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Thoughts on the Doha Debates – Yaser Birjas


yb_dohaRegarding my thoughts on the Doha debates, Muslim women’s right to marry whomever they wish, Sh. Yasir Qadhi, hafidhahu Allah, was the only panelist who displayed a professional and intellectual  discussion  on the topic, away from the “my personal opinion” “my experience..”  “my concern” and “I believe so..” kind of approach that highlighted the other guests presentations. There is no doubt the motion was too broad and too vague, and perhaps it was purposely made so to serve the goal of controversy, and it did.

The Debaters

On Asra Nomani

  1. If Thurayyah al-Aridi appeared to be the “mother knows best” advocate, then Asra Nomani came out wearing the mantel of the well-experienced sage and the wise who knows everything best.
  2. She anticipated the theological argument underlining this issue and immediately tried to give the audience a taste of what the argument of sh. Yasir would look like.
  3. She turns her face to the audience and pleas to them on emotional level, not intellectual. It was surprising to hear an academic, like Asra, in such an intellectual debate fabricates an argument in such fashion. It sounded completely pathetic and unprofessional.
  4. Her argument was completely subjective to her own personal experience, an experience that sounded very disturbing. Being a victim of a failed cultural marriage does not give her an automatic authority to dictate to women how to decide on their own marriages. I believe the Qatari woman among the audience who was in support of the family consent in marriage spoke clearly against Asra’s argument.
  5. Asra’s premise is that Muslim women do not enjoy happy marriages because they cannot choose, and if women have choice and they choose their husbands they will “most likely” be happy. Tim, the mod, attacked that premise right away based on the existing loveless marriages as a reality in the west. Disappointingly, I did not hear any intelligent response from her to that particular point raised by the moderator. Maybe because there weren’t any.
  6. I might even ask Asra a question: What if women “choose” to delegate that right to their families and put confidence in them to help them find a good spouse, would that be a problem? If Muslim women have the choice, and they do have the choice, to exercise their Islamic right and take their parent’s consent to their choice for a husband, what wrong would be with that?
  7. I tried to look up the current marital status of Asra, to see if she found the man of her choice who would guarantee her “responsible” happiness but I could not find that in her bio. In fact, what I found was astonishing. It seems that she is advocating to other women what never worked for her.
  8. All agree that forcing women into marriage does exist in reality but as a cultural arrangement, which is completely irrelevant to the motion suggested. The motion speaks about Muslim women, whom we assume abide by the laws of Islam in their personal lives, not by culture. If culture was the target, then Africa, South and Central America as well as other areas in the world, where forced marriages take place, should also be included in the discussion.
  9. Every time Asra was answering a difficult question, she turned to the audience, not the panelists, and started the same emotional guilt filled response, such as “I’m a mother…” “I don’t want you to go through this…” just for an example. After all it seems that mothers always know best.

On Sh. Yasir Qadhi

  1. I liked the suit with the blue tie sheikh. I was just wondering, how long would it take ‘me’ if I’d ever try, to tie a tie? I have not done that since high school and I don’t know how easy is that comparing to fixing a “Shimagh”. (Shimagh, for those who don’t know, is the traditional Arab head cover worn in the gulf).
  2. Jazaka’Allahu khayran for speaking to the minds of the audience not just their hearts, and for making your case straight to the point without beating around the bush. I find your thoughts showing respect to the intellect of those who watched and listened. I guess you prepared well for it.
  3. The level of academic discussion over some of the technical aspects of the subject, such as the juristic part was not clear enough to the masses. Obviously, the time constraints you were operating in would not allow further clarification. I assume that part disconnected you from the audience. Nevertheless, it was well done.
  4. When asked by the moderator about Muslim women in a happy marriage with a non-Muslim man, I thought identifying the issue as a sinful act in Islam would have been sufficient unless it is done out of sheer rebellion to the law of Islam. In that case, I agree people should not identify themselves with Islam at all.
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On Dr. Mohammad al-Habashi

  1. There isn’t much really to critique in his presentation, because I couldn’t really follow his argument very well and at some point, I even wondered if he really knew what he was talking about. I just couldn’t understand what the base of the panelist selection to this debate was. Nevertheless, I guess sh. Yasir took care of that one easily.
  2. His argument did not go in line with Asra’s arguments and I was even wondering if Asra Nomani would agree to the arguments he was making. His arguments appeared to set further restrictions on women’s choice anyways.

On Thurayyah al-Aridi

  1. Unless she considered herself from “al qawaa’ed minal nisaa’” –women of post menstrual age- I think she lost her credibility to talk on behalf of Muslim women when she appeared in front of everybody without the proper hijab. Some girls who asked questions wore better hijab than she did. I thought it was perplexing scene.
  2. Her starting point, speaking as a person not as an expert, weakened her argument as much as it did to sh. Yasir’s as well. No one in the audience, I believe, came to listen to personal thoughts or feelings about the motion. They came to vote on an issue that required rational discussion.
  3. Her argument that young ones usually judge by physical look sounded very poor and based on my personal involvement in this area, I have to disagree with her. The attraction might happen the way she suggested and that is normal and natural, but the decision of marriage is more complex than she tried to explain.

The debate in general

On choice and education

In this discussion, two issues were raised leaving us to assume that they provide happiness for Muslim women in marriage; one is the right to choose and second is their current level of education.

There is no doubt that the choice to say yes or no for a prospect was guaranteed for women by the Shari’ah. Tradition and culture on the other hand distorted this principle, and the written law and the practice of some Muslim jurists following that regional tradition have contributed further to this crisis.

Now to claim that the right to choose would bring happiness to marriage is far from being true. The dynamics of marriage are more complex than just choosing the spouse, and what matters in marriage is not just the choice itself, but the mechanism of marital life the couple choose afterwards. Advocating for women’s right to choose their husbands has already being warranted in Shari’ah, and the call for it in this debate was mere reiteration of old feminist talk not to support or oppose a juristic ruling.

Claiming that women live miserably in arranged marriages is true to certain extent, but this is right for both men and women. However, and for fairness here for every miserable couple in an arranged marriage, I can bring another couple or more who are happy in their marital life. Furthermore, there is no doubt that statistics of divorce in the west regardless of religion, prove that choice is not enough to create a happy marriage.  In traditional societies, men and women alike might waive their right of deciding on a prospect to their families, and this is their right as well, and even today there are so many highly educated people who are still following that same old tradition.

This issue of choice is being raised in this time because we believe women today have better education. This implies that the more educated the individual is, the better the choice would be, but statistics of marriage and divorce speak differently.

Many people mix between education and certification, what people get at the end of their academic career is nothing more than certification in a specific area of study. Education is the value and training the individual retains from this long process of certification. In my field of marriage training, I can testify for that easily.

There are so many young men and women who are highly educated, certified per say, but they lack the basic knowledge they need to become eligible for a happy marriage. The education they pursue in life might not even be of any value to their marital life, it only brings them personal value and self-esteem. Some admit that and some do not want to admit, they rather live in a happy state of denial. Good for them.

When it comes to marriage, those who admit their weakness in this area come and seek guidance from the least educated person in the family or circle of friends; in many cases, it is the mother. Hands down for most mothers who know how to go about these issues, after all many of them have gone through this when they themselves got married.  But mothers cannot guarantee happiness in marriage for their children. What they can do is help them with their choice on basis of preconceived notions of happiness founded on “their” culture and tradition. Therefore, education does not translate into happiness, nor does choice.

Marriage is like any other field in life, requires learning and training. The social network that once provided young men and women a blue print or a road map for marriage does not exist in many cases of marriage today. The family network that once provided men and women the practical marital life to copy from is no longer available for so many. In the past families, even here in the west, were more connected, and young ones grew up watching their parents, siblings, uncles, cousins and others marry and live their lives. They used to copy them and paste these models in their own life, that is how life went by. Today, young men and women spend more time with their friends, who are single of course, than they would do with married relatives or friends. Most young men and women stop associating with the larger family network once they hit high school. Until after graduation from college, most of their social networks consist of single friends and most of their life revolves around single life. That’s why fearing to lose freedom of single life is one common reason for singles to delay their marriages. The value of social life diminished to minimum.

One category of Muslims in the west that would most likely, not have these biases when it comes to choice and marriage, is converts or reverts. Whether because their family has already given them this choice in life, or family ties already severed, our revert brothers and sisters do not have this problem of choice. However, they still suffer from other biases in marriage than just the concept of choice itself.

On the vote itself

Not surprisingly, the vote came out in favor of the motion by two thirds. Of course, we all realize that this is not a scientific result because the conditions of this vote were not right to begin with. Even new votes on larger scales, such as the one from women in the Arab world, proved it wrong.

First of all, the motion was broad in its definition of choice and it was hard to determine from the discussion if the panelists agreed on one meaning for it or not. Even though most of the discussion was geared towards Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men, the vote still requested a conclusion on that broad meaning of choice. People were voting on different definitions, not one.

Furthermore, the audience was a mixture of both Muslims and non-Muslims and if Muslims themselves might not have the proper religious, juristic and theological education to understand the subject discussed, how do we expect the non-Muslim audience to understand it from that Islamic perspective and then to vote against it? This is just like suggesting the same audience to vote on the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests. Can you guess the result?

Probably more than 15 percent of the audience was already decided. And if we take this percentage, if not even more, out of the vote the result will be close to 50/50 if not even against the motion.

To solve this technical issue, maybe casting a vote at the beginning of the debate and then one after might give an idea for which side presented a stronger argument. Without it, there would be no way to identify how many people have understood the discussion thoroughly and then made a qualified and educated vote.

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Sh. Yaser Birjas is originally from Palestine. He received his Bachelors degree from Islamic University of Madinah in 1996 in Fiqh & Usool, graduating as the class valedictorian. After graduating, he went on to work as a youth counselor and relief program aide in war-torn Bosnia. Thereafter, he immigrated to the U.S. and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He is also an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, where he teaches popular seminars such as Fiqh of Love, The Code Evolved, and Heavenly Hues. He is currently serving as an Imam at Valley Ranch Islamic Center, Irving, Texas. Sh. Yaser continues to enhance his knowledge in various arenas and most recently obtained a Masters of Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix, Class of 2013. In addition to his responsibilities as an Imam, Sh. Yaser is a father of four children, he’s an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, and a national speaker appearing at many conventions and conferences around the country. He is very popular for his classes and workshops covering a wide range of topics related to the youth, marriage, parenting and family life among other social matters related to the Muslim community. His counseling services, in office and online, include providing pre-marital training, marriage coaching and conflict resolution for Muslims living in the West.



  1. Abu Abdaen

    July 17, 2009 at 3:58 AM

    Jazaakallaahu khayran Yaa Shaykh. You put the points succintly. The role played by the extended family culture in the building of healthy marriages have been totally replaced by the TVs soap operas, etc. I tell a lot of close friends that the duty of parents does not end when their children are married, but rather take a different form.

    • Loga

      March 3, 2010 at 12:28 AM

      -Pls stop spamming. One comment is sufficient. -Editor

  2. Algebra

    July 17, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    GREAT ANALYSIS!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Shama

    July 17, 2009 at 6:36 AM

    JazakAllah shaykh for the wonderful article – your breakdown on speakers is exactly how I felt about each one of them – I am glad someone could express that as eloquently as you did

  4. yahmtz

    July 17, 2009 at 9:59 AM

    In fact, what I found was astonishing. It seems that she is advocating to other women what never worked for her.


  5. Aga Juice

    July 17, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    JazakAllahu Khayran for the complete analysis.

    Imagine a dream team of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi & Shaykh Yasir Birjas taking on Asma Nomani & co in a no time limit and no holds barred debate! That would be sweeeeeeet! I would pay to watch it.

  6. Saad Malik

    July 17, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    She turns her face to the audience and pleas to them on emotional level, not intellectual. It was surprising to hear an academic, like Asra, in such an intellectual debate fabricates an argument in such fashion. It sounded completely pathetic and unprofessional.

    Watch any of her other debates/lectures, and that’s ALL she does.
    Extremely pathetic and unprofessional for sure.

    (P.S. Excellent article Sheikh!)

  7. Omar Mumtaz

    July 17, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    JazakAllah khayr shaykh, excellent analysis and very well written mashAllah.

  8. midatlantic

    July 17, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    May Allah increase you in baseerah. Very interesting perspective.

  9. mystrugglewithin

    July 17, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    A much anticipated analysis.. Jazakallah Khayrum for the prefect definitions of the guests! :D

  10. loolt

    July 17, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    I must admit I am confused.. like you said Islam already guaranteed women the right to choose a spouse, and from what I recall from my Islamic studied class, parental consent is mandatory up to a certain point and recommended afterwards. My teacher explained this by saying that in some cases (rare) parents reject every suitor a girl gets on selfish or racist grounds, therefore she has a right when she matures mentally to not be bound by them any more.

    Since this debate occured in Qatar I am guessing that ‘arranged’ does not mean forced… it just means the introductions were arranged by the family as opposed to some other means. But I do not see why one would trump the other, since even if a couple met through friends, uni or work, they still usually must pass the family test and gain their approval.

    Another (final) point: I dont think the level of academic education makes a difference, but a level of social education does. i.e. a higher involvement in the greater society either through attending uni, working or community work certainly helps people in improving their ability to discern the characteristics of others. So there is a valid point in this.

    Thanks for the post!

  11. Farhan

    July 17, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    “Not surprisingly, the vote came out in favor of the motion by two thirds. Of course, we all realize that this is not a scientific result because the conditions of this vote were not right to begin with. Even new votes on larger scales, such as the one from women in the Arab world, proved it wrong.”

    My thoughts exactly.

  12. Maverick

    July 17, 2009 at 11:16 PM

    With all due respect to Shk. Birjas, I don’t think the article above is an unbiased analysis, given that shyoukh Qadhi and Birjas are institutional acquaintances.

    I noticed that Shk. Birjas evaluated Nomani, al-Aridi, and al-Habashi all critically while giving Shk. Qadhi a free pass. Even though I agree with the obvious points surrounding that debate, particularly some represented by al-Aridi and Qadhi, I still think there are areas that Shk. Qadhi could have improved upon. Because of this unbalanced review, I wouldn’t call this a “great” or “complete” analysis of the panelists’ performances by any stretch.

    Lets look at the setting of the debate. The panelists are all qualified to various extents on the views they represented. Great and fine.

    But the audience was not composed entirely of mufassireen, scientists, scholars or judges, lawyers, subject-matter experts, and wise professors, etc. Such an audience would have been deserving of nothing less than logical, scholarly, intellectual rationales to support either side of the argument, backed up by statistics and other available data as necessary or appropriate.

    Instead, the audience was composed of lay representatives of the masses and you will lose them if you try to load your proposal with ONLY logic and / or textual evidence. The shyoukh spend a substantial part, or nearly all of their lives going through the various gates of knowledge. You simply cannot distill such massive amounts of ‘ilm into a couple of one or two-liners to be used in such limited, made-for-TV sensational circuses.

    The overwhelming way to appeal to the masses at large is to either make significant use of emotional appeals outright, or to couch logical / textual evidence in emotional language. Nomani understood this but her delivery sorely lacked the quality needed to support her value proposition [alhamdulillah]. So while Shk. Birjas may have been reasonably on the mark when saying that “no one in the audience came to listen to emotional appeals …. they came for rational discussion” … the fact remains that dawah is a sales job. Debates in front of commoners and laypeople are sales jobs, and the vast majority of sales are made on emotion, never on logic.

    Given that all of the Prophets were sent with miracles, skills, or deliverables that directly addressed the ruling fads of their times (Musa = magic, Isa = medicine, Muhammad = poetry, alayhim assalam] I would suggest that the shyoukh in the West should give serious thought to being able to marketing the Islamic stances on a wide variety of topics with a stellar blend of logic / textual evidence with emotional appeal.

    An example might be when countering western media accusations about female inequality when it comes to the issue of inheritance. Those missives never mention that women get to keep their inheritance all for themselves while the men are obligated to spend on their family and themselves both. So in a live debate, if the opposing side ever fielded that accusation, a sample reply from the sheikh on the other side might be to shrug slightly and say:

    “Yes but the women love that rule about inheritance because it means they get to keep their portion all for themselves and to go buy shoes and purses, or put the money into investments, or whatever they like. The men on the other hand are forced to spend their portions on their families before they spend on themselves. Its a really popular caveat to Islam’s inheritance rules, and you know … hey … the women love the shopping spree, and no one has any problems with that rule.”

    My point is that the deliverables can remain the same, but the delivery framework, method, velocity and other variables must be adjusted depending on the audience.

    • Amad

      July 18, 2009 at 3:28 AM

      Re: your comments going in spam. I looked at the filters, and there’s nothing we have. So no idea.

    • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

      July 18, 2009 at 8:43 AM

      Nice points.

    • Faraz Omar

      July 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM

      Good points. Jazak Allah khair.

  13. xeno

    July 18, 2009 at 12:20 AM

    Okay after watching this debate I’ll more or less say that this woman needs to study up on Islam more, because she’s clearly one of those ”moderate” Muslims who think they can interpret Islam to their own likes or however it suits them.

    Interestingly so many people want to still adhere to Islam but they want to allow homosexuality, masturbation, interest/riba and what not.

    Just to be clear – I’m not saying she didn’t bring up any valid causes for concern, ‘freedom for Muslimah’s to choose whom to marry’ is a very real issue in the Muslim world, constrained by nonIslamic culture, traditions, prejudices and so on.

    It’s really sad that you have these people claiming to be Muslims, whilst raised in the Western world and not having studied deen properly they somehow come to the belief that they can twist faith by introducing ideas that appeal to the majority of people – (what do I mean?)

    Towards the end of her comments she would point to Sheikh Yasir Qadhi as being a person who’s interpreted the Quran on his own and that he has no right to speak about it and explain the interpretation as should be understood by the Ummah. She instead will admit that Allah almighty just knows the truth about Quran and people should be free to choose whatever they want……….


    Just like Sheikh Yasir Qadhi repeated a dozen times – You cannot be a Muslim if you do NOT Submit!!

    She’s so confused she wants to turn Islam into the same state Christianity is today – so that it finds appeal amongst modern, secularist liberals who rant ”Upgrade religion to be compatible with hiphop culture”

  14. Faraz Omar

    July 18, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    The few things I wanted to say:

    1. It’s interesting to see how Thurayyah al-Aridi’s been criticized. Even in the comments of earlier posts. I believe this is because of the cultural difference between America and the Middle East. I’m sure youth, parents and families in the ME, or even in conservative families of the Indian subcontinent, can identify with her statements and arguments more than others, including Yasir Qadhi’s.

    This is because family culture is strong here. The culture of dating, relationships, break ups etc is not that common, though it’s increasing. So families face this huge problem that their young growing kids fall “deep in love” and “want to get married” and “just can’t live without each other” which is not a very physical relationship . I’m not sure if this still exists in America, because apparently, from what I’ve read, the culture of dating is over and now its one-night stands that’s getting popular. If that’s true, then this medieval-to-America culture is only starting to “blossom” here.

    Such love-turned-into-marriages, I suppose, must have been a huge problem for families especially if they don’t turn out well. And especially when the girl or the boy likes someone who is unsuitable or a flirt. The whole family is affected and it’s a nightmare.
    So based on this background what Thurayyah said was perfectly valid and I’m sure most Arab youth from conservative countries must have understood that well. That’s why she got those claps when she described how youth are upset after the marriage, whereas before the marriage they are kind of blind in love.

  15. Faraz Omar

    July 18, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    Just starting… will follow up with more when i get my next break of time insha Allah.. :)

  16. Maverick

    July 18, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Also, I am confused by Shk. Yaser Birjas’ statement when he said:

    “I think she lost her credibility to talk on behalf of Muslim women when she appeared in front of everybody without the proper hijab. Some girls who asked questions wore better hijab than she did. I thought it was perplexing scene.”

    Does this mean that a non-hijabi and a hijabi will always represent different viewpoints? Will their stances always be different? Are there not millions of Muslim women who do not wear hijab? Whether they lack hijab due to ignorance or willful action is beside the point. There is a substantial portion of Muslim women in the world who do not wear hijab. I know of non-hijabi women who pray regularly, read the Qur’an, they are active in Muslim social life, but because they do not wear hijab, does this mean they have no representational credibility on issues relating to Muslim women?

    I thought critical, impartial evaluation meant that we examine the message independently of the messenger. Am I wrong?

    There are many Muslim women out there who currently do not wear hijab, but they would like to participate in the public discourse about all things Islam. Who speaks for them? The muhajjabaat or non-muhajjabat?

    • Mo2920

      July 20, 2009 at 8:39 PM

      Great point. I’ve seen many hijabi’s who are devout one night and the next are having one night stands you speak of. It’s not just in the west I’ve seen it in Turkey, Guam, India, Pakistan. At the same time there are many non hijabi’s who are much more devout in the faith than those who cover. Covering as I found many a time over doesn’t necessarily mean more pure. Islam says modesty not a demand to wear hijab. Many turks don’t cover, may Lebanese don’t either.

      If Yasir is going to give a non biased view of the debate then he should rewrite the article as right of the bat he brushes Nomani’s viewpoints under the rug and sucks up to Sh. Yasir Qadhi with the I wonder how long it would take me rant. Not very professional at all.

      I’d also argue the vote shouldn’t be dismissed as well there were Non-Muslims voting but rather be emblematic of the real life situations facing the youth and non-married. There is nothing wrong with the outcome of the vote in fact it should spawn further dialogue instead of opinionated rhetoric in the form of a non biased analysis.

      Very good points were made all around in the debate and while I don’t agree girls are interested in muscles as was said in the debate I do agree with the woman’s arguement that the very young make irrational decisions regarding “love”

      I would caution those who believe America is Sodom and Gomorreh. That country has it’s own faults like any nation and one night stands are not the norm as a previous poster said. Data indicated people are getting married later in life and settling down and those who marrying under 25 have higher divorce rates.

      The outcome of the debate is very simple. Women should choose to marry whom they please and CULTURE and family get in the way as is always the case when there are problems regardless of religion. Countless stories show women having a child out of wedlock or divorced and being shunned, stoned or murdered. This is NOT Islam but rather cultural interpretation. Islam is an amazing religion of peace, love and guidance and shouldn’t be associated with such hateful things. What everyone can agree on is if something haram such as child out of wedlock or divorce occurs the community should rally around and help the one in need as taught in Quran and Hadith not shun or turn to murder.


  17. Faraz Omar

    July 18, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    2. When Asra attacked YQ with ideology of literal interpretation, I believe she should have been refuted on the case of literal interpretation itself. Communication by and large is literal. it is metaphorical only when there’s reason to interpret it that way. she could have been given colorful live examples of how even she understands things literally ….n i’m sure one can find many…. then why should it be different to understand what Allah says so clearly: don’t marry non-Muslim men, for example.

    3. One cannot always play academic or intellectual. as the brother rightly pointed out, its about da’wah. when she turns out emotional, we too have to touch their hearts .. and what more can touch people’s hearts than Allah’s Speech? Tawheed has to be brought in! They have to realize that obeying Allah is in their best interest. They have to realize our Creator’s Bounties and His Perfect Wisdom and Laws. They have to be reminded about accountability and the hereafter and the purpose of life. I believe this simple message would have been far more convincing to that audience than how a particular verse has been interpreted by an ijmaa!
    I’m not saying to dissolve academics… it has to be there, to prove factually, as ISlam is not a blind faith, but it should be used in the right proportion.

    4. Furthermore, I suggest there should be a large panel of intellectual Muslims following the proper Aqeedah and Manhaj to put together what new terminologies and arguments are being designed and planned against us, so they put their brains over to bring out adequate responses and then bring out their conclusions for all Muslim da’ees. Before any such debate, one has to have a mock debate where every possible opposing question is thought about and tackled already.
    Lastly, we (whoever participates) must have prior reservations and conditions on what gets edited and what does not. Otherwise there is more harm than good in attending such a debate and it must be totally avoided.

    But I do believe YQ did a good job masha Allah. the best point i liked was how he explained what unanimous consensus was in the last, wish he had done that earlier.

    i fully know that what he achieved over there in the debate may not have been achieved even in a tiny percentage had someone less knowledgeable been there… its easy to criticize, but to be there actually and say all that in composure is much much harder. i recognize that very much. Jazaak Allah khair.

    • Maverick

      July 18, 2009 at 1:11 PM

      Faraz, you said:

      “Lastly, we (whoever participates) must have prior reservations and conditions on what gets edited and what does not. Otherwise there is more harm than good in attending such a debate and it must be totally avoided.”

      Well another option might be to become acclimatized to such settings and sensational debates, and to be intellectually and politically agile enough to know how to effectively engage such challengers and audiences both, while standing your ground.

      i.e. one should be able to establish a baseline “class-of-response” when dealing with the lowest common denominators of society, i.e the truly laypeople who must be sold more on emotions than logic, such people who have very short attention spans and lack the required foundations necessary to deal with logical or textual evidences.

      And as the setting for the debate increases in quality, whether it be the quality of the panelists or the quality of the audience, or even in other settings where you might be dealing one-on-one with a person who isn’t your average joe, you should tune your response to match.

  18. UmA

    July 18, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    Re: appealing to the audience academically vs. emotionally….Wouldn’t reaching out to the audience’s emotions be an important part of winning them to your side?

  19. naved

    July 18, 2009 at 9:44 PM


    I think Sh Yasir Qadhi defended very well in the debate but my question to him is this the right methodology to participate in this kind of discourse where with full sinful intention the BBC are conducting these debates to gain legitimacy in the arab muslim population and confuse them about Islam and follow their agenda of

    1) Destroying the Muslim Families

    2) Bringing our women in the mainstream out their houses on the streets

    3) Debating issues on Islam that have been settles years ago by our beloved scholars

    4) Coming up with topics that are controversial in nature and have deep fitnah within them

    I am not sure we need to participate in these debates or not but Sh Yasir Qadhi did a great job, May Allah bless him and honor him



    • Maverick

      July 18, 2009 at 10:07 PM

      wow amazing!

      you know what BBC’s intentions and agenda were?

      skills. hot skills.

      • AbuAbdulhaleem

        July 19, 2009 at 1:24 AM

        Correct me If Im wrong, but the DOHA debates are being sponsored in part by the RAND corporation and their intentions are to ‘reform’ islam so I think brother Naved is on the something

        • Maverick

          July 19, 2009 at 2:46 AM

          My point is that unless the intentions were clearly stated, as they often are, then he cannot have known them. And I agree there definitely was an agenda, but I’d like to know where he saw it. Jumping to premature conclusions serves no one.

          I’m familiar with RAND and their objectives. Nothing we can’t respond to.

  20. Rizak

    July 19, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    “It seems that she is advocating to other women what never worked for her.”

    I’ve come to realize this is what most Non-Muslim “How to find the perfect spouse!” type of authors do… who have yet to find a spouse themselves.

  21. Yasir Azim

    July 20, 2009 at 2:18 AM

    Jazakallahkhiar Shaikh Yasser,

    wow i did not knew Shaikh Yasser Likes to watch DEBATES,,,lol…
    Allhamdolilha i took his class and he was very down to earth unlike my HERO Yasir Qadhi.
    Good points and as Shaikh Yasir said keep in mind the 99% audience was non-muslim so having that in MInd and he did EXCELLENT. May Allah(swt) Preserve The Both Shaikhs Ameen.

  22. Hannah

    July 21, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    Thanks be to Allah for giving us living breathing protectors of true islam. I find it scary that there are muslims who have no raw knowledge of the heart of islam and that these people somehow have highly regarded representation of our religion. May Allah guide all of us.

  23. Critic

    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    Hijabis or non-hijabis, women have rights to criticize hijab. A non-hijabi doesn’t wear a hijab for reason that she’s critical. Disqualifying non-hijabi’s criticism just because the women doesn’t wear hijab is the real lack of intellectualism.

    • Maverick

      July 23, 2009 at 10:14 PM

      FYI … this debate wasn’t about hijab, at all.

  24. pm

    July 28, 2009 at 1:44 AM

    I just want to correct an error many of you keep making in this and the other thread about the Doha Debates. I participate in every Doha Debate and the audience is overwhelmingly Muslim. The vast majority of participants are university students from Education City (who are also overwhelmingly Muslim) and VIPs from the community and region (mostly Muslim).

    I do think it’s fair to say that the vote is usually skewed because of the average age of participants. High school and college students are naturally at a point in their lives where they are raising questions about all the “absolutes: they have heard about all their lives. In a healthy environment they will be allowed to raise those questions and search for answers, while being given the best possible guidance and respect from their elders. This is where Dr. Al-Aridi failed and Nomani succeeded. A number of young women I attended with stated that they felt Al-Aridi was putting them down, while Nomani respected their ability to make decisions. Al-Aridi definitely hurt Qadhi’s efforts (who incidentally was praised as the best debater by everyone in my group of about 16 young people (14 of them Muslim), More than one thought Qadhi made one of the best points in the debate by essentially stating that they have the right to choose whoever they want to marry, but don’t say that one’s actions are in keeping with Islam when they are not.

    Salaam Alaikum.

  25. Digital Capacitor :

    October 30, 2010 at 1:21 PM

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