62% voted for it.

    Respect to Sh. Yasir!

  8. Ikram Hadi

    June 11, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    I liked Yasir Qadhi and the older woman. Very sensible words. The whole issue could have been summarized like this: In Islam a person has to please Allah, family, community and spouse.

    The Freedom woman is under the Western delusion of romantic love, something that poets invented.

    An educated Muslim knows that Allah is the Greatest. Romantic love is almost like worshiping another person, which doesn’t make sense to us. An educated Muslim man knows that there are endless good women out there who can make him happy, so he will choose the one that is most suitable for pleasing Allah, his family and community.

    Islam is a religion of balance. Romantic love requires a person to give up everything for another person, which no matter how cool it sounds, doesn’t make sense if the person has sold his life to Allah like Islam requires us to do.

    • shahgul

      June 12, 2009 at 8:32 PM

      The educated muslim man is not a jinn or robot. He will also, like the others, choose the best quality, USDA certified hunk on the shelf. Character is just the icing. Ilm and intelligence do not count.

  9. aamer khan

    June 11, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    as soon as the audience got involved the discussion became completely immature and unintellectual.

  10. Ikram Hadi

    June 11, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    “It is a packaged deal.” This is it. :)

  11. firoz

    June 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    Sheikh May Allah bless you your family and your progeny

    Loved your suit.

  12. Ikram Hadi

    June 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    The girl at 42:00 is saying the right thing but saying it like she is arguing. A Muslim girl should be wise enough to make the right decision, (i.e. take into consideration the whole package). A good Muslim girl is one who loves her family, and whose thoughts are one with her family (Provided that the family is practicing Islam fully, if not, the Muslim girl can be right and the family wrong).

    Who is the woman with the spooky eyes? She could be just the agent of some non-Muslim force who want to spread fitna among Muslims. Why is she even in that debate? She has a teenager’s thoughts, one that hates her family. Instead of taking her argument to her culture, she has brought it to Islam. What made her do this? As I said, she could be working for somebody.

  13. Ikram Hadi

    June 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    Now (43:24) she is saying any girl who wants to elope can go to her house.

  14. Mustafa

    June 11, 2009 at 2:38 PM

    From the strength of the presentations against the resolution, that the result was heavily affected by biased pre-conclusions, especially those of non-Muslim and liberal-minded guests of the show.

    Habash pretty much showed that he himself did not know what his real position is on the issue and was ineffective for his side. Admitting that family can restrict a woman’s choice did not help him at all.

    As for Nomani, it is clear that she had nothing beyond attacks and emotional ploys. For example, at the end, right after Ustadh YQ mentioned that Ijma is not that common, she tried to jab that the other side wants everyone to be the same. How can that be when Ijma is actually rare?

    As for Dr. Thuraya, I felt like she was my mother doling out common-sense wisdom to us young ones. Her angle was so clear. No civilization allows woman total freedom in marriage, so why should Muslims?

    To Ustadh Yasir, if you felt a little shaky inside at some points, it didn’t appear as much as it felt inside. Nomani tried to corner you by bringing up your daughter. Myself being asked that question, I think I would have said that if my daughter wanted a Nikah with a non-Muslim (and Allah’s refuge is sought from that) I would not allow it at all and I wouldn’t keep ties with her if she insisted on that path. That would probably draw shocked gasps from the audience and have the resolution pass by an even larger margin.

    I’m sure we can talk more about the whole experience when you visit us this weekend! Thabatakallahu ‘alaa al-qawli al-thaabit

  15. Danish Hasan

    June 11, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    Tim Sebastian…..

    Love a mod with such aggression!!!!!

  16. Danish Hasan

    June 11, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    On the last point….about unanimous consensus…

    Based on the last questioner, I think it would have been a good idea to differentiate between deriving a law and the strength of each proof/principle…process of deriving a rule doesnt necessarily coincide with the strength of the proof/principle.

    I can understand why most people why people voted for the motion….I probably would too, looking at it superficially.

    Yasir’s point – the motion was too broad – didn’t relate to what everyone was discussing. If the point was further emphasized that Women should have the freedom to marry another woman, then it’s pretty obvious that most people wouldnt agree with this. But if a woman can choose her spouse, then yea everyone will agree with this. Any motion witht he word freedom will be too broad, the understanding of what freedom is too broad.


  17. Danish Hasan

    June 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    I wish they had a more halal version of this….

    May Allah Forgive us.

  18. Ibrahim Z Mohammad

    June 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Jazak Allaah khayr Sh. Yasir, may Allaah preserve you.

    I wish you had a chance to clarify further the concept of ‘Ijm’aa’. Perhaps you could write an article here regarding the issue and specifically the evidences of why women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men.

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum,

  19. Yasir Qadhi

    June 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    Salaam Alaikum

    Jazak Allah khayr to everyone for all their comments.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, and obviously looking over the debate I find myself thinking of alternative tactics and better arguments that could have been used; however, all in all, being put live on the spot, I did the best I could, with total dependence on Allah, hence I have no regrets.

    May I please request ALL the brothers and sisters to not make personal attacks on Asra – it does not behoove us as true Muslims, nor does it reflect well on ‘our side’. Alhamdulillah we have no need to resort to such tactics, and our arguments speak for themselves.

    • SaqibSaab

      June 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM

      JAK. Very important.

    • StarFlower

      June 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM

      Salaam Alaikum Sheikh Yasir Qadhi
      May Allah give you the best of this world and the hereafter…Ameen
      Subhannallah, you were the only one with evidence.
      Honestly, you just had to talk for the first 5 minutes and then just walk out…lol. The rest was emotional.
      One more thing…how did you control your temper?

      • Danish Hasan

        June 11, 2009 at 7:11 PM

        he goes to Yale…..

        • StarFlower

          June 11, 2009 at 10:26 PM

          JAK…My friend goes to MIT ;)
          my other friend to Harvard :)

          • Danish Hasan

            June 12, 2009 at 12:06 AM

            but do they have evidence and can they control their temper?

            YQadhi FTW!

            my reply was a very lame response to your question: how did you control your temper?

      • AsimG

        June 12, 2009 at 2:42 AM

        I want info on this too.

        I’ve sat in rooms when people are lying and bashing Islam/Muslims and I want to respond but I know if I speak it will be with such anger that no one will listen.

        When the comments get really severe (like with Palestine) my face gets hot and my hand shakes. There’s no way I can even try to communicate in such a state!

        • Siraaj

          June 12, 2009 at 5:33 AM

          Constant exposure to such arguments can desensitize you to an extent.


        • Danish Hasan

          June 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

          When the comments get really severe (like with Palestine) my face gets hot and my hand shakes. There’s no way I can even try to communicate in such a state!

          some kind of trance?

          i wonder how they would react of you just got up and prayed 2 rakats

  20. Ikram Hadi

    June 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I apologize for referring to her like that. That was very rude of me. AstaghfirAllah.

  21. midatlantic

    June 11, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    May Allah reward you Sh. Yasir!

    Though I loathe her dawah, I felt Asra Nomani had a better pulse on the audience and did a good job broadening the debate to keep pushing her progressive agenda. Sh. Yasir did this too mashaAllah in his defining of what Muslim means. Asra spoke directly to the audience and did not intellectualize her arguments – unfortunately the motion lent itself to a more emotion-based/immature debate and that suited her nicely.

    • Amads

      June 11, 2009 at 5:26 PM

      Good point…
      it’s almost like Sh. YQ’s argument would have won a legal battle in front of a jury composed of judges who knew the “law” and recognized logical arguments. While Asra may have won the case in front of a jury of her peers. Thus, the importance of knowing your audience and “playing” their feelings and emotions. Asra knew she had no chance on facts and logic, so she chose to play the emotional auntie.

      • Danish Hasan

        June 11, 2009 at 7:13 PM

        if the audience had more moms…..

        thuraya wouldve been the fav…

        alhamdulillah she’s hilarious though…she reminded me of shaykh waleed at the way she made some of her points

        • Amad

          June 11, 2009 at 9:28 PM

          burrfect analogy.. her calmness and confidence is reminiscent of Shaykh Waleed…

          I did think she was very balanced and obviously had tons of experience dealing with marriages… she would be an excellent counselor… we need more of her like.

          • Danish Hasan

            June 11, 2009 at 9:57 PM

            yes….and she knew her place as well….she said it right formt he get go that she is no authority on islam….

            her demeaner and talking is possibly why the man from the audience thought she was a psychologist…


  22. AsiahK

    June 11, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    Sister Asra’s response:

    “The reconciliation is for us as women to give each other unconditional love.”

    Huh?! Yes, let us not worry about society or family or religion or God even! We will build a society of women that love each other and who needs men?! No fathers, no husbands, no …wait a min…this sounds familiar.

    It seems that sometimes people like to become very loud in opposition in order to justify their own life’s choices. I’ve read Sr. Asra’s book and I definitely came away with the same conclusion.

    Seconds later she says, “it’s about her free will to make the choice.”

    Yeah sure. And Muslim men and women can also decide to drink alcohol, gamble and eat pork. We are free to do it. But we don’t because as Shaykh Yasir said, we are Muslims. We submit to Allah’s limits and know that this is better for us. We prefer God to our own nafs.

    Jazakum Allahu khairn Shaykh Yasir. May Allah reward you for your efforts to uphold the truth and laws of Allah swt.

    Sr. Asra doesn’t realize that there are other “free,” liberal, educated Muslim women out there who don’t agree with her definition of what it means to be free. I doubt she would be ok with allowing a Muslim woman to marry a 10 year old boy or a duck. There are always limits, but we think they are not. We think these are just natural (ie, humanism) but really they are society’s limits and are subject to change (perhaps in 20 yrs ppl will be marrying ducks, and we have seen so many middle school teachers already going after 10 yr old boys). But Allah’s laws never change. No matter how many Qataris vote on it.

    Again, thank you Shaykh Yasir. Mashallah you did a great job.

  23. thatonestudent

    June 11, 2009 at 5:24 PM

    Allah yehfathak Shaykhna. May Allah preserve you Shaykh Yasir.

  24. Amads

    June 11, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    I think the next Doha debate topic should be less vague… something like

    “The House believes that Muslims should be free to worship any god besides Allah”…

    hey, why not go all the way, why stop at permitting lesbianism… free choice for all… what’s wrong with a few extra gods, maybe adopt one of two from hinduism?? Its all good in the name of free will!

    • AsiahK

      June 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM


  25. h. ahmed

    June 11, 2009 at 5:53 PM

    as salaam alaikum

    JAzakallah khair to Shaykh Yasir Qadhi for an excellent debate.

    I think the reason why the notion ruled in favor was the wording of the motion (as shaykh yasir mentioned many times during the debate and in his article posted on MM earlier)

    Technically speaking – Muslim women are free to marry whoever they choose – they are free to miss prayers, to miss fasts, to even stop practicing Islam. Essentially nobody can force anyone to do anything – however – undoubtedly it is against Islam to commit these actions. Muslims arent perfect – Islam is.

    Even Shaykh Yasir answered Asra’s question regarding what he would do if his daughter (God forbid) wanted to marry a non-Muslim. If she were over 18, and in the US – technically she could go against her parents wishes/ her deen and marry whoever she wants. However like Shaykh Yasir said , he would hope that he would instill in her daughter the deen and its rulings so that that would never be an issue. That was the perfect answer to give and NOT a cop out as Asra Nomani said.

    As far as criticism of the Doha debates in general- I disagree. While many of us live in Islamic communities and have the deen strongly inculcated into ourselves and our friends/family – the real world is much more diverse and there are a significant number of people who think along the lines of the various debaters present on the panel. We need to be able to discuss and debate these issues without prejudging these people of their various backgrounds otherwise not only will we remain in our own isolated cliques and fail to understand the shortcomings of reality around us, but so will those who disagree with us – and those people will only continue to feed off one another and grow in their wrongful and ignorant ways.

    May Allah (swt) guide us all.

  26. Nihal Khan

    June 11, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    Asra didn’t make sense when she wanted to know if a Muslim woman has the right to choose her own spouse. As a human you can do whatever you want….

    And that comment directed toward Sh. Yasir’s daughter was low…

  27. Umm Maryam

    June 11, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    Jazakumallahu khairaa Br.Yasir for an excellent debate.

  28. Relwan an-nijeree

    June 11, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Great debate, despite the terrible wording of the motion! Perhaps it should have been “does Islam grant women (or anyone for that matter) the freedom to marry whom they choose”. It would have been interesting to hear Sr. Asra’s take on that–I assume she would argue on the affirmative, but w/ a debate w/ sheikh Yasir,I think the audience would be able to see which side is more based on Islam. Once again, great debate! reminds me of the one between Delia Mogahed and Irshad Manji!

  29. LearningArabic

    June 11, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Jazakallahu Khair for the debate. I think Shaykh Yasir did an excellent job.

    But with all due respect to Dr. Thuraya, I think that her position really hurt our side. A few of her comments gave the impression that she felt as if muslim women should not only avoid marrying outside their faith, but they should also avoid marrying outside their culture. In addition, her gross generalizations about young muslim women seemed to alienate her from the audience.

    I would have loved to see Shaykh YQ paired up with someone like Dalia Mogahed. The results of the motion would have been much different.

  30. kazim

    June 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM

    what about that ten years old being forced to marry an old guy in Saudi Arabia.

    • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

      June 11, 2009 at 8:12 PM

      Obviously you haven’t watched the debate. All of the panelists made it absolutely clear that girls should not be forced to marry people of their parents’ choosing.

  31. Hidaya

    June 11, 2009 at 7:37 PM

    I would have loved to see Shaykh YQ paired up with someone like Dalia Mogahed. The results of the motion would have been much different.

    WORD! That would have totally awesome.

    • AsimG

      June 12, 2009 at 2:37 AM

      SubhanAllah I 100000000% AGREE!

      It really takes a sisters touch to disable the venom of people like Asra.

      The way she destroyed Irshad was amazing. And paired with YQ?

      pfft, no contest at all.

    • hairul

      June 12, 2009 at 4:52 PM

      Thanks for mentioning about her, there isn’t many Muslim women speaking up for themselves, and if I may say so, religiously literate and fluent enough to speak about Islam publicly and so clearly.

      Personally I felt that the motion was too broad. And if I were to vote, I’d definitely vote for the motion, not because of the arguments presented by the panel representing the motion, but the fact that Islam does give women the freedom of choice, albeit.. within its parameters.

      YQ was enlightening and spoke with outright clarity. He was the most pedantic of the lot, going by clear facts and points. As opposed to emotion. He has clearly showcased himself as a fine representative of a scholar in Islam. Alhamdulillah.

      As a woman, I cannot stress more the importance of religious knowledge and literacy. It is very important that Muslims especially the young, be educated about Islam and live in the way of Islam. Before we walk down the path of ignorance. Many women’s lives have been damaged because of this very lack of ignorance.

      Allowing our children and our community to live in ignorance and the lack of allowing intellectual discussions, and the slow removal of Allah in our lives will only lead us to more unhappiness and destruction.

      Allah knows best. Jzk, SALAAM

      mAY WE PRAY THAT ALLAH provides our ummah with more happy marriages and families and a stronger imam.

      -Edited. Link edited to point to MM’s recap of the debate.

  32. monkeynursemd

    June 11, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    you know sometimes my eyes well up when i hear our very own homegrown scholars pwning people. imam siraj, jamil al-amin, zaid shakir, hamza yusuf, and so on, and now our dearest YQ. may allah have mercy on them all and grant them paradise.

    (gearing up for precious provisions tomorrow)

  33. Tarannum

    June 11, 2009 at 10:59 PM

    Assalaam alaikum,
    You did an excellent job Br Yasir Qadhi BUT did not give evidences from the quran and sunnah. The only person who gave evidences was Br. Habash and they were not relevant to the topic.
    Evidences would have helped both muslims and non-muslims to understand why muslims thing this way. Please provide me with the evidence now so I can forwrd this link to everyone with the evidences. I know its in the Quran but just don’t know the exact Ayah’s.

  34. SubmitterstoAllah

    June 12, 2009 at 12:59 AM

    One shouldn’t make fun of anyone else’s looks no matter what the case, that’s how Allah made her; maybe that’s just how she looks. We should obey that command in the Quran as well.

    Anyway, this debate is just another one of those techniques of the so called “women’s liberation movement”. It’s nothing more than a conspiracy against Islam to poison the minds of the Muslims, ignorant or otherwise, to start attacking their own faith in order to weaken it. One of the plots of Satan no doubt. And the universities and Qatar foundation seem to be doing a pretty good job in carrying out this mission. Manipulate the women into thinking their oppressed so that they rebel and thus “liberating” them to take unislamic decisions that end up in the collapse of the family institutuion.

    If you remeber the debate on the face cover (hijab) and that its a barrier or what ever, and now this one; these debates are a step by step movement to brainwash and enslave women not liberate them. Enslave them to become readily available to the pleasure seekers or playboys, you might say, of every society, Muslims as well as non muslims alike. Islam is the only religion that commands men to behave themselves with regards to women, be they daughters, mothers, sisters, wives or women of the society. These universities and istitutions, by debating like this, wish to throw away these protective and right giving commands in order for there to be no protection for women, no rights for women. Many Muslims also respect Muhammed (SAW) but they don’t obey him which is contradictory and that’s why they oppress women; the same is said as regards to non Muslims who don’t know those commands. Plus those women that themselves say they respect the Prophet( May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), themselves don’t take the rights given to them in Islam and therefore end up oppressing themselves and helping in being oppressed by others. Nomani’s marriage failed cos of ignorance or lack of care for the rights given to her in Islam. She chose from the beginning to follow the rights given to her by the real oppressors, the non Islamacists, be they muslims or non muslims.

    Besides, if women want to get married to men from another country, why can’t they marry the Muslims of those countries, Islam allows that. Many Westerners are converting to Islam, mashAllah.

    Some people think that they’re better than the Vigin Mary (Peace be upon her), Allah has made her a symbol and sign of modesty, grace, shyness, chastity, respect, honor, and freedom. Would she have married someone who respected the message of Jesus (Peace be upon him) but did not act upon it? The women that came after her, the Prophet Muhammed’s (SAW) wives and daughters and his Companions’ women (may Allah be please with them all) themselves followed the example of Mary in everything also in additon to the commands given to them by Allah (SWT). Is there any better example than them to follow and idealise? Were they not also an example of modesty, grace, shyness, chastity, respect, honor, and freedom?

    Allah says that whoever you take as your Lord besides Him, Allah will leave you to that person or things care. For example, if you take your desires, your wealth, your family, your society, your country, an ideology besides islam or another created being as you Lord or savior, helper or whatever, then Allah (SWT) will leave you in that thing or person’s care and let it deal with your affairs, without helping you Himself. That’s what happended to Nomani, she took a thinking other than Allah’s as her whatever and it lead her to an unhappy and unsuccessful life. Allah has also said in the Quran, the good men for the good women and the evil men for the evil women. SubhanAllah!!!!! The Quran is the Truth. May Allah protect us and guide us all to the Straight path and keep us firm on it , Ameen

  35. AsimG

    June 12, 2009 at 2:03 AM

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    Before watching the debate, I took off my “practicing shoes” and tried to view this documentary as my former self.
    And so here is that take.

    The debate is really between Shaykh Yasir and Asra. The “aunty” was a bad choice and (May Allah reward her) she nullified most of what Shaykh Yasir said.
    The brother said nothing of much significance EXCEPT he muddied the waters of what respected Muslim scholars believe which augmented most of what Asra said.

    Here’s my breakdown
    1. Asra
    She comes off looking as an intelligent, smart and a modern woman. She is the definitive ideal for many not-so practicing Muslims.
    – cannot tell you how key this is. How rare has it been for Muslims to see such women in the limelight.
    Her appearance commands an immediate loyalty and heavy weight is immediately give to anything she says.

    2. Shaykh Yasir came off as just another big bearded Mufti (and I love you shaykh fisabillah, just trying to give perspective). Sure he doesn’t have an accent
    I pretty much understand where Asra is coming from. She is just another desi Muslim who has seen and lived the realities of forced marriage that many of us cannot even remotely fathom.

    No doubt she has been emotionally (if not physically) damaged and she is on a mission to make sure what happened to her will not happen to any other Muslim woman.

    The arguments she put forth today were very inspiring, emotionally charged and convincing. I originally thought the wording of the motion was unfair, but now I see this was a winnable debate and it was lost only because of Asra.

    The key difference is Islamic illiteracy.

    • AsimG

      June 12, 2009 at 2:21 AM

      ^nooooo! I was still writing/editing blah!

      Alright errr I’ll just write something quick (bah!)

      Summation of Asra: Personality power+ a call to womens’ power + emotional arguments and life experience + “Islamic literalism” argument= total success

      However the only way her arguments can be a success is with Islamic illiteracy and Western brainwashing. And let’s face it, there are MANY Muslims in this boat (even if they live in the East!)

      The brother who stands up and says “I know a little about Islamic law” and then tries to thrash YQ is a perfect example of this.

      Summation of YQ:
      Alhamadillah it was good to see you, but there was one point (with this edited version) where you could have won or lost: unanimous consensus

      If I never took a class with you or anyone else regarding this matter I’d have no idea what you were talking about and easily dismissed you as another woman-hating mufti trying some cop-out to justify his position Islamically.

      And that brother (who knows Islamic law) was right to question you in regards to unanimous consensus. I think you made a right decision to avoiding direct ayah/hadith quotation in regards to the crowd, but if you are going to use theological terms (and that too so many times) then you must do so with almost perfection or you lose.
      You explained how consensus is important, but not exactly what it is and why we as Muslims should respect it.

      It was with this lost explanation where Asra pounds on and wins the debate.

      Oh and Tim Sebastian was not up to par on this debate. His “Mothers knows best” was a good line, but he was throwing softballs.

      I’m sorry for this messed up comment. I’ll add more later insha’Allah.

      • zaynab

        June 12, 2009 at 11:21 PM

        Alhamadillah it was good to see you, but there was one point (with this edited version) where you could have won or lost: unanimous consensus

        If I never took a class with you or anyone else regarding this matter I’d have no idea what you were talking about and easily dismissed you as another woman-hating mufti trying some cop-out to justify his position Islamically

        I’m surprised no one else brought this up, subhanAllah.

        It’s easy, when you begin to practice and learn more about Islam (walhamdulillah) to forget that not everyone has the same level of knowledge, or even basic approach to religion as you.

        While Shaykh Yasir’s argument was excellent and on point, if you have no basic Islamic literacy “unanimous consensus of major scholars of the time” can sound oppressive and not very sound (may Allah protect us and grant us wisdom).

        The tough part about this is that the only way fix this misinterpretation is to increase the Islamic knowledge of the masses, it can’t be fixed with a fancy argument in a debate.

        Excellent job Shaykhuna Yasir, may Allah accept your efforts.

  36. AsimG

    June 12, 2009 at 2:33 AM

    At the end of the day we know there is no debate. We have the Qur’an and Sunnah so these debates are pretty much useless.

    HOWEVER, these debates are a chance to reach beyond the typical crowds who understand the emphasis of Qur’an and sunnah and give proper respect to the salaf and the pious scholars of the past.

    With that proper framing of the debate on how to decide the winners and losers, Shaykh Yasir didn’t “pwn” Asra (although he certainly pwned the brother) because she kept her schpiel up and her tripe was well-recieved and accepted.

    But we are only in the beginning rounds of Muslims v. the fitnah of progressives/modernists.

    May Allah preserve Shaykh Yasir and all our brothers and sisters of knowledge.

  37. ilmsummittee

    June 12, 2009 at 5:25 AM

    Subhanallah, finally got to see the vid after a couple weeks wait.

    Just wanted to tell Sh. YQ that you did what you were able to, and ya’nee a reminder to not feel at all any disappointment, inshallah your reward lies in Allah’s (swt) hands and not in the ‘persuasion’ or capability to influence a poll based on a very short discussion and variable group of audience. Of course like you have stated, with experience and a few talks under the belt one can more fully understand how to ‘work’ and pilot these discussions/debates so that they can communicate in a concise and successful manner, iA.

    May Allah guide all of our Muslim ummah to the truth, and return us to his deen. Ameen!

    There were a few counterarguments that came to mind when I was listening in, and I will post them at a later time bithnillah.

    Wakaharu Da3wanah anee alhamdulilahy rabil a3lameen.

  38. abu Rumay-s.a.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    masha`Allah very good presentation shaikh, specially given the circumstances..

    I think that since she is claiming something far fetched, she should be debated on her logic, her inconsistency in argument, and her premise (i know you already had it covered in your prep). The focus should be deconstructing the “modernist thought’ and not spend too much time defending the sharia as it is clear and consistent…

    she is talking as if she discovered something that 1430 years of history of Islam has missed..

    One other point “20/20 hindsight”, is masha`Allah your choice of intellectual words and the speed of your speech may be a bit too high and fast for some to capture the beauty of your words…

    Also, i dont know how much more effective it would have been if a “sister” had debated with her instead as she was kinda of hinting that “males’ like yourself dictate theologies, etc….

    • Abdul Vakil

      June 12, 2009 at 7:09 PM

      Spot on, ahkee. Ma’sha’Allah, my sentiments exactly!

      Nothing shed clarity and delivered a CONSICE sound and correct response to the motion like that of Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s opening statement. Alhamdulillah. The motion contained much ambiguity and was very misleading. It pretty much left to the individual to fill in the blanks and decide. Sort of reminds me of a Spelling Bee when a contestant ask: “can you use it in a sentence?” But, alhamdulillah, I believe our Brother Yasir Qadhi did a brilliant job of pointing that out and thereby systematically deconstructing the motion altogether in his opening. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward him immensely, guide and protect his family until the last day. Ameen ya Rabb.

  39. umA

    June 12, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    I think the transcript for the show gives the full uncut version, but it doesn’t seem to have been uploaded yet

  40. Amin

    June 12, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    Sheikh Yasir, you blew them right out of the water with your speech, it was succinct and well delivered. What amazed me most is the way you controlled your temper when people blatantly misinterpreted the quran and nomani saying that it was your version of Islam, its so infuriating for the average Muslim to watch this and the fact that over 60 percent voted against the Sharia when there are quite a few muslims in the crowd is somewhat shocking and disturbing. But i think a bit evidence (on the theological position) would not have done much harm, considering the fiery rhetoric of nomani and it may have even doubled the amount that voted for your side.

    I also agree with Asim G above. Well said.

  41. Suhail

    June 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Assalaam Alykum,

    Brother Asim G, I don’t think Asra Nomani has gone through a forced marriage, rather she is a single mother (without marriage).


    • Danish Hasan

      June 12, 2009 at 12:21 PM

      yes….thats true from what i read on her own website years ago…

      also…she was not even addressing the motion…her plight was as a Human being one shoudl have the freedom…


      the motion was specific to Muslim Women…

  42. bro

    June 12, 2009 at 8:07 PM


    Well done Sheikh Yasir. More than anything else regarding the debate, may Allah be pleased with your effort.

  43. K

    June 12, 2009 at 11:10 PM

    I recently received a proposal from a very religious family, who seemed perfect from all angles. My parents were pretty much agreed to it, but after giving a great deal of thought to it, I could not reconcile myself to accepting, for personal reasons I cannot disclose here. My father is from a “conservative” background but he didn’t question my decision for one minute, did not try to influence me and since he saw that I wasn’t happy, he went ahead and conveyed the decision to other family. And here I am, writing this, from my own home.

    I wonder if someone should tell Asra Nomani that my family did NOT ostracise me for making my choice.

    What she argues about – that some Muslim girls *are* incriminated for stating their point of view in issues like marriage – is something that can be tackled best by bringing the wayward families back to the Quran and Sunnah. That would be an easier and much more acceptable way to bring about change rather than denouncing the so-called “traditional interpretations” of Islam and heading off into a new “liberal Islam” direction that, in reality, has nothing to do with the Quran and Sunnah.

  44. can I just say something

    June 12, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    It is hard enough for a niqaabi/hijaabi to find a suitable muslim man for marriage, how on earth is any non-muslim christian or jewish man going to marry her let alone approach her for even the prospects of marriage- unless there is a haraam element or disney fairy tale. get real- nonmuslim guys would run in the opposite direction and the only muslim women that would end up marrying or in a relationship would be those whose “islam or muslimism” is questionable or label related merely.

    happiness in marrying a guy who does shirk or does not follow the laws of Allaah SWT.

    Question is about Muslim women marriages right, well yeah I am muslim first before anything and everything else. and if a nonmuslim guy is ready to pray five times a day, say the shahadah, go to the mosque, serve Allaah SWT as a muslim…. then problem solved he’s already muslim.

  45. fullmoonoffaith

    June 13, 2009 at 12:42 AM

    Sheikh Yasir was beastin’. Mr. Sebastian was, too.

    Jazakallah khair for taking the time to prepare such a speech and arguing your point so gracefully, even in the face of the eye-rolling, statement-interrupting disrespect of sister Nomani.

  46. muslimah4good

    June 13, 2009 at 1:59 AM

    I loved Dr Thuraya and her wise words, and Shaykh Yasir did his best. The problem was that Miss Nomani was using emotional speech to distract audience from the facts and logical rulings. Whenever a good point was presented, she pulled out the emotional card of oppression against women and her suffering just like whenever the Palestinian problem is addressed; Zionists take out the holocaust card against anyone trying to make a just decision.

    I also feel there was more non Muslim audience present and it’s simply not fair when non-Muslims are involved in deciding what the best ruling for “MUSLIM” women is.

  47. Ardit Kraja

    June 13, 2009 at 8:51 AM

    Shaykh Yasir!

    You were the best on that panel. And hopefully, this is just the beginning, you defended a cause, in our place, and to my opinion you won thousand times. I personally never met you but if i see you i’m gonna give you a BIG hug.

    May Allah bless you with the best

    Allahu Ekber!

    I want to say something in my language (albanian) “Me bane shend e ver” which in english mean “you made me happy”.

    Your brother in islam

    Ardit Kraja, Cle, Oh,

  48. J

    June 13, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    As-Salam Alaykum.

    I just watched the debate. Here is how I score the debate (just based on debating, not on which side I agree with):

    Asra Nomani: Grade: A

    I have to admit–although of course I wholeheartedly disagree with her and everything she stands for–she did a good job in the debate. People here on MM keep saying that Asra just kept resorting to the emotion card, instead of logic. But my brothers and sisters, the point is to win the hearts. People are not robots: they have emotions which decide how they make choices. I think this should be a lesson to Ustadh Yasir Qadhi and other Muslims…namely that sometimes cold hard logic sometimes–and oftentimes–doesn’t win out.

    Furthermore, I think Asra was pretty eloquent. One other thing: she used a tactic which pretty much guaranteed her the crowd: she brought all sorts of other side issues up…probably against the rules, but it still worked for her. Even her eye-rolling and exasperation helped her.

    Dr. Habashi: Grade: F-

    This guy was a bumbling idiot. He made no sense whatsoever. It was pretty funny how he remained silent for quite some time (like 20 minutes) and then spoke up…I couldn’t help but think that it must have taken him 20 minutes to think of what to say.

    Dr. Thuraya:
    Grade: A- / B+

    I think she was the best partner that Ustadh Yasir could have hoped for. She had very strong arguments from a non-religious angle. I didn’t give her a straight A for two reasons: her English was sub-par–it’s not her fault, but it certainly hurts a LOT…some of the things she said were incoherent. Second, was the fact that she did start yelling a bit.

    Ustadh Yasir Qadhi
    Grade: A-

    I think the best part of Ustadh Yasir’s performance was the two minute opening statement. It was solid. It was very eloquent, succinct, and logical. The rest of his performance was pretty good, and he is a logical person. He scored massive points by saying that Dr. Habashi should be on the other side of the table, as well as the “then that person is a Muslim” statement. I really liked his argument that a religion is all about regulations. I was very pleased with Ustadh Yasir’s performance.

    Having said that, I was disappointed by the fact that Ustadh Yasir didn’t bring up the Quranic verse which forbids marriage to non-believers. It would have taken literally ten seconds to have said that the Quran says in verse 2:221: “Nor marry your daughters to unbelievers until they believe.” I think this would have won you 10% of the vote! You simply assumed that Muslim laypersons knew this verse, but many don’t even know the basics of Islam. I think you overestimated your audience.

    I think you really lost points when you mentioned the Ijma (consensus) argument. Even though I’m a layperson myself, I am realistically much more knowledgeable about Islam than the audience you were talking to. Yet, even I didn’t know that Ijma (consensus) is superior to Quran. In fact, I don’t even believe this, since I have read stuff written by Ibn Hazm and Shawkani on this topic. Certainly not all scholars agreed that Ijma–of those scholars after the Sahabah–is binding.

    Regardless of if I’m right or wrong, I am just saying that if someone like me doesn’t buy what you said, then I can only imagine the audience, most of whom probably don’t even pray five times a day…and many of whom are Non-Muslims! The concept of Ijma was WAY TOO complicated to rely upon, evidenced by the comment made by that guy that “if 70% agree today, is that a consensus”….they don’t even know we are talking about scholars. Anyways, the point is: in such a short debate, you can’t possibly rely on anything other than the Quran. Even a Non-Muslim would agree that a Muslim must follow the Quran!

    You could simply have kept repeating that verse, and then when Asra said that we should take a metaphorical meaning to it, you could have asked: “Can you please metaphorically interpret this verse?” Then you could have pounced on whatever she said after that by saying “basically ‘metaphorical’ is a euphemism for ‘rejecting’ or ‘nullifying’ a verse in the Quran.” Seriously, I think this could have won you 10%.

    For future debates, please rely on the Quran alone. I’ve sometimes used Hadeeths to convince relatives of stuff, and they don’t really accept it. So if that’s the case with Hadeeths, then Ijma is something that is even less convincing to these average laypeople who barely practice Islam to begin with.

    One more thing: always make sure to keep a neutral facial expression when listening to counter arguments, since the camera sometimes points at you. You actually did a good job on this, but just keep it mind insha-Allah, although I’m sure you already know this.

    Tim Sebastian:
    Grade: B-

    I might like him as a person, based on what you wrote in your earlier blog post. However, I’ve never been impressed by his drilling style on Hard Talk or in the Doha Debates. People seem to love him though, and think he’s really good at drilling…but I disagree on this. I can always think of a million better questions to ask, but I guess I’m just a super genius. :p j/k

    Lastly, I take back what I said before about you (Ustadh Yasir) not participating in the debate. You did a good job, and you should do everything to increase media exposure so that you can continue to be our ace. May Allah [swt] preserve you, Ustadh Yasir.

    Fi aman Allah,

  49. J

    June 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    Actually, I’ve thought about it, and I think I’m going to have to lower YQ’s grade to a ‘B’. Not mentioning the Quranic verse 2:22 (“Nor marry your daughters to unbelievers”) is a serious mistake. I was letting my love for YQ influence my grading, lol.

    I am also going to have to lower Dr. Thuraya’s grade to a ‘B’ as well. Her English was too broken. Sorry, this is the new grade and it is final. No appeals!

    • J

      June 13, 2009 at 4:11 PM

      So this means that the only ‘A’ for the day was Asra Nomani. :( Sorry, but she did a good job in defending her position. Having said that, her position was very easy to defend.

    • MBloggerer

      June 13, 2009 at 5:08 PM

      J: The reason the Shaykh did not mention that verse is because it is entirely irrelevant! But I understand why you were misled – it’s because you were relying on the English Translation of the (Arabic) meaning of the Qur’an! By the way, it’s Baqarah 221 not 22. The verse goes: “Wa laa tankihul Mushrikaati (a female polytheist) hattaa yu’min, wa la amatun Mu’minatun (a Muslim woman) khayrun min Mushrikatin wa law ‘ajbatkum….” So this verse isn’t referring to any grade of Kaafir but specifically to idol-worshippers. As is clear from this verse, In Islam there is a uniform prohibition applying to BOTH Muslim men and Muslim women from marrying Mushrikoon (idol worshippers).

      The issue at hand was whether a Muslim woman could marry a non-Muslim from the people of the book, i.e. a Jew or Christian. From Surah Maa’idah, we know a man can do so but there is no explicit text in Qur’an AND Sunnah prohibiting a woman from doing so. But as Shaykh Yasir mentioned, our religion is derived primarily but not exclusively from Qur’an and Sunnah.

      We also have Qiyaas and Ijma’ along with Qur’an and Sunnah as sources of legislation in Islam. As Shaykh Yasir mentioned, Ijma’ is stronger than any single interpretation of a verse (or hadith) because it means everyone understood the verse in the same way. (And if you consider that our deen is about practice and not just theory so this is a huge evidence!). I imagine it’s because we all lack a rudimentary knowledge of Usool al-Fiqh and Shari’ah that the depth of this evidence fails to us.

      • J

        June 14, 2009 at 12:26 AM

        Yes, sorry, I meant verse 2:221. (It was a typo.)

        Thanks for your comments about the Arabic thing. You bring up a very valid point, BUT for the debate that would have sufficed, since the point was simply to restrict the options for marriage. If Ustadh YQ could simply have proved that a woman cannot marry polytheists based on an explicit verse in the Quran, then that would have been sufficient. In fact, he could say that this restriction applies to males as well, and that would have also scored points, since the Non-Muslims would see that Islam doesn’t JUST place restrictions on women to the exclusion of men.

        Do you get what I mean, brother? The debate was NOT about whether Muslim women can marry Jews/Christians, but rather whether she can marry ANYONE.

        But I do agree with the last paragraph of your last sentence: I–and many others–are horribly lacking in knowledge of Usool al-Fiqh and Shari’ah. But assume that the audience at the Doha Debates is even worse!

        Having said that, Ustadh YQ mentioned in the debate that ijma could be binding if it was a consensus by the scholars of ANY time, not just Ijma as-Sahabah. That concept is certainly not accepted by all scholars, such as Imam ash-Shawkani. In other words, there is no ijma on ijma…except perhaps Ijma as-sahaba.

        Fi aman Allah

  50. ubaida

    June 13, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    Why didnt you use quranic verse? Nor marry your daughters to unbelievers
    Quran is so strong that it would be self explanatory. Thats the only thing im dissapointed in your argument but besides that you did well.

  51. AE

    June 13, 2009 at 7:48 PM

    Salams Yasir

    Yaraa, if I had known that I would have had Dr Thurayya on my side…

    She was a scream!


    Good job masha’Allah.


  52. Yasir Qadhi

    June 13, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    I didn’t quote verses simply because I personally felt that we might go into a tangent of what that verse means (realize I didn’t know the level of my opponents and I was thinking that the Syrian guy would be well-prepared to debate it out with me). Knowing full well that 99 % of the audience (on BBC) would be non-Muslims, I decided to simply state it as a given that it is a well-defined and non-contested position of Islam that a Muslim lady cannot marry a non-Muslim man.

    I did have the verses in front of me (along with those who mentioned ijmaa) in case they were brought up, but I realized that neither of my opponents were really approaching the topic from an academic perspective, hence didn’t really feel the need to bring up the evidences when they weren’t disputing them.

    Allah knows best..hindsight is always 20/20 and there are always feelings of ‘…if I had only said this’. But alhamdulillah, as I said before, I personally am very happy and feel Allah guided me to what was best, keeping the greater audience in mind (and not just the practicing or conservative Muslim audience).


    • Ahmad AlFarsi

      June 13, 2009 at 11:23 PM

      Shaykh, were the voters only the people shown in the audience on TV (which looked at least 50% Muslim, if not more), or was there a larger (online?) voting audience that wasn’t aired?

      • Yasir Qadhi

        June 14, 2009 at 9:49 AM

        It was only the studio audience who voted. However, sometimes they conduct a larger survey after the debate and then post it on their website; I was informed they would do so for this debate as well, so let’s see what happens.

    • J

      June 14, 2009 at 12:33 AM

      Wa alaykum as-salam, Ustadh YQ.

      You are right that hindsight is 20/20. You certainly did good, and you got greater than a third, which as you said, is a lot. Al-hamdu lillah. You are a straight-talker, and always on point. Your words are like laser guided missiles…always hit the target. Even though Ustadh Hamza Yusuf is a great speaker, I don’t like he always goes off topic. Meanwhile, you stay on topic, so i really like that.

      I didn’t mean to sound overly critical. It’s just that the Ijma argument went over the heads.

      (realize I didn’t know the level of my opponents and I was thinking that the Syrian guy would be well-prepared to debate it out with me)

      That guy was seriously a hoot. Truly a bumbling idiot, lol.

      Fi aman Allah

    • muslim

      June 17, 2009 at 3:02 PM

      Sometimes as humans we are satisfied with ourselves, not fully realizing that even the PRophet sws was told to repent for any mistakes in delivering the message of Tawheed AFTER the Muslims entered Mekkah peacefully, after thousands entered Islam in flocks (Fa sabbih bi hamdi rabbika was taghfir). We make mistakes along the way, and I think, and I may be wrong, but I think it is important to always acknowledge that we could always do better. Even if we think we did a good job in something, we should repent and recognize that Allah alone knows what we could have done better or improved on. None of us is perfect, and I think when we repent and acknowledge any shortcomings, known OR unknown, it humbles us and makes us better.

  53. Jibreelk

    June 14, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Here is a video that I made analyzing the debate

  54. Jibreelk

    June 14, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    Salamo Aleikum Shaikh Yasir
    This is Jibreel from Windsor
    I made a video reply with regards to the debate
    please watch it

  55. Jibreelk

    June 14, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    Salamo Aleikum Shaikh Yasir
    Here is a video response that I’ve made for the debate

  56. Khadijah

    June 14, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    One thing to remember – emotion will (pretty much) always win over logic, especially if emotion is played passionately and articulately.

    I would also have to disagree with Ikram’s statement that romantic love requires that a person give up everything for another. And,

    “An educated Muslim man knows that there are endless good women out there who can make him happy, so he will choose the one that is most suitable for pleasing Allah, his family and community.”

    I believe we should remember to consider all points, but go back to the individual. What if his family is wrong? What is his community is wrong? It is the individual who is going into the marriage. Allah has made one person, one self, one mind, one heart, one soul, for a reason. The only person we can only know fully and trust fully is ourselves. But alas, each person has their own position.

    Besides, most of the marriages that are forced upon women are due to a gross misinterpretation of Islam due to CULTURAL FACTORS. Amad said it well when he said “Where Islam is practiced properly and where culture doesn’t upend Islamic principles, indeed the religion is liberating.”

  57. BeholderOFIslam

    June 15, 2009 at 3:59 AM

    Jazakallahkhair Shaikh May Allah(swt) Perserve You Ameen!!
    Wallahee you did a great job and Asra Numani Face Showed all the ignorant reply’s not to the point. By Tricking The Audience By using Emotional Tactic. May Allah(swt) Guide Her.

  58. BeholderOFIslam

    June 15, 2009 at 4:01 AM

    Jazakallahkhair Shaikh May Allah(swt) Perserve You Ameen!!
    Wallahee you did a great job and Asra Numani Face Showed all the ignorant reply’s not to the point. By Tricking The Audience By using Emotional Tactic. May Allah(swt) Guide Her.

  59. Hala

    June 15, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    I understand the point made above in several comments, Asra Nomani’s side “won” because she appealed to the emotions of the audience members. I hope sh Yasir’s mission was not to win the motion, but rather to effectively describe to the audience why Muslim women cannot marry non Muslim men (and women, of course). I believe he did this to the best of his ability under the circumstances he was given. It really doesn’t matter what the outcome of the vote was, to me at least.

  60. ilmsummitee

    June 15, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Subhanallah, I ran across this fatwa on islamonline with Q&A:


    Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum.

    There are news about an imam in Oxford in the United Kingdom who performs marriage contracts for Muslim women to non-Muslim men claiming that there is no prohibition in the Qur’an concerning this and that couples had to agree to five non-negotiable conditions protecting the woman’s faith. Would you please clarify the ruling of such marriages? Is this imam correct in what he is doing?

    JazakumAllahu Khayran.


    Wa`alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

    In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

    All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

    Dear sister in Islam, thank you for your showing interest in getting acquainted with the teachings of Islam. May Allah save us all from the traps of Satan and enlighten our hearts with the light of Islam!

    The marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man is not permissible in Islam and there is a consensus among scholars on this issue. In the Qur’an Almighty Allah prohibited marrying Muslim women to non-Muslim men in the verse which reads: […and do not marry (your girls) to idolaters until they believe…] (Al-Baqarah 2: 221)

    And, He the Almighty says concerning immigrant Muslim women: [Then if you know them to be Believers, do not send them back to the unbelievers. They are not lawful for them (as wives), nor are they lawful for them (as husbands).] (Al-Mumtahanah 60:10)

    Therefore, the approach of this imam is not correct at all and what he is doing contradicts explicit texts of the Qur’an.

    Responding to the question, Sheikh Hussain Halawa, states the following:

    This imam has insufficient knowledge concerning this issue. He is committing an enormity by making lawful what Almighty Allah has made unlawful. Based on the Qur’an, Muslim jurists agree on the impermissibility of establishing and creating a new marriage contract between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim or an unbeliever. Moreover, if such a contract was established it is considered unlawful and all its consequences are also illegal and invalid.

    Through my twenty years in European countries, such marriages are short-lived. This kind of relation occurs when the woman is in a state of weak faith and is unaware of the consequences of such a marriage. After a while she finds herself married to a strange man who does not accept her religion or help her to live as a Muslim woman. For such reasons, many couples separate from each other and in the end the real victims are the children.

    It is a great pity that some imams cause ordeals and distress for Muslim families in the West. Muslims should take care and not follow them.

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  62. Maverick

    June 16, 2009 at 7:21 PM

    salamualaikum warahmatullaah to Shk. Yasir and to everybody.

    The first part of my comments below are directed to my peers here in general, and the second part is directed at Shk. Yasir for his consideration.

    [Jaysh ma boy, what up yo, I thought your assessment giving Asra Nomani was definitely off-track – she flopped around a lot and was quite desperate at times, and didnt deliver a coherent and compelling value prop., even from an emotional perspective. Catch me on MSN later]

    I noted some commenters have already noted some of the following points but they are worth repeating for everyone here:

    A.) The motion itself was too broad. It can be used by those who support giving the woman her Islamic right of refusal, and it can be [mis]-used by those seeking to remove the Islamically-required paternal authorization.

    B.) Please stop worrying about the 62% majority vote. I’m sure good-intentioned Muslims voted for both choices; the ones that voted with the majority may have done so because they wanted to send a message that forced marriages are haraam. Other Muslims may have voted against the motion because they did not want to approve such a broad motion that could be misinterpreted.

    C.) There was a significant non-Muslim presence in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I saw a rabbi in there as well. So please, don’t ruffle your feathers about how “the majority” are going “against” the Sharia.

    For Shk. Yasir:

    As has been mentioned, yes its true that stating the logical and known stance of Islam isn’t going to have much emotional resonance with the audience. I understand – and agree – with your probable intention that you did so in order to clearly state for the record that Islam’s stance on this topic was XYZ.

    After mentioning that, perhaps you may have had additional impact if you gave your position the emotional angle in your delivery, given that the majority of sales [of anything] are made based on emotion.

    Asra’s weakness is that she is impatient. She tries to bring her personal story into everything and if that doesn’t get her any traction, she starts floundering. This was evidenced when she accused you of giving a “cop-out answer” because she was unable to box you in via her loaded question. Again, when she appealed to the crowd by saying “these battles have to be fought” – it was her impatience getting the better side of her because she failed to deliver a compelling value proposition that would give her stance the desired amount of traction. It was seen again when several of the questioners in the audience – particularly women – didn’t buy into her pitch, as evidence by both the questions they asked, and answers they gave when questioned or pressed for clarification by the moderator.

    In my humble opinion, the proper Islamic stance already has a massive emotional component to it, that when presented simply, wins hearts and minds hands down. Its already clear to everyone on all sides why and how the woman must have the right of refusal in such matters. But to paraphrase Dr. Thuraya’s view of mother-knows-best, perhaps the emotional appeal could have been made to a the need for security and certainty. Perhaps the rhetorical question could have been aired “Why do you go to a teacher for help on XYZ subject / topic? Why do you go to a mechanic about your car? Why do you go to a doctor about your health?” etc. Once you go to a reasonable authority or subject-matter expert and get an educated answer, you feel safer and more confident about making your decision.

    Its the same reason why Islam instituted the double safeguards of requiring both paternal consent and woman’s consent in matters of marriage.

    Dawah is esentially marketing and PR, with the key distinction that its not about misrepresenting the facts or putting super-spin on an unethical or weak value proposition. But aside from that, given that marketing is largely about appealing to emotion, it may help if future answers are couched proportionately more in emotional appeal as opposed to plain simple logic – particularly if the crowd is composed of more women than men.

    Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, and I look forward to your thoughts.

    wasalamun alaikum

  63. Farhan

    June 17, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Sh Yasir, I agree with you and the point you were making entirely. But, I don’t like this debate for a few reasons.

    First, the very idea of foreigners coming to our lands holding debates about how we should or shouldn’t be, as if they’re enlightened and we’re culturally backwards, is arrogant and belittling. If anything, we should be doing that in other lands. (oh, I was born and raised in America)

    Second, while not everyone is an “Islamic cleric”, the views of the audience CERTAINLY does not conform with general Muslim populous. A few of the questioners seemed to have strange, fringe beliefs- many of them weren’t even Muslims. So, the final vote is meaningless. But even then, it was 38%.

    Third, the moderator didn’t let anyone finish their point and would continuously interrupt people before they got their point across.

    Fourth, Asra Nomani was quite demeaning, while, ironically, against it. For example, saying things like “Your interpretation of Islam”, or “That’s what YOU say”. “Your interpretation of Islam” really means “Everyone in the world for the past 1430 years, except me”. The moderator did the same thing, but quoting random sources he deemed as “conservative”, as if one dissenting opinion is as good as gold.

    Fifth, as YQ said like 50 times, the motion was simply too too broad. If it was “should Muslim women be allowed to marry anyone Muslim man, irrespective of social norms, culture, tribe, etc”, then I would have been FOR the motion. But, YQ brought up the point “What if she said she wants to marry another woman?”. Such a blanket statement will be interpreted by different people in different ways. Some will say “Well, I’m sure that doesn’t mean other women”, and vote for it, while others will say “I support the right to marry a Jew or Christian, but not another woman so I’m against it”. The notion was vague and meaningless.

  64. Abu Yunus

    June 18, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    Asra is basically preaching relativism, where the truth is not absolute but rather relative to people’s conception of it. I have two basic arguments against her.

    1. If we are to use our minds unrestrictedly what is purpose of sending down the Qur’an? Qur’an actually keeps the intellect in check.

    2. She kept saying that the Islamic view was actually brother Yasir’s interpretation. Well, you can very well counter that by saying that she is doing the very same thing. She is imposing her own interpretation as well upon the audience. Brother Yasir should’ve mentioned that it is NOT his interpretation. Why didn’t he mention that Islam is not a personal religion where everyone has the right to a free interpretation. Rather, we return to the chief interpreter (Prophet Muhammad (s) himself). He should’ve just told her let’s leave aside our own interpretation and return to the Hadith.

    Also, why didn’t brother Yasir use this clear cut Qur’anic verse as a proof that Muslim women cannot marry any mushrikeen, whether Ahlul-Kitab or not:

    And do not marry Al-Mushrikât (idolatresses, etc.) till they believe (worship Allâh Alone). And indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a (free) Mushrikah (idolatress, etc.), even though she pleases you. And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikûn till they believe (in Allâh Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater, etc.), even though he pleases you. Those (Al-Mushrikûn) invite you to the Fire, but Allâh invites (you) to Paradise and Forgiveness by His Leave, and makes His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to mankind that they may remember. (Al-Baqarah 2:221)

    Also, to Asra and everyone else, if Islam indeed allowed that, then why didn’t a single women come to Prophet or any of his rightly guided caliphs to ask to be married to a christian women. WHY didn’t it occur during the lifetime of the Prophet (s), if it was something allowed?

    Believe, falsehood is very use to refute even with a single sentence like: What was the purpose of God sending down the Qur’an if we can use our own intellects unrestrictedly.

    Asra would not be able to respond to this since one cannot help but be left dumbfounded.

  65. Abdullah Badr

    June 19, 2009 at 6:04 PM


    Sh. Yasir’s side won the debate!

    The Doha Debates teem did an international poll of Muslim women (see Almost 90 % voted that a Muslim lady is NOT free to marry a non-Muslim man (see page 14 of the poll). A further 75 % agreed that the PRIMARY reason youth marry is based on physical attraction.

    It is crystal clear that Dr. Thurayya and Sh. Yasir’s side won the debate, and that the stage audience was nothing other than ‘staged’!!!

    Way to go! Alhamdulillah.

  66. Yasir Qadhi

    June 19, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    From their website:

    An opinion poll, commissioned by the Doha Debates, revealed more than 85 percent of Arabs against the proposition, with the strongest objections coming from women.

    The finding stands in stark contrast to the result of the last debate, held on May 25th in Doha, when 62 percent of the mainly-Arab audience voted to remove all restrictions on a Muslim woman’s choice of husband.


    • AsimG

      June 20, 2009 at 2:52 AM

      Alhamadillah, good to know.

      I just hope no one spins the data as “look how backwards the Muslim Arabs are” and the whole kidnapper complex with women.

      • J

        June 21, 2009 at 5:37 AM

        Somewhat of an anti-climatic victory but a victory nonetheless. :)

    • AsimG

      June 20, 2009 at 2:53 AM

      Siraj when did you start polling data for the Doha debates?

      yougovsiraj hahah priceless

      • AsimG

        June 20, 2009 at 3:00 AM

        According to this polling data it seems the North Africans are the most conservative amongst the Arab-African Muslim areas.

        lol sidenote: The North Africans reject Muslim women marrying yahoodis at the same percentage they reject atheists (95%)

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  68. MalekAminGozali

    June 23, 2009 at 12:44 AM

    Women… be u feel so overwhelmingly inteligent and arrogantly claim so educated. Picking up whats pleases u and reject what may not fit your needs. You maybe taking ur pride in exchange of faith. Close enough u be like CHRISTIEN -MUSLIM version. Perpetualy gave right to what is forbidden by Allah and His Messenger by arguing over something that already has been ruled by Islam and its scholars. What i witnessing was u people r choosing the same path Iblis laknatullah once putting himself into it. Your fate will likely be like him.

    Rasulullah SAW ever said that among those in hell-fire, most are women..

    I firmly disagree inter-faith muslim marriage.. I might as well be within my faith in making choices seeking happiness blessed by Allah and His Messenger that i found doubt not in it.

    For sisters who really choose for inter-marriages life.. shall be among those losing their faith.

  69. ibnmasood

    June 27, 2009 at 3:32 PM


    Arabs reject Doha Debate vote on Muslim marriage

    Wednesday, June 17 2009


    Doha, Qatar, June 17, 2009: Arabs across the Middle East have voiced serious opposition to a recent vote at the Doha Debates that Muslim women should be free to marry the man of their choice.

    An opinion poll, commissioned by the Qatar-based debating forum, revealed over 85 percent of Arabs against the proposition, with the strongest objections coming from women.

    The finding stands in stark contrast to the result of the last debate, held on May 25th in Doha, when 62 percent of the mainly-Arab audience voted to remove all restrictions on a Muslim woman’s choice of husband.

    In the poll carried out by YouGov, 89 percent of women said it was prohibited for Muslim women to marry outside their religion, with the majority citing the Koran as the reason for their conviction.

    More than 800 respondents from North Africa, the Gulf, Levant and Iraq took part in the online survey between June 4-9.

    A large majority opposed arranged marriages, while a quarter thought it was unfair that Muslim men could marry outside their faith at the same time as women were facing restrictions.

  70. Yousuf

    June 29, 2009 at 2:00 AM

    Assalam O Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu to all,
    Sh. Yasir, i love you for making that wonderful start, Allah o Akbar!!!! You were to the point and objective.
    I think that Muhammad Habash got your point and thus didnt speak that much after that.
    The discussion went emotional when the audience floor was open.
    Plus, why do many moderators cut the talk of the panelist when they are explaining?? Where does their ethics go?

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  73. Ali

    November 3, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    I’m a little late, but I have some things to say.
    Muslims are to marry Muslims ONLY. Only ONE passage appears in the Quran where Muslim men can marry CHASTE Christian and Jewish women from MUSLIM COUNTRIES ONLY (this is the Ijma). And by Muslim country I mean a proper Islamic government, where women and minorities are nor oppressed.

    Secondly, the rightly guided Khalifa Umar, RA, BANNED interfaith marriage for Muslim men. He was a rightly guided Khalifa, and they would never do anything wrong or against Islam. So the overall ruling that comes out of this is that is is DISCOURAGED for Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women (again, whom are from Muslim countries only).

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