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Don’t Relax Your Guard

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin

We Muslims have a reputation of having such good hearts and easy-going natures that oftentimes we are easy prey for unscrupulous people bent on taking advantage of us. Some even come to the masjid specifically for that purpose.

Recently, our masjid in Detroit was the victim of a theft of audio speakers by a person (non-Muslim) who was working in our soup kitchen. This person saw and studied us and saw numerous holes in the security of our masjid. He came and walked right past security saying he was told to come and mop the floor. Having seen him around before, the brothers just let him go. (Probably just as he knew they would do). He saw how we come and go with a lackadaisical attitude, not paying much attention to the comings and goings of those around us. Too often we assume everyone else is going to be like most Muslims–honest and moral. But ALLAH warns us of this in numerous places in Qur`an and the life example of the Prophet (s).

If we make it too easy for someone to do wrong, those with weak faith or evil intent will do that wrong. They may not even think of it if it were not so easy. To counter this kind of thinking, our primary focus should be to provide the best environment conducive for spiritual and moral growth. We do this by providing a good religious program as well as a structured environment.

We must also be cautious of people coming to our mosques and asking for different amounts of money because they are stranded, or need money for various other “emergencies.” There are people who make a very good living taking advantage of the Muslims’ soft hearts. There are well-publicized stories of people posing as sheiks, heads of state, and various other covers. This brings up another point.

Some of these con artists present themselves as someone bringing you money and good fortune. But they got stranded so they need you to send them money so they can bring you money. This is the oldest game in the book. If you are greedy and want something for nothing, they will get you every time. I am happy they were exposed.

Of course, we must be cautious about being overly cautious as well. We don’t want to get so callous that we turn our hearts cold to those who need help. ALLAH says all through the Qur’an for us to be generous and charitable. Being charitable not only helps those in greatest need, it benefits those who give it just as much. When you are consciously charitable, your heart is cleansed, your spirituality is enhanced, and ALLAH is pleased with you.

But He is also pleased when you prevent a tyrant from being oppressive to other human beings. He is also pleased when you”trust in Him – and tie your camel.” To allow an environment of weak security is to invite the wrath of ALLAH on your situation. People who would ordinarily be an asset to the community can, because of a weakness, slip and do something against themselves.

Of course you know Satan is always looking for opportunities to cause problems any way he can. So “tying your camel” also keeps him in check. He (Satan) has to work in the dark so the more light and truth shone on a subject, the more restricted his movements.

The Qur’an gives us plain and basic instruction to live good and balanced lives. Reflect and prosper.

As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin


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