Domestic Affairs Islamic Character

Merciful storekeeper changes robber's mind, religion

By Kiran Khalid

A potential victim became a compassionate counselor during a recent robbery attempt, changing the would-be criminal’s mind — and apparently his religion.

Storekeeper Mohammad Sohail was closing up his Long Island convenience store just after midnight on May 21 when — as shown on the store’s surveillance video — a man came in wielding a baseball bat and demanding money.

“He said, ‘Hurry up and give me the money, give me the money!’ and I said, ‘Hold on’,” Sohail recalled in a phone interview with CNN on Tuesday, after the store video and his story was carried on local TV.

Sohail said he reached under the counter, grabbed his shotgun and told the robber to drop the bat and get down on his knees.

“He’s crying like a baby,” Sohail said. “He says, ‘Don’t call police, don’t shoot me, I have no money, I have no food in my house.’ ”

Amidst the man’s apologies and pleas, Sohail said he felt a surge of compassion.

He made the man promise never to rob anyone again and when he agreed, Sohail gave him $40 and a loaf of bread.

“When he gets $40, he’s very impressed, he says, ‘I want to be a Muslim just like you,’ ” Sohail said, adding he had the would-be criminal recite an Islamic oath.

“I said ‘Congratulations. You are now a Muslim and your name is Nawaz Sharif Zardari.'”

When asked why he chose the hybrid of two Pakistani presidents’ names, the Pakistani immigrant laughed and said he had been watching a South Asian news channel moments before the confrontation.

Sohail said the man fled the store when he turned away to get the man some free milk.

He said police might still be looking for the suspect but he doesn’t intend to press charges.

“The guy, you know, everybody has a hard time right now, it’s too bad for everybody right now in this economy,” said the storekeeper.

Originally published by CNN

About the author

Guest Authors

Guest Authors

As a virtual mosque, we strive to provide a safe space for learning and discussion. We would like to invite our readers to join this process. Everyone has a reflection to share, expertise on a specific topic, or a new idea. We hope, by opening up submissions from guest authors, that we can highlight the work of new, talented writers in our virtual community.

Add Comment

  • LOL , sure with that big gunshot the shopkeeper had it would have been idiotic not to comply and suddendly become

  • May Allah [swt] reward the brother who forwarded you this article. He must be a very amazing and special brother.

    Fi Aman Allah

  • SubhanAllah! Allah knows best if the mans intentions were sincere or if he just did it to get out of trouble…it would be funny if the store owner bumps into the guy at jumah…

  • lol he asks him to promise not to steal ever agan and then gives him that name? classic desi uncle. but what an act of mercy. mashaAllah.


  • SubhanAllah! You'd be amazed what people will do at the point of a gun!

    Since I now know that “the pens have been lifted and the ink is dry,” I thank Allah (subhana wa t'ala) for all the cops who pointed guns at me even though I was unarmed and hadn't stolen a thing…for without them, I might never have made fake IDs, gone to prison, lost my wealth and found my Deen.

    May Allah (swt) bestow His mercy on Br Mohammed Sohail as he was merciful to his would-be robber.

  • The story is beautiful and represent Islamic behavior. Except for the guy thinking that one must change their name to be a Muslim. And then his rediculous irresponsible coice of a name. It almost makes you wonder if he was ignorant or if in fact he was mocking the guy. May Allah forgive my suspicion.

  • as a trained mentor in college that was something i was constantly dealing with- do i have to give Islam as a solution to all peoples problems, and then ethically what does that make me, someone who is entrusted with this information to push/prod and proselytize people.

    I think character says a lot about a persons principles, beliefs and self-worth- its far more then trying to give people Islam, at the end God opens hearts or seals them. I encourage myself to be less of a “islam on my sleeve” type of person and allow people to develop relationships with me and through my conduct get a sense of how Islam defines my behavior, my attitude, and even how I struggle- like other humans- to perfect myself toward that islamic ideal character. Just my thoughts.

Leave a Comment