Legal Issues for Imams: Navigating the Intersection of Faith and Law


As religious leaders, Imams in the US should have a general understanding of the legal issues that affect their congregations and communities. Here are some important legal issues that imams need to be educated about in the US:

  • First Amendment: Imams should be familiar with the rights and protections under First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of religion and freedom speech. They should be aware of the legal protections afforded to religious practices and be prepared to advocate for their center’s and congregants’ religious freedom. Additionally, Imams should understand the basics of protected speech, unprotected speech, and the parameters of them.
  • Civil rights: Imams should understand that the community members have basic civil rights that protect them from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, and other factors. They should also be aware of what resources and organizations that offer additional assistance in this field.
  • Immigration law: With immigration law standards ever-evolving, Imams should have a topical knowledge of the community needs for immigration services. They should also be aware of the challenges facing undocumented immigrants and be prepared to provide referrals and resources to these individuals.
  • Family law: Imams often get called upon to provide guidance and support in family law matters, such as marriage, divorce, and custody disputes. They should be familiar with the legal requirements and procedures in these areas and be able to provide counsel (within the realm of Sharia acceptance) and referrals to legal professionals as needed. The Imams should also understand their obligations to protect youth and children, in their capacity as mandated reporters of abuse and exploitation.
  • Other Common Civil Claims:
    • Defamation: Imams should be aware of the potential legal consequences of making false statements that harm an individual’s reputation. Imams should be cautious when making statements about individuals, particularly public figures, and avoid making statements that are knowingly false or recklessly made.
    • Copyright Law: Imams should be aware of copyright laws when sharing or using materials created by others. They should ensure that they have the appropriate permissions or licenses to use copyrighted materials, such as music or videos, in their sermons or other communications.
    • Privacy: Imams should be aware of the privacy rights of individuals and ensure that they are not sharing private information about individuals without their consent.
      Cybersecurity: Imams should be aware of the potential risks of using electronic communication methods and take steps to protect themselves and their congregations from cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, and identity theft.


Azam Nizamuddin is an attorney, scholar and activist. Professionally, Br. Azam is a litigator with the law firm of Martoccio & Martoccio in Chicago where he practices Family Law, and Personal Injury. He is the former General Counsel for NAIT, and Chief Compliance Officer for Allied Asset Advisors which operates the ImanFund, a sharia compliant mutual fund. Previously, he worked as a litigator for large and small law firms in the areas of business litigation, employment, and family law. He regularly gives presentations on Religion and Constitutional Law, not-for-profit law, and Family Law. He serves in many leadership roles in the DuPage County Bar Association and is a founding member and former President of the Muslim Bar Association. Mr. Nizamuddin has been teaching and lecturing about Islam for the past 25 years at colleges & universities, most recently as Adjunct Professor at Loyola University of Chicago. He also has been an interfaith leader for the past 25 years.

Adam Malik is the managing attorney at Malik & Associates, PLLC in Dallas, Texas. Adam previously worked for the United States Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) as an Adjudications Officer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS). He has extensive experience as a Federal Immigration Officer and brings substantial insight as to how cases can be moved smoothly through the US immigration agencies. While with the USCIS, he has handled numerous fraud investigations and interviews for the US Government. Adam received the Guttenberg award for excellence when he graduated as the valedictorian officer at the nationwide immigration officers’ training academy. Adam handles immigration litigation, deportation defense, US citizenship issues, and all other immigration matters and he is admitted in all state and federal courts in the State of Texas along with the United States Supreme Court.

Tawfiq Morrar is the founding attorney of The Morrar Law Office in Sacramento, California. A longtime business owner with a lifetime of community service, Tawfiq serves his clients in commercial, transactional, and estate planning matters. While still in law school, Tawfiq began his legal career with United State Bankruptcy Court, for the Eastern District of California, and continued working with the Federal Court following his graduation in 2012. In 2014, he entered private practice. Tawfiq has served as a board member and advisor to many non-profit organizations, including the Council on American Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV), Al- Maghrib Institute (Qabeelat Wedad), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and Masjid Annur Islamic Center (Sacramento, CA). Tawfiq is the current president of the Sacramento Area Muslim Bar Association (SAMBA). Tawfiq is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts in the State of California and the State of Texas