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Life of a Da’ee – An Anonymous Response to ‘How Much Should Islamic Clergy Make?’




Note: Below is a response to Br. IbnabeeOmar’s article, “How Much Should Islamic Clergy Make?


I read MuslimMatters articles from time to time but don’t really comment on the things much. However, I felt it would be of some benefit to comment to this particular article, ‘How Much Should Islamic Clergy Make?’

Allāh blessed me to be around a very good masjid that was active and firm on the Sunnah in my late teen years. The Imaam was very respected by all of us and he was there for me even at the wee hours of night if I had any problems. Masha’Allāh the community understood the importance of knowledge and taking care of the one giving out the knowledge so that he is able to dedicate 100 percent of his time to the da’wah rather than getting a side job to support himself and his family. He was our Imaam for about 5 years. We used to have regular full-fledged explanations of texts and also would invite well known shuyookh (scholars) from USA for weekend workshops every now and then. On top of that, we would also have regular tele-conferences with the scholars in Jordan, Kuwait, etc.

In those 5 years the masjid produced 4 full-time du‘aat, one of them being myself Alhamdulillah. I’m finishing up my degree soon and another brother from that masjid is about half-way done at Madinah University. The Masjid was always the hub for the Muslims. Unfortunately, only in recent times have the Muslims forgotten the importance of the House of Allāh. Who wants to deal with ignorant bullies who run the Masaajid these days? That’s why we find so many Masaajid across the United States that are void of duroos. They just have daily prayers, a Jumu‘ah, and a terrible Sunday school structure, yet we see people flocking to these institutes because that is the only choice they have.

Alhamdulillah I’ve had the opportunity to visit quite a few states and universities for da‘wah programs during the majority of this past decade. I’ve also served as an Imaam for a few Masaajid and had the privilege to work with an Islamic organization/school. I noticed a few people raised concerns that imams/teachers shouldn’t be paid but should do da’wah and look after a community for free because that would prevent them from corruption. Fear of corruption is great concern, but that also applies to fame. We’ve seen many tullaabul‘ilm change as they got more and more famous. And as Imaam Ahmad said so fittingly – the less people know you, the better. In any case, I want to share my story with you all so that you realize what extreme cases exist out there.

My father is a scientist, MashaAllāh and my entire family is very well known in my country for their wealth and education. I’ve seen more money in my life than any of these Masaajid in USA can “tempt” me with. Ever since I broke the news to my family that I want to become a Da’ee bi idhnillaah, and I felt I can do more for this ummah by dedicating my time to seeking knowledge and spreading it, I became the black sheep of the family. From the moment I wanted to pursue being a Da’ee full-time, I had in my mind that I will do da‘wah for free since my family has so much wealth. I wanted to spend a few days a week giving time to all the various family businesses with my uncles (even though my dad thought I should forget that and da‘wah and just focus on being a doctor!) and the other days giving classes at the Masjid from whatever little I knew. Qaddar Allāhu maa shaa afa‘al, my family treated me like dirt and said since I’m in Allāh’s path I should help expand their businesses as an act of sadaaqah towards them. After all, helping your kin is a great deed in Islam. So yea that plan didn’t work out, Alhamdulillah! My father, who does not pray, thinks science is bigger than religion (may Allāh guide him) and  gave me a terrible time as I grew up. I never knew how to pray, never knew how to read one ayah from the Qur’an. It was through that Masjid that I mentioned in the beginning, that I learned how to pray, read and develop a love for Islam and more specifically the Sunnah. There were times my dad severely beat me for going to the Masjid and I would show up for the duroos severely bruised. Our Imaam would shed tears looking at me and told me no matter what happens he would always have a special kind of love for me and would give me more of his time whenever I needed it. As I grew older, obviously all that torture stopped. My parents moved back to the city where I grew up and my dad traveled a lot between the United States and other countries due to his work as he also was part of the government in the country he’s from.

While visiting my mother after a couple of years, I gave a few duroos and khutbahs at a local Masjid where she lived. One of them offered me to be the Imaam for them since they had nobody. They noticed the youth really liked me and thought I would benefit them. Let me tell you briefly about this specific community. They had teens doing drugs 20 feet away from the Masjid, pre-teen girls getting pregnant by kuffaar men and fornication that happened inside the house of Allāh! The only reason why I made the move was because my mother had developed an incurable disease and her condition was terrible. I thought being with my mother and doing da‘wah work is a huge chance for me to earn reward bi idhnillaah. Nevertheless, I was part of the community for approximately 1 year. For the first three months they did not pay me a penny. I complained to them that I cannot be doing this full-time and not be given anything in return. So they told me to take over a new project which was to teach kids Qur’an & Islamic studies and I’d be paid for being a teacher. I agreed. I continued to be the Imaam for free and took money for just the weekend school. They paid me $300 a month for teaching 45 kids by myself.

Alhamdulillah, I really wanted to help and I didn’t care about being an Imaam for free. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of these children and young adults. The day I said in the Masjid, “Ar-Rahmaanu ‘alal ‘arsh istawaa” was the day I got fired. I don’t know how they can call it “fired” when they never even hired me in the first place to be the Imaam. Hire would mean you pay a salary to the one designated as an Imaam but I was doing it for free! The admin started complaining that I ruined their kids,  made them into “wahabis” and that I needed to go. So their kids doing drugs and committing zina was much better for them then to have their kids learn that Allāh is above us. SubhanAllāh! To this day, children and teenagers that I taught and counseled regularly keep in touch with me through emails and tell me how much they miss me, thanking me for the help I happily and readily gave to them. Many of them still remember everything I taught them and they carried it throughout their lives growing up, mashaAllah.

While being part of that community I visited other Masaajid regularly. So after I left them, I became the Imaam at a suburban Masjid. I was the Imaam there for three years.  I faced a lot of resistance continuously from about 30 people out of 250; but the admin was on my side and Alhamdulillah, together we were able to do a lot of good in just three years. We even had to expand the Masjid to accommodate more attendees at Jumu‘ah. My salary was not that great at all. I was getting $1,600/month for those three years. During that time I visited my native country to see my relatives. While I was there, my own father (who was part of the government) wanted to imprison me with the excuse that I was a fanatic. Let me be clear, I know very well that killing non-combatants, women & children is not the Islam brought by Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  He wanted to do that so I couldn’t come back to the USA and continue da‘wah work. He thought keeping me in prison would be the best way to make me give up the path of da‘wah. Alhamdulilah, he was not successful in his malicious ways and I made it back safe to the United States.

I never complained nor ever made any demands. I did not get into this field for the money. If I loved money so much, I could have just stayed with my relatives. I was a single man. I did not have rent to pay since I was living in my parents’ house so I rarely had any expenses. Rather, I lost out in something great. Marriage! I simply wasn’t able to afford to get married. I got rejected by about 7-8 prospects because of my financial situation. Alhamdulillah after being patient for 7 full years trying to get married, I finally got the wife of my dreams. I was invited by the MSA of a university in New York to do a non-Muslim da‘wah program. I did it, and from there I got re-invited another two times at their local Masjid. It was when I went there that a sister from the administration asked if I was married or not. So I told the sister I’m looking. She suggested the daughter of her friend for me. So I took the girl’s father’s number and after a month I called him up. My wife is Arab and I’m a desi, but Alhamdulillah there were no racial problems because her father told me that he does not care simply because of what my profession is. The marriage cost me an arm and a leg. Both our families wanted to have typical weddings that cost thousands & thousands. Alhamdulillah, the only good thing my dad ever did after I took this path was pay for all the wedding costs. I truly believe it was from Allāh and a reward for my efforts over the years.

My wife, mashaAllāh, understands what it means to be the wife of a da’ee extremely well. So now that I was married, obviously $1,600/month was not going to cut it. The Masjid got taken over by those same 30 people that were always being resistant to the da‘wah. They played some sly games to prevent the good brothers from being re-elected. It took them three years to plan this out, but they finally were successful. They got rid of every previous member from the administration as well as me. This is the reality of typical dirty Masjid politics. After that I moved on to another Masjid. I signed a contract with them, but obviously typical Muslims don’t care about any contracts. The contract was for $2000/ month. They only paid me $1,200/month. If I did not care about the image of Islam and only cared about money, I could have taken them to court and sued them for not complying with the signed contract. Instead, I made Du‘aa to Allāh to remove myself from this situation and to guide the brothers to Haqq. HasbiAllāhu wa ni‘mal wakeel.

I and my wife still made it by simply because we didn’t have rent to pay. But my parents’ house was 1 hour away from the Masjid and it was not feasible for me to travel such long distances every day. In spite of everything I still did this for 6 months. I then told them I needed a pay increase so I can afford an apartment closer to the Masjid. I never tell people about my family background because I know how people can be and what I worried about came true. One of the admins found out the wealthy state of my family and told the rest of the administration. At the next meeting, the administration told me, “Your father and family are very rich, why are you asking for a raise? Just take money from your family.” HasbiAllaahu wa ni‘mal wakeel.

My mother, even though being permanently disabled, is the ONLY person in my entire family that truly understood what I do in my life. She told me that I could not live like this any longer and have to think about myself and my wife. My mother didn’t know the exact details of my finances but she knew it wasn’t a lot to live fairly and comfortably with a family. I made a very good relationship with a lot of youth in the city and I just didn’t want to go to a different city. I knocked on my family’s door again and asked him to give me my inheritance so I can do something with my wealth. That way I can do da‘wah for free and not have to deal with ridiculous administrations. My father wrote off about $10-$12 million worth of property (meaning what I’m supposed to inherit from him) to my paternal cousins. He did that right in front of my eyes and then said to me – “ You’re in the path of Allāh, so Allāh will take care of you, you said you live in this world for Islam so go and live your life.” To this day, I will never forget these words.

I moved to a different state and took a job with a famous Islamic organization. QaddarAllāhu maa shaa afa‘al I had a big car accident which limited my mobility for more than six months. I showed up to work as much as I could. But guess what happened? I eventually had to quit because I simply could not take hearing the things I was hearing around me and even behind my back. You would expect RELIGIOUS Muslims to be more understanding. Staff members would tell my wife (not knowing whose wife she was) “this new brother that Sheikh fulaan got, he is so lazy, doesn’t show up every day, doesn’t deal with the youth properly, he’s probably just getting the free money that he’s getting.” I just couldn’t go back because of the way staff members were looking at me and talking about me behind my back and criticizing me without knowing the full truth. It was not going to work out and so I had to quit on them.

There have been times where I was invited to deliver khutbahs or do weekend programs in other cities but I refused to accept the invitation because I could not even afford the gas money. I have been prevented from doing what I love to do for the sake of Allāh due to malicious games and beliefs that shuyookh and du’aat should not be paid. Where is the logic in that? In between I developed diabetes, liver problems, arthritis and few other things. No health insurance, no medication. I even had to sit helplessly at home while my wife suffered through a life threatening illness without proper medication because I could not afford it.

I summarized a lot of details in between because many people do not know the reality and the suffering a sincere Da’ee/Sheikh/Imaam/Taalibul ‘ilm go through. I’ve been physically tortured for wanting to seek knowledge, nearly imprisoned and cut off from any family wealth for being a Da’ee, mistreated by terrible masjid administrations, wrongfully accused by the so-called religious community, insulted even by my friends — but I do not regret this life even for one second. I will never ever be able repay what Allāh has blessed me with. I do not mean repay Allāh, I mean repay society for what Allāh blessed me with. Giving me access to Shuyookh who taught me to be this way and what it truly means to follow the Salaf. No matter how much effort I put in, I will never be able to do justice in spreading Islam.

So no, I’m not in it for the money… but it is my right just like everyone else who does work to be fairly compensated. No, I will never dilute the Sunnah for a better life and to be accepted by the society. Alhamdulillah, all my physical problems are gone except for diabetes and arthritis and I know my financial difficulties will be gone very soon, too. WAllāh my dear brothers & sisters, the greatest gift you can get from this world is a spouse who truly understands the Sunnah and a mother who will constantly make du‘aa for you and encourage you never to stop working for Allāh’s sake. Mistreatment from people will not make me give up doing da‘wa. The only sorrow I have in my life is that I was never able to convince my own father to come to just one dars that I gave and the fact that I have cousins who do not even know how many raka‘aat to pray in which waqt. After marriage, Allāh gave me in-laws that are equally ignorant about the religion as my own family and added to the “headache caused by family!” I always make sure that none of my relatives nor my wife’s relatives find out about my intricate financial difficulties. I firmly believe that knowing how difficult the lives of du’aat can be is not good for the hearts of those who are not serious about their deen. Shaytaan will make them think “see this is what religious people go through, you’re doing great the way you are.” Allāh created man weak and most of us cannot handle too many shortages in life. It’s upto the Shuyookh and du’aat to protect the weakness of people from causing them to go further away from the Deen. Learning the religion and doing something for this Ummah, no matter how small it may be, and having a wife who is not confused about the Sunnah…no bad situation can outweigh these good things. Alhamdulillah, I am able to eat and sleep at night without hearing bombs explode unlike the people of Somalia or Palestine. I’m not worried about anything except about whether my deeds will be accepted by Allāh or not.

I ask Allāh to make what I wrote a reminder to myself first and foremost about my purpose in life and to be of benefit to others.

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmaatullahi wa Baraaktuhu



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    March 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    MashaAllah, may Allah elevate your rank and reward your patience handsomely.

     I think dedicated masjid need to develop some sort of sustainable, transparent administration processes to solve the problems this brother mentioned in a systematic fashion. Salaries, contract terms, etc, should not be arbitrarily created and violated, but instead should be based in, again, a transparent process overseen by masjid administrators as well as community members independent of the masjid so as to encourage impartiality and fairness.

    Along with the disturbing and hidebound attitudes our communities have toward imams and da’is, another problem I think we have is a lack of professionalization when it comes to running masajid. Ironically, it is perhaps through the professionalization of administration that our imams can be protected from the arbitrary “dismissals” and “fear Allah and do it for free, akheee!” that are so characteristic of many administrators in our community.

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    March 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Shocking post, jazakallah for the insight

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    Fauzia Mohamed

    March 5, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    I’m no stranger to this! I deal with a lot of students of ‘ilm and most times when I confirm them for events there’s always a struggle to have them get paid for their time, travel expenses etc.

    Some go as far as saying knowledge should be free and one shouldn’t ask for payment but did we forget that the duaat have families and financial responsibilities just like everyone else?

    Others are easy to work with but there’s always a slight back and forth involved. I do understand that a daee cannot make certain demands beyond the people’s ability but at the very least we should be cognizant of their needs as well. So I urge the masaajid administrators and conference organizers to remember that the duaat are doing this to seek Allah subhana wa ta’ala’s pleasure and to educate the Ummah but in order to do so their needs have to be met and/or looked into. Jazakallah kheyr for sharing your thoughts with everyone. I was waiting for someone to step up and write about it. I ask Allah to bless our duaat and their families, ease our affairs and fill us with a pure understanding of this Deen…ameen.

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    March 6, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Beautiful message brother. Jazaka’llahu khairan for this insight. Wallahi to seek Allah’s pleasure is better than everything anyone else has to offer. Never give up the good you’re doing and may Allah reward you and your family for inspiring us. Ameen.

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    March 6, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Baarak Allahu feek wa yassar Allahu amrak.

    Subhan Allah! I think most of us forget today how much of the scholars of the past had salaries from Bayt al Maal and/or how some scholars would not teach unless they were paid by the participants.

    Payers need to remember they’re not paying for 3lm but rather time.

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    March 6, 2012 at 5:34 AM

    Indeed we are poor, and Allah is rich. He is the best of providers. Tread this path of poverty and hardship for Allah’s sake and inshaAllah will be given jannah where eyes will witness the inconceivable. Migrate to the uk see how it is here maybe?

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    March 6, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    MashaAllah! This post brought tears to my eyes! May Allah swt reward you for your immense patience! JazakAllah khair for the post…it opened my eyes!

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    March 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    WHO WROTE THIS POST??   I would like to help whoever wrote this post.  my email ,

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    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    This post moved me so much. Brother, I pray that Allah rewards you and your family for being so patient and bring about a change to your financial situation…

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    March 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters) concerning his life – how he spent it; about his youth – how he took care of it; about his wealth – how he earned it; and where he spent it and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired.” [Tirmidhi]
    Yesterday I read this hadith and I started thinking, if I am to die today what would be my answer to these questions. I couldn’t find easy answers, so I turned to Allah SWT and asked Him to have mercy on me and treat me with His kindness rather than His justice. Reading the story of this brother today I realized that he would be in a much better position to answer those five questions. Sometimes the hardships of this dunia are in reality the sign that Allah SWT loves a person. On the Day of Judgment this life will appear like a morning or an afternoon, so those hardships, dealt with with patience and reliance on Allah SWT, will in fact be a blessing.

    Brother, may Allah reward you for your patience, increase your Iman and righteous deeds and bless you and your family with the ease that comes after hardship, in this life and the next.

    Oh Allah, forgive my sins, have mercy on me, and make it easy on me when I am asked those five tough questions. Without Your mercy I am ruined.

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    March 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Imam of a masjid is the CEO of that Masjid as well.  His pay should be atleast $150K/year.  Thats still below most doctors and about what an engineer in IT field would make in the silicon valley after 10-15 years of experience.  The Imam is a position of high stature and we will not attract the right kind of talent unless we make sure our Imams are rewarded for the extreme hard work they peform, being on-call 24X7, working probably 90+hours a week. 
    If anyone feels like Imam should work “fe sabeellilah” then they should also work pro-bono and give 100%  of their salary to the masjid’s cause.  If anyone is NOT doing that, then they dont have the right to talk!

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      March 9, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      Dear Ali,
      Can you imagine yourself being in that time when this is true… and then look back to this time now and lament about the quality of ‘hardy’ Daee’s. that is exactly my point. The prophet lived not with much wealth, even the mothers of maumineen were told by none other than Allah himself, to wallk away from the prophet if they desired this world and they shall be rewarded richly but to stay through the hardships if they desired the hereafter. So they chose wisely – and set a precedence for us. The prophet preferred and chose Faqr over the riches of this world for a reason. Simply beacuse both do not easily merge except only in exceptional cases. For the general public it is easy to do sabr than to be tested with wealth (in my understanding of the matter).

      Catch my drift? This subject is like a sword that cuts both ways.
      Conclusion: We must be happy with cards that are dealt to us and live our lives to the best of our allotted time and resources both. It is a hard concept for youngsters to grab but it comes easy after you are 40+ years of age.

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      Regular Baba

      March 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM


      Couldn’t agree with you more Ali.  Alhamdolillah and Mashallah, I am very very well off financially, but have to provide for a family.  We live Alhamdolillah a good lifestyle but nowhere near what I would term luxurious.  Living here in USA is expensive, and gets more expensive the older your family gets.  The Prophet(SAW) “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”, and did not make an exception for Imams.  One day I want to work full time for the sake of Allah (I am involved in dawah), but realistically that won’t happen until I reach a point where I don’t need to work for the remainder of my life.

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    Sabina Moid

    March 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Brother, may Allah reward you for your patience, increase your Iman and
    righteous deeds and bless you and your family with the ease that comes
    after hardship, in this life and the next.

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    March 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Mashallah, words can not describe how inspirational this respected brothers’ story is!

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    March 6, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    I have a feeling that you have been blessed with teachers with tremendous zuhd and a good share of it has passed on to you.
    May Allah increase for you everything that is good in this life and make you among the wealthiest of people on the Day of Judgment.

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    March 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    SubhanaAllah this provides incredible, yet sad insight. As I was reading about your situation I remembered the sahaba and nabi (SAW) and their financial situation in the early days as well. Recently in a lecture I learned that Khadijah (RA) – one of the wealthiest women of Quraysh – died of malnutrition! We can only imagine the type of test Allah puts His beloved ones through.. May Allah make your and all our scholars’ situations easier and use this hardships as a ticket to Jannah. The structure of the masajids really needs to change – honestly I feel there needs to be some sort of revolution/protests against the way the masajids work and treat their “employees”

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    March 6, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    doing business is sunnah and if done in a proper way wont affect the prieshood.

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    March 6, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    the monks are in habit of depending on their place of worship, this story is so similar to many many stories which i keep hearing from various monks circle.  in islam we have to provide to mesjid not otherway round.

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    March 6, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I LOVE YOU for the sake of ALLAH

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    March 7, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Aselamualykum this post brings so much tears and I have brother who left Dunya for akhira and do travel very far to teach and learn living the my dads bussiness and new brand car and big hous. Now days if one does not worry about mony people think he is crazy akiruzemn .

    But for him Allah made him understand this Dunya is just temporary so he left it before Dunya leave him. Machallah

    Whomever wrote this post I made dua that Allah to give you jenetul Ferdosa and you will find yourself ma’sabirieen inchallah . And your share is waiting for you in akira not Dunia. Your lucky that the light of Iman is inside of you . Do not give up our true Alim daea sheik all suffer our habibuna resululah Suffer our sahaba etc for this Dunia they left it . Inchallah I wish if I can meet this person and his family!

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    March 7, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    this story is so disturbing and doesnt represent a muslim in a right way, if you can not convince your own dad and ppl from mosque then how will you do dawa to rest of world, i feel some anti mulsim have put up this story to present islam in a very weak way.

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      March 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      If you go often to our masajid you will know that the issues mentioned in the article are real. It is not Islam that is presented in a weak way, it’s a community that failed to live up to the high standard of Islam.

      Remember that some of the closest relatives to the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not accept Islam. Abu Lahab was a fierce enemy of Islam and Abu Talib defended the Prophet (peace be upon him) till his last breath, yet he did not die as a Muslim. Both are the Prophet’s uncles. Does that diminish in any way the way the Prophet did his da’wah?! To the contrary, it only confirms what Allah SWT stated in Surat al-Qasas (28:56):
      “Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.”

      Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) did everything to call his father to Islam, but he did not accept the guidance. The wife and son of Prophet Noah died as disbelievers, and so did Prophet Lot’s wife.

      Let’s face our issues and resolve them with courage instead of resorting to the conspiracy theory and turn the blind eye on our own problems and shortcomings.

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      Mehdi Hasan Sheikh

      March 7, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      This has got to be one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. Have you never heard of Ibrahim (alaihis Salam), whose father was a kaafir? Have you never heard of Nuh 
      (alaihis Salam), whose son was a kaafir?

      The job of a da’ee is to convey and be an example, actual guidance is from Allaah alone.

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      March 9, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      Your concern is indeed genuine!
      However it is best to not comment on the author’s situation as he may have the makings of this environment out of his control. Anything is possible with the spectrum of humanly possible capabilities (hmmm…) to live a unique life completely different from their neighbors that is what makes fiction stories.

      Here, the idea is to resolve a recognized illness among our masajid that do not represent and practice the Islam that they preach. They all want unity as-long-as you line up behind them and pay their bills to their desires and not question them! This is discussed by Abul-Kalaam Azad, Maududi and even Al-Ghazali among many others as a dire challenge within our communities and the solution comes with discipline.


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      Abu Abdillaah

      March 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Ya Billal, brother fear Allaah before posting such discouraging and unwarranted comments. Your comments border on sheer ridiculous! Guidance is in the hands of Allaah..not human beings, dont you remember the Uncle of the Prophet(salAllaahu alayhi wasallam), Abu Taalib, he was like a father figure to the Prophet(salAllaahu alayhi wasallam) and sheltered and protected him like anything. What happened in the end? Abu Taalib died a Mushrik? Are you gonna point fingers at the dawah of Rasulullaah(salAllaahu alayhi wasallam) as well? Think before you write sheer nonsense. May Allaah bless the brother going through this trial and make his affairs easy, aameen.

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    Potential Hijabi

    March 7, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Walaikum Assalam! :) 
    Jazakallahu Khair sis! You will be happy to know that I am already a hijabi, alhumdulillah! :) but Ameen to your dua.. because hijab does not end with just the head covering .. it’s also a part of our actions and character! So may Allah make it easy for me and all our sisters in Islam to live up to the hijab in it’s entirety! :)

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      March 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

       Ameen! =)

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    March 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM


    When you get married sometimes your spouse can do some extra
    things…more than necessary…which may or may not be bad, Allahu
    A’lam. Didn’t know this got posted as an article. My friend emailed me
    the link and was like hey this is you.

    May Allah make me better than what you all think and forgive me for the things that you do not know about me.

    Believe me, I’m probably the least qualified person out there to do
    anything. I do this because this is what truly gives me inner peace.
    When I was younger, I tried many things but nothing makes me happy like
    learning a few things about the Sunnah and passing it on to others bi

    Allah will test us in many ways but we have to have Tawakkul in Him and
    continue. Once you get into da’wah you can not quit, no matter what. My
    Shuyookh repeated this to me many many times when I was young
    Alhamdulillah. And I truly believe no one but the one who is actually
    involved in da’wah will understand this.

    It’s very easy to throw the white flag and do something else but to me
    it would mean you really were in it for the money!  Just because Allah
    decided to test you few things here and there, you want run the other
    way? Not possible.

    Allah will NEVER forsake the caller to Tawheed. Allah will bless you
    with Shuyookh that love you like their own children…Allah will bless
    you with spouses that will be your backbone…Allah will bless you with
    friends that will be closer to you than your relatives…and imagine all
    the good supplications people will make if you were able to help them
    out sincerely! Allah never forsakes the caller to Tawheed.

    Yesterday was difficult, today is easy, tomorrow may be difficult again,
    but one thing has to remain constant for the one who is in da’wah – you
    can never give up or take breaks! What you read is only child’s play
    compared to what some of my teachers have been through in their lives.

    Trust me, many Shuyookh and Tullaabul ‘ilm go through immense
    difficulties…we just never get to know about it. So me being just a
    little kid in terms of knowledge & deeds compared to them…I mean
    Alhamdulillah this is all that I went through.

    Sure I will get sad at times due to what some people do/say, but I do
    not regret my choice of getting into this. Da’wah work can not be forced
    upon anyone, it has to be a choice made by the person knowing very well
    what he’s about to get into. Hope for the best but always be prepared
    for the worst.

    to Wagiah: barakAllahufeek. may Allah reward you for your intentions.
    MashaAllah, I’m doing well. Allah provides and opens doors for us from
    beyond our imaginations. Since you already made intention to give, then
    do yourself good by donating to other causes that benefit the Ummah
    more. :)

    to Billalbr: Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not some anti-islam nut case.
    Alhamdulillah I’m a Muslim 100%. And I’m also sorry that this sounds
    disturbing to you. May Allah never give you these trials. But remember
    that Ibraahim ‘alayhis salam was never able to convince his own
    father…Nooh ‘alayhis salam was never able to convince his own son,
    etc. And every Prophet ‘alayhimus salaam (except maybe Yunus) had people
    from their own communities who never accepted the message of Tawheed.

    So what makes you think that I…being just a regular person…can
    convince all my relatives or every single member of the community?
    Haven’t you ever heard of the ayah innaka laa tahdee man ahbabta
    walaakinnaAllahu man yahdee man yashaa’? It has nothing to do with you
    couldn’t convince so-n-so and therefore you can’t convince anybody. And
    if it wasn’t clear to you from the article, let me repeat – i am not
    a monk depending on places of worship. If I was in this for money I
    would’ve quit long time ago.

    I know of cases where a sister gets abused by the drunkenness and drug
    addiction of her father. I know case of a brother who’s own grandmother
    tried to kill him more than once with Sihr. Sounds disturbing doesn’t
    it? Well guess what just because people suffer by the hands of their own
    relatives doesn’t mean they’re monks or some anti-islamic propaganda.
    Say Alhamdulillah your situation is not like that and make dua’a to
    Allah to remove such trials from the lives of your brothers &

    I do what I do because it gives me peace in my heart than what money can
    buy. Money comes and goes. When we have it, we spend on a few nice
    things, when it’s not there we can still manage Alhamdulillah.

    Allah’s Kalaam & the Sunnah of His Messenger can guide many to
    Islam. The day you do this job and Allah guides even just one person by
    your tongue, or there is a Muslim youth somewhere suffering from
    family/social problems and you are able to convince him/her to stick to
    the Deen no matter what…nothing…absolutely nothing can be more
    valuable than that. You can not put a price tag on da’wah. You just
    can’t. So whatever Allah gives, take it and never give up due to some
    struggles because Allah will truly provide for you one way or

    The only fear I have is whether or not my deeds will be accepted and
    will I be shown Mercy or not. And I hope Allah increases my fear of
    these 2 things more.

    I’m just an average Muslim who knows very little about the Deen, who’s
    trying his best to do something good. Please don’t think too highly of
    me. I want this to encourage people that no matter what goes wrong, if you
    keep trying while depending on Allah, He will make things happen. If you see
    good in me, don’t praise me but praise Allah for giving me that good.

    Assalamualiakum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu

  23. Avatar


    March 9, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    May Allah reward you for SINCERE(?) efforts that is free of ego and self
    fulfillment. Satan comes to us in many forms and directions, that I see
    resentment in your experience which makes one bitter and angry
    individual in spite of you claiming otherwise. However as an effect, the
    community at large can take it in a positive direction to do something
    about this wide spread illness among our communities at large. Our
    communities here in the west are still in transition and growing in
    order to support elaborate full service religious institutions for now –
    bringing a baggage of mindset that we do not ever have to pay to Imam
    for the religious services offered at the local Masjid. As you may learn
    that through our community’s evolution Imams were always paid by the
    Islamic State. But again, the Salafi brothers I know do not bother
    learning from the history of Muslims, evolution of Muslims after the
    taba-tabi’een or their knowledge and struggles for giving us a wealth of
    lessons learned that make the foundation of Western Civilization today
    and jump right back in the time of prophet and find themselves to be out
    of place.

    I am surprised that you never caught on to your father’s lesson. The
    wealth that he owns is not yours by default unless he chooses to give it
    to you. Read the life of our beloved prophet, please. He suffered
    significantly due to the lack of wealth and was humiliated many times
    but his resolve was above it all, our needs make us vulnerable to Satan.
    So learn to live in a happy environment where you are fulfilled and
    happy within your means being either as a Da’ee or a Doctor is
    immaterial. Both provide vital service to the Muslims and Non-Muslims, I
    think – you could have been an exceptional Doctor, Allahu Alam.


  24. Avatar


    March 9, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Reading your story was a kick in the gut, it pained me and my family immensely.
    We take the Imam of a Masjid for granted, expect him to be on call 24/7, call him/ interrupt his time no matter how inconvenient. However an Imam also has his own life as mentioned in the article. Who will pay his bills, pay for him daily bread, he needs to spend quality time with his spouse and family, it goes on and on.

    I can only pray for you, that through the Almighty’s Rehmat, your hardships will become less hard, and that you will never lose patience, after all you too are human.

  25. Avatar

    Harun Butt

    March 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    With all due respect is it not your wife’s right and your responsibility to provide for her sufficiently?

    When Abu Bakr radiAllahu an was calipha and he was not bing paid enough, he did not simply carry on with his duties but rather took to the marketplace to do business to provide for his family’s needs, did he not?

    I mean no disrespect -it is a genuine question.

    • Avatar

      A Brother

      March 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      Asalamu Alaykum

      Harun, but the story continues, since they needed him to devote time to his duties, they increased his salary.  It is a qawaa’id of fiqh, if a person dedicates himself to something, it should fulfill their needs.

      This brother has experienced tremendous injustice from family – not all – as well.Brother who wrote the post and his wife, if you are not already, I want to advise you to exercise if a doctor gives you the pass.  This is very good for you and benefiting the health long term insha’Allah. Taking the means.  May Allah reward you both for your efforts and intentions and bring ease.

      Asalamu Alaykum


  26. Avatar

    the brother's wife

    March 10, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    You’re question is a valid question but I do have a question of my own.

    Did you see any mention of me (the wife) not being provided for? Or was the point of this post:

    1) the miserable system of many masaajid here VS those with a proper system.

    2) no matter how much hardship, if one is determined to do something for Allah’ sake, then Allah will surely help him.

    3) the one who enters the field of da3wah should never give up because
    if one is sincere (and only Allah knows whether or not someone is
    sincere) then the reward Allah will give him outweighs any and every
    difficulty that comes his way.

    I suggest everyone to not dig behind things and take things the way they
    are mentioned and look for these 3 points of benefit in the post. I am
    the one who gave permission behind my husband’s back for the comment to
    be posted as an article because I know this will benefit and encourage many people bi

    But for those who are in doubt or are just curious, I actually married
    this brother nearly 3years ago, because his character is like this and Allah is witness no
    matter how difficult his financial situation was, by the permission of
    Allah, he has provided me with food, shelter and clothing. Meaning he has maintained me with whatever I asked for. And trust me, if I was not maintained, my family would have taken me away from him by force!

    I guess we fail to realize that many times, even if Allah gives less money,
    He will put barakah in that little money. And I
    guess we also fail to realize that there are women out there who are
    very content not living an extravagant life, Alhamdulillah. If the issue
    of not having health insurance seemed like I’m not provided for, well
    many people who have decent jobs don’t have health insurance these days
    because of how ridiculous the system has become. So judging based on
    just that one small information doesn’t do justice.

    Most of us Muslims today would not suffer like this to stick to the
    Sunnah and it comes as a shock when we hear something like this.  After
    marriage I’ve been blessed to personally meet his teachers as well and I
    truly understand how my husband turned out like this by the Will of

    And as I said, whether or not he is sincere is between him and Allah.
    But I asked myself, someone who would leave wealth & status behind
    and from his free will go through all this hardship just to learn his
    Deen and spread it, either this person is insane or he really
    must love what he does. Alhamdulillah I can confidently say he’s not

    Some criticize him. But If someone has no sadness living the way he does
    to do whatever little he can do for the Deen (and there is not 1
    evidence in our Deen stating this is haraam) then who are we to
    criticize such a person?

    Instead of criticizing a Muslim who is this passionate about Islam, why
    not simply make du3a to Allah. Something like, O Allah keep him sincerely this passionate
    about your Deen and make him a source of benefit for all of us.

    My husband made the comment in response to the original post and quite a
    few people made comments like why should these people be paid, money
    will corrupt them, etc etc. It angers my husband very much to see people
    assume all du3aat are “scholars for dollars”. So he commented making it
    clear there are people out there who do dawah for no other reason but
    to earn the pleasure of Allah and bring peace to themselves.

    Till this day I have never heard my husband demanding any Masjid admin
    or Islamic organization after being invited, that he wants such and such
    for his time. And Allah is my witness, I hope I never hear my husband
    make those demands either. I’ve seen him drive 400 miles to do a
    workshop and come back without being paid. He had money to spend on the
    trip and he did bi idhnillaah. When he doesn’t have money he doesn’t go
    unless the people themselves tell him they’ll cover his expense. If
    they make no mention of covering his expenses, he doesn’t ask
    Alhamdulillah and won’t go if he doesn’t have the means.

    What is the problem if a brother wants to use his energy to be available
    at all times to share whatever he learns with his young brothers and
    sisters? MashaAllah our celebrity shuyookh are very difficult to get in
    touch with. Our Ummah is suffering a lot. Lack of Tawheed, lack of
    Sunnah, many family problems, marital problems, youth problems and so
    on. What are we supposed to do, sit around and wait for Yasir Qadhi
    & Waleed Basyouni (for some) or some one from the keebaar (for
    others) to visit our town and solve the problems? Or should every
    community have people available around the clock to seek Deen related
    help from (i.e. local du3aat)?

    Some of us suffer from a disease – if you’re not a celebrity your not
    qualified for da3wah – and this truly is a disease that is killing our

    And others suffer from a disease – hey you da’ee, since you can not
    water the Deen down, we don’t like you and we will not justly pay you
    for your time. We want you to be part of the Masjid all day every day,
    do another job on the side and also give proper time to your wife and
    kids. – sounds very nice and logical, right?

    One of my husband’s shaykhs said the right thing by saying that this
    concept is society’s way of trying to kill the da3wah to Tawheed and Sunnah.
    Da’ees who call to the Sunnah are supposed to be robots who have to work
    2 full time jobs and also manage to give proper time to their families.

    But anyways yes my husband MashaAllah does provide for me with whatever I need. MashaAllah he does not owe any money to anybody or any credit cards. I can confidently say Allah puts barakah in whatever he earns. Alhamdulillahi rabbul 3alameen!

    • Avatar


      March 11, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      While I don’t necessarily disagree with anything that you have written, you are right that, my point centered around  “I even had to sit helplessly at home while my wife suffered through a life threatening illness without proper medication because I could not afford it.”

      I (personally) would call health care to be vital (and not at all an extravagance), regardless of how nutty the US healthcare system is.

      Thank you for your response.

  27. Avatar


    March 11, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    This is a heartbreaking and extremely touching post. May Allah open up our eyes to the reality of what those who sacrifice their lives for His Sake really go through, and soften our hearts so that we may have some mercy for them!

  28. Avatar

    Danish Hamid2

    March 12, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Brother, Your story made me cry. May Allah SWT give compensate you in the only way which can do justice to your situation- Jannat Al-Firdaus. If only Allah gave me 1/10 of the patience you have. I pray for your good health and happiness of your family.

  29. Avatar


    March 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    JazakAllahukhairun Shaykh for sharing this story with us. Allah provide you with better and an internal abode in the highest level of Jannah.

  30. Avatar


    March 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    This is a horribly written article. Has MuslimMatters slouched so low, that they articles such as this to appear on their “intellectual” blog. Please, we need to step it up.

    • Avatar


      March 18, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      Fix your grammar first, then critique this mans’ work.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      March 19, 2012 at 7:32 AM

       This was a comment we received on our previous article and since it was too long and we felt it served purpose we posted it as a post. Please note it was not edited by our editors in order to keep the authentic feel of the author’s comment.

      We would love to get some excellently written intellectual contributions from you for our blog. You may submit via email info [at] muslimmatters [dot] org

  31. Avatar


    March 21, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    So bro, u really Wahhabi?

  32. Avatar


    March 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    I honestly feel the time has come to take Masjid Administration seriously and centralize, whether nationally, regionally, or even in a city. Sure perhaps the salafee masjid can’t be salafee enough, and the sufi masjid can’t be sufi enough. But we need oversight on how masjids can generate funds for projects and their imams. Too many suffer unspoken hardships. If we had a revenue sharing system where rich communities help the poor communities things would work out better. We also need to attract the brightest individuals to the position of imams and social work. The current situation is fragmented and sloppy. It might be too much of a burden on certain communities to fund an imam’s salary which should be set competitively with other clergy and social workers. Sure a masjid loses its freedom, but for the overall benefit of the Muslim communities in America.

    We need to figure out ways to make masjids commercially viable, not run on the generosity of a particular community. The poorest communities may need more guidance than they can afford. The richest communities might be inefficient. I think AMJA/ISNA/ICNA need to step in and do something about this. Allahu alim. May Allah help this Brother and his wife and heal them and grant them security and comfort in this life and the hereafter. There must be many like him and we have to put a stop to inefficient and wasteful use of resources.

  33. Avatar


    March 21, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    SubhaanAllaah. May Allaah accept you brother, ameen.

  34. Avatar

    Junaith Haja

    March 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Alhamdulillah…It was such an energetic story to share with others the life journey of our brother…
    Verily this loved brother of us has undergone an immense struggle which most of us have not faced..
    May Allah give you more strength, courage and sound health..!!!!!!

  35. Avatar

    Hassan Mahfooz

    March 24, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Did you try dawah by actions with your dad? JazakAllah khair for writing this piece.

  36. Avatar

    Sunnah is a must!

    March 28, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    What the brother said regarding the Masjids is right on the mark! The brother has done a lot for many youth and married couples in this city. Everyone that got a chance to meet him still talks about him. No one that I know can say anything bad about his character and the only complaints from few evil people are that he calls to following the salaf. We do not realize that it’s our job to support the propagation of Islam and part of supporting its propagation means to support those who are actually doing the physical work. May Allah have mercy on you and make it financially and physically easy for you to continue the good work that you do! may Allah accept your deeds and give you more knowledge!

  37. Avatar


    March 29, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    May Allah accept you and your wife’s effort and reward you both immensely Ameen

  38. Avatar


    May 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Exactly the same thing once happened in the masjid I attended during my stay in the US. One of the main problem of the masajids in the US is that the community has such a low standard for the administration/board when it comes for elections. Most of the time in order to be elected one merely needs to be a member for a year or two and be popular enough to get his votes. Why not raise the standards, say, a nominee has to regularly attend the jamaah prayer at least once a day and memorize a number of juzs of the Quran because after all the salah and Quran are the best cretarion, is it not. To often we see ignorant young members of the community taking administration then being in charge of knowledgable shuyookh who deserve more respect.
    Allah knows best.

  39. Avatar


    May 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    May Allah(swt) reward you for your iman and sabr.

  40. Avatar


    April 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Subhan Allah. It’s very saddening to hear about the way this brother was treated by his communities, but I think this experience should remind us of some important Islamic concepts. First of all, I don’t know where people are getting the idea that an Imam should spend 100% of their time giving to the community… in Islam there is nothing wrong with having your own business or profession and this doesn’t take away from your commitment or sincerity in the Da’wa. Also, the best form of Da’wa is the one that is done by people going about their lives and implementing Islam in their interactions with others, in their honesty and in showing others that as Muslims we can be successful professionals and we can be very good assets to society.

    Another thing is that respecting parents is very important in Islam. While it seems that the poster’s father put him through a lot it is also clear that he was trying to tell his son that he wants him to help him financially. Parents provide for us when we are young, they help us grow into the individuals we are and there’s a point when we should be prepared to shoulder some responsibility and give back to them. Even if the man’s father was rich, this doesn’t mean he can just rely on that wealth and expect it to be available to him for free while he goes around and spends his whole life doing da’wa without shouldering any responsibility.

    I would also like to point out that with the brother’s family’s wealth and with a possible profession in his father’s or uncles’ investments he could have given ALOT to some of the poorer masajid in those communities and help set it up so that these masajid had some kind of investments or some way of getting a stable source of income so they could focus on running the masjid without worrying about paying the masjid’s bills every month. With this, a masjid might be in a position to hire someone and pay them well instead of expecting free/volunteer efforts.

    Islam teaches us balance, so let’s stop expecting anyone, let alone Imams, to give 100% of their life to any one thing. We have to find a balance and we have to be willing to shoulder our responsibilities to our families and supporting them first before we start “dedicating our life to the deen”

    I’m not trying to knock the original poster down, I feel for him and what he had to go through, but I think it’s an indication of this wrong image that many people seem to have of what an Imam should be and what a Da’ee should be. Allah knows best.

    • Avatar


      May 12, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      You said that so beautifully! I agree 100%. I posted my comments before reading yours, but you said everything I was thinking in such a better way. May Allah reward you. When the author expected to be dependent on his father’s wealth, I was completely turned off by the article. I just think nowadays, there are two issues: da’ees are not being compensated enough or they think that they devote their lives to da’wah and therefore it entitles them to be dependent upon others. It is funny because we all know in America, you are not going to be compensated well for being a low-key imam or da’ee, yet when you make that choice, and you don’t have a back-up plan for financial security, then you really cannot complain. It is different though when you didn’t make that choice and those are the cards you are dealt with, but when you willingly choose that lifestyle, then you really cannot blame anyone else.

  41. Avatar


    October 22, 2014 at 5:30 AM

    I have one question. How on Earth or why on Earth would people commit zinnah IN a masjid? A community being bad I can believe, but that part I can’t.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      October 27, 2014 at 1:38 AM

      Dear brother

      Not sure where ‘people committing zina in a masjid’ comes up.


      • Avatar


        October 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM

        “Let me tell you briefly about this specific community. They had teens doing drugs 20 feet away from the masjid, pre-teen girls getting pregnant by kuffaar men and fornication that happened inside the house of Allāh!”

        Sixth paragraph.

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala

          October 28, 2014 at 3:56 AM

          SubhanAllah! I missed that part or maybe my brain read it differently. May Allah protect our communities from such a fate.

          *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  42. Avatar


    May 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    I was extremely touched by this post, but I don’t entirely agree with all the brother’s points. I do agree that the person should be compensated for his work. However, it sounded like the author already knew that he wouldn’t be well-compensated and was willing to work for free, so I am not understanding why he didn’t ensure that he was financially self-sufficient so that he could continue his da’wah? Or perhaps the wife could have helped him financially? I just feel that this article has so many contradictions. Also, his father wanted him to become a doctor, and why can one not be a doctor and a da’ee at the same time? He would be obeying his father and seeking the pleasure of Allah at the same time. Afterall, we are commanded to obey our father, as long as what he wants for us doesn’t fall into kufr. Again, I agree that he should be compensated for his work, but it just sounds like the brother is saying that he was willing to work for free, but then saying that he expected others to support him financially for what he was willing to do for free. I guess I am missing the point. I think when you go into dawah, you have to be willing to support yourself and your family. Dawah is not limited to the masjid, and many people miss this point. Even Shaykh Al-Albani rahimullah used to repair watches to sustain a living, yet he also was an amazing scholar of Islam who did a lot for the deen. Again, I do believe the brother should have been compensated for his work, but we all know that da’ees who are low-key are not going to make a lot of money, so they are going to have to prepare for that, and Allah knows best.

  43. Avatar


    May 12, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Also, I am a bit confused about why the brother wanted his inheritance from his father, when his father was still living? That didn’t make sense to me for two reasons. One would think that the father doesn’t even pray, so why would he care about the laws of inheritance. Also, the father is still living, doesn’t his inheritance get distributed after his death? Too many inconsistencies in this article. Perhaps the author can clarify?

  44. Avatar

    Dr. Noorul Hussain K.

    December 22, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum
    This brought tears in my eyes. May Allah swt reward you for your immense patience! JazakAllah khair for the post.

  45. Avatar


    March 6, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    Brought tears to my eyes. I’m deeply shaken. I pray for you my dearest brother that you be the most successful in this world and the next. Allah must love you so much. Can’t stop crying..

  46. Avatar

    Abu Zakariyya Yahya Hassan

    March 7, 2016 at 1:00 AM

    Masha Allah its really touching and indeed a wake-up call. Jazaka Allah kheyr.

    I think we need to remind ourselves the story of Mus’ab ibn Umair (Radhya Allah 3nhu) who was born and brought up in wealth but, when he died his head was covered with the only shroded woolen cotton and lemon grass was put on his feet!!!

    Don’t give up, keep on moving and never look behind bro. May Almighty Allah reward you accordingly.

  47. Avatar

    Shiraz Ahmad Dar

    March 7, 2016 at 1:22 AM

    Brother I read your whole story,and beleive me It bought tears in my eyes.But this life is a test for all of us and In sha Allah who Passes this teat will have no regrets in next life.After after hardship there is relief,may Allah Subhana wataala remove your sufferings and help you in spreading the true teachings of Islaam.
    Brother I love you for sake of Allah…

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Raising a Child between Ages 7-12

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D



black preteen

From a cognitive-development standpoint, this is called a concrete operational period, according to Jean Piaget.

(N.B: Some adults never progress beyond this phase, while 15% of kids may reach the following formal-operational phase at age 9!)

The child now (7-12) may factor in two dimensions of an object simultaneously. So, the longer cup may have less water because it is thinner. However, this is still hard for him/her to perform in the abstract realm, so, they are still uni-dimensional in that respect. Concepts and behaviors are still black and white. It is also hard for the kids in this stage to imagine and solve the structure of a mathematical problem. They cannot think contrary to facts. In other words, you can’t get them to use as a basis for an argument a question like what if the sky rains sugar instead of water?

Socially, Erikson felt that in this period kids develop industry or inferiority. According to his theory, from age six to puberty, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. If encouraged, they feel industrious and confident in their ability to achieve goals.

Based on these observations, we may recommend:

1- Using a lot of hands-on teaching, since they still have limited ability with conceptualization and abstract reasoning.

2- Continue the focus on memorization. If you want them to finish the Quran in 1-2 years, 12 and/or 13 seem to be the prime years for that. This suits some children and some families, not all. If you like a more gradual approach, you should have them start serious memorization at 7, accelerate at 10, and finish by 15-17. Not all kids are meant to memorize the whole Quran though; they can still be educated and pious. Invest in their strengths, not your dreams.

3- Use concrete props and visual aids, especially when dealing with sophisticated material. Use story problems in mathematics.

4- Use open-ended questions that will stimulate thinking and help the child reach the following stage faster. Example: “What do you think about the relationship between the brain and the mind?”; “What do you think about the relationship between prayful-ness and piety?” Make sure you know the right answers!

5- More explanations will be needed, but keep them simple, and even though they should be more detailed than the last stage, they still need to be uni-dimensional. Examples: we obey God because he created us; if we disobey Him, we get punished, and if we obey Him, we get rewarded in this life and in the hereafter. Too early to teach him that “the brokenness of the disobedient is better than the haughtiness of the obedient.” Break it down. Humbleness and obedience are good, while haughtiness and disobedience are bad.

6- Encourage and praise their accomplishments, while making them aware that there is always room for improvement. Continue to encourage initiative-taking and leadership qualities, yet you may also set limits, and make them aware that they will have to always report to someone. Even if there are no people above them, Allah always is. They have to adapt to being leaders and followers at the same time, because that is the reality of all people.

7- This is still a stage of belonging and affiliation to the group, and the child will develop more or less attachment to Islam through his or her experience at the masjid and with the community.

Parenting: Raising a Child from Age 0 to 2 | Dr. Hatem Al Haj

Raising A Child Between Ages 2-7 | Dr Hatem Al Haj

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Raising A Child Between Ages 2-7 | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D



children drawing crayons

This is called a pre-operational period by Jean Piaget who was focused on cognitive development.

Children this age have difficulty reconciling between different dimensions or seemingly contradictory concepts. One dimension will dominate and the other will be ignored. This applies in the physical and abstract realms. For example, the water in the longer cup must be more than that in the shorter one, no matter how wide each cup is. Length dominates over width in his/her mind.

Throughout most of this stage, a child’s thinking is self-centered (egocentric). This is why preschool children have a problem with sharing.

In this stage, language develops very quickly, and by two years of age, kids should be combining words, and by three years, they should be speaking in sentences.

Erik Erikson, who looked at development from a social perspective, felt that the child finishes the period of autonomy vs. shame by 3 years of age and moves on to the period of initiative vs. guilt which will dominate the psycho-social development until age 6. In this period, children assert themselves as leaders and initiative takers. They plan and initiate activities with others. If encouraged, they will become leaders and initiative takers.

Based on the above, here are some recommendations:

In this stage, faith would be more caught than taught and felt than understood. The serene, compassionate home environment and the warm and welcoming masjid environment are vital.

Recognition through association: The best way of raising your kid’s love of Allah and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is by association. If you buy him ice cream, take the opportunity to tell them it is Allah who provided for you; the same applies to seeing a beautiful rose that s/he likes, tell them it is Allah who made it. Tell them stories about Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Statements like: “Prophet Muhammad was kinder to kids than all of us”; “Prophet Muhammad was kind to animals”; ” Prophet Muhammad loved sweets”; ” Prophet Muhammad helped the weak and old,” etc. will increase your child’s love for our most beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Faith through affiliation: The child will think, “This is what WE do, and how WE pray, and where WE go for worship.” In other words, it is a time of connecting with a religious fraternity, which is why the more positive the child’s interactions with that fraternity are, the more attached to it and its faith he/she will become.

Teach these 2-7 kids in simple terms. You may be able to firmly insert in them non-controversial concepts of right and wrong (categorical imperatives) in simple one-dimensional language. Smoking is ḥarâm. No opinions. NO NUANCES. No “even though.” They ate not ready yet for “in them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people.”

Promote their language development by speaking to them a lot and reading them books, particularly such books that provoke curiosity and open discussions to enhance their expressive language. Encourage them to be bilingual as learning two languages at once does not harm a child’s cognitive abilities, rather it enhances them.

This is despite an initial stage of confusion and mixing that will resolve by 24 to 30 months of age. By 36 months of age, they will be fluent bilingual speakers. Introduce Islamic vocabulary, such as Allah, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), masjid, Muslim, brothers, salaat, in-sha’a-Allah, al-Hamdulillah, subhana-Allah, etc. (Don’t underestimate the effect of language; it does a lot more than simply denoting and identifying things.)

In this pre-operational period, their ability of understanding problem solving and analysis is limited. They can memorize though. However, the focus on memorization should still be moderate. The better age for finishing the memorization of the Quran is 10-15.

Use illustrated books and field trips.

Encourage creativity and initiative-taking but set reasonable limits for their safety. They should also realize that their freedom is not without limits.

Between 3-6 years, kids have a focus on their private parts, according to Freud. Don’t get frustrated; tell them gently it is not appropriate to touch them in public.

Don’t get frustrated with their selfishness; help them gently to overcome this tendency, which is part of this stage.

Parenting: Raising a Child from Age 0 to 2 | Dr. Hatem Al Haj

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Who Can We Trust?

Danish Qasim




Spiritual abusers are con-artists, and if they were easy to spot then they would be far less successful. That is why you must exercise vigilance and your own judgment above that of public opinion. Never let the person’s position make you trust them more than you would without it.

Spiritual abusers work covertly, present themselves well, and use their service as a cover beneath which to operate. The way to avoid them is to recognize their tactics and avoid being caught by them.

Blurring Lines

Spiritual abuse often begins with hard-to-spot precursors, with manipulators exploiting grey areas and blurring boundaries to confuse targets. For example, when setting someone up for illicit relations or secret marriage, teachers may begin with inappropriate jokes that lower boundaries.

They may touch others in ways that confuse the person touched as to permissibility, for example, men touching women on their hijabs rather than direct skin. They may inappropriately touch someone in ways that leave him/her wondering whether or not it was intentional.

There may be frivolous texting while the premise of engagement is ‘work only’. Boundaries may be blurred by adding flirtatious content, sending articles praising polygamy, or mentioning dreams about getting married. The recipient may struggle to pinpoint what’s wrong with any of this, but the bottom line is that they don’t have to.

While these tactics may be hard to prove, you don’t need to prove that you don’t want to be communicated with in this way and that you will not tolerate it. You can withdraw from the situation on the basis of your own boundaries.

One of the key challenges in standing up to spiritual abuse is the lack of confidence in calling out bad behavior or the need for validation for wrongs. We may be afraid to a question a teacher who is more knowledgeable than us when he is doing clear haram. However, halal and haram are defined by Allah and no human has the right to amend them. If a religious leader claims exemption to the rules for themselves or their students, that’s a big, bright, red flag.

Beware of Bullying

When you witness or experience bullying, understand that a Muslim’s dignity is sacred and don’t accept justifications of ‘tarbiyah’ (spiritual edification/character reformation) or breaking someone’s nafs (ego). If you didn’t sign up for spiritual edification, don’t accept any volunteer spiritual guides.

If you did sign up, pay attention as to whether these harsh rebukes are having a positive or negative effect. If they are having a negative emotional, mental, or physical effect on you, then this is clearly not tarbiyah, which is meant to build you up.

When abuse in the name of tarbiyah happens, it is the shaykh himself or the shaykha herself who needs character reformation. When such behavior goes unchecked, students become outlets of unchecked anger and are left with trauma and PTSD. This type of bullying is very common in women’s groups.

Trust Built and Trust Destroyed

There are different levels of trust, and as it relates to religious leaders, one does not need to investigate individuals or build trust for a perfunctory relationship. You do not need a high degree of trust if you are just attending someone’s general lectures and not establishing any personal relationship.

If you want to study something with an Islamic teacher, do so as you would with a school-teacher, understanding that their position does not make that person either exceptionally safe nor exceptionally harmful. Treat religious figures as religious consultants who are there to answer questions based on their knowledge. Give every teacher a clean slate, don’t have baseless suspicions, but if behavior becomes manipulative, exploitative, cultish, or otherwise abusive, don’t justify it either.

Personal accountability is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith and we have to take responsibility for our own faith and actions. There is no need to be suspicious without reason, but nor is there a justification for blind trust in someone you don’t know, just because they lead prayers or have a degree of religious education.

It is natural to ask ourselves whether people can be trusted after experiencing or learning about spiritual abuse. The answer is yes – you can trust yourself. You can also trust others in ways that are appropriate for the relationship. If you know someone well and they have proven over a long period of time to be trustworthy, keep secrets, and do not use you or take advantage of you, then it makes sense to trust that person more than a stranger or someone who has outward uprightness that you do not know well. That level of trust is earned through long-time demonstration of its characteristics.

Seeing someone on stage for years or relying on testimony of people impressed by someone should not convince you to lower your guard. Even if you do believe someone is pious, you still never drop your better judgment, because even saints are fallible.

Don’t Fall for Reputation

Never take other respected leaders praising or working alongside an individual as proof of his or her trustworthiness. It is possible that the teachers you trust are unaware of any wrongdoing. It’s not a reasonable expectation, nor is it a responsibility for them to boycott or disassociate themselves from another religious figure even if they are aware of them being abusive.

Furthermore, skilled manipulators often gain favor from respected teachers both overseas and domestically to gain credibility.

If one shaykh praises another shaykh, but you witness abusive behavior, don’t doubt yourself based on this praise. The praise may have been true at one time or may have been true in the experience of the one giving the praise, but no one knows another person’s current spiritual state as spiritual states can change.

Even if the abusive individual was previously recognized to be a great wali (saint), understand that there are saints who have lost their sainthood as they do not have isma (divine protection from sin or leaving Islam) like the prophets (upon them be peace) do. What was true yesterday, may not be true today.

Often praises of integrity, courage, and inclusiveness are heaped on men who support influential female figures. However, men who are praised as ‘allies,’ and thanked for ‘using their privilege’ to support female scholarship and the participation of women in religious organizations and events are no more trustworthy than those who don’t.

Abusers are often very image-conscious and may be acting to improve their own image and brand strength. Influential male and female religious figures also help one another with mutual praising and social-proofing. That is how the misdoings of men who are supportive of women are ignored, as long as they support the right politicized causes such as inclusive spaces and diverse panels.

Don’t be tricked into trust through a person’s credentials. An ijazah (license) to be a shaykh of a tariqa is purportedly the highest credential. It’s a credential that allegedly has a chain that goes all the way back to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), but that does not impart any of the Prophet’s character or trustworthiness in and of itself. A shaykh has to continuously live up to the ijaza and position. The position does not justify behavior outside of the sharia or any form of abuse. Scholars are inheritors of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) only to the degree to which they embody his character.

When a teacher who hasn’t spent adequate time with righteous shayukh abuses, they are said to lack suhba (companionship of the pious), and that is why they are abusive.

The truth is many of the worst abusers in traditional circles are highly certified, have spent adequate time with shayukh, are valid representatives of them, and are able to abuse because the previously mentioned credentials lead to blind trust.

Don’t let certifications about spiritual abuse, ethical leadership, or the like mean anything to you. Skilled narcissists will be the first to get such certifications and take courses because they know this will make people trust them more. You will see courses on ‘healthy leadership’ and ‘spiritual abuse prevention’ being taught and designed by them. There is a false premise behind such certifications that if religious leaders knew how abuse occurs and the damage it causes victims they wouldn’t do it. The fact is they know how abuse works, know how damaging it is, and don’t care. In a way, it’s good to have lessons on spiritual abuse from purveyors of abuse, just as learning theft prevention from a thief might be the most beneficial.

Don’t judge by rhetoric

Don’t look at the rhetoric of groups or individuals to see how seriously they take abuse. Spiritual abuse occurs in all groups. It is common for members of one group to call out abuse that they see in another group while ignoring abuse occurring within their own group.

Sufis who will talk about the importance of sharia, label others as ‘goofy-Sufis,’ and insist that real Sufis follow sharia, will very often abuse in private and use the same justifications as the other Sufi groups they publicly deride.

Many imams and religious leaders will talk publicly about the importance of justice, having zero-tolerance for abuse, and the importance of building safe spaces, while they themselves are participating in the abuse.

Furthermore, female religious leaders will often cover up secret marriages, and other abuses for such men and help them to ostracize and destroy the credibility of their victims as long as their political views align. Muslim mental health providers often incorporate religious figures when they do programs, and in some cases they involve known abusers if it helps their cause.

In some cases, the organization does not know of any abuse. Abusive individuals use partnerships with Muslim mental health organizations to enhance their image as a “safe person.” This is especially dangerous due to the vulnerability of those struggling with mental illness and spiritual issues, who may then be exploited by the abuser. It is a community responsibility to ensure the safety of these vulnerable individuals and to ensure that they do have access to resources that can actually help them.

Don’t judge by fame

One false assumption is that the local-unknown teacher is sincere while the famous preacher is insincere and just wants to amass followers. This contrast is baseless although rhetorically catchy.

The fact is, many unknown teachers desire fame and work towards it more than those who are famous. Other times the unknown and famous teacher may have the same love of leadership, but one is more skilled than the other. They both may also be incredibly sincere.

Ultimately, we cannot judge what is in someone’s heart but must look at their actions, and if their actions are abusive, they are a danger to the community. Both famous and non-famous teachers are equally capable of spiritual abuse.

Look for a procedure

Before being involved in an organization, look for a code of conduct. There is no accountability without one in non-criminal matters. Never depend on people, look at the procedures and ensure that the procedure calls for transparency, such as the one we at In Shaykh’s Clothing published and made free for the public to use.

Procedure also applies to an organizations’ financials. Do not donate money to organizations based on personalities, instead demand financial transparency and accountability for the money spent. There is great incentive for spiritual abusers to win the trust of crowds when it means they can raise money without any financial accountability.

But what about Husne-Zann? Thinking well of others?

Allah tells us يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

O You who believe, leave much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sinful” (Quran 49:12).

From this verse, we see that some – not all negative opinions are sinful. The prohibition is partitive, meaning some bad opinions are permissible.

If someone punches you, it is not hunse-zann to assume that person just happened to stretch with a closed fist and did not see your face was in the way. This kind of delusion will lead to you getting punched more. To be wary of their fist isn’t a sinful level of suspicion.

Part of why spiritual abuse is difficult to detect is that its purveyors have a reputation for outward uprightness. They are thought well of in the community, and in many cases they are its pillars and have decades of positive service to their defense. Assuming that someone cannot be abusive simply because they have been a teacher or leader for a long time is not husne-zann. When facts are brought to light- like a fist to the face – it is delusional to assume they didn’t mean it that way.

If someone does something that warrants suspicion, then put your guard up and don’t make excuses for those actions. Start with a general guard and be procedural about things which require a procedure.  For example, if you are going to loan someone money, don’t just take their word that they will pay you back but insist on a written record. If they say they are offended, just say “it’s my standard procedure to avoid any confusion later on.” A reasonable person won’t have an issue with that. If someone mentions on the phone they will pay you $100 for your work, write an email to confirm what was said on the phone so there’s a record for it.

Lastly, and most importantly, never leave your child alone with a teacher where you or others cannot see them. Many cases of child sexual assault can be prevented if we never allow children to study alone with adults. There should never be an exception to this, and parents much uphold this as a matter of policy. Precaution is not an accusation, and this is a professional and standard no one should reject.

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