Favorite Muslim Speakers

Listening to lectures is about the closest Muslims can get to beneficial entertainment. I’ve heard some people who say we shouldn’t just listen to Islamic lectures as entertainment. They say we shouldn’t go to hear a speaker just so we can have a laugh and feel good about ourselves.

I’m not sure I agree with that. I’ve tried my best to leave television and movies behind the past couple of months, and were it not for Islamic lectures online, I’m not sure how I would fill my time. And I include watching stupid YouTube videos and Netflix in the same category as television and movies. They’re all basically entertainment that doesn’t benefit me in this life nor the next.

Not to say that watching TV and movies are haram (forbidden). But I’d just rather not waste what little time I have left on this world doing so. I still let my kids watch restricted TV and my wife watches some also.

My point is, I find listening to Muslim speakers and lecturers a good, beneficial, and yes, entertaining way to spend my time that won’t lead to sin (Inshallah).

I’ve even decided to stop watching sports. I suddenly decided to stop watching TV just as the NBA playoffs and Major League Baseball season were starting up. But what benefit is there to me to watch all of these games? I’m not going to earn money for it. Watching them will not teach me anything. And it certainly won’t lead me to paradise.

In fact, sometimes watching sports on TV leads to sin. For example, I decided to watch a little bit of one game a few weeks ago. As I was watching the players run up and down the court, the camera panned across a woman sitting in the front row. She wasn’t a cheerleader or anything; just some average lady who happened to be lucky enough or related to the right person to get courtside seats to an NBA playoffs game.

As she was watching the game, she was leaning forward with her elbows resting on her knees. She was wearing a low-cut blouse that showed about eight inches of her cleavage.

That was it for me. I had to turn the TV off. Why subject myself to sin just for the sake of entertainment? It would only be a matter of minutes before the camera panned over her again and chances are I would see more of her “goodies.”

For this reason and many others I prefer to get my entertainment by listening to Islamic lectures. I’m not even comfortable watching documentaries though I probably would if Michael Moore makes another one.

My Top 5

Alright, back to the topic of this post. A list of my favorite Muslim speakers. These first five are not in any particular order. But these are the ones I’ve heard the most.

Bilal Philips

I may be biased because I was roommates with his sons in Trinidad. Nonetheless, Bilal Philips is probably my all time favorite lecturer. He doesn’t have a great style of delivery and he is not a particularly outstanding speaker. But I get so much knowledge listening to his talks. I know he’s kinda Salafi, but I’m able to overlook that in this case.

What I like most about Bilal Philips is that his talks are very intellectual and fact based. He doesn’t spew out a lot of stats and numbers; but he uses logic and common sense along with his Islamic knowledge to back up what he says.

The fact that he’s also easy to understand helps a lot. He has a slight Jamaican accent, but I don’t have to adjust my hearing the way I do for Ahmed Deedat.

Speaking of which…

Ahmed Deedat (May allah have mercy on him)

Yes, I know he’s returned to Allah. And I know he hasn’t given a lecture in over 15 years. But his stuff still rocks. It takes a while to get used to his heavy South African accent, but when he got going, he was one of the best there was. He spoke with passion; he was funny; he could even be downright antagonistic when he wanted to be.

Listening to Ahmed Deedat was like listening to your grandfather but a lot more interesting. My only fault with him was that his talks were very one-dimensional. But he was the best at what he did. When it came to humbling and schooling the Christian missionary types who sought to convert Muslims using underhanded and nefarious means, Ahmed Deedat know how to handle them.

Siraj Wahaj

Once again, I may be biased with this one. I grew up listening to Imam Siraj even before he became an internationally known speaker. He doesn’t have an accent (from my point of view) and he brings that Baptist minister, “raise the roof” energy and passion to his talks.

The best thing about Imam Siraj Wahaj is that he’s so down to earth. I’ve met him on several occasions, and he’s just as accessible and charismatic in person as he appears to be behind the lectern. And he often speaks about topics that many of us have to deal with.

I’ve heard Imam Siraj talk about:

  1. Divorce
  2. Domestic violence
  3. Drugs
  4. Unemployment
  5. Police brutality
  6. Racism
  7. American Imperialism
  8. Capitalism
  9. Crime
  10. Terrorism
  11. Children
  12. Politics
  13. Business

And much, much more.

The only fault I find with Imam Siraj is that I usually don’t get much Islamic knowledge from his talks. I get a lot of good advice; but not pure Islamic teachings.

Nouman Ali Khan

Three years ago, I’d never even heard of this guy. Then he came to Birmingham back in 2009 and gave one of the best Khutbahs I’ve ever heard. I didn’t even know who he was back then, but I figured it out later on. I’ve been listening to more of his lectures of late than anyone else on this list.

I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s got the whole package, but he does have many qualities that the others lack.

He speaks often on regular topics that many people deal with (unlike Bilal Philips).

He speaks with a regular American accent (unlike Ahmed Deedat).

I usually come away having gained some Islamic knowledge (unlike Siraj Wahaj).

For these reasons, I really enjoy listening to Nouman Ali Khan. He doesn’t speak with as much passion as Siraj Wahaj and Ahmed Deedat. But he does speak with a subtle, controlled force that makes you listen to what he has to say.

Anwar Al-Awlaki (pre 2006) May Allah Have Mercy on him

This might get me put on the no-fly list.

But seriously, Anwar al-Awlaki’s lectures on the Life of the Prophets, and the Hereafter, and the early companions were fantastic. Yes, there were a few hints of extremism in them, but for the most part, they were packed with knowledge and information.

Unfortunately, he went off the rails (or was pushed off) and much of his later stuff was definitely extreme.

May Allah forgive him for his sins.

Honorable Mentions

There are many speakers that I enjoy listening to who didn’t make it into my top five. And someone recently suggested I listen to Muhammad Al Shareef from khutbah.com. Inshallah, I’m going to find some of his lectures after I put up this post.

Here is my list of honorable mentions:

  1. Abdullah Hakim Quick
  2. Waleed Basyouni
  3. Khalid Yasin
  4. Yahya Ibrahim
  5. Zakir Naik
  6. Mohammed Al-Shareef
  7. Yasir Qadhi
  8. Yusuf Estes
  9. Abdul Rahim Green
  10. Abu Yusuf Riyad ul Haq
  11. Imran Hosein

If I’ve missed anyone you feel deserves an honorable mention or any other sort of mention, please let me know. I need something to do besides watch TV!

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42 Responses to Favorite Muslim Speakers

  1. Assalamu alaykum. This is the list of english speaking preachers. Quite the same as mine masyaAllah, There are several others like sh Muhammad Salah, bro Omar Suleiman, bro Bilal Assad, Mufti Ismail Musa Menk, Sh Hussain Yee, sh Feiz Muhammad, bro Abu Mussab wajdi akkari, sh navaid aziz that can provide u with sound knowledge insyaAllah. And many more but thats all i can remeber now, And here’s a link i would like to share with you. The link contains so many lectures by arabic speaking scholars….and translations are provided alhamduliAllah. InsyaAllah it will be very beneficial. By the way, i have a question. You mentioned salafi. May i know what’s your definition of salafi/wahabi? JazakaAllahu khayr


    • Wa Alaikum Salaam Sr. Amatullah,

      Thank you for your input.

      I plan on writing a post on Salafis in the coming weeks Inshallah, but I’ll give you a brief idea of what my opinion is.

      Wahhabi is not actually a good name; people whom are classified as Wahhabi do not really call themselves Wahhabi and actually don’t like being called that either.

      If I had to classify a Wahhabi, I would say it is anyone who agrees and follows the religious/governmental system of Saudi Arabia, since the founder of this nation was descended from Muhammad Abdul Wahhab’s right hand man.

      But a Salafi need not be within or connected to Saudi Arabia.

      Salafis define themselves based upon the hadith from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that says “The best of my Ummah is this generation, and then generation after them, and then the generation after them.”

      These first three generations are called “Salafi Salihoon” meaning “Righteous Predecessors,” and modern day Salafis call themselves after these generations.

      I personally don’t care for that label as it was not a label used by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So while I have heard well-known Muslims like Bilal Philips say it is okay to call oneself Salafi, I disagree and do not think Muslims should take that label. But Allah knows best in this matter.

      My definition of a Salafi is anyone who calls himself such and practices Islam based on the methodology espoused by the major Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia, primarily those in Medina.

      Now, there are different segments within those who call themselves Salafi. There are those that are more open and congenial with Muslims from other backgrounds. An example of this is Bilal Philips and Abu Usamah. And then there is the segment of Salafis who have been known to cause a lot of fitnah in the Muslim Ummah by creating lists of “good” Muslims and “deviant” Muslims.

      This second group is full of trouble. They have contributed very little to the Islamic world except resentment and division.

      And Allah knows best.

      • Salafi / ahl e hadith Speakers:

        English speakers:
        Abul Abbaas Moosa Richardson (Musa Qayyum) (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
        Abu Ishaaq Nadeem
        Mustafa George DeBerry (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
        Abu Hafsa Kashif Khan (Saudi)
        Abu Mujahid Fareed Abdullah
        Abu Abdullah Awes alHashmi
        Abu Khadeeja Abdul Wahid
        Abu Hakeem Bilal Davis
        Abu Abdullah Hasan AsSomali
        Abu Muhammad Al Maghrabi
        Abu Sohail Umar Quinn
        Abu Abdis Salaam Siddiq al Juyaanee
        Abu Idrees Muhammad
        Shaikh Salim al-Amry (UAE)
        Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem (Saudi Arabia)

        Urdu speakers:
        Dr. Murtaza Bin Bakhsh (Pakistan)
        Irshad ul haq Asri (Pakistan)
        Shaikh Abdullah Nasir Rahmani
        Shaikh Abdul Haseeb Madani (CIS Bangalore India)
        Shaikh Abdul Azeem Madani (CIS Bangalore India)
        Abu Zaid Zameer (Pune, India)
        Shaikh Tawseef ur Rahman
        Shaikh Meraj Rabbani
        Shaykh Wasiullah Muhammad Abbas (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
        Shaykh Muaz Abu Quhafah Nazeeri
        Shaykh Noorul Hasan Madani (CIS Bangalore India)

    • Mufti Abbas bn Hussain: Base on how I understand Dr. Anwar al-awlaki, he is dauntless, who only fears Allah and no one else, though I knew him recently after his dead. I, as a student of knowledge, honestly have the desire to pick up his method, of propagation.

      • Imaam Anwar rahima hullah was extremest because:-
        No comprises with the hukum of Allah swt.
        Not change religion for the sake of Dunya.
        Not tolerate the pain of Muslim brothers and sisters.
        Follow the Qur’an and Sunnah wherever you are.
        Not folow the man made laws on earth.

  2. Good list and I enjoy pretty much or would have in the top 5 the same folks, though I havent heard much of Anwar Al-awlaki. Nouman Ali Khan is fast becoming my favorite lecturer, truly the voice of the new generation of lecturers. I enjoy his Quran Weekly series.

    • Now that he’s dead it’s much easier to find Anwar Al-Awlaki’s recordings online. But remember, he didn’t do much compared to the others. He started getting popular in the early 2000’s and then soon after that he left America and went into hiding in the Middle East.

  3. Just wanna share mine. 🙂 Nouman Ali Khan is no. 1 for me, for now. I love Shaykh Khalid Yasin’s old lectures, especially about the Strangers but his recent lectures, I don’t find them “likable”. Shaykh Awlaki (may Allah forgive him) when it comes to stories of Sahabas (ra). Mufti Ismael Menk, he can make you laugh and he can make you weep. When it comes to heart softening, have you heard about Shaykh Ash Shinqeeti and Sh. Saleh Al Maghamsi? They have some lectures with English subtitles, they are must watch! For gaining Islamic knowledge, I go for Shaykh Yasir Qadhi.

  4. Assalamua’laykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu. To add to your list of favourite Muslim speakers, there’s also:

    1) Sh. Ahmed Ali. Known for his “Day of Judgement” series on Youtube and for his dynamic way of speaking, he can captivate youth and adults alike when he speaks on his topics. Alhamdulillah, he’s been at conferences at my local Masjid, and it’s been amazing to see the kind of whirlwind he can take you about in a matter of an hour. Definitely recommend him.

    2) Sh. Hussain Kamani. I don’t know how to describe his lectures AND give him justice, so here’s the blurb my local Masjid used for him –

    “Mufti Hussain Kamani was born and raised in Kentucky. The child of a Hindu-turned-Muslim mother and a Muslim father, Mufti Kamani underwent the journey of a lifetime in pursuit of sacred Islamic knowledge. He began his studies at the young age of six, memorizing the entire Qur’an (hifz) at the acclaimed Darul Uloom Madania in Buffalo, New York. After finishing his hifz, he went on to complete a rigorous 8-year `Alim and ‘Ifta course at Darul Uloom Bury in the United Kingdom. His studies were based on the traditional Darse-Nizami curriculum of Islamic education. Alongside his religious studies, Mufti Kamani completed a graduate degree in Business Management and Strategy from the University of Coventry in England. Currently he resides in Chicago, is the Imam at the Islamic Center of Chicago and conducts various programs for Muslim youth. On top of his scholarly background, Mufti Kamani is a fashion designer with his own men’s clothing line “Kamani” (rhymes with Armani!) which can be seen at kamanionline.com. Don’t get in a fight with him: he also placed third in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament for his weight division!”

    Him and his wife also deal with marriage cases & give great marital advice as well, so I think he’d relate well to you.

    3) Sh. Yusuf Badat. He’s from my area and is current the Imam of The Islamic Foundation of Toronto (IFT), and he has directly dealt with converts, youth, and adults all around the world. He’s very present in social media stream with networks like Twitter, so you can find a chance to interact with him. He even has a playlist of his lecture recordings on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/imambadat?feature=results_main), and as the founder and director of the well-known Mathabah Foundation, he’s definitely someone to keep up with.

    4) Sh. Hamza Chaudhry. Definitely an American (yay!), as he’s from California, so another relatable person, I guess. He makes sure that his lectures are balanced with stories and jokes, but I just love the way he phrases his points so that it makes you really think about them. This part of a lecture of his is a great thought-provoker: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJflK1-zLaM)

    and Finally…
    5) Sh. Sulaiman Moola. Can’t believe you haven’t put him as a favourite (if you *have* heard of him), but he is a-mazing and his diverse use of the English language is stunningly beautiful. The way he narrates stories and reflects on points is an intense experience, and you wouldn’t understand what I’m saying unless you’ve heard him before. Here’s one of his lectures I totally recommend:(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYAfv4Su5fM)

    InshaaAllah, I hope that these additions will be of use to y’all!

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

      The only one I’ve heard of on this list is Sulaiman Moola. I do like his lectures also, but for some reason his name didn’t stand out in my mind. But you’re right, he is definitely a good speaker.

      If you have YouTube links for the other brothers you mentioned, please include them. I’m sure others would like to hear them also.

  5. Also: If you’re looking for a guide on how to have fun in Islam, I really recommend that you watch this Youtube discussion with very well-known scholars, and Alhamdulillah, it’s very, VERY beneficial: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzbHsUqoyvQ&feature=plcp) .

    For myself, I found that cooking was a way that I could benefit my family and enjoy myself at the same time, and I like to read up on recipes, blogs, watch cooking channels, etc. (not wasting time, but in a healthy amount of time!) so that I have something to make myself better and to release stress. I also love team sports, so any sport that involves some kind of teamwork is, well, “game” for me 🙂

    InshaaAllah, I hope this is of benefit to everyone and I hope that we will be able to use the time that Allah (SWT) has given us to do productive things that we not only enjoy, but are a way of gaining the happiness of Allah (SWT) as well.

    Wa Salaam,

  6. Asalamu alaykum, Brother. Are you kidding me??? You wrote so eloquently against the Salafi movement and then went on to list their top proponents as your favorite speakers? What about Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, who by far is my favorite. A close second is Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, who, though he has a British accent, is easy to understand. Then there is Imam Zaid Shakir, perfect English. Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller is another.

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      I didn’t mean to write against anyone, Salafi or Tablighi. I only wanted to express an honest, objective statement of what I’ve witnessed about them. I’m not against Salafism or the Salafi doctrine at all.

      What I’m against are people who call themselves Salafis and have caused so much fitnah and trials within the American Muslim community.

      Bilal Philips is my favorite speaker and his affiliation is meaningless to me. If a person speaks the truth and is sincere about spreading Islam, that’s all that matters.

      I have listened to some Hamza Yusuf lectures, but they don’t move me like Bilal Philips’ does. Hamza Yusuf’s lectures are very, very informative. I feel 100 times smarter after listening to them.

      But they don’t inspire me to become a better Muslim. That’s just my opinion and the way I feel. Everyone is motivated by different things.

      When I listen to a Bilal Philips lecture, I’m encouraged to increase my knowledge and get closer to Allah.

      I like Imam Zaid Shakir also, though he’s cut from the same cloth as Hamza Yusuf. I like some of his talks, but they are not as readily available as Bilal Philips lectures.

      I guess that’s another problem with those two speakers (Hamza and Zaid). It’s very difficult to find their lectures for free on YouTube, whereas Bilal Philips, Siraj Wahhaj, and Nouman Ali Khan lectures are all over the place.

      As for NHM Keller, from what little I’ve heard from Bilal Philips, I’m not too encouraged to listen to him. But to be fair, I will try to find one of his lectures and give it a listen, Inshallah.

    • Suhaib Webb’s lectures are freely available on YouTube, I’ll give him that. To be honest, I tried to listen to him once, and fell asleep. He was giving a talk on the Tafsir of Surah Al-Qariyat, and I just couldn’t get through the first 15 minutes.

      Once again, I think it’s just a matter of personal opinion. Different people are motivated by different things.

  7. Asalamu alaykum.
    You have mentioned great speakers in your list. However, I would like you to watch brother Shabir Ally as well. He is very smart and blessed person who has a unique way of explaining fundamental issues.

  8. Shaykh Hassan Ali based in UK is an Excellent Speaker.. For Me Hamza Yusuf is the best – Listen to his any talk on Prophet – it would bring tears in your eyes ..

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      I’ve heard a lot about Muft Menk. I haven’t listened to any of his lectures yet, and when I wrote this post (circa 2011) I wasn’t really familiar with him. But I’m going to make it a point to listen to some of his talks. Shukran.

  9. Check out the talk Dajjal and the New World Order by Sh. Hamza Yusuf.

    It’s an old but powerful talk on the signs of the end of time and he goes into the subject making it extremely relevant.

  10. Without naming as I am still investigating I recommend everyone to not blindly trust every lecturer because he calls himself sheikh or because he talks about Islam. It’s easier to dismantle from within and I find some people talk about Islam but say something short but enough to affect our deen. Isn’t it strange how so many people have started to like dislike scholars because they say something we like because of desire?

  11. Well there are some really good speakers I’ve heard – the list could go on and on, but here’s some who are particularly addictive (talks abundantly available on YouTube) and moving:

    Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad
    Maulana Tariq Jameel
    Maulana Makki al Hijazi (listen to these: https://archive.org/details/ShaykhMakkiAlHijazi-SeeratUnNabisallallahuAlaihiWasallam)

    Mufti Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed, Pakistan (originally from US)
    Shaykh Hussain Abdus Sattar (Chicago)
    Shaykh Sa’d Quadri

  12. I think without any biased attitude the best speakers and heavyweight scholars of india and pakistan are Dr.israr ahmad (r.a), Dr. Tahirul qadri, Maulana Sajad Nomani and Maulana tariq jameel although they belonged to different schools of thought. Others as mentioned by you like late ahmad deedat (r.a) Dr zakir Naik,siraj wahaj,yasir fazaga.ab rahim green are just good preachers not scholars.

    • Dr. Taahirul Qadri is bad news; you should stay away from. He has given lectures, which I have seen, in which he says that prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessing be upon him) was made of light, like the angels were. This is clearly contrary to Al-Islaam, so stay away from him.

  13. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Dear brothers and sisters I am looking for a guest speaker for a Muslim Association in NYC. Can anyone help me please Jazakom Allahu Kharun

  14. Brother bilal assad!!!! So eloquent mashallah. And his lectures on hellfire will seriously give you goosebumps. He also tells the most amazing stories such as ahmed the repenter and those who desire paradise. The end series was also amazing. Its packed with ‘ilm and will give you a whole new prespective on the akhira. He also has a series about the prophets and tells the stories in a different way.

  15. Assalaamu alaykum.
    Nice information.But I would like to suggest to add Shiekh Tawfique Choudhury, Bilal Assad,Shiekh Hamza Yousuf,Shiek Omar Sulaiman,Mufti Ismail Menk etc too.They are really very inspiring.

  16. Assalaamu’alaikum Br. Abu Ibrahim,

    May I ask you where you are based?

    I would love your help in securing one of these speakers that you enjoy, for a live audience at UPenn, in Philadelphia.

    Jazak’Allahu khair,

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      I’m in Atlanta. The only one I know a little about getting in touch with is Imam Siraj Wahhaj. It’s usually through his wife who also lives here in Atlanta.

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