My Secret Life as a Muslim

25 Feb

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Okay this title might be a bit confusing. It’s almost as if I’m confessing some terrible sin I’ve committed by claiming that this is a “secret” life. Technically secret does mean something which no one knows about.

But quite sadly it is somewhat true. Despite the fact that there are people that know the path I have chosen over every other path out there,which is Islam, there are others that don’t know that and I almost feel obligated to hide it from them.

It’s not that I don’t like to say I’m a Muslim. I’m actually quite proud I have reverted to Islam and have never felt so close with Allah in my entire life. But the reactions you get from people by telling them you’re a Muslim is saddening and always leaves me with a bad taste in my soul.

It should all resume to the reaction I got from my mother. It was shortly after I had taken my shahada that I sat down with her one night to watch tv. I quite frankly don’t like television, but that certain day I went and watched tv with her. I felt her tense near me, so as a way to ooze down the silence between us I tried starting up a conversation. It was then that she started questioning whether or not I was reading that “book” (the Qur’an, but she avoided calling it by it’s sacred name).

I’ve never thought it could hurt so much having someone offend you with words. It was bomb after bomb of false accusations, of forbidding me to read this book again, of threatening me with not ever talking to me again. I tried to keep my calm, but the weakness in my voice was inevitable to hear. I was in shock. I kept thinking to myself, okay Dio you can wake up now. This nightmare is starting to get a bit painful.

But it wasn’t a nightmare, but in fact actual words coming from my own mother.

She accused me of dressing stupidly and admitted thinking how absurd it was for her. She yelled at me that she found impossible to understand these women that cover their head, and when I told her that covering your head was also stated in the Bible, she flipped and started attacking me in other ways. She would scream, “Don’t you remember the 911 incident? All those innocent people that died because of those terrorists?” My God! My mother actually believed Muslims to be terrorists!

I felt my world falling apart. I knew after this one-way argument our relationship would never be the same. I had always trusted my mom with so many things in my life, but now her true colors were showing. I would close my eyes and think to myself, just make her stop Allah.

A part of me wanted to go running into my room or out of the house, but it was almost 10 p.m. and I knew I couldn’t chicken out. I would defend my religion for as much as I could. How dare she insult me this way? Even worse, how dare she insult God? She doesn’t know that in Islam you worship the same God in which Christians believe in. So this helped me be more calm and not feel defeated at certain times during her accusations.

It was mind-numbing to hear her talk that way about the Qur’an. I would continuously tell her to quit her insults to the word of God, but she had no belief in that it was the word of God.

She hurt me bad.

I know you shouldn’t let people bring you down like this, especially when it’s in reference to Allah. But she is my mother. How can you not feel bad when it’s the person that raised you and gave you care and food and protection? She’s supposed to support me in the things I do, not turn me down like this. It almost felt as if I had come out to her with something ridiculous like I was a lesbian or that I had killed someone. I felt like she was accusing me of a crime this bad. And reverting to Islam isn’t even a bad thing!

After this happened, I feel like I’m now living a double life. I tend to pray in my room, with the door closed and muttering almost whispering my prayers to myself. I don’t want her to see me when I pray, especially since I know she will say something rude and interrupt me in my prayer.

I don’t say anything when someone prays in the name of Jesus as Christians tend to do. Nor do I correct someone when they bless themselves under the name of Jesus. These are Christians things that I now find incorrect and know they are committing shirk (associating others with Allah), but despite my knowledge I maintain myself quiet.

And after I got this reaction from my mother, I know others will have an even worse reaction than she did. I wish I had enough courage in me to not care about other’s opinions, but since I live with Christians in my home and in my community, it’s rather hard not to say something that would insult them, or have them all against me afterwards.

If it were up to me, I would have probably begun using the hijab once I took my shahada. I mean, why go against what Allah tells us is best for us? And I happen to like the way women represent Islam this way.

I’ve spoken with another Muslimah here in Costa Rica that has told me how people treated her after her reversion to Islam. Her mother had also reacted negatively towards her when she told her that she was a Muslim. Also, when she wore hijab people would give her nasty looks, as well as those even more ignorant that would yell at her things like “terrorist” or those that considered her to be oppressed.

I think that because of the amount of Catholics that live here, Islam is not welcome. To top this all off, the media has made people have false belief towards Muslims, tagging them as terrorists, old-fashioned and that the women are subjugated to men.

I mean go onto Google and search the word Islam under Images. You get all these terrible images that make me sick to my stomach. You don’t see this happening to Christianity. And why’s that? Because the media is controlled by Christians. These Christians beliefs are the ones that tell you what you need to see, what you don’t need to see and what you should be thinking.

I wish every Christian or Jew or whatever other religion could go out and read the Qur’an, even if it were just a segment or a small fraction of the Qur’an. Where does it talk about terrorism, oppression, neglecting certain people? Where? You would find yourself empty handed with this type of proof in our religion.

So this is the reason of why I prefer not to tell people I am Muslim. I know this is probably an excuse, as there should be no reason to feel ashamed of Islam. In fact, given the circumstances I live in I should be informing people about Islam and not keeping it all to myself.

So what can we do about this?

First, education. We as ticos must learn to educate our children in a way that teaches them to respect other religions. Since ticos live in a one-religion country, everyone here is Christian or the majority of their family is Christian. Therefore, I’ve witnessed that a lot of people, adults and children,will laugh at people from other cultures or religions. This is because they aren’t exposed to different ethnic groups and when they do see someone that is different, this is their form of isolating them from the rest.

This is the real answer to the problem. If I were to live in a place where diversity was more sparse, I wouldn’t feel like such a sore thumb, sticking out in the crowd. But unfortunately, this is not the case.

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Even an uncle came this afternoon, who happens to be a devote Christian and I didn’t feel like having to give him any explanations of my religion. If I knew someone were to come to me inquiring the religion with an open mind and wanting to know more of it’s beauty, I would love to help. But, I see these people and know why they want to ask me about Islam: to find the errors in it (something I believe they will never have any validity in their answers).

Insha’Allah He will give me the strength to ignore these comments, take them as a test of my patience and answer them with pride and respect. I feel it’s not necessary to argue and make people feel bad of their religion when trying to defend Islam, but it is very important to defend it at all costs (even if that person happens to be your mother).

I found peace in Islam. So much, that when today my poor dog died (may he rest in peace) I did not feel the need to break down in tears like my mother and sister did. I understand that Allah (saw) does everything for a reason and that He is the best of planners mashallah! 🙂

I trust my entire life to the will of Allah. He knows what is best for me, as I do not. And for those that state, “then why is their evil?” I answer: Allah does not create evil, but in fact He does these things for the good that will come from that evil, even if we as mere humans – finite and just the creation – may not be able to understand that good in it’s entirety. Subhanallah for that.

Well I hope you all have a glorious day/evening wherever you are in the world. 🙂 Please keep in tune for a new article I have on why Christians don’t understand Muslims. Thanks for reading, and before I go do let me know how your experience was at the beginning of being a Muslim and also what we can do in our society, this beautiful country that is Costa Rica, to improve our acceptance to Islam.

Chao.

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4 Responses to “My Secret Life as a Muslim”

  1. Sheikh Halim March 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Interesting articles. At least I know now what is Ticos. I come across your website from your article regarding your photographer friend revert. I am a Muslim from Malaysia. If you like to chat or write an email why not. I am married with 4 boys. The youngest one are twin. May Allah bless you sister.

    • theticamuslimah April 2, 2013 at 2:04 am #

      Salam, thank you for finding my articles interesting; it’s great to have your support from Malaysia. May Allah bless you as well, and I hope you continue to read some of my blogs insha’Allah. Hope to hear from you soon

  2. salman December 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    sister, why dont you get married to a nice good muslim guy. I will pray for you that you find a very loving husband(offcourse muslim). By the way when you feel down or upset then recite the darood shareef. But recite it with concentration(recite it till you feel peace)
    You can recite the darood that we say in salah(at the end of it)

    (try not to talk with namehrems alot even via chat except in case of emergency,)

    Your Brother
    from Salman

  3. Alaa January 7, 2014 at 1:34 am #

    Al salamu Alikom warahmatu Allah wabarakatu
    Mashallah sister your words are sweeter than honey,especially in the Article that is titled “Why Islam in Costa Rica” Mubarak on your acceptance of Islam mashallah, as soon as I read your first article and learned that you were a convert to Islam you welcomed your way to my heart right away! Although I was born muslimah, I love all my sisters and brothers in Islam that were born Muslims that learned about Islam by their parents and communities but those who are converts to Islam have a very special place in my heart! as I Hope inshallah that all people can have open hearts to see the beauty and truth in Islam as it is a true religion of god.

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