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

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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?’

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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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62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mozahsuf

    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.

  2. Avatar

    Min

    March 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Shocking post, jazakallah for the insight

  3. Avatar

    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.

  4. Avatar

    Bouncin

    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.

  5. Avatar

    Nassim

    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.

  6. Avatar

    Ikhlaas

    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?

  7. Avatar

    Yusradaud

    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!

  8. Avatar

    Wagiah

    March 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

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

  9. Avatar

    Violet

    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…

  10. Avatar

    Abuhafs

    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.

  11. Avatar

    Ali

    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!

    • Avatar

      Guest-123

      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.

    • Avatar

      Regular Baba

      March 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Salam

      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.

  12. Avatar

    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.

  13. Avatar

    Yasmin

    March 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

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

  14. Avatar

    Abdullah

    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.

  15. Avatar

    Muslimah

    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”

  16. Avatar

    Billalbr

    March 6, 2012 at 8:14 PM

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

  17. Avatar

    Billalbr

    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.

  18. Avatar

    Guest

    March 6, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I LOVE YOU for the sake of ALLAH

  19. Avatar

    Hayat_sheriff

    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!

  20. Avatar

    Billalbr

    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.

    • Avatar

      Abuhafs

      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.

    • Avatar

      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.

    • Avatar

      Guest-123

      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.

      Ma’Salaam

    • Avatar

      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.

  21. Avatar

    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! :)

    • Avatar

      Muslimah

      March 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

       Ameen! =)

  22. Avatar

    Brother

    March 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Assalamualaikum,

    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
    idhnillaah.

    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 &
    sisters.

    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
    another.

    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

    Guest-123

    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.

    Ma’Salaam

  24. Avatar

    Asaksu

    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

      Abdullah

  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
    idhnillaah.

    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
    Allah.

    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
    insane!

    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
    communities.

    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

      Guest

      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. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    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

    sms

    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

    guy

    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

      Waylan

      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

    Shakirehusma

    March 21, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    So bro, u really Wahhabi?

  32. Avatar

    none

    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

    Amatullah

    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

    MC.Muslimah

    March 29, 2012 at 3:34 AM

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

  38. Avatar

    Aliakbaraidid

    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

    Yusuf

    May 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

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

  40. Avatar

    ElvenInk

    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

      Sister

      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

    Ahmed

    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.

    • Aly Balagamwala

      Aly Balagamwala

      October 27, 2014 at 1:38 AM

      Dear brother

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

      Aly

      • Avatar

        Ahmed

        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.

        • Aly Balagamwala

          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

    Sister

    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

    Sister

    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.
    http://www.cris.co.nf

  45. Avatar

    Mahvish

    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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Coronavirus

Alternative Eid Celebrations In The Midst Of A Pandemic

“Eid-al-Quarantine” is what my sister has so fondly dubbed our upcoming Eid al Fitr this year. I find myself asking, “How are we going to make Eid a fun and special celebration this year in the midst of a dangerous pandemic?” With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, this Eid can be fun–no matter the current circumstances. This post will provide you with some inspiration to get your alternative Eid preparations underway! 

Special note: Shelter-in-place restrictions are lessening in many places in the United States, but this does not give us the green light to go back to life as normal and celebrate Eid in the ways we usually would have in the past. I am no health expert, but my sincerest wish for all Muslims throughout the world is that we all err on the side of caution and maintain rigorous precautions.

In-person gatherings are going to be much riskier in light of public health safety concerns. I do not recommend that people get together this Eid. Keep in mind, as well, that this is a big weekend for all Americans, as it is Memorial Day Weekend and crowds may be expected in places like parks and beaches. 

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Eid Day Must’s

Just because you are staying in, doesn’t mean that all of the Eid traditions have to go. Some may be exactly the same, some may be slightly adjusted this year. 

  • Get dressed up, even if it’s just for an hour or two. This might be a good chance to do hair and make up for sisters who normally don’t on Eid because of hijab or other modesty concerns. 
  • Take your family pictures, as usual. 
  • Decorate your house, even if it’s just with some fresh flowers in a vase or hanging up some string lights. (This time, I think sharing pictures of your setup may  have some more wiggle room.)
  • Find a way to pray Eid salah at home, if your local imam mentions a way to adapt for the current situation or check out this MM article
  • Eat some good food, and make sure to feast. 
  • Take that infamous Eid nap. 
  • Greet loved ones (phone calls, video calls, text messages, voice/video messages, make and send Eid cards).
  • Give and receive gifts. (Electronic ways to transfer money/checks in the mail, dropping off gifts to homes/sending gifts in the mail/having an online order pick-up in-store. You may also choose to do a gift exchange, if not this weekend, next). 

Virtual Parties

Virtual celebrations are a great, safe, option. The best thing about virtual hangouts is that people from all over the world can “come together” to celebrate Eid. This can be as simple as talking and catching up, or can be as orchestrated as a full-out party including games. Keep in mind, the games and virtual parties aren’t only for the kids–everyone should have fun this Eid! We recently threw a virtual birthday party for our one-year-old and it was quite the experience. 

  • Split guests into different calls (kids’ call, adults’ call; men’s call, women’s call)
  • Party agenda for a rigorously planned party so everyone knows what to expect
  • Party games, either with certain items that everyone has (or can easily and quickly purchase) or games that do not require much else besides an internet connection 
    • Games requiring physical items (think of items that everyone is likely to have and think of carnival-type games):
      • Soccer ball juggling or basketball shooting competition
      • Water balloon toss
      • Timed races (three-legged, holding an egg in a spoon, etc.)
    • Games with little to no special equipment
      • Online Pictionary https://skribbl.io/
      • Online Scrabble
      • Video games
      • Charades
      • Taboo (we do this for our cousin game nights with pictures of cards that one person sends to people from the opposite team)
      • Scattergories
      • Bingo
      • Mad libs
      • Speaking games that take turns going around a circle (going through the alphabet saying names of animals or colors or foods, rhyming words [we played the last two lines of “Down by the Bay” for our son’s birthday party])
      • Movement game (Simon says, dancing if you’re into that [“Cha Cha Slide,” dance-off, passing along dance moves as was a TikTok trend I heard of, simply dancing…])
      • Games like in Whose Line is it Anyway? or like the “Olympics” (specifically the “middle games”) that I wrote about way back
  • Performances
    • Skits prepared by one family or even across households
    • Reciting a poem or surah or singing
    • Other showcases of talent, by individuals or not
  • Gift Exchanges (I’ve been doing this virtually since 2013 with friends/distant family members.)

Alternative Virtual/Group Celebrations

Being “together” isn’t always gathering for a party, and that’s what I think most people miss during the forced isolation caused by the pandemic. There are many things you can do to get ready for or celebrate Eid with loved ones even if you’re not together. 

  • Share special recipes with each other or plan to serve the same meals.
  • Coordinate Eid outfits or attempt to do matching henna designs.
  • Send Eid pictures to family and friends.
  • Prepare and cook meals or clean or decorate while on a video call (you don’t have to be talking the entire time).
  • Watch the same movie or show (whether that’s something everyone does as separate households or you do concurrently/even with a video or phone call running. This might be a good time to watch Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King” and do the 10 things it invites us to do.)
  • Go through family pictures or old videos together. Maybe even create a short slideshow/video of your favorites. 
  • Story time full of family legends and epic moments (the best Eid, a difficult time of sickness, immigration or moving story, new baby in the family, etc.). Someone build the fire and get the s’mores going.

Alternative “Outings”

In the same breath, it’s so refreshing to go out and do something fun, not just stay cooped up in your house, right? Seriously. 

  • Check out a virtual museum tour
  • Go on a nice drive to some place you love or miss going to, like drive by the masjid or school or a beautiful area (but stay in your car if there are other people around)
  • Watch an Eid Khutbah (or a regular one) on Eid day (make it special by listening outside in your yard or as a family where you pray).
  • Create a movie theater experience inside the home (that might just mean some popcorn and homemade slushies).
  • Get carry out from a favorite restaurant (if it’s open), and finally have the motivation to take a longer drive if needed
  • Make fruit or gift baskets for friends and family and drop them off at their homes
  • A “paint night,” or some other craft, that everyone in the family participates in
  • Decorate your car and drive around to show it off to friends (I’ve heard there’s an actual Eid car parade at various masaajid in Chicago

Interesting Alternative Community Celebrations I’ve Heard About

Some communities are getting super creative. As I mentioned above, a handful of masaajid in Chicago (Orland Park Prayer Center, Mosque Foundation, and Islamic Center of Wheaton as well as Dar Al Taqwa in Maryland) are putting together Eid drive-thru car parades. I’ve heard of different communities, whether officially sponsored by the masjid or just put together by groups of individuals, having a drive-in Eid salah, in which families pray in their cars in a rented drive-in theater or parking lot (Champaign, Illinois and a community in Maryland). I’m  definitely impressed with that last option, and I’m waiting to hear about more creative ways to get together and worship and celebrate.

So, what am I doing for Eid (weekend) this year? All the must’s, inshaAllah, including getting extra dolled up and making donuts from biscuit dough. A “game night” (virtual party) with alumni from my MSA. A gift exchange party with my cousins as well as another gift exchange party with classmates from my Arabic program (we’ll send unboxing videos out instead of meeting at the same time.) Check out a local college campus we’ve been dying to drive around. Binge a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender newly released on Netflix and do some online Memorial Day sale shopping. Le’s put a tentative on all of those, haha.

At the end of the day, Eid al Fitr is about acknowledging the month of worship we engaged in during Ramadan and spending quality time with loved ones. It doesn’t really matter what that quality time looks like–as long as it is intentional, this Eid will be special no matter what, inshaAllah. Who knows, this might be one of the best, most memorable holidays ever!

Eid Mubarak!

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#Society

COVID-19: A Muslim Perspective on Incarceration and Emancipation During A Public Health Crisis

prison

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has brought new challenges to society that demand solutions.  One such dilemma that has emerged is the spread of the novel coronavirus amongst prison populations and staff.

In Maryland, for example, there are over 200 coronavirus cases reported in the Maryland Prison system.  In New York, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than 800 city correction employees have tested positive for Covid-19, and eight have died.  Also, 1,200 inmates have tested positive and there have been at least 10 deaths from COVID-19.

Alarming reports such as these across the nation have sparked a response by the government to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the prison population and among correctional employees.

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In Washington, for example, the governor has commuted approximately 300 sentences, and over 40 prisoners have received work release furloughs.  Around the country, many low-level and non-violent offenders have been released.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, around 300 prisoners have been released in Orange County, Florida. Over 100 inmates have been released from prisons in Nevada and Alabama; 531 people have been released in Philadelphia, PA, and 1,000 prisoners are slated to be released from New Jersey prisons. Similar efforts underway in most states across the country.

In Maryland, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been at the forefront of the effort to reduce the prison population at-risk for coronavirus, and on Sunday, April 19th, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order granting early release to hundreds of inmates to reduce the spread of the disease.

The ripple effect of such efforts are having an impact globally. According to reports, Poland has announced plans to release up to 12,000 convicts, and Iran has already released close to 80,000 prisoners.

UN experts have urged action, including Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who stated,

“In many countries, detention facilities are overcrowded, in some cases dangerously so.  The consequences of neglecting them are potentially catastrophic.”

What should inform the Muslim community’s position?

This Ramadan, as we seek to uphold these principles in our daily activities, Muslims cannot neglect prisoners’ rights.Click To Tweet

Following in the example of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the noble qualities of justice, mercy and compassion must be factored into the equation.

He said: “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (Tirmidhi 1924).

According to a different hadith, or recorded narration of Prophetic sayings, he said: “Allah does not show mercy to those who do not show mercy to people.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As Imam Omar Suleiman, founder of Yaqeen Institute, stated in part on the Poor People’s Campaign Appeal on Twitter on April 20, 2020:

“Ramadan is a time of fasting and sacrifice to clarify what is necessary and just. It is right and just that protections are enacted for people in mental health facilities, prisons and juvenile detention centers, especially supplies, personnel, testing and treatment. This includes the release of all at risk populations and non-violent offenders and detainees. There are 2.3 million incarcerated people and over 52,000 people in detention centers.”

Conditions in most prisons today clearly create an unsafe environment with regards to the elevated risk of infection with the novel coronavirus.  Releasing low-level, non-violent offenders who are most at risk is an act of Prophetic mercy.

As stated in the Holy Quran: if anyone saves one life, it’s as if they had saved all of mankind. (Surah Ma’idah 5:32).  Saving one non-violent offender from the contagion of Covid-19 in prison may not seem significant in the grand scheme of things, but that act of mercy and compassion reverberates and impacts on greater society.   

In Islamic law, or shariah, maqasid (aims or purposes) and maslaha (welfare or public interest) are two doctrines that inform rulings by jurists.

Maslahah “consist of the five essential values (al-daruriyyat al-khamsah) namely religion, life, intellect, lineage and property.  In this case, it serves the public interest to attempt to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, thereby furthering preservation of life.

Our country’s broken criminal justice system is in desperate need of restorative measures. Prison is not a place where a civilized society can stow away prisoners, discard the key, and forget about them. Click To Tweet

Prisoners are entitled to basic human rights. To this effect, it is documented that as Caliph, the beloved cousin of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Ali ibn Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), used to inspect the prisons, meet the prisoners in them and inquire about their circumstances.

The urgency of the principles of mercy and preservation of life need to be a priority for those entrusted with the authority to make a difference in the lives of the many low-level, non-violent offenders that find themselves caught in the sinuous vice grip of the penal system.

This Ramadan, as we seek to uphold these principles in our daily activities, Muslims cannot neglect prisoners’ rights.

We must make a difference where we can.

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#Islam

Cultivating Spirituality in a COVID-19 Ramadan

“One of the seven given shade on the Day of Judgment is the man who remembered Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in private and so his eyes shed tears” [Sahih Bukhari]

Ramadan has arrived, and this year, along with a lot of uncertainty for many of us. The Family & Youth Institute (FYI) conducted a survey to better understand the spiritual and community needs of Muslim Americans during this Ramadan. Based on these findings, the primary concerns of American Muslims were found to center around the spiritual growth and connection we associate so much with the community/masjid.

Many of us will miss the social gatherings at iftar time. Men and women who regularly pray at the masjid in congregation will now pray in their homes, alone, or with their families. Youth who find their spiritual high at youth iftars and qiyams with their mentors must find another way to meet this need. Revert Muslims who may not have Muslim families to celebrate with, and as a result rely on the greater Muslim community to experience Ramadan, will need another way to fulfill the feeling of togetherness and seeking knowledge.

We need to recognize that we can take steps to reduce our anxiety and take control of this new Ramadan so that we can enjoy and benefit from it! The tips we’ve outlined below can be found in much greater detail in The Family and Youth Institute’s (The FYI) Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit!

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The central place of spiritual connection and growth has shifted from the masjid back to the home. So how can we motivate ourselves to feel the spiritual high of Ramadan from our homes? Here are some ways to make the best of our Ramadan that we can benefit from:

 

Know that the masjid misses us as much as we miss it.

It is missing Quranic recitation, people giving sadaqah, the barakah of people worshipping Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and more. For more on this topic, check out this webinar by The FYI’s Community Educator, Duaa Haggag, about how to keep the masjid alive in our hearts during this month.

Bring the Ramadan feel to your home. 

Now, more than ever, is a time to create a Ramadan home environment that appeals to all of our senses. Many of us do this already if we have children, but now is the time to also do this for ourselves, as adults. This can be done by putting up Islamic visuals (books, decorations), light traditional fragrances you associate with Ramadan, playing your favorite nasheeds, eating traditional foods for Iftar, and so on. These smells, sounds, tastes, and sights will reactivate the feeling you associate with Ramadan, even when you can’t be connected with your community.

Create a spiritual or masjid atmosphere within your home by trying some of the following: 

  • Make a space in your home for yourself where you will pray, read Quran, make du’a, and/or reflect. Have a Quran, dhikr beads, du’a journal/book, and prayer rug easily available for use. Take pictures of your spaces and share them with your friends to encourage each other
  • Mimic the masjid feel by ensuring that the adhan can be heard aloud in the house at all five times of the day
  • If you typically go to the masjid to pray the obligatory prayers, continue to pray at the time of congregation according to your local masjid’s congregation schedule. Lead your family in prayer at these specific times. This encourages you and your family to pray on time while feeling connected to your masjid. If you long to hear the Quran being recited, set that up in your space
  • If you have children, family togetherness will be even more important during this time. Check out the Family Bonding section of The FYI’s Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit for many more practical tips and strategies

Create a special routine for Jumu’ah within the home.

Take the time to research the sunnah practices of Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and find creative ways to do them. Here are some other things to try:

  • Use this as an opportunity to learn the etiquettes of and practice giving khutbahs
  • Have a post-Jumu’ah halaqa or listen to one of the many online lectures being shared to maintain the connection
  • While you may not be able to physically go to the masjid for Jumu’ah, you CAN complete the other sunnahs that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) practiced
  • After Jumu’ah is a time when many of us would meet up and catch up with our family and friends. Host a post-Jumu’ah virtual session and share with your family and friends so you can still catch up and meet with them after Jumu’ah
  • Remind yourselves of the blessings and rewards Jumu’ah brings, even if it can’t be done as a community

Revive the Sunnah of praying Taraweeh in the home.

Learn about how praying taraweeh at home was how our beloved Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and Sahabis prayed it. Remind yourself that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is still waiting to reward you and listen to your supplications; that hasn’t changed. Set up virtual connections with friends or family during taraweeh time. You may not be able to pray together but this will help you connect to the same feeling you had in past Ramadans. Re-frame how we feel about a taraweeh at home. Consider our situation as an invitation to spend alone time (khalwa) with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Structure your Day

Now that we are in quarantine, it’s the perfect opportunity to slow down and focus on making the best of the month of Ramadan. Making a schedule allows you to keep a consistent routine while ensuring that your spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and social needs are all being met each day. There will be days when it is hard to follow the schedule, so be gentle with yourself and allow those days to happen.

  • Start your day with a morning virtual group that recites morning du’a and surahs
  • Designate times to recite your favorite dhikr, du’a, and recitation of the Quran
  • Start a gratitude journal writing at least 3 things you are grateful for each day.  Then when supplicating to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), thank Him for these blessings
  • Plan to listen to a weekly lecture/talk that is live, either with organizations or with your local mosque. Set it up on your TV for the whole family to watch together
  • Celebrate iftar preparation; make it a family affair! Challenge the children to set the table based on different themes and take pictures of it
  • Pick the days you will call a family member, neighbor, or elderly person during the week.
  • Make sure to set time for physical activity: Take a walk outside with the family or let your kids pick a sport to play with you after work hours are over
  • If you have children, refer to the Family Bonding section of The FYI’s Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit to create a schedule with them

Minimize technology

Disengage with technology in order to engage with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

  • Be intentional with how you are using technology and how much you are using it; use it to connect with others, not just to scroll through feeds
  • Set and enforce a Ramadan Family Media contract
  • Monitoring how much we use technology is just as important as monitoring our children’s usage. Refer to The FYI’s Digital Parenting Toolkit for much more resources on properly engaging with media

Quran

We know the month of Ramadan is the month of Quran; though how can we live this during the times we are facing now? Prophethood began when the first revelation came to our beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he was in a state of khalwa, or isolation. While we will miss listening to the Quran being recited by the qari every night in taraweeh, we can still keep the Quran wet on our tongues and ears. Try these strategies:

  • Make time for reading and reflecting on the meaning of the Quran– set SMART goals
  • If you have young children and find it challenging to find the time to sit and read the Quran, consider playing it while preparing iftar or taking care of the kids
  • Have a Quran competition within your family or with friends to see who can read the most pages by the end of the month
  • Engage children with the Quran by teaching them stories of the Prophets, reading Surat ul-Qadr, or Al-Alaq
  • Join or start a Quran recitation group where the Quran is being recited
  • Gather some friends that keep you accountable for your Quran goal.  Do a daily check in on a group text when you meet your goal

Du’a

During this unpredictable time, the power of du’a can bring hope by supplicating to our Creator.  It is also a chance for healing and developing good habits. This Ramadan, be intentional about the du’a you choose to recite considering your current circumstances.

  • Make a du’a journal with a list of important du’as to recite during Ramadan. Choose from the common du’as recited by the previous prophets, including Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and your personalized du’a
  • Choose specific times of the day that you will read these du’a such as during tahajjud, right before iftar, or after a salah
  • Involve your children by asking them to make a list of the important people in their lives they want to pray for and share the list with each other. This not only encourages you to be reflective of your physical and emotional needs, but also reminds us of the One who can meet those needs.
  • Start a text group where each person types in one du’a per day on the group and everyone makes the same du’a for each other

It is an understatement that this Ramadan will be an entirely new experience for the Ummah.  While we will miss the spiritual traditions we enjoy every Ramadan, this year is an opportunity to cultivate new traditions.  The opportunities to catch the blessings of Ramadan are not lost; it just looks different this year. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is so Merciful that he will accept our worship for Him wherever we are.  Ask yourself what spiritual acts draw you closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and structure it in your day whether you are working inside or outside of the home.

For much more information on other ways to take advantage of a Covid-19 Ramadan, be sure to explore The FYI’s COVID-19 Ramadan Toolkit

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