Why Islam in Costa Rica?

21 Feb

As Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

Bismillah hirRahman nirRaheem

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

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As I write down the words of this article, the birds are chirping endlessly outside and I can hear the wind blow between the plantain trees near my home. The weather is beautiful, as it should be on a peaceful February afternoon in Costa Rica. The sun is scorching down at this hour and I can hear my neighbors complaining about the humid weather.

Meanwhile, I get ready to go outside and decide on whether I should choose the long sleeved burgundy shirt I bought a few days ago, or the long pull over cardigan for this evening’s stroll around town? It would definitely contrast to what the rest of my country says I should be wearing right now: shorts, a light colored, spaghetti strapped tank top and some sandals to go along with it. Me in shorts in broad daylight, exposed to all those ticos at this hour? Now talk about absurdity!

This probably would have been some garments I would have managed to pull off on a hot, breezy afternoon like today’s a year ago. Besides, this is what women in my country tend to wear on a daily basis, isn’t it? If the weather is hot, then what’s wrong in showing off your legs and belly to keep cool?

I live in a country where summer is almost every day and the weather is always quite pleasing. It’s only 1 hour to the nearest beach, and only 4 hours to the more beautiful ones up in Guanacaste where tourists tend to visit the most. Or if I want to go enjoy the Atlantic Ocean I can drive to Limón which is also 4 hours away as well. So why do I prefer to preserve my natural beauties to the eyes of men in this tropical country?

The reason to all this is my submission to God; Islam. It’s not my decision to go with the flow and put on whatever the fashion industry here decides to sell us, nor what the weather forces me to take off, but instead my decision to dress in a modest way for the sake of Allah (subhana wa’tala). So why become Muslim in this country? Why didn’t I just be Catholic like the rest of my family and close that chapter of my life? Why not forget about religious views and enjoy the hot weather in my rather tight and sexy outfits like every girl does here?

Here in Latin America, Islam is viewed with the wrong perception. Thanks to what the US media has to publish on about what they consider to be true “Muslims”, we’ve agreed to their ideologies on what Muslims are in our perspective and I need not to name a few of those wrong ideas. There are between three to four million Muslims living in Latin America, 50 000 of them being Hispanic (in other words, reverts to the religion) according to Dr. Mozammel Haque. The mayority of these Muslim communities are located in Argentina with over 1 500 000 Muslims and in Colombia, nowhere near Costa Rica. So why here, in Costa Rica?

There is an estimate of around 500 to 4 000 Muslims that live in Costa Rica. Given the fact that there are 76.3% Catholics and 13.7% Evangelical Christians, we’re talking about an approximate 90% of the population that is in a branch of Christianity. According to the statistics here, there are only 0.01% Muslims! Not even near the 1% scale.

To top that all off, the nearest mosque is located in Guadalupe Montelimar, San José, the capitol. That’s almost 2 hours away from my home!

So this brings us down to my original question: why Islam? If I’ve just provided you with the facts, with valuable reasoning as to why I shouldn’t be a Muslim, then why on Earth have I become a Muslim?

The Qur’an gives us all the answers. Not just to this one in specific, but to any questions you may have in life. As the Qur’an states (from an English translation taken from quran.com):

…and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (14:4)

He (subhana w’tala) guides whom he wishes. That is, we are all not Muslims because He (saw) has decided that you and me are Muslim for a reason, and chose not the rest. We can proudly say that we have been blessed of being Muslims over anyone else.

Now you do have to take in mind that the first time I read the Qur’an and saw this statement, my mind was confused. I didn’t know weather or not my God had chosen the wrong people, falsely thinking to myself that I was in those rightly guided, and not of those that go astray.

It wasn’t until I read the following ayat that I started believing otherwise:

For indeed, Allah sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. So do not let yourself perish over them in regret. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do. (35:8)

What was I doing with my life? Was I letting myself go astray, perishing over those who regret? I tried denying the obvious truth for so long, until finally, over much thinking done, I stopped putting this sensation of shame aside and faced my Lord.

I started investigating in books, articles and anything I could find on the internet (which are many) and on the Hadeeths that showed me my faults . I began listening to audio books I would download and hear them at night when all chaos was at silence and I was alone with my own thoughts. I remember hearing in a book about how the Prophet’s companions were even threatened with death if they were not to leave the religion. I also remember reading about the Pharaoh and how he would force people to take him as their Lord and not Allah, and how the people were oppressed to these beliefs.

And here I was, having free will over anything in my mind, especially what lay in my heart. And despite this free will, I hadn’t submitted myself to Allah, even though I wanted to?

Even more, the Qur’an spoke to me in a manner I had never been spoken to! I could feel my Lord telling me to open my eyes to the truth,  to realize the reality I was living in and to open my heart to Islam. Especially when Allah (saw) referred to the Jews and Christians:

They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah , and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. (9:31)

These are the beliefs Christians indulge in. They take their saints, their prophets, even earthly beings that haven’t been blessed with prophet hood (awliyaa) as their leaders. It (the Qur’an) spoke to me with such truth, that I could not ignore this word of Allah.

For those that are reading this and living in countries where Islam is not the main religion and where your family is probably Christian or not Muslim, I can relate to how difficult it can be to openly say to everyone that you are Muslim or considering the faith of Islam. But fear your Lord! Strengthen your taqwaa (fear of God, piety, God-conscious) to Him (saw), as HE should be the only one that you truly submit down to.

Don’t submit to what the fashion industry says. Don’t submit to what your mother or father tells you to do if it means leaving aside Islam. Don’t submit to what your friends will say, or anyone else. Do not submit yourself to these mortal people, as Allah is the Creator and we are all simply his creation. Submit yourself to your Lord. To Allah. To our God, who says in the Qur’an:

What excuse do I have if I do not worship the One who has created me and to whom you will be returned? (36:22)

As you can clearly read, He (saw) has created us, and has dominion over all things. We will return to him, as Allah (saw) says to us. Then why, haven’t you submitted to his will? If Allah (saw) is telling us in these clear words, what is your noble excuse as to why you haven’t submitted yet?

Take my example as to enlighten you to the truth. You are not reading this article as a coincidence that you just happen to stumble upon. Allah has sent you here, for obvious reasons. And even if you decide to ignore them, He (saw) has well enough spoken to you.

I was raised Catholic, grew up in a Catholic community and had this religion set on me for so long, till I came upon Islam. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what country you’re in or what circumstance you are in, but there is never an excuse for God (saw). It’s never too late for Allah, and he is the Most Merciful, the most understanding of all.

Despite my religious differences, I slowly started to understand the message of Islam. Don’t think I became Muslim in the blink of an eye, nor do I consider myself to be a well enough Muslim or better than anyone else. The one thing that Islam teaches us that makes it so different from the rest and that you can’t truly find in any other religions (given my experience) is that it shows you how to be humble. It washes away your ego. When was I ever like this as a Catholic? Yes, I was humble and had very little ego towards myself, but I consider this to be more because of my upbringing than of the religion. Yes, I was pious to God, but only when I truly needed a favor from Him or when I felt guilty enough of my negligence to Him that I would pray. I was more conscious of my needs than of what Allah wanted from me as his creation.

Anyways, that’s another completely different subject I’ll talk about in the future. For now, I wanted to get across the message of Islam and how it came to me through the Sacred Qur’an. It didn’t come to me through something I saw, or through a comment, or even through a person. But Allah spoke to me through the Qur’an. And I’m sure he has spoken to you through it, or will insha’allah.

Thank you for reading this, I hope it left you with an urge to learn more about Islam. We truly never stop our quest towards Allah until death comes upon us. So I encourage every sister and brother in Islam out there to continue their seeking of knowledge in Allah.

I mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again. There is no excuse for Allah, no matter where you live, what economical difficulties you are facing or ethnic background you may have. As in the Qur’an it says that Muhammed (salalahu alayhi wa’salam) has been sent down to every nation. Not like Jesus (peace be upon him) whom was sent down for the children of Israel, nor any other prophet who was sent down for a specific nation; but instead he was sent down for all mankind as the commmentator Sami Zaatari mentions in one of his articles:

(I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah,) This Ayah mentions the Prophet’s honor and greatness, for he is the Final Prophet who was sent to all mankind [and the Jinns].

So as you can see, Islam is not a religion for a certain population. It is the religion for each and every one of us, despite our cultural differences.

I hope this article was useful to you. If any mistakes were made, please apologize as I am simply a human and Allah (saw) is knower of all things, and it was therefore an error of my own knowledge.

Peace and blessings be on each and every one of us.

Chao.

References:

Haque, D. M. (s.f.). Saudi Gazette. Recuperado el February19, 2013, de Growth of Islam in Latin America: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2009033033636

Muttaqun. (s.f.). Recuperado el February 19, 2013, de Reverts Those who embrace Islam According to Quran and Sunnah: http://muttaqun.com/reverts.html

The Noble Qur’an. (s.f.). Recuperado el February 20, 2013, de http://quran.com/74

Zaatari, S. (s.f.). Answering Christianity. Recuperado el February 21, 2013, de Was the Prophet Muhammed send for the pagan Arabs only? Or all of Mankind?: http://www.answering-christianity.com/sami_zaatri/prophet_muhammad_sent_to_mankind.htm

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13 Responses to “Why Islam in Costa Rica?”

  1. Naji Waheed October 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Costa Rica is the perfect setting for the development and growth of Islam throughout the rest of Latin America. I am a resident now in Costa Rica (from Miami, Florida) and I am trying to network with other Muslims here in Costa Rica to initiate the development of an Islamic community here in Costa Rica for the purpose of reaching out to the rest of Latin America. If this sounds like something that you are interested in please feel free to respond. My name is Naji Waheed and my email address is” justaaman@outlook.com

  2. Katherine Chaisson July 25, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    As salaam walalaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh dear sister, Ramadan Kareem. I was just searching ‘muslims in Costa Rica’ and came across your website. May Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala guide and protect us, our families and our ummah. I am from Nova Scotia, Canada and found and accepted Islam almost 2 years ago now. I have an urge to move to a climate like Costa Rica as I love gardening (growing food) and hobby farming and Nova Scotia is an absolutely beautiful place, but our growing season is just so short. Our fall, winter and springs are nice, but I would love to live in a place where it is like summer all year round 🙂 I have always thought that Costa Rica would be the perfect place, in shaa Allah. I pray you are in high iman and may Allah accept your fasting prayers, dua this Ramadan. Ameen. Sister Katherine Chaisson ❤

    • The Tica Muslimah September 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      Salam alaikum sister! So good to hear from someone from across the world! Ma sha Allah. Please feel free to contact me via email. So good to see Muslims from across the globe sending such nice peaceful comments to me 🙂 Beats all the other nasty comments from those that don’t read :/

  3. Muhammad Yamin September 22, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    Subhanallah.
    i am very like for this article.
    it’s really life experiences that come from heart to seek the truth.
    proudly to be muslim. Alhamdulillah.

  4. No More Islam November 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Most Costa Ricans despise Islam, just like all other sensible nation citizens do. Islam will never rise in Costa Rica. People here have seen what Islam is about in the murdering, rioting, raping and terrorism that goes on all over the world wherever there is a Muslim.

    Costa Rica says “No Thanks” to Islamic carnage in paradise.

    • The Tica Muslimah September 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      I have to disagree with you. Costa Ricans are the most humble, respectful and peaceful people on this Earth. I would know because my family members respect my decision and have nothing bad against it. Costa Rica says “Yes please!” to Islam, and any other religion 🙂 Salam alaikum!

  5. patrickfincune January 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    You should be hunted down, caged and then deported.

    • The Tica Muslimah September 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

      People like you are the reason why I continue to spread the message of ISLAM in MY COUNTRY. I am Costa Rican. Good day 🙂

  6. Wynell April 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    What is the difference between what you believe and ISIS? I serve the only one true GOD, and he doesn’t tell me to go out and behead people. HE tells me to show them love, to help them in their time of need. to keep myself holy as HE is HOLY. His Name is above all Names. His name is Jesus, the SON of GOD. I don’t dress as others dress, but I don’t hide my face. I cover my body, lift my hands in worship and I pray all day long…..Please tell me how we are different. Please tell me why we should be on different sides?

    • The Tica Muslimah September 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      Because ISIS are a terrorist group. I am not. We don’t go around beheading people. If that were the case, Islam wouldn’t have so many followers every year, besides the point that if Islam truly WERE violent, I’m pretty sure everyone else would be dead by now. My God doesn’t tell me to go behead people either. Hope that answers your question. Next time, have some valid arguments to come and attack me in that violent and disrespectful way.

  7. S. T. August 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Assalam Wa Laykum, inshallah this message reaches you in good health and eman. I am a Muslimah from the states, and I am planning a trip to Costa Rica this month of august 2015, i was trying to network and see if i could find some sisters who are available during my stay to help me navigate around the country. I am coming for vacation and would love to meet you as well as any other muslim sisters in Costa Rica, bonus i also speak spanish 🙂 I hope to hear from you soon inshAllah, i will send contact info once i hear from you.

    Wa Salaam Wa Laykum

    • The Tica Muslimah September 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

      Wa alaikum as salaam, sorry to reply at this time, I’m pretty sure you’re already here in Costa Rica! Please e-mail me at: TheTicaMuslimah@gmail.com and I’ll be more than happy to chat with you 🙂 Enjoy your stay here!

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