Prominent Saudis: Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe

Mohammed Al Arefe is the complete package. He is the Brad Pitt of Sheikhdom. Unfortunately he truly puts women in the toilet when it comes to their rights and humanity. His ideology is the typical close-minded outlook that Saudi society has grown accustomed to from its religious leaders, except when it comes to this particular religious leader, it almost seems like he has hypnotic super-powers. Even women will accept being told that they are less than men when it comes from his mouth. He is very charismatic. And I believe it comes across even with language barriers. This is a short video of him telling a funny story about his seven year old daughter learning her daily prayers.

Rough Translation: In the video he says that he is trying to encourage his daughter Jumana to pray. So one day he told her to pray the thahir (noon) prayer, she with resignation said ok. On his way back from performing Asir (afternoon) prayer at the mosque, Jumana opened the door for him and he asked her if she had prayed that prayer. She replied oohhh not again. Do I have to? But she goes and does it anyway. Then on his way back from the next prayer, the Maghreb (sunset) prayer, she again opened the door for him and immediately laughingly says OOhhhh you’re killing me with all this pray pray pray …

Some of the issues that he has raised was his objection at the first National Forum to the women who drove in 1991. That they should not have been allowed to resume work and influence other women, especially the participants who also happen to have teaching posts at schools and colleges.  He also proposed that a rule or law be established so that liberal women would not be able to take advantage of their jobs as teachers and lecturers to spread their sinful ideas. And that those teachers would be strictly instructed to teach what is in the books and not their opinions and views.

He is also extremely well-travelled. He hops from one country to the next giving lectures at mosques and even has debate type of sittings with priests and leaders of other religions. I attended one of his lectures at a mosque in Birmingham, UK. Of course he sat in the men’s section and women could only hear the lecture on the sound system. In the lecture he spoke about how to deal with teenagers that are raised in the west and have been westernized. Throughout the lecture he completely ignored women. He gave advice only to fathers and spoke only about problems with sons. As though mothers had no say or effect and there was no fear about daughters being westernized.

Here’s another video of him speaking on how to beat your wife. It already has English subtitles.

If only whatever changed Sheikh Salman Al Ouda would change Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe it would probably be the last straw that breaks our ultra conservative camel’s back. With his huge following here in the central region, he is a man with a lot of power to either keep us on our crazy path or get us to see the light.


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59 responses to “Prominent Saudis: Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe

  1. This was a really interesting and informative article. Thank you for explaining to me what this guy stands for. Sometimes I have seen him on TV when we are at my MIL’s – she likes to hear him! – but I have never really known what he talks about, until now. It’s such a shame that men like these in the Kingdom have such a loyal following.

    • Amna

      He isn’t that way, I heard many lectures by him and never heard him say anything that degrades woman. I hope we as Muslims concentrated on the Ummah and stop worrying about ppl that post stuff like this. All of it, just causes fitna among Muslims and plus its a sin to have negative thoughts about a person. I remind myself and others to fear Allaho Subhano wa ta3ala. What good does this do for anyone?! I ask Allah SWT to unite our hearts as Muslims insha’Allah. Ameen

    • Alaa

      This article is full of lies on Alorifi
      He is not like that
      On the contrary he is openminded man

  2. saudiwoman

    Hi Susie!
    I really loved that post on your blog about how you met your husband, especially the photos. Both of you were so pretty and handsome.

  3. When TV shows instruct men about how, when, and why it’s ok to beat their wives, hasn’t the flock lost its path?

  4. Jo

    Thankyou for sharing this very interesting video.
    Warm wishes, Jo.

  5. Jo

    I read today in the New York Times that Oprah is very popular on TV amongst young Saudi women. What a contrast in her message of respect and empowerment, with this, comparing the ways a man is allowed to beat his wife with the ways he can beat an animal!

  6. saudiwoman

    You are welcome Jo! And yes paradoxically Oprah is quite popular here.

  7. Thanks for your nice compliment, my dear! If only I still looked like that 30 years later …

  8. layla

    just fear Allah

    he didn’t say any thing wrong

    i truly respect him

  9. Salam alaikum, Saudiwoman.

    Hope you’re well. 🙂

    I am studying to be a Sheikh (ie, I am a student of the Islamic and socio-cultural sciences) too, and as someone who is familiar with the entire system, I can assure you that many, if not most shuyukh are sincere, kind, humble, albeit culturally-unaware or simply insipid people.

    The tendency to blindly follow the opinions of your teachers arises from the experience of witnessing firsthand their exemplary manners, kindness and piety, as well as depth of knowledge and charisma. Given these circumstances, disagreeing with any of their opinions is generally seen as the same as revolting against their (and consequently Islam’s) teachings. This is why many opinions based on the ‘Urf of previous times continue to be followed even when times have clearly changed. A thorough training in the science known as Usool al-Fiqh (which I describe as the Juristic Philosophy of Islam) is one of the best and most effective antidotes to this problem.

    Shaykh Salman al-Oudah is merely one example, and what essentially differentiates him from his previous self is the employment of an Usooli approach in dealing with issues considered important in the current context. I suggest you look into the works of Ibn Uthaimeen(r). He was unarguably a stalwart in the Islamic tradition of scholarship, and you will find the approach followed by him to be the closest to the Islamic sources, yet relevant to contemporary society. I am only referring to his approach here, and not the conclusions he came to in particular instances.

    I didn’t really want to get into the technical aspects of this discussion, but somehow I ended up doing exactly that. Apologies.

    • Chiara

      I found your comment very informative, and a positive recommendation for change. Hopefully it will happen. Thanks

  10. Marco

    “just fear Allah”

    Umm, so who are men supposed to fear ? If no one hasn’t noticed, there’s no female deity that males should fear, only a long history of male deities invented by males to justify their bigotry with “this supernatural force is on my side”

    • Allah doesn’t have a gender. He’s not a male or a female deity.

      In Islaam, both men and women are instructed to fear, as well as love, Allah. So a woman call a man to fear Allah, and vice versa.

  11. Justice!

    Then how come we women cannot beat out husbands if they disobey?

    Why only the man can beat a woman, someone who is smaller and weaker than he is? He is no man! He has no honour!

    People who blindly belief everything they are told, just like this “man” are nothing but sheep. Blindly following the Qu´ran,or the traditions without raising any intellectual discussion about them, is a sign of a fool. Go ahead, be oppressed and blindly obey. Be sheeps.

    • Allah's slave

      @ Justice, i don’t think ur muslim at all because questioning the quran is not haram because your questioning Allah swt and we’re not meant to do that.. I’m a woman myself and i believe women in islam are given so much respect and they were never oppressed… During the prophet(pbuh) time women were listened to by him and he pbuh even took his wife’s advice, who later all the muslims followed.. So i will not argue with you because that’s what islam has taught us to do but i will advice you for the sake of Allah (swt) alone, in this pleasent month of Ramadan, seek guidence from Allah swt and read the quran and understand everything in it and go listen to the many stories of the women during the prophet pbuh times and i promise you, you’ll be amazed and be proud that Islam is the most fair religion there is, especially for women :).. I hope you benefit from this..

  12. yasmine

    بارك الله فيكم
    ياسمين الجزائر

  13. karim

    انا اشكركم كثيرا
    الله يوفقكم

  14. Asalam Alaykum,

    In Islam men who are not mahram to a woman or not supposed to speak to her. I do not find anything wrong with him being religious what so ever, that his job mashAllah. The things you say are as if your shocked that he is following the laws of Islam.

    I think things seem a lot easier when people do not live in Saudi and understand the way the system is. You can not just want change and thing it can happen overnight, not with the way this culture is. That just would not work at all.

  15. Pingback: Saudi Cinema – In The Making « Qusay

  16. um yusuf

    salam brothers and sisters,
    hello to non muslims

    i just want to say that Dr mohamed alarefe is the only shiek i follow i love everythink about him i think some of you people have miss understood him totaly !!!! but then everyone is entitled to there opinion…

    you guys should see his other lectures when he is with young boys and girls he has a way to make us see the light and see that ISLAM is really just simple way to live happy in a different non stricked way he laughs with us makes jokes and makes us feel really comfortible with him i wish all shieks were like him……………………HE ROCKS LOL

  17. muslima599

    Mashallah ce sheikh

  18. Fahmy USA

    Assalamu aleikum warahmathullah

    Shaykh Arefe is one of my favorite. His lectures are so sincere and true. It’s almost like he never says anything out of place.

    I humbly disagree with your allegation that he
    “puts women in the toilet when it comes to their rights and humanity. His ideology is the typical close-minded outlook that Saudi society has grown accustomed to from its religious leaders”

    Fist and foremost, I cannot recall a single moment where he has said anything that ‘violates’ woman’s rights. I think most of the sisters get a bit ‘offended’ when he doesn’t address them or talk more about their issues in his lectures. Just because he doesn’t speak much about women, that doesn’t mean he is anti-woman; to derive such a conclusion, you would have to present evidence in which he explicitly/obviously insults or degrades women. If you think allowing a husband to tap his wife (yes; literally ‘tap’, since it’s not supposed to cause any pain or leave any ark) is a ‘violation’ of woman’s rights, then I’m sorry to say you’re over reacting. The tap is merely psychological, and isn’t meant to be physical; this ‘FACT’ is blatant in the Shaykh’s expressions, gestures and all non-verbal communication cues.

    I also fail to see how one can deduce that the Shaykh is “close-minded”!!???
    Just because he sticks to the Qur’an and Sunnah doesn’t mean he will refuse to hear your concerns, thoughts or allegations. Have you ever tried talking to him? I doubt you have.
    We really don’t need any more Muslims slandering scholars without ever consulting them or exposing any apparent mistake they may have committed. BTW – insulting/backbiting/slandering Muslims is not a walk-in-the-park experience that will never com back to haunt you. Speaking ill of any Muslim in his absence is sinful; let alone degrading scholars who devote their lives to studying and implementing this faith.

    Which is why this sincere reminder of mine is not meant to degrade or slander ANYONE but instead is directed directly at any one who may insult or degrade Shaykh Arefe, or/and the allowance given in the Qur’an for a Muslim husband to ‘tap’ his wife after all prior steps to reconcile the marriage have been taken.

    The Qur’an and the sunnah and divinely molded to guide men and women to the best code of conduct and lifestyle.
    The failure of the west in trespassing the divinely decreed limits when it comes to inter-gender relationships and rights is evident from all the premarital problems, family breakups and the utter destruction of the moral fabric in western society.

    It is bitterly sad to see some Muslims, both men and women, who want that same moral destruction to take place in Muslim countries.
    My dear brother and sisters, adhere to the Book of Allah and the teachings of his Prophet(Peace be upon him), you will never lose. Never.

    “But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission.” (Al-Qur’an: 4 : 65)

    ” Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-Qur’an: 3 : 31)

    “Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)?”
    (Sahih Muslim : Book 34 : Hadith 6448)

    “Abu Huraira (God be pleased with him) reported God’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who believes in God and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet. Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top. If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there. So act kindly towards women.”
    (Sahih Muslim : Book 8 : Hadeeth 3468)

    Wassalamu aleikum warahamthullahi wabarakathuhu

  19. Fahmy USA

    Assalamu aleikum

    Here are Sheikh Arefe’s Lectures on Women; a series called ‘Qawareer'(Glass Vessels).

    The links are for the first part(of three parts) of each episode. You can navigate to the rest by finding them in the uploads column on the right.

    Hope this sheds more light on what a balanced, rational and great Sheikh, Muhammed Al-Arefe is.
    May Allah bless him, his family and all his efforts.

    Wassalamu aleikum warahmahtullah.

  20. Amna

    I honestly don’t think its fair to judge a sheikh and say he is agianst woman or doesn’t give them a say from the 2 incidents that u mentioned. I have heard many lectures by this sheikh and I never heard anything bad or offending to woman. If anything, he always encourages Muslim men to be good to their parents especially to their mom’s. The video really doesn’t prove anything, cuz he just mentioned how it should be done and said that scholars said one should use the miswak! I think its good to be positive and remember when Muslims try make efforts of advice in the society it is because they reward form Allah SWT. Plus it’s a sin to hold bad doubts about someone. I think we shouldn’t focus on issues like this that only make problems and divisions among Muslims. We are all Muslim and should fear Allah Subhano wa ta3ala. if one thinks negative, I think they should chng it to a positive thought and keep it to themselves. What good is it to say bad views on a person and spread it around. I think it only causes fitnah sister. I ask Allah to make our hearts one and our word one, and may he make Islam the dominant religion. May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong.

    Assalam Alikum

  21. aslmo alikom wa rahto lah wa bartoh
    jazkom 3an hair bark lah fikom

  22. Tamador

    I haven’t watched enough of him to make a fair judgment. He seems like a pleasant Sheikh in the first clip talking about his daughter and actually mentioning her name, something that most Sheikhs won’t dare do! However, watching the second clip and him comparing beating a wife to that on an animal was just……!!! I mean ok some will jump out of their chairs now and say he didn’t.. u misunderstood and whatever! I would say why mention animals in the context!!! it’s a sensitive topic as it it!!!

    Not only that, he then gives an example of an incident when a man may beat his wife after instructing her in an ill manner with no respect or kind words twice and she won’t do as told!
    For God’s sake what is she your housekeeper! even housekeepers should be asked with kindness and respect!

    Peace and no offense..

    • Alicia

      I found his example strange too. Actually, I find many Sheik’s examples regarding women to be strange. It is as if they don’t know any women. I once heard a lecture on how to be nice with your wife that included playing dolls with her. what worries me about is example though is it that it lends itself to the beliefs that women are stupid and a man may beat his wife for any trivial reason. Why would she not go get the child if the child was truly in danger? Why would she say “I’m busy?” More disturbing is the idea that a man should use physical force to compel his wife to act as he wishes in the absence of reason to believe she is acting in a dangerously unreasonable manner. One should not hit anyone to express the idea that “I can’t take it anymore” to a reasonable person, this is completely against the sunnah, as I understand it. One is to always strive to control one’s anger….especially towards the vulnerable.

  23. Ayan Adem ismail

    My name is ayan adem ismail iam somalian girl who is lives in nairobi kenya iam greeting of islam sh. Mohamed araife.iam requesting you to help me becouse sheik iam interesting you

  24. There’s nothing wrong with what he said on the video. Though there will be something wrong in the mind of a women who want to equal men. The creations have hierarchy you know?

  25. Maria

    Salam alaycum wa rahamtuLLAH,

    i am a french revert to Islam and i passed a few years in kind of fanatic period….

    i watch the first video and iam now choked but i could say BRAVO to his speaking few years ago….

    The explanation about”the siwak” beating i found it in translation of many centuries ago, and i personnaly think that it was a revolution in women liberating condition at that time in Arabia, but time passed, a lot of time and we know now more and more how to deal peacefully to solve our problems or conflicts hamduliLLAH the Human is evoluating and so should be the teaching of islam.

    What makes me scared as well it is how he mentionned animals so many times, and there is no common point, but worse was when he statued that it is not nice to slapp in face a women like we do to animal or child :-S

    Poor children….when i am fighting my angryness to give a non violent education to my child, but only a comprehensive and respectful relation.

  26. Maria

    Our Prophet peace be upon him, our exemple was so kind and soft, diplomat and wise husband and he never touch badly a woman, as a high exemple of well behaviour! Men just keep him as exemple, fight against your nafss and look to this world with a heart empty of hate, respecting in each women the mother loving you….

  27. Alicia

    You raise a good point. Is not the sunnah that a man should never beat his wife or his children? Is it not strange that powerful men take such great pains to argue that women must do many things in order to follow the sunnah (ex. The Quran says to cover and be modest, not wear head to toe black and cover one’s face. I have heard it is claimed the sunnah says to wear black, niqab etc.) but they take such great pains to ignore the sunnah that would keep men from beating women and children? Why do they not work harder at helping young men deal respectfully with family differences rather than insist it is their right to beat them? After all, perhaps one’s wife knows exactly what to do but he is ordering her incorrectly and putting the family in danger by not listening to her. @partofyou. I think you misunderstand what it means to call for women’s equality if you are unable to see that Islam calls for women’s equality. It is not that men and women are the same but rather that their interests should be counted as having equal weight. A woman is no less of a human being than a man. She has the ability to reason, to feel, to understand the same as a man. It must be so or God could not hold women equally accountable for their actions or feelings. For this reason a man must treat his wife, mother, sister, daughter as a fully functioning human being whose interests are as important as his own. This means that her time is a valuable as his, her needs for intimacy, privacy, etc are also as important as his. Her need to have financial security, to socialize etc. are as important as his. Her need to have a voice in how her life is lived is as important as his. Sadly, this simple concept is lost on too many men worldwide and women must fight for their right to have political and economic power in order to ensure their rights for themselves and their children.

  28. Ayan Aden Ismail

    my name is Ayan Adem Ismail yaa sheikh Mohamed Araife Iam requesting to colme this nember 0716549886.

  29. سلام عليکم ورحة الله وبرکاته .
    بعد السلام و الله کلما اجلس للحاسوب اريد ان اشاهد فديو لشيخ محمد عريفي و احبه کثراً جداً .
    و اريد منه ان لا ينسانا في دعاءه .
    مع السلام .
    اخوک في الله حميد الله .

  30. Stop degrating the beloved sheikh mohammed Al-oraifi{hafizullah},
    Those who are against the SHEIKH are JAHILUUN.

  31. ;;;;Stop degrating the beloved sheikh mohammed Al-oraifi{hafizullah},
    Those who are against the SHEIKH are JAHILUUN.

  32. Abid

    May_ALLAH{Subhanawataala} give hidaya to the that they could learn some manners to respect ULAMAA’S.
    Love :Nabi{sallallahualihiwasallam},Sahaba{RZ},AHLEbait{RZ},scholars of islam.

  33. ahmed


  34. Pingback: Saudi Cinema – In The Making | Qusay

  35. Abu Aisha

    The sheikh is one of the bests around

  36. M.

    Hi! I hope you don’t mind that I used your picture of the Shaikh, but linked it to this post. You can read my post that has the picture and that I just wrote on what’s going in Saudi Arabia if you wish:
    I hope it’s not offensive to the “normal” Saudis, I meant the offense for the fundamentalist religious leaders 🙂

  37. Hayatuddeen

    Brothers and sisters! Don’t misunderstand sheikh

  38. Eiman Osman

    Alsalam Alikum every one , we all have to give a High Respect to Sheikh
    Mohammed Alarefe for all his great effort in (Dawaa) which a great noble
    responsibility of each muslim,he is doing a lot of good deeds ,Jazak Allahu
    Khairan Sheikh M.Alarefe.

  39. Yusuf

    As-salaamu aleikum, ya Musulmeen. I’m an American man, who recently converted to Islam. I’m only going to ask people here to consider that there is great danger in moving away from Allah as a center of your life, that I, a Westerner, have been heartsick at the immorality and materialism of Western culture, and that American and European women have been objectified as sexual playthings, they’ve become like men, and have been otherwise degraded. I’m not going to debate the issue of liberalization, but keep in mind that in discussions about this, I see no reference to Allah–He is the only Reality, and the life to come is the one which endures.

  40. Al Arefe is one the best sheikh in arab world,

  41. An Independent Woman

    What type of beating is allowed in Saudi of a man by his wife?

  42. ryad

    look the high degree of conferences of arefe he is a great man a great cheikh.even the profet was shut up

  43. apricots

    That is absolutely wrong!!!
    neither a word of what you are saying is correct!!!
    this Sheik did a great work in spreading the word of islam.

    I dont know you. Nor what you have did so far for your religion.!!!
    But I’m pretty sure this man did the best he can for Islam.

    “Unfortunately he truly puts women in the toilet when it comes to their rights and humanity. ”
    Proof it ?

  44. AbuRumaisaa

    This blog is either one of two kinds. It either belongs to either a deviant who pretends to be a Saudi woman and wants to misguide the Saudi and wider Muslim population. Or it’s a miskina who has been polluted by the evils of secular, liberal, communist/socialist, or any other sick ideology opposing the Quran and Sunnah. If you have some intellectual ability then ponder upon what the satanic/Western concept of freedom has given to women:

    1) The porn industry where women are brutally exploited and their exploitation is commercialised under the evil pretense of “it’s their own choice”.

    2) The prostitution in cities like Amsterdam where young girls are imported from different parts of the world to be exploited by criminals and governments who impose taxes upon them. It’s supposed to be their own choice while research has shown that many of them are promised jobs as waitresses, singers or other jobs. When they arrive they are forced into prostitution.

    Alllaah yahdeeki, wAllaahi you will never ever find happiness and tranquility as a woman unless you return to the Quran and Sunnah.

    PS: I am not disagreeing with you on the evils and ignorance of Al’Areefi who has incited the Syrian people to go out against the ruler asking for freedom and democracy while he himself is enjoying his life from a distance. There is no and will be no jihad for freedom and democracy. Jihad is a form of worship and has its pillars and conditions, just like the prayer. Jihad is only done under the command of a Muslim ruler, to establish the pure tawheed, the testification of la ilaha ila Allaah. Never ever will jihad be accepted for any other purpose. This man is jaahil and the true scholars have exposed his evils alhamduli Allaah, for example:

  45. ياشيخ محمد انا مصري مقيم ؤليا ظرؤف صعبة لاني عليا دين ولا استطيع قضاءة حاليا لاني الا لية الدين لدية شيكات انا كتبتة علي نفسي وهو قدم الشكات الي المحكمة ووقف خدماتي وانا اذا وجدت من يدفع عني الدين ساقضية انشاء اللة بس اروح مصر لاني معي ارض لااحد يستطيع بيعها الا بوجودي ولك جزيل الشكر ابو عبدالرحمن

  46. Loved reading this thaank you

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