In Muslim America , frontline Imams are first responders. We don’t get to retreat, play hooky or play hide and go seek. Many of us do not even get to retire in this life. Most of us are here for the duration, and are accessible in the Masajid, as well as online. We show up, year in year out. Jum’ah after Jum’ah, Ramadan after Ramadan and Eid after Eid. We are the shields as well as the lightening rods of the Ummah, at least here in the United States. Through the good, and the bad, we are still here. Sometimes the same people who paise us one day are the same ones excoriating us the next day. Sometimes we may appear on stage but mostly we are in the trenches, or somewhere in the crevices where people are suffering. Sometimes we are suffering too but we remain on the frontline. And when we regain our strength, we continue to move forward.
Frontline Imams are often the easiest to praise as well as the easiest to blame because we are amongst the most visible of the Muslims. We stand on the minbaars of America, and deliver the weekly messages our words are often the recorded by the public, and we are generally held to a higher standard than other Muslims. Yet, we are just as human as the rest. The veterans amongst us understand that reality and accept it as part of our covenant. Sometimes the same people who paise us one day are the same ones excoriating us the next day.
American Muslim frontline Imams, especially the outspoken from amongst us, take tremendous risks in upholding the truth. There are amongst us those who have been attacked, persecuted, left unemployed, rendered homeless and even killed as a result of owning their words, and upholding the truth. But ultimately the risks are a art of hat we inherited and we are here to serve, guard our ideological borders , and as leaders and teachers of scripture. We are answerable to our flocks, to our Lord and to the Ummah in general. We should not be left alone to advocate on the field of struggle without support from the people to whom we are shields for them.
A lot is expected from American Muslim frontline Imams, we are a minority within a minority within a minority. And it is your right to hold your Imams accountable as long as your are accountable to them to some degree. However our Imams should not be punching bags for the attached or the unattached of our Ummah. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “the best of your imams are those whom you love them, and they love you. You pray for them, and they pray for you. And the worst of them are those whom you hate them and they hate you. You curse them, and they curse you”. [Collected by Muslim].
We are here for the Muslims through thick and thin, and it will always be important for the Muslims that they are here for us when needed. My name is Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, you can support me through Cash App to $abulaith1. Or through my Facebook page, and f course through your prayer.
Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a veteran 20 plus year Imam, is an Associate Imam at Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He is a Philadelphia native, a writer, a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim issues in the United States.
He is also and the author of the book, “Double Edged Slavery“, a objective and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a critical look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. The views expressed in this article are his own. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at email@example.com.