The End - 2000 to 2009

He did a good thing here, but selling pipes that are only used to smoke haram substances is wrong.

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (WPIX) – After the word got out of his act of compassion and kindness, deli owner Mohammad Sohail became an instant star.

That unusual confrontation caught by surveillance cameras shows the shop owner being held up by a masked man armed with a baseball bat. Sohail pulled a rifle on the robber, who then begged for forgiveness, claiming to be hungry and down on his luck.

Sohail gave him $40, and even offered him bread and milk.

However on Thursday, the kind-hearted store owner is facing up to $30,000 in fines.

“I respect the fact that he did something courageous on one occasion, nonetheless I’m convinced he was violating general business law,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The District attorney and a host of elected officials boasting the results of an undercover sting that snagged 7 shops for drug paraphernalia. Sohail’s store was one them.

“Everybody sells these things.” said Sohail.

Some of the items seized like gravity knives that were on display are illegal, but the weapons didn’t come from Sohail’s store, these hookah’s and pipes did. When it comes to smoking pipes, the law gets a little cloudy.

“It’s not illegal to sell it, but it’s illegal to sell it when you know what you’re selling it for,” said Legislator Kate Browning.

That includes selling to teens, or to someone whose intentions are clearly not for tobacco use, but to get high.

Sohail doesn’t face any criminal charges, just hefty civil charges for business law violations. The shop owner is not as concerned about the money as he is about his reputation.

“They try to make me a hero, I don’t want to be a zero,” he told PIX News.

Copyright © 2009, WPIX-TV


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  • 27 Responses for "Mohammad Sohail, Store Owner who converted would-be Robber to Islam, faces fines for selling Bongs and Hookah Pipes"

    1. wut June 6th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

      Everything he sold is available in every mall you go to. This was clearly a biased arrest. He will be charged $30k.

      The cops are mad he didn’t shoot the black man, because now they have to do it.

    2. MR June 6th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

      @wut – As a Muslim this is prohibited. I’m from Long Island and I know many of the Muslims that own/operate 7-11s and convenience stores also sell alcohol which is also prohibited in Islam.

    3. Ikram Hadi June 6th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

      لا حول ولا قوة إلاّ بالله

    4. Nihal Khan June 6th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      I’m surprised actually..

      I’ve been to a gas station in which there were bongs available for sell and use. Once the police discovered them, they simply took them away and didn’t charage the owner and fines.

    5. Hi June 6th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      You should be careful when saying “Allah did this” and “Allah did that”

      You don’t know the reason or the final verdict. And if Allah reveals his sins in this world, this man may be better off in the hereafter. If Allah punishes him now instead of hell, it may just be a blessing in disguise.

      Let’s not jump to conclusions shall we?

    6. Usman Akhtar June 6th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      This is one of the shames of the Indo-Pak community. I know so many Indo-Pak Muslims who own convenience stores that sell not only alcohol, and pipes, but pornography as well. They’re justification is “everybody does it”.


    7. Hi June 6th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

      I know so many Indo-Pak Muslims who work for large corporations that deal with interest, usury and corruption. That would be about 98% of large corporations… but lets blame the poor little guys while we sit back in our suburban homes.


    8. Usman Akhtar June 6th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

      LOL!!! – that’s why I love muslim blogs, you get back exactly what you put in.

      I never said I lived in modern day suburbia, or that I supported corporations who are involved with interest, but two wrongs don’t make a right, and the fact that there are Muslims out there who are involved with interest doesn’t justify the selling of alcohol, pornography, or weed smoking accessories.

      I’m guessing you have an uncle who owns a 7-11.

    9. Usman Akhtar June 6th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

      As brother Sohail said: “this is not my beezniss, this is yoor beezniss!!”

    10. Azeem June 7th, 2009 at 7:42 am

      World make me a hero, I don’t want to be a zero!

    11. Hi June 7th, 2009 at 9:54 am

      I don’t need to have an uncle who owns a 7-11 in order to stand by my statement.

      I am sympathetic towards everyone, especially if I don’t know their circumstances. If I see a man who was jay-walking then getting hit by a truck, I don’t think to myself “Allah did it because he deserved it”. I feel bad for the man and I try to help him if possible. I won’t blast him on a public forum.

      In fact, I believe the judge will show more compassion towards this man than you did. The judge may look at his recent heroic act and think “This man is a decent human being and he deserves a second chance also”.

      I hope your heart finds peace someday.

    12. Taqee June 7th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

      “He did a good thing here, but selling pipes that are only used to smoke haram substances is wrong. Verily Allah does as He wills. This is an eye opener for him. Allah made him popular for a good thing and now Allah reveals his shady business.”

      Allah does as He wills, not necessarily as you analyze Him to will. We should just say ‘subhanAllah, may Allah increase the brother in khayr.’

      Like another reader wrote:

      It’s pretty easy to sit and criticize a lower socioeconomic status Muslim, saying that Islam’s accountability is egalitarian and ‘tsk, tsk, but you shouldn’t be selling items that may be used for illegal purposes,’ but we should be careful since everybody’s situation is unique and the socioeconomic elite Muslims of the West engage disputed and or haram practices of a more ‘sophisticated’ nature and are by no means less accountable.

      On the contrary, perhaps more so.

      Personally, we all know that decrepit and inconsistent systems of enforcement exist in urban poverty pockets that really leave people with difficult choices that we can’t necessarily empathize with from our luxurious position dictated far more often by choice than necessity.

    13. Ruby June 7th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

      Things I Dislike about Muslim culture:

    14. farah June 7th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      that’s a ridiculous thing to say and a ridiculous post. You have no idea what Allah is doing by this. Maybe he is being tested after doing a great thing. You don’t know. Selling hookahs. Please. How about anyone who sells ciagrettes? these are harmful substances as well. he did a great thing and now is being punished for it. i’d like to see how many of us would do what he did. we all like to judge everyone else and not look in the mirror. i usually enjoy this blog but i think i might be done with it after this. it seems that everyone is just way too judgemental these days.

    15. farah June 7th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      that’s a ridiculous thing to say and a ridiculous post. You have no idea what Allah is doing by this. Maybe he is being tested after doing a great thing. You don’t know. Selling hookahs. Please. How about anyone who sells ciagrettes? these are harmful substances as well. he did a great thing and now is being punished for it. i’d like to see how many of us would do what he did. we all like to judge everyone else and not look in the mirror. i usually enjoy this blog but i think i might be done with it after this. it seems that everyone is just way too judgemental these days.

    16. Yacha Cakima June 7th, 2009 at 11:51 pm

      @ Farah


      I read this post and thought how true. Know that I evaluated things I’m thinking you cant really say what was intended in this. But i think this blog is still cool. I check it everyday. Good work MR but this post was a little iffy.

    17. mosin June 8th, 2009 at 12:15 am

      is sheesha haram?

    18. Dawud Israel June 8th, 2009 at 12:39 am


      C’mon man you are KILLING ME over here!!!

      Give your brother Husnudh-dhan-benefit of the doubt !! And listen, don’t report and spread anything bad about your brother. If I found a video of you selling bongs, I wouldn’t post it on my blog. Its not cool man!

      This is like Namima man:

      I could cite a bunch of hadith right now, but suffice it to say, the words of Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu:

      “Why are you helping Shaytaan against your brother?”

      The man did dawah and set a good example for Muslims…I think this is why the media might have gone after him. We’re simple folk man. Give them the 70 excuses.

      Take this post down bro. Please.

    19. Koorosh Vahabi June 8th, 2009 at 5:17 am

      If we talk bad about him here, will it count as gossipping about him.

      Coz you know Islams view on gossiping right….

      But inshallah good comes out of his situation.

      Subhannallah, I visited a muslims brother’s store here in Canada and he was selling alcohol. And I politely asked him why…

      “oh…you know how north american economy is”


      Wallahee i have met muslims here who wont even apply for a credit card…based on the following hadeeth…

      “Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 3327 Narrated byAbdullah ibn Mas’ud The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the one who accepted usury, the one who paid it, the witness to it, and the one who recorded it.”

      and those guys are getting by just fine….

      I always say….”if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem”

      And I am far from being “good” myself…May Allah guide and forgive all of us.

    20. Abdullah June 8th, 2009 at 11:31 am


      Of course sheesha is haram, just like cigarettes.

    21. Usman Akhtar June 8th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      @ Dawud Israel

      at first, I strongly disagreed with what you said. As an ummah, I don’t think we should try to sweep our dirt under the rug, and cover up our mistakes and our problems. There are many Muslims engaged in a haram business, selling alcohol, and bongs, and we have to expose and solve that problem.

      I see where you’re coming from though, I thought about how I would feel if someone made a blog post exposing any of the sins I’ve committed, and I fully appreciate your angle on this.

      But what needs to be clarified here is the fact that this Muslim didn’t make any effort to keep his sin secret. He was selling those bongs to the public, and any idiot – as a matter of fact – any idiot pothead, knows what those bongs are used for. He didn’t feel any shame in openly selling those things, he just said : “everybody sells those things”, showing that he’s ok with selling that crap as long as other people sell it too, and we can’t protect his dignity, if he doesn’t want to protect it himself.

      Furthermore, he was selling things that would lead to the detriment of other individuals. Even if he wasn’t selling drugs, he was indirectly promoting the purchase of drugs. I don’t need to tell you why drugs are destroying the lives and futures of young people, many of which are youth within our own ummah. There is no excuse for selling drugs, or anything that promotes drug use. When someone harms other people, many of his rights are taken away from him, including the protection of their dignity.

      The sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him)

      “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed,” A man said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him.”

      Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 84 Book 85, Volumune 009 Narrated by Anas (r.a.)

      So in my opinion, as worthless as my opinion is, his right on the community to protect his dignity is severely limited, because he:

      a) Didn’t protect it himself. He sold those bongs openly, and to the public. We can’t protect him from being exposed, if he chooses to expose himself.

      b) He was selling something that indirectly leads to the detriment of others. When you harm others, many of you’re rights are taken from you.

      I’m no scholar, and I’m no executioner either. I understand the brother has good in his heart, that is obvious from how he showed mercy to our new brother in Islam. In fact, when I read that story – I thought this is how dawah SHOULD be done, by showing the mercy of islam through ACTION.

      However, that newly converted brother probably has some doubts now about how much integrity Mohammad Sohail had, and whether his conversion was just an impassioned act in the heat of the moment, and whether Muslims are really so good.

    22. Zabi June 8th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

      Everybody has their flaws. It’s not like he’s a prime example of a muslim.

      And whay was that about the law?? It is illegal to have something which might be used for illegal things? Say whaaat? Its like saying, don’t have a spoon on you. It can be used for poking out peoples eyes, its illegal.
      I don’t understand it in the context of American law

    23. Koorosh Vahabi June 8th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

      Some really valid points are being made here.

      I agree with Dawud Israel’s point of hiding his actions. Although he was exposed by the media, and so we are just spreading it further.

      Whosoever covers (the sins of) a Muslim, Allah covers (his sins) on the Day of Judgment. (Reported by Bukhari)

      At the same time, in Islam, punishments for crimes are supposed to be carried out in public, in order to send a message to every one else. This is done to prevent others from committing the same acts.

      And obviously we are not living in a Muslim State either. And there is no Sharia law.From all these points we can see that just like many things in life, things are not black
      or white.

      But I still don’t know what the right course of action here would be.

      And Allah Knows Best.

    24. Danish Hasan June 9th, 2009 at 12:18 pm


      lets not forget that some(maybe more than some) of the Hanafi ulemaa dont fully consider the use of tobacco haraam.

      Based on that it might be okay for him to sell those since he doesnt know for sure that the people buying them would use them to do evil.

      If we base our condemnation of the brother based on doubts then we can even say selling condoms is evil(ppl use it for zina and sodomy), or just about anything that can be potentially evil.

      There;s no question about selling alcohol or pig.


    25. Dave June 9th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

      It’s their choice to be harem. I’m mad that he was busted. He should have been prepared.

    26. Yus from the Nati June 9th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

      @ Danish Hasan

      You raise an interesting point.

      I remember I asked Yaser Birjas about something along the lines of this (actually, now I think about it…it’s unrelated, but I’m going to say it anyway).

      The question was:

      “if a crackhead comes up to you and says he got a tv for $5, is it wrong for you to buy it? Meaning, do you make excuses and say he’s just a regular guy that most probably did not steal it (since there’s no witnesses/evidence other than intellect), or do you use your intellect/experience and assume, that this dude stole it and/or got it through illegal means. So now is it permissible to buy it?”

    27. salaam June 10th, 2009 at 9:11 pm


      I agree with Dawud. Though it was not good, it is known that if you hide a fellow muslim’s sin then on the day of judgement Allah will hide your sins.
      but… Allah is all knowing

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