Yvonne Ridley on Sami Yusuf

Pop Culture in the Name of Islam - MuslimsWeekly

Yvonne Ridley has a go at Sami Yusuf and his over-enthusiastic female fans who acted like teenage boy-band fans even though some of them were mature women. She was also not impressed with his exhortation to his British fans to wave Union Jacks and proclaim that they were proud to be British and encourage them to join the police force.

Hat tip to Danya who says Sami isn’t responsible for the antics of the “squeeling females”. I’d beg to differ, given that the same behaviour is likely to have been in evidence at more than one of his gigs in the past. Scholars do not generally object to men (or women, if there are no men around) singing, but I’ve read that some scholars considered men who gathered others around them to perform to them as corrupt (perhaps someone could fill me in on this). (More: Saracen.)

By the way, I’ve updated the jeans post.

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  • I’m not familiar with Sami Yusuf, but this is the second time I’ve heard criticism of him in the Muslim media. The Muslim Weekly published an article “by a concerned anonymous Muslim” on Nasheed culture a while ago(NB your link is actually to The Daily Muslims). Generally I don’t listen to music, but I do find myself in some agreement with Danya’s first and third point. On the last, I’m not going to turn my back on my country of birth because of the actions of successive governments - they don’t represent Britain in its entirety. There are extremes in the Daily Muslims article which remind me of my early days suffering from convertitus. Is joining the police really a reprehensible act? Can we only respond to world oppression by ghettoising ourselves, or do we recognise that we all have a small role to play as teachers, nurses, firemen or whatever - even as journalists? Given the increasing criminality of much of Muslim youth on the streets of London today I should think a few Muslim faces in the police force would be a welcome antidote. Sorry, I am rambling. I agree in part with the article, but I find some of it disturbing too.

  • It’s definitely disturbing to see girls and woman behaving that way, I fully agree with that point. But where does the problem lie? With the singer? The audience who can’t maintain adab? Both?

    However, there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with joining the police force. In order to change things sometimes, you just have to be apart of it. If the 25% of the police force were Muslim, do you think civilian Muslims would be treated so badly?

    Yusuf: Do you have fatwa or source concerning those who gather people to perform? I’d like to see :)

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  • Sis. Danya: no, but I do remember reading it (I don’t think it was a fatwa as such). I can’t remember where or who wrote it.

  • Bikhair

    I dont think women should be joinging the work force, Muslim on non Muslim. We dont have the strenght and the ability to do a proper job in apprehending suspects. The physical aspect of the job demands more than the average women can give.

    However, I think they should be involved in cases dealing with smaller children or women themselves.

  • Salaam

    I believe there is a very easy way for the problem to be solved. I attended a Qawalli gathering once organised as a fundraiser for a school, one of the Ulema stood up and explained the proper adab of the gathering, about not dancing etc and there was no problems of the nasheed-boy band type above.

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  • Faramir


    Yusuf: I remembered reading something similar. Found it at Sunnipath:

    The great Hanafi jurist al-Kasani states:

    If a singer gathers people around him only to entertain them with his voice, then he will not be considered a upright person (a’dil), even though if he does not consume alcohol, as he will be considered the leader of sinners. If however, he only sings to himself in order to eradicate loneliness, then there is nothing wrong in doing so.

    Link here.

    This is not the same as the singer being fasiq. The fatwa also says:

    However, songs that are free from such unlawful things and they consist of descriptions of the natural things, such as flowers and streams, etc… will be permissible. Yes, if they are accompanied by musical instruments, then it will be unlawful even if the song is full of advice and wisdom, not because of what the songs consist of, rather due to the musical instruments that are played with it.

    It is a long fatwa. Instead of referring to my quotes, read it.


  • Sister Yvonne,

    If you ever get to read this message, blease move to Iraq or Afganistan where I bromise to brotect you. Thank you for your open support of my jihad.


    Zarqawi Al-Qaeda Iraq (this is a coded message)

  • Masha Allah, I pray that Allah continues to guide sister Yvonne

  • Musa

    Yvonne Ridley is our sister yes, but truly her words are not to be taken seriously? She converted a few uears ago and now she feels it her right to teach us about Islam and what the Ummah should be doing?? Come on. Honestly, I believe the only reason why people are taking her HT and Muhajirooni comments seriously is because she’s white and convert - pure and simple! We are so sad, what is so different about her and Zarqawi OR other finatics?? I mean she openly and blatatnly supported Zarqawi!

  • A concerned Muslim

    Assalamu Alaikum, greetings of peace,

    I think we all need to calm down and stop attacking our sister Yvonne.

    I am sure she is regretting her outbursts which i can only put down to her monthly cycle.

    May Allah find her a husband where she can let go of her steam rather than attacking Msulim artists who are trying their utmost to enhance a new medium of giving da’wah.


  • Islam Haq

    Her comments are far too harsh. To liken any sister at an Islamic event to a ‘fluffer in a lapdancing club’ is not only a strong exaggeration but an insult to our sisters. Miss Ridley is not a scholar or a shiekh and I think she should keep her opinions on such matters to herself - she has named and insulted Samiu Yusuf - and that is wrong.

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  • musa

    if this is not slander, than what is?? Astaghfirullah, what happned to the kind and merciful ways of our Prophet (SAS)??

  • yasin patel

    i think that yvonne ridley is right in what she is saying sami yusuf is no aalim or no shaikh who told hom that music is lawful in islam yvonne is just saying wht u call haque

  • şeymanur

    esselamu aleykum

  • musa

    Check this out all: http://www.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=001qUP

    They are talking about Sami Yusuf his music being haram/halal…

  • musa

    Name ahmed - Profession Question Could you please give us your opinion regarding the recent criticism of Sami Yousef’s music by some scholars claiming his use of “un-Islamic” instruments in some of his songs. Answer There is nothing called Islamic and un-Islamic instruments; instruments are tools whose rulings is based on the way they are used for. This is a juristic rule that tools are judged according to the purpose they are used for. The negative attitude towards musical instruments in the old classical Islamic jurisprudence was mainly a reaction for deviant practices of people rather than a reflection of juristic texts.

    Though the view of the majority of scholars is to forbid all musical instruments except duff, this view is based on weak arguments that do not stand solid in the juristic perspective.

    1. Scholars tried to derive the ruling of prohibition from some verses of the Qur’an but while doing so they interpreted the verses in a way that is far from the direct and obvious meaning.

    2. Ahadiths quoted in this regard are either unauthentic, not decisive to the effect prohibition, or opposed by stronger and more solid evidences from the Sunnah.

    3. Some scholars, past and present, have verified the subject and pointed out the weakness of the argument stating that all musical instruments are forbidden. Some of these scholars are Ibn Hazm and Ash-Shawkani in the past, and Sheikh Al-Qaradawi and Al-Ghazali in the present.

    As for Sami Yusuf, he followed a legitimate school of thought that stand on solid foundation. He used musical instruments to serve the cause of Islam and in my view and others he has done a good job in this filed. Attacking Sami Yusuf is, therefore, wrong from both the jurisprudential way as the juristic rule states that “a controversial matter is not to be condemned as wrong”. Any work that a person achieves based on a fatwa with solid evidences and issued by reliable scholars is not to be opposed even though we tend to subscribe to a different school of thought. We need to understand this juristic rule very well so as to allow diversity of opinions and pluralism in the madhahabs.

    Those who attack Sami Yusuf are unfortunately ignoring the huge impact that un-Islamic deviant arts on especially on youth and the pressing need for alternatives. We live in a time that art has become more effective than the sword and the use of force. You can just imagine the huge impact that the recently published novel Da Vinci Code is leaving on the Christian faith and culture.

    The good efforts done by Sami Yusuf in creating an alternative and using the musical instruments and video clips that were ever dedicated for indecency, must be appreciated and looked at positively.

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  • Dr Muhammad Yasser has just been confirmed 100% to give a speach about brother Malcolm as he interviewed him (Malcolm X) for the BBC 10 DAYS BEFORE HE GOT SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    This Friday coming, in the Polsk Centre in Hammersmith (W6) London, UK - 26th May, at 5:30 doors open, a Hip Hop Night Dedicated to Malcolm X. Sa-Rok will be contributing towards the Event with a performance of “Open Heart” and “World Soul” (Insha’Allah).

    Go to: Sa-Rok Website to download new updated tracks & videos: http://www.acronymsystems.co.uk/sarok

    Performances from the likes of Hasan Salaam, Poetic Pilgrimage, Missundastood, Mecca2Medina, Blind Alphabetz, Unified Minds, and Aashiq-Al Rasul will make the evening a success.

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  • @Danya: You said:——————-

    It’s definitely disturbing to see girls and woman behaving that way, I fully agree with that point. But where does the problem lie? With the singer? The audience who can’t maintain adab? Both?

    It’s the singer’s fault. He could easily have told the women to calm down instead of keep on going and then start shouting pro-British slogans at the hight of their ecstasy. I can not say for sure, but I honestly have a feeling that Sami Yousef enjoys being the center of female attention. Just to go to his website or go through his albums, the place is splattered with his photographs. Does he do it for Islam?…hmm..Allahu aalam.

    You said: —————-

    However, there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with joining the police force. In order to change things sometimes, you just have to be apart of it. If the 25% of the police force were Muslim, do you think civilian Muslims would be treated so badly?

    Yes there is something very wrong with that. A police man works to protect and inforce criminal and civil laws. What laws would a Muslim police man be trying to inforce in, say the UK? Don’t tell me Islamic ones, because no a single law in the UK is Islamic. It is one thing to work in a European country, it is another thing to protect their rules and laws. It is an even worse thing to swear aligence to the Queen of England like 2l 2staaz Sami Yousef apperently did.

    I’m with sister Yvonne all the way in this article she wrote.

  • Kamran

    I think one thing everyone is failing to understand, I will try to highlight as shortly as possible.

    I definitely don’t like Sami Yusuf’s style of singing, no offence Sami, but its just not my style.

    However, I was dragged to a concert and I have to say I was surprised to see the audience he is attracting.

    It’s not your regular hijabis or practicing Muslims who only attend a full day boring conference.

    However I am sure there were many praticing Muslims there too(no pun intended).

    Now the question I fail to understand is how is it that a smart sister like Yvonne Ridley would fail to understand this point.

    Did she not realise that Sami Yusuf is attracting a different type of audience. And also how does one contain and educate these fluffers??? as she states.

    I think it was simply foolish of her to call this crowd fluffers. Maybe they screamed and jeared and danced but I can assure you that these fluffers would do far worse in a bollywood or non-Islamic concert.

    She is simply damaging the work done by some who are trying to attract this particular crowd. And dont ask me how I know becuase my sister is the one who dragged me to this concert in London and I know she would never go if it wasnt for Sami Yusuf and his style of music.

    So a word of advice to sister Yvonne, yes, you maybe a new convert and have lots of zeal, but please be careful in what you say as it has a lot of repurcussions amongst the ever confused ummah.

  • irnbrudrink
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  • MusaHabib1977
  • MusaHabib1977

    ‘Positive engagement - not anarchist ranting’ sami yusuf breaks his silence in an open letter to yvonne riddley

    Open Letter From Sami Yusuf to Yvonne Riddley


    “Dear Yvonne,

    Peace and blessings of God be upon you.

    Your recent article on ‘Pop Culture in the Name of Islam’ has been brought to my attention. I commend you for voicing your opinion and raising some very important issues – albeit in a very provocative manner. I thought it would be useful to share some of my thoughts with you on this matter.

    As a Muslim artist, I regularly seek clarification and advice from world-renowned scholars on art, music, singing and culture. Be informed that the subject of music is one of the most controversial topics in Islamic Jurisprudence. I respect those who consider music to be haram. Yes eminent scholars of our past have opined such. However, I respect and follow the opinion of other eminent scholars – classical and contemporary, who permit singing and the use of musical instruments. The well-established jurisprudential rule states that ‘in matters where there is ikhtilaf (differences of opinion) there is to be no condemnation of either opinion.’ This is from the beauty of the religion of Islam. The diversity of our cultural, legal and social traditions is something we are in dire need of celebrating not condemning. So let’s agree to disagree on this one.

    The obsessive fascination of fans towards any celebrity - be it in arts, music, politics, media, etc - to the point of hysteria and hero-worshipping is definitely unhealthy not to mention un-Islamic. Of course, as Muslims, we are required to abide by certain etiquettes in whatever situation we may find ourselves in. However, I definitely did not see girls dancing or behaving indecently in any of my concerts. To state otherwise is a gross exaggeration if not an outright fallacy. And if indeed that did take place then let’s deal with it in the true Prophetic tradition - a tradition that imparts love, mercy, tolerance and wisdom. Let me share with you the story of the Bedouin who came to the Prophet’s mosque and started urinating in the mosque itself. The Companions rushed to grab him and give him a ‘good beating.’ But the Prophet did not allow them to do so and told them to let him be. After the Bedouin had urinated, the Prophet asked his Companions to bring a bucket of water and wash the place. Afterwards he called the man and with gentleness and affection explained to him that this was a place of worship and that it should be kept clean. Though I have to say that had the Bedouin been around today he would be lucky to get away with just…”

    TO READ MORE go here: http://samiyusuf.com/press/SamiYusufopen_letter.htm

  • irn_bru

    Sami Yusuf’s response is brilliant. Indigo Jo, why don’t you put Sami Yusuf’s response up on your blog?

  • Alex Khan

    Muhammadur Rasulullah salallahoalaihe wasalam spoke TRUTH and HAQ when it was in very short supply against a time of falsehood and bathil which reigned freely. He was given a similar response and far worse from the masses. Sister Yvonne is doing the same and the times are full circle. I make Dua Allah keeps her firm on HAQ and gives her istikamat…. HAQ ALLAH and HAQ Rasulullah Sallahoalihe wasallam.

  • Reem Nweder

    Asalamu Alaykum Inshahallah Brother Sami Yusuf will continue to inspire our generation and my children’s generation. I personally feel he is a special talented angel sent from Allah(SWT). Best Wishes to you and your family my sincere and dear brother Sami Yusuf. By the way my 3 kids love you dearly.

  • We must all have respect for one another. Yvonne is a fellow Muslim and is entitled to her own opinion. There is no need to criticise her by picking on her reverting or saying that she thinks she knows it all. If you agree with her opinion then don’t listen to Sami Yusuf, and if you don’t then do listen. But if you are unsure like myself then keep thinking about it. Don’t forget that different people respond differently. Some people might like his voice, his hairstyle but others might be inspired by him praising the Prophet (pbuh). So I guess it is not an issue that we can just make a general statement but at the same time we must still respect the opinions of others.

  • değerli sami abi nasılsın ben senin eserlerini çok seviyorum hanımınla mutlu olursun inşallah allaha emanet olun

  • değerli sami abi nasılsın ben senin eserlerini çok seviyorum hanımınla mutlu olursun inşallah allaha emanet olun

  • sima

    With regards to comments made by Sister Yvonne. Salaams Every one is entitled to voice themsleves. In more ways than one. Sometimes however one can get carried away. We all need to be careful and sensitive to others. I feel Sami is a talented individual and works hard and earnestly to inspire people who wish to be. In my opinion it is the outcome as a whole that must be looked at and the intention of the person. As long as that is positive then inshallah the outcome will be too.

    I feel first and foremost we should view humanity for humanity and then Musims and non muslims. We as British citizens do need to look after our neighbour hood and joining the police force is a great way of doing so. Sometimes we forget the practical things in life are actually the most spiritually rewarding. Rather than theorising and debating constantly if we just got on with keeping a moderate balance within our capabilities life will be smoother. If we actually work within the system to help benefit humanity on the whole. We will be doing dawah unspoken! JAK and be positive!

  • hello, i cant describe how am so tierd to have more information about my brother in islam(sami yusuf) am proud of you, iam alwayes asking god to let me achance to meeting you, please send me you personal email, i have many comments about the albomes, ind i wish to be your closesister. thank you

  • NOOR

    brother sami evrey succesful one faced proplems in his way, but you shoudnot leson to every thing .you must be trust your self and go on. ya allah ehdey sami yusuf to whats best thing and prtect him pleas ya allah. your sister NOOR .

  • peanut

    i think it is a good idea and i hope it works. i reli like yvone ridly she is the best. sami yusuf is a great man and hopely he will suceed. inshallah

  • Assalamualikum Sami Yusuf. I know you have a lot of fans around the world but im just one of them. I know that you are a very busy person, but still if you get this message please try contacting me. From: Ashraf- Ul Alam. Age:-14. I was born on Apri 1st 1993. Thank You for your time in reading this message.

  • sara


    music is harram!!!

  • nazanin tanha

    salam dear Sami Did you ever think about singing for moslem people who enjored in the war by american?

  • as-salamo alik there is no contradiction about the music&its instrument is haram.who said like ibn hazam jaherri that there is no sahih hadith about prohibition of music is strongly cancealed by all mohaddish of ahale sunnah al jamat

  • Salam Alaikum. Well, i know its been a while since this post. But i would love to say, your blog is amazing.. And the reason is,”there are no FIGHTS going on..” As in some other blogs with the same material. Take care. And ya, i truly dont understand, If Yvonne isnt proud of being a British, why is she makin others think like this? she is trying to be a know-it-all lady. I respected her for her deicion of Coming to Islam. But coming to a religion and criticsing its own people..doesnt make sense to me. Anyways, may ALLAH guide us all. Fi aman ALLAH

  • Hope angeleyes

    I find it utterly disturbing to continue to see women (especially the ones who are married), behaving in such a bad manner. In islam, a women should love and respect her husband and close family, not some stranger who is known as an artist! That really is mind bottling to me because it seems that this generation is losing touch with islam and along with that, there’s your faith, honesty, loyalty, dignity, repect and the real reason why we are all here. This is crazy and needs to addressed!