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Final Tips for Ramadan…

9 Jul

As-salaam alaikum everyone.

So the month of Ramadan has finally come – Alhamdulillah! – and insha’Allah you are more than prepared to take on this wonderful opportunity of mercy, forgiveness, and love from Allah (subhana wa ta’aala).

It seems like we were all expecting the month to begin tomorrow, July 9th, but as the moon was not sighted in Saudi Arabia, they have informed us that it will begin on Wednesday. In other words, Ramadan shall begin tomorrow night, with the first taraweeh prayers and the fasting will initiate on Wednesday insha’Allah. This has been confirmed in Costa Rica, so I’m not sure what the situation may be in your country.

Just a few tips to keep us motivated before we begin our fasting, and that insha’Allah we can take advantage of all the blessings given during Ramadan.

  • Don’t think about the fact that you’re hungry all the time.

I put this one up first because I know that many people will be thinking more on what’s not inside their belly than on more important matters. Not only will this make us waste valuable and precious time thinking and whining about our own selves than on the Qur’an, but also it will feed your ego. When you’re constantly thinking I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am sleepy, I, I, I… your unconsciously feeding your ego and distancing yourself from Allah (subhana wa ta’aala).

Remember the 800 million people on the face of this planet that don’t even have clean, fresh water, that can’t even have a bite to eat sometimes even during the whole day. When you are fasting, remember to make du’a for those that need it the most; for the hungry, the poor, the sick and those more in need of Allah’s mercy than us.

At least you’ll be able to eat something tonight, what about those millions that can’t? Take advantage of this sacred month and make du’a.

  • Divide the Qur’an up during the day instead of reading it in one sitting.

It’s easier to jog a mile every morning than to wake up one day and jog 10 miles. Not only will it be exhausting to read one juz or section of the Qur’an after a long day, but also you won’t be able to reflect on it sufficiently. If you divide the reading of the Qur’an during the day, you will be able to reflect more on what you read, think more about it and act upon the teachings of the Qur’an. Divide it up in a way that you read approximately 5 pages before salat, and 5 pages after each salat. That way you will be able to finish the entire Qur’an throughout the day, and reading 5 pages of Qur’an isn’t a whole lot.

If you work or are busy with your studies, then read some before starting your day (so that you can act upon it and reflect), during lunch break, and some more after work or school. Finally, save a good chunk of the juz for the night, when you’re relaxed and calm with your thoughts.

  • Make a goal to learn one new surah this Ramadan.

Whether it be big or small, the important thing is that you memorize it, know what you’re saying and stick to your task. Remember that the Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa’salaam) says that Allah (aza wajal) loves those that do something, no matter how small it may be, but are consistent on it. A sister and I have decided to memorize Surah Al Mulk, which is composed of 30 ayats, one for each day of Ramadan. If you’d like to join the challenge with us you are more than welcomed to, and if you can find a friend to take the task with you, that would be even better so that you can help each other out insha’Allah.

  • Remember why you are fasting.

Are you fasting to lose a few extra pounds on you? To quit your smoking habit or chill more on the amount of coffee you drink? Because everyone else is doing it and you don’t want to feel left out? If your reason for fasting is everything BUT to please Allah (swt), then your intentions are all upside down. Remember why Allah prescribed fasting for us, remember those that have no food on their plates, remember that Ramadan is a month in which we come closer to Allah and not distance ourselves from our Rabb, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, of our Sustainer, of our Lord. When you know exactly why you are fasting and have the good intention to, everything else will be easy for you insha’Allah.

  • Ramadan is not about fasting, it is about the Qur’an.

There are those that cannot fast, such as the sick, the poor, women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, etc. However, are these people exempt from the mercy and forgiveness of Allah during this month? Of course they aren’t. Even if we are fasting and have the health and possibilities to, Ramadan is not just a month of fasting. It was the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saws), and we must learn to make this month about the Qur’an and not about the fasting prescribed in it. Of course it is a huge factor that is part of the month, but truly the treasure in this month is the Qur’an itself and we must learn to meditate, study and actually sit down and read the Qur’an!

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So those were my simple yet informative tips for you before Ramadan begins. Insha’Allah you will benefit from them.

Just a heads up, this Ramadan since it is my first (Subhanallah for new reverts!), I’ve decided to share my experiences and stories along my Ramadan this year through here. It’s very important to keep a journal if you are new to fasting so that you can help yourself through the month. I encourage each and every one of you to keep a journal for Ramadan, to write in it and to save this so that you can look back at it throughout the years and remember your first, second, or any numbered Ramadan. 🙂

May Allah grant you guidance, wisdom and knowledge this Ramadan and the many months to come. May Allah (aza wajal) strengthen your emaan and bless your families, friends, and loved ones this Ramadan insha’Allah. Ameen.

Chao.

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My Pre Ramadan To-Do List

4 Jul

set and reach goal concept

As a means to help others out there who aren’t quite sure what they can do right before Ramadan begins, I’ve decided to share this list with you on things you can do just before Ramadan.

I know many people are too busy with work, school, children or other time consuming activities, so insha’Allah this list will help you prepare for Ramadan.

Before I begin, it’s important to highlight this following hadith:

Abu reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When half of Sha’ban remains, then do not fast.” [at-Tirmidhi]

Fasting this last week is not recommended. I had the intention of fasting a few weeks ago, but Alhamdulillah I found this hadith narrating the importance it is to not fast right before Ramadan.

Plan a food calendar.

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If this is your first Ramadan, or you are unsure of what to eat for suhoor and iftar, then plan ahead. Make sure to base your early breakfast – suhoor – around enough vitamins and nutrients to help you withstand the long hours of fasting throughout the day.

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water. [Abu Dawud]

It was Sunnah (prophetic way) for the Prophet (saws) to break his fast with dates, and if they were not available then with water.

Watch Ramadan Prep series on QuranWeekly.com

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An easy way to help you learn before Ramadan, to prepare you and to spend some time remembering Allah ta’aala (dhikr) is by watching these informative videos. There is a new video up every night at 7:00 p.m. Costa Rican time if you are interested in watching them. You can look back to the previous 4 videos they have up to catch up, and they also have the videos from last year’s Ramadan Prep series if you’d like to learn from those as well. Insha’Allah we can learn how to prepare ourselves for Ramadan before it finally comes.

Learn a new Surah

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A great and simple way to improve yourself before Ramadan is by memorizing a part of the Qur’an.

Whether it be an ayat, or an entire Surah to recite in our Salat (prayers), it is very important to take advantage of this month and actually learn from the Qur’an.

How many people fast just with their bodies? The true fasting is that which is in the heart, abstaining from evil thoughts and devoting your time and effort to learning and acting upon the Qur’an.

This website will help you learn to memorize a Surah or Ayat of the Qur’an: www.MountHira.com

Hear a short Podcast from Bayyinah Institute.

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These small podcasts are free, and open to anyone in desire to improve their emaan.

I know that here in my country, the ummah is spread around the country in different parts. Therefore, I can’t indulge myself in the activities held in the masjid for distance and financial reasons, so what better way than to learn Qur’an through the Internet.

So far I’ve listened to the first 21 ayats of Surah Al Baqarah from two separate podcasts. They have helped me learn what these ayats truly hold, and the ustadh Nouman Ali Khan is a great teacher to obtain knowledge from.

Here is the link to the podcasts. Feel free to download or hear as many as you’d like. Just remember that it is better to hear a short 30 minutes per night than to try to hear 2 hours of tasfeer, which can be exhausting to the mind.

http://podcast.bayyinah.com/category/002-surah-al-baqarah/

Learn and practice du’aas

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Another simple way to prepare yourself for Ramadan is to practice easy du’aas before and after an action. Not only is this beneficial to you, but also you will learn to perform actions for the sake of Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) and achieve humbleness and taqwaa (fear or piety to Allah).

You can find tons of duaa’s online and websites that can help you memorize duaa’s.

I recommend you write them down, and hang them around your room for you to memorize them. For example the du’aa said when you wake up and before you go to bed you can hang next to your bed so you can remember to recite it. Or even saving them on your phone is a good idea.

I will leave you with a du’aa to help you retain whatever you listen to or read.

According to Imam Ali ibn abi Talib to retain in memory whatever one listens or reads, recite the following dua’a after every obligatory salat.

In the name of Allah the most kind the most merciful.

Glory be to Him who does not treat the citizens of His kingdom unjustly.

Glory be to Him who does not let the torment and pain come suddenly upon mankind.

Glory be to the compassionate the merciful.

O Allah, fill my heart with true enlightenment, wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Surely you are able to do all things.

SUBH’AANA MAN LAA YA-TADEE AA’LAA AHLI MAMLAKATIHEE SUBH’AANA MAN LAA YAAKHUD’U AHLAL ARZ’I BILWAANIL A’D’AABI SUBH’AANAR RA-OOFIR RAH’EEMI ALLAAHUMMAJ-A’L LEE FEE QALBEE NOORAN WA BAS’ARAN WA FAHMAN WA I’LMAN INNAKA A’LAA KULLI SHAY-IN QADEER

Commit yourself to watching a Ramadan series video every day

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There are two Ramadan series I’ll be watching this Ramadan insha’Allah.

The first one is from Qur’an Weekly, called the Quranic Gems. You can watch the video on their website, and tune in every day to hear a specific part of the Juz for that day commented on. Here is the link to their website: http://www.quranweekly.com/quranic-gems-series-ramadan-special/

The second series I’ll be watching insha’Allah are live clases every day for the month of Ramadan. Here is the link, and you can enroll for free with your name and e-mail account. http://www.ramadanwithquran.com

Insha’Allah you can enroll as well. If you have any other series we can watch for Ramadan please link in the comment section for others to benefit from.

Make voluntary prayers

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We all know we are obliged to complete our fard prayers every day. Another simple yet rewarding way to improve your emaan is to also make Sunnah prayers when you perform your Salat. Not only will this help you strengthen your connection and taqwaa with Allah (swt), but when you are feeling down or spiritually low, you will sacrifice making your Sunnah or voluntary prayers, but not sacrifice your fard prayers.

When Ramadan comes, you will be performing your five salat, and on top of that making voluntary prayers as well. Thus, your emaan will grow insha’Allah.

Our prayer will be the first thing questioned upon on the day of Judgment. Allah (swt) says in the following hadith:

The Messenger (S.A.W.) told us in an authentic hadith , “The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though he already knows) : “Look at my servants prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete It will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers, If he has them Allah will say: Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.” {Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa’i, and Al-Hakim}

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Insha’Allah this list will help you improve your emaan and help yourself prepare for Ramadan.

Remember that fasting without true emaan and having true intentions, is not the same as if you just fasted with your body. Fasting is far more than abstaining from food and drink. It is also a means for you to come closer to Allah, to fast with the heart and for the intention to be only for the sake of Allah.

“and fast, it is better for you, if only you knew” [al-Baqarah, 2:184]

Thoughts on Halal (Lawful) Meat

16 May

halal

As-salaam alaykum. So I get daily hadiths sent to my e-mail that I like to read each night. Today’s hadith was rather interesting, and I thought it would be very important to mention as it includes anyone living in a non-Muslim country.

 —

Narrated Abu Tha’laba Al-Khushani (Radi-Allahu ‘anhu):

I said, “O Allah’s Prophet! We are living in a land ruled by the people of the Scripture; Can we take our meals in their utensils? In that land there is plenty of game and I hunt the game with my bow and with my hound that is not trained and with my trained hound. Then what is lawful for me to eat?” He said, “As for what you have mentioned about the people of the Scripture, if you can get utensils other than theirs, do not eat out of theirs, but if you cannot get other than theirs, wash their utensils and eat out of it. If you hunt an animal with your bow after mentioning Allah’s Name, eat of it. and if you hunt something with your trained hound after mentioning Allah’s Name, eat of it, and if you hunt something with your untrained hound (and get it before it dies) and slaughter it, eat of it.”

Bukhari Vol. 7 : No. 387

 —

I’ve always had questions on whether or not we should eat meat – obviously pork not included – that comes from a non-Muslim butcher. However, I’ve taken the easy way out and have decided to hide these doubts at the back of my head ever since I reverted to Islam.

Now however, after reading this hadith I realized that this is of great importance and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Also, it had come up in one of my conversations with the man that introduced me to Islam on whether or not I should share the same utensils with my family, since they do happen to eat pork.

It’s funny, how this afternoon my family and I went to do the groceries and my brother went with my mom to pick out some meat at the stands. I stayed back and waited for them, and I could see how my mom took some pork sausages, and I saw my brother telling her to buy the chicken one instead. It made me smile, as I could read out his lips, explaining to her that I didn’t eat pork.

Alhamdulillah my family respects this.

One time my brother made lunch, and I could see how proud he was after serving it to us. It was some spaghetti with sauce, but once I took the first bite I knew he had added ham to it. Very politely, I told him if he had added ham to it, and he said he did. When I told him that I didn’t eat pork, he apologized multiple times, and even asked me if he should make something else for me.

Subhanallah, what a nice family I have. Despite the fact that they don’t share my religious beliefs (although I do ask Allah (subhana wa’ tala) to guide them towards the right path that is Islam), they still respect my decisions.

Anyways, back to the main topic.

This hadith answers my questions about whether or not I should eat “halal” meat, not slaughtered by Muslims, and if I should share my eating utensils with my family.

The first part of this hadith talks about the utensils you use to eat. If you cannot find utensils of your own, you should therefore wash the ones that the non-believers use. This I do always; disinfecting utensils is of vital importance nowadays, and it’s something that I’m very careful about.

Another option would be that if you have the capability of obtaining your own utensils and having them separate from the non-believers, than you should do so. However, I find this very isolating and personally couldn’t do this. Imagine how uncomfortable having “your own” utensils; I’d feel greedy somehow, and would feel like I’m slowly isolating myself from them.

I understand my family is not Muslim, but I also always wash the utensils I use, and I also know they don’t drink alcohol in them.

Finally, it mentions the eating of meat from non-believers. The hadith is very clear on this point. It says, paraphrasing of course, that you can eat from the meat that you have caught and that have mentioned the name of Allah before slaughtering it. In other words, if the name of Allah is not mentioned before the animal that is killed, then don’t eat it.

In other words, become a vegetarian.

I always wondered if I could eat meat that wasn’t killed in the name of Allah, and this hadith shows me that I can’t.

This explains why Muslims always try to find “halal restaurants” when they dine out like in the United States or other countries. I always thought to myself, why don’t they just eat vegetarian meals instead?

But being Muslim isn’t about being a vegetarian.

You can eat meat as a Muslim; it’s a natural human desire. Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that men get happier when they’re told they’ll have meat for dinner?

And as a matter of fact, I don’t want to be a vegetarian. How boring, the life of a vegetarian. They try to “save animals,” somehow believing if they don’t eat meat they’ll get everyone to be vegetarian just like them.

And I also feel like vegetarians are always picky, gay and annoying.

It’s like something only “rich people” would do, since they can now choose their food.

I can imagine what my grandmother would have thought if one of her children came up to her and told her “I’m a vegetarian now.” She would have wooped that child, since back in the day my father and his family didn’t have much to eat. Alhamdulillah that has changed.

What I mean to say is that I don’t like vegetarians because they throw away perfectly edible food just “to save the animals.” It’s something I don’t believe is beneficial to anyone.

However, when it comes to Allah (subhana wa’tala) there are some sacrifices you must do for the sake of Allah.

When we pray, we say At-tayatu lillahi was-salawatu wa-tay yibatu which translates to: All prayers and worship through words, actions and sanctity are for Allah only.

We should do every act in our lives for the sake of Allah only. Not for the animals. Not for any other bunch of pathetic excuses vegetarians use, because all they really want is the attention they desperately find to being accepted into society.

So no matter how difficult it can be, I understand the importance to find halal meat, and this includes that which has been slaughtered in the name of Allah.

This will be hard to find. Especially here in Costa Rica.

You see, for those not familiar with Latin countries, we’re a bit of a “haram” culture in certain things.

For instance, ticos (Costa Ricans) love pig. You will always see pork being served in every party, like chicharrones, gallos de chancho, picadillo de chancho, etc. There will always be a barbecue outside with pork being the main dish on the menu.

Also, alcohol is indispensable in my family parties. There always has to be beer, wine, whisky, tequila; anything with alcohol in it is acceptable in Latin society.

And finally, how can you exclude the Latin music and the tons of dancing there is in every party. I love Latin music, it’s always so cheerful and it makes you want to dance to the rhythm. But put pork, alcohol and music together and you’re in one big haram mess.

But it’s not impossible to be Muslim in this country.

I’ve heard of a Turkish bakery in San José, so they must be Muslim; and I’m pretty sure the imam and his family at the masjid in San José buy their meat somewhere halal.

Insha’Allah I can find a way to eat halal, even if it means sacrificing my love for meat, all in the name of Allah (subhana wa’tala).

For those living in non-Muslim countries, know that you are not alone. This hadith is clear evidence of the importance of eating halal, since it helps purify and clean our body and mind.

May Allah grant us guidance, reward us for our good deeds, forgive us from our bad ones, and continue blessing us with health, love for His word, and submission to his will.

Chao.

Quick “Ideas” Update

14 May

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As-salaam alaikum everyone! I know it’s been forever since I haven’t posted anything new here.

I do hope you’re all doing well, and that Allah (subhana wa’tala) has granted you guidance, health, wisdom and all the countless blessings He gives us each and every day.

So you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to lately. Do know that I will continue to have new ideas for this blog, and make it much more than just a “diary” type of blog.

I created this blog with the intention of sharing my ideas to the world, to discuss certain topics related to Islam, and of course to spread knowledge insha’Allah.

So I have some series I want to start posting up for my followers to read and obtain a bit of knowledge, may Allah will this.

Ideas. 

The first idea that came to mind was to create a section of this blog dedicated to my revert story to Islam. I’m always curious how new Muslims have come to the religion, or how Muslims that have been raised as Muslims “re-discover” their Muslim identity. So I’ve decided to work on that. I’ll divide the whole story into chapters that insha’Allah I’ll post up weekly so you know exactly what got me into the religion of Islam.

Also, have you ever gotten stuck on a question a non-Muslim might ask you?

It sometimes happens to me, like I don’t know exactly how to answer it correctly – like when you’re asked, Why do women have to cover? or Why do you have to pray in Arabic? – or other times, I just wish I could quote directly from the Qur’an and know I’m not making up my answer.

So given this, I want to start up another sections called ‘The Selected Questions’ Series or SQ Series, to help give short, and to-the-point answers to Muslims when we get these simple, yet serious questions from non-Muslims.

And finally, I’ve really, really wanted to start reading the in depth analysis books called “In the Shade of the Qur’an.” It’s an entire volume series dedicated to the analysis of the Surah’s in the Qur’an.

My hands are twitching just thinking how delightful this may be; to obtain this amount of knowledge.

However, I know most people don’t get all anxious to start reading a 19 volume book series on the Qur’an.

So I’ve decided to create reviews on the books, that really summarize the Surah’s and what I found most interesting. This way, I’ll be able to give you a small, yet meaningful amount of knowledge, as well as broaden my Islamic studies.

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Some great sites to check out!

To wrap things up, I’d like to leave you with some links to great Islamic websites I’ve found these days and that have given me much to read on, and study.

After I reverted to Islam, I’ve started online Islamic courses on the website Islamic Online University. 

The diploma course is completely free, so you can enroll whenever you want. However, please take the courses seriously, since this is a university and will require some of your time.

The good thing about it is that you can study whenever you want, and finish the diploma as fast or as slow as you’d like. Click on the underlined link to check their website out and start your Islamic Studies today, insha’Allah.

Also I found this website that gives free Live courses every day, from Monday to Friday on a variety of Islamic topics that change constantly. The website is Sisters of Sunnah and the imams are well known, such as the creator of Islamic Learning Materials is on there, Muttaqi Ismail, and he gives lectures on Wednesdays if I’m not mistaken.

To join the live sessions at SOS (Sisters of Sunnah) and see the daily schedules, just scroll down and hit Join live, enter your name and that’s it!

So go check those two websites out insha’Allah.

So that’s all for tonight.

I hope you continue to look around my blog and comment if you desire.

I would like to know what else I could write on my blog about and get some inspiration from you, insha’Allah.

Thanks for the support, and please follow me on Twitter if you’d like: @TheTicaMuslimah.

May Allah bless you.

Chao!

Things that stopped me from becoming a Muslim

10 Apr

Bismillah hirRahman nirRaheem

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

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May Allah (subhana wa’tala) grant us guidance, knowledge and strengthen our emaan (faith). May Allah (swt) bless all Muslims that seek refuge in His Mercy alone, and may Allah (swt) protect us from any evil or harm.

As-salaam alaikum! (May Allah bless you) Islam is indeed the most beautiful religion there can be. It gives you responsibilities, humbleness, takes away that horrendous ego that limits us from submitting to God and so much more.

However, my journey to Islam has been one that took longer than what I would have wanted it to. Looking back, I truly wish I had taken advantage of so many opportunities to change my life and become Muslim. However, Allah (swt) knows why we become Muslim and why those non-believers turn away from Islam.

Why did I prolong my Shahada (declaring that you are a Muslim) so much? Despite the fact that my aqeedah (knowledge) was growing, I lacked salaah (practicing Islam by praying). I felt Muslim for a long time before I finally took my Shahada under the eyes of Allah.

Here are the reasons as to why I didn’t become a Muslim immediately after knowing about Islam.

Fearing the unknown. 

Islam

Prior to learning and researching up on Islam, I knew nothing about the religion. I didn’t even know what a Muslim worshiped, what they believed in, or anything! (Looking back, I’ve learned so much in one year Subhanallah).

 Despite that most people associate Muslims with terrorism or any of these false claims, I never had this idea about Muslims Alhamdulillah. I didn’t even know that the Qur’an existed! Oh Mash’Allah that I became Muslim because Allah (swt) wanted me to become a believer.

When I was told about Islam, I didn’t want to read up on it. I was somewhat afraid of it. You see, when you don’t know about something, you will fear the unknown. Especially in religious matters.

Even after I researched into Islam, I didn’t want to read the Qur’an. I knew that some way or another, this religion would “sneak up” on me, grab me by the feet and throw me into its “cobweb”. And I didn’t want that at the time being. I was happily a Catholic, and didn’t want to explore unknown territory.

However, there was something that really caused curiosity in me. Why is that people don’t like Muslims? This I knew quite well: the media was always attacking Muslims. They were always saying how racist Muslims were, how terrorism was accepted and how these women had to be forced to cover their faces and body.

But, when I read about Islam it felt like such a peaceful and beautiful religion. “These Muslims!” I would think, “How they get on all fours and put their heads to the ground and worship God! I’d like to see those people at my church bow down that way to God! Never!” I would think, “Never, as long as there big fat egos are in the way.”

However, these thoughts were all kept to me, and I never discussed it with my family or my close friends. When I did bring it up, my friends were shocked and told me to stay away from those “terrorists”, to find God in some other Bible, like the Baptist Bible or another Christian sect. Just don’t go into that book! They would warn me, believing they were doing good.

I was “letting my religion down.”

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Another reason that made me turn back from becoming a Muslim was the feeling that I was turning down not only my religion, but also my identity, my community and my family. After several months of reading into the religion, I felt betrayed by my own community.

I would think to myself, Jesus wasn’t crucified? These saints we worship are all wrong? Why wasn’t this explained to me during Bible school? And most importantly, why hadn’t I realized all this before?

So I would put the book I was reading down and continue my pagan life.

However, I never truly stopped researching about Islam. It just made sense. No religion, not even Catholicism, had even made so much sense before. Worship one God. Period. No idols involved, no weird rituals, no intermediaries between me and God. It was like a breath of fresh air, from all this nonsense I was being fed at in church.

So I read about Islam, read about God, read about the Prophets, and about revert stories and the more I read about Islam, the more I wanted to become Muslim.

What would my friends think?

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As shameful as this might be to admit, I was in fact afraid of what my society would say. You see, we live in a world where the society decides what you can and cannot do. It tells you what to think, how to dress, what career you should pursue, how you should treat others, etc.

So becoming a Muslim meant going against – well – everything!

The way I was dressing was completely inadequate. The way I thought was poisoning my heart. I was in a stage in my life where wealth was the only concern I had for my future.

When I would sit down and read about God’s oneness and what our purpose in life was, it felt reassuring. I didn’t fear death anymore. I could stand up to the world and not fear being turned down. More than ever did I want to reject these disgusting and ridiculous people shown on the television and heard on the radio that brainwash adolescents into thinking this is how you will be happy – with money and cars and fame – and how you should be.

Islam is liberating. It’s not like anything you could ever imagine it to be. You find peace in it, and these worldly desires are nothing but – worldly desires!

However, at this moment I was more concerned about my family and friends than about what I really wanted. So I kept Islam closed and shut in my heart and continued living that life my society expected me to. Unfortunately, silencing my beliefs was rather more saddening than I thought it would be.

The hijab.

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One of the main reasons that stopped me from taking my Shahada and becoming a Muslim was this thing Muslim women wrap around their heads.

I didn’t really know that Muslim women had to wear this on a daily basis. In fact, when I read about it from a traveling website, I had read that it was a sign of respect to wear this when entering mosques. So I believed for quite a while that the hijab was only worn when entering mosques.

It wasn’t until several months later that I read about the hijab being something compulsory. When I read that it was mandatory, I began frantically looking for more information as to oppose this truth. I wanted an article to yell out to me, “Relax, it’s not mandatory. Muslim women don’t have to wear the hijab.”

But I never came through an article like this Alhamdulillah and it made me hesitate on my quest for the truth. Despite that this was a disappointment to hear, since my mother’s a hair stylist and I’ve been around the impression that women look beautiful with long, pretty hair, my search for the truth didn’t stop there.

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In fact, as I read about the hijab, it actually started to make sense. I read about how we live in a society where men are allowed to look at women however they want, and that we as women allow them to! And this is in fact the perfect description of my country. Costa Rica is a wonderful country, but unfortunately women grow up with this idea screwed into their head that you are a sex symbol. If you don’t look sexy and attractive and show as much skin as possible, no man will ever lay eyes on you. Because there will always be hotter and more attractive looking women around you, and you have to “beat” the competition.

What a loud of – erm, nonsense! It felt reassuring to know that if you cover and dress modestly, you are in charge of who looks at your body. And I loved the idea of only being attractive to my future husband insha’Allah. It sounded safe and comforting and, something a pious woman would do – someone who loves Allah and will not submit to Shaytaan.

So after many months of debating whether or not I should be against the hijab or not, I listened to the scholars of Islam and of course, the Qur’an foremost. I actually find the hijab beautiful and would love to see more women in my country cover up a bit more.

This is in itself a topic on its own, so I’ll cover more of it in the near future insha’Allah.

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En fin…

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So these are the reasons as to why I didn’t take my Shahada until almost a full year after my quest began.

I struggled with mainly the outer contexts of Islam, such as the society around me and their opinions, the hijab and dressing modestly and the church that has so much power in my country.

Mash’Allah Islam entered my heart and I never doubted it. Yes, you may go through the phases of wondering why eating pork is haram or why men should grow a beard, but these are all external points that are insignificant when it comes to what truly lies in your heart.

Remember that Islam is not just about obtaining knowledge (aqeedah). Why you may ask? Because the one that knew the most about Allah (swt) was, who? Shaytaan. But, he had no emaan (faith) and therefore his knowledge turned into satanic knowledge, which we still have nowadays in people.

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So Islam is not just about the “obtaining knowledge” part. Yes, we as Muslims MUST obtain knowledge. It’s not a decision. It’s mandatory to know our religion, to know what we say in Salaah, to know about other religions, to question this earthly life, etc. (This is what I love about Islam, there are no secrets in it and nothing is hidden from us Muslims Alhamdulillah!)

But there is also the emaan that we cannot ignore. Without it, our religion is not a religion. It’s just an empty belief.

Never underestimate the power of your Salaah. Praying is our relationship with Allah; directly, no intermediaries, no one looking, nothing. It’s just you and Allah (swt). Praise your Creator, thank Allah for the life you have, for the calamities and tests He has put in your life.

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And most truly Allah knows best.

Chao.

What does the Qur’an say about the Bible?

11 Mar

Bismillah hirRahman nirRaheem

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

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There are a lot of Muslims that talk bad about the Bible and Jewish scriptures. They have no knowledge whatsoever. In the Qur’an these scriptures are mentioned and discussed about in a rather positive light.

During my investigating prior to becoming a Muslim alhamdullilah (all praise be to Allah) I decided to investigate the topic of the Bible. I wanted to know what the Qur’an had to say about the Bible; not just what Muslims say, as we as people are imperfect, but the word of Allah isn’t.

I’ve mentioned this book in an earlier blog post, but I’ll mention it again, as it cannot get enough recognition of how meticulous and outstanding the amount of research and effort put into it is. It’s called The Bible, the Qur’an and Science by Dr. Maurice Bucaille, and by clicking the title you will be sent to another page where you can download it from.

It’s a very exhaustive study on the Bible, and then on the Qur’an.

What I can get out of it that will help support my article is the amount of data it complies to explain how the Bible has contradicted itself in many parts of the chapters, as well as the errors and unlikeliness in it.

However, the point here isn’t to degrade the Bible, no matter what translation you may have in your hands, but in fact to take the essence of it out to expose its main idea: the oneness of God.

The Torah, other Jewish scriptures and the Bible all mention the oneness of God. If you can find one sentence in the Bible where our beloved prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) states clearly and evidently says that “he is God,” I would be astonished by your false accusations.

Never is it mentioned in these scriptures that Jesus (pbuh) came down on earth and admitted being God on earth. Now of course it’s been twisted and manipulated by man in a way that the trinity is invented from it, as well as affirming that Jesus is the one son of God, but these things are never truly mentioned being said by the prophet himself.

So why so much hatred from the Muslim community?

If you take the Qur’an and read it, you won’t be able to support your accusations towards the Bible, even if the Bible was written by humans and manipulated over the course of time. And that is a topic I’d like to later discuss.

But the question lies in what then does the Qur’an say about these scriptures?

Now prepare yourself, the Muslim-rejecters reading this, for what you’re about the read.

Before I continue further on, I’d like to inform you that I am in no way a scholar of any sort, but in fact a learner of Islam as you. If you would like to truly confirm a valid opinion, do so with your imam at your nearest mosque, or a sheikh or scholar of Islam.

The Qur’an does actually talk about the Bible. In fact, those that follow Biblical and Jewish scriptures are mentioned as people of the Book:

O People of the Book! (5:68).

Allah mentions how there are those unfaithful Christians and Jews, as there are unfaithful Muslims, that have taken the scriptures and corrupted them, in a way that they made it seem it were from Allah.

But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them (2:59).

This is purely out of self-recognition and claiming that they were enlightened from above; something that Allah says did not truly happen.

There were also those that would “guess” things as well as make them public in a way to obtain an income from this.

Among them are unlettered folk who know the Scripture not except from hearsay. They but guess. Therefore woe be unto them who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” that they may purchase a small gain therewith (2:78-79).

So as you can see, the Qur’an clearly acknowledges the faults that have been made by these false believers of the Book. This is important to know, since therefore we don’t actually know precisely which parts of the Bible and Torah have been afflicted by these unfaithful ones.

Another misconception is that many believe Muslims don’t even believe in the Bible. They believe that Muslims do not accept these scriptures and that they therefore probably don’t believe in the prophet Jesus and the rest of the prophets (peace be upon them all).

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Islam is the continued and last religion of those that came before the prophet Muhammed (salalahu alayhi wa’salam).

The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah … and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (42:13).

Islam is an Arabic word that means: “submission to God.” It does not mean worshipping the prophet, it does not mean worshipping some other God or Gods. In fact, the word Allah is a word that Allah has given himself as it cannot be corrupted by man to mean something else.

The word God has been used in the past to represent false gods and idols, for instance in Greek mythology with the god Zeus that overpowered the rest of the “minor” gods.

You can even take the word God and create “gods” from it by simply adding an “s” at the end of the word, or give God a gender by creating “goddess” and making the word female-oriented.

Unlike this, the word ‘Allah’ you cannot change in any way. It means God in Arabic. Allah is Allah. Period. There is no changing the word to give it another meaning and you can’t make it plural, either.

So now that you see how pure and monotheistic Islam is, you will find clarity in the following ayat:

But say, “We (Muslims) believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you (Jews & Christians); our Allah and your Allah is One” (29:46).

There is no distinction between the God we praise to the God Christians or Jews praise. Of course there may be a slight change in the sense that Christians have given God human-like attributes and made him a human.

This in our religion is considered shirk (idolatry or creating partners with Allah) in Tawheed al-Asmaa was sifaat (the belief that Allah is One in his attributes and that he has no similitude). Therefore, Muslims and Christians have differences in this point of view, but according to the Bible Allah does not have any partners. You can read more on this topic in my article: Why is it that Christians don’t understand Muslims? 

There is also a misconception on what Christians and other religions think Muslims worship. As is mentioned in the Qur’an:

We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them (3:84).

As Muslims, we do not worship Muhammad (saws) despite the fact that to him the Qur’an was revealed.

We must understand that both the Qur’an and the Bible are scriptures teaching us to worship one God and one God ONLY.

We do not make distinctions between any of the prophets, but we take our prophet (saws) as an example to be able to reach closer to Allah (swt).

So if the Qur’an and the Bible both believe in the unity and oneness of Allah, then why was there a need for the Qur’an?

The Qur’an came down in revelation for the following:

This Koran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book (10:37-38).

The Qur’an came down as a guardian of the scriptures before and to maintain the unity of Allah (swt) and his message to mankind. Also:

To thee We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety (5:48).

This is why the Prophet Muhammad (saws) is considered the “seal” of the Prophet Hood, since he came with the final revelation to mankind and up to this day, Muslims throughout the world have preserved this message and the tawheed (maintaining the unity of Allah). Therefore, there has been no reason to bring down further revelation.

There are numerous amount of Muslims that can recite the entire Qur’an. The ENTIRE Qur’an mash’allah (God has willed it). How many Christians do you know that can recite the ENTIRE Bible?

In fact, let’s take it to the next level.

How many Christians do you know that can recite a chapter of the Bible?

I highly doubt you know anyone who can.

When I was a Catholic, and I read this – that there are Muslims that can recite the Qur’an from cover to cover – I was truly astonished of this religion.

This is what kept me hooked to researching and investigating more and more on Islam. I would read entire books about Islam, about the Prophet, about the message of Islam, and of course the Sacred Qur’an and the authentic Hadeeths.

For a Muslim to recite the Qur’an in his day-to-day life is something that impressed me even more. I had once tried to read the Bible. To be honest with you, I couldn’t get passed the first few pages of Genesis.

But amazingly enough, I find more interest in reading the Bible and the Torah now as a Muslim, than I did when I was a Catholic.

There is a Hadeeth reported by Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah send peace and blessings on him) said:

That, a human being, will not move forward (in other words, he’ll just be fixed standing – and will not be able to move forward) on the Day of Judgment, with their Lord, unless and until they’re asked about 5 things.  (…)And about, his or her knowledge, and what they did with that knowledge? 

So even though I am Muslim and believe in the Qur’an, Allah (swt) encourages us to know the truth and not be of the ignorant. How useless it would be if we were to perform our 5 salah (prayers) without knowledge of what we are reciting or with the intention it is made.

So thus, the Qur’an is the continuity of the monotheistic religions of our fathers and forefathers. However, people have gone astray in these religions and have started worshipping idols, saints and have created false ideas about their Lord, even claiming to have a savior, when Allah (swt) is in fact our only savior and the only One that we should worship.

We as Muslims recite each and every day at least 17 times a day sura al-Fatiha. And there is an ayat (revelation) in this sura in which we ask Allah (swt) to guide us on the right path and not go astray:

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. (1:7)

Scholars have said that the first part {The path of those upon whom you have bestowed favor} is in reference to the Muslims, the second part {not of those who have evoked [Your] anger} is talking about the Jews, and the final part {or of those who are astray} is directed to the Christians.

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Insha’allah (God willing) there have been no errors in the document, but if there were I take all responsibility as I am finite in my knowledge, where Allah (swt) is infinite and extent from any errors.

The Qur’an encourages us to read these scriptures and not ignore them like Christians do with our prophet (saws) and the revelation. However, we are most certainly not Christians and see no dangers in obtaining valid proof.

As Muslims, if a Christian or Jew were ever to come to us with certain “valid” proof from their Bible about a certain topic, no matter what that topic may be, we can clearly say to them: “But you changed your Bible.” (And to believe this even more, go ahead and read the book by Dr. Bucaille that is outstandingly impressive).

We have clear proof from the Qur’an that they have indeed changed their scriptures and can support this with the Qur’an.

And Allah (swt) knows best.

May Allah (swt) guide you.

Chao.

References:

Campbell. (2004). The Bible as seen by the Qur’an and the Muslim traditions. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from What the Qur’an says about the Bible: http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s2c1.html

Green, S. (2004). Answering Islam. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from What does the Qur’an say about the Jewish and Christian Scriptures?: http://answering-islam.org/Green/onbible.htm

Holy Qur’an. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2013, from http://quran.com/2/170

ÂżExiste un Coran en las librerĂ­as de Costa Rica?

6 Mar

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Bismillah hirRahman nirRaheem

En el nombre de Alá, el Clemente, el Misericordioso

As Salamu ’Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. Que la paz y bendición de Alá esté sobre todos ustedes. Por fin, ¡mi primer artículo en español! Se que tardé mucho, pero espero que la comunidad hispana me apoye bastante especialmente de mi bello país que es Costa Rica.

Al caminar las calles de mi pueblo, me he dado cuenta de algo asombroso: ¡no existe ni una sola copia del Sagrado Corán en nuestras librerías! Es muy lamentable, ya que a través de esto es por lo cual la población no conoce sobre el Islam.

Hace unos meses atrás traté de buscar un Corán para poder leerlo. Ya lo había leído a través de  mi iPod; sin embargo, creo que es un poco más placentero leer un libro físico que por una pantalla el tamaño de una libreta de notas.

Fue muy frustrante tener que entrar a cada librería y que en cada una me dieran la esperada noticia de que no existía este libro en ella. Al pasar los días y no tener ningún éxito en mi búsqueda, decidí comprarlo por internet.

Los precios de algunos me asombraron, ya que venían más elaborados y con una portada de tapa dura. Pero, el transporte vía aéreo para comprar por internet aquí son muy elevados, hasta inclusive para un libro pequeño y que no pesa casi nada.

Subhanallah un mes antes de tomar mi Shahada, fui a visitar una hermana en el Islam y poder hablar sobre su experiencia como musulmana. No iba con ninguna intención de pedirle el Corán ya que yo me imaginé que ella se encontraba en la misma situación mía: decepcionada de las librerías de Costa Rica. Hasta le llegué a comentar esto y me respondió que ella también le había pasado y que no se puede encontrar un Corán en las librerías de nuestro país.

Por obra y gracia de Alá (subhana wa’tala) la hermana me regalĂł un Corán, que afortunadamente venĂ­a en inglĂ©s. Luego me comentĂł que los Corán no se venden, sino que se regalan. Supuestamente no es viable darle a un no musulmán un Corán ya que el libro no puede ser tocado por alguien que no crea en el Islam. Pero sino no sabrĂ­amos del Islam y además de esto, ya mi corazĂłn estaba bien identificada como musulmana desde ese entonces.

Por lo tanto, si no hubiera sido por esta amable hermana que me regaló un Corán, yo hasta el momento no tendría un Corán. Me cuestiono las otras mujeres y hombres en mi país que tal vez quieran conocer sobre la palabra de Dios (swt) pero que sin embargo no tengan acceso a un Corán físico.

Se que por el internet es muy fácil encontrar un Corán y leerlo, pero personalmente yo prefiero un libro que se pueda tocar y pasar las hojas fácilmente.

Así que, le pregunto a mi pueblo tico, ¿qué nos pasa? Esta bien que este país sea un país Católico, pero le pido respuestas a la comunidad musulmana aquí en mi país.

Creo que como soluciĂłn debemos de poner más libros en la calle. No solamente el Sagrado Corán, sino tambiĂ©n libros que eduquen a nuestra comunidad sobre el Islam, sobre tawheed – la unificaciĂłn de un sĂłlo Dios – y sobre nuestro profeta (salalahu alayhi wa’salam), que estoy casi segura que nadie conoce.

Yo lo digo por experiencia propia. Alhamdulillah que yo pude conocer sobre el Islam, pero no por medio del Corán, ni por algún amigo musulmán o algún conocido. Creo que nuestra comunidad musulmana debe de crecer, pero para que esto suceda, debemos de iniciar con la educación.

Y unos de estos pasos es llenando nuestras librerías con el libro el Corán y con información sobre el Islam que sea válida y correcta.

¿Como queremos ver más musulmanes en Costa Rica si ni siquiera saben que existe el Islam?

Si hubiera dependido de mi comunidad para conocer el Islam, hubiera seguido creyendo que el Islam era falso, que eran terroristas y que los musulmanes no amaban al profeta Jesús (paz y bendiciones estén sobre él).

Una buena manera de incrementar la curiosidad sobre el Islam es a través de las universidades y colegios de nuestro país. En cada pueblo, hay mínimo una o dos iglesias católicas. En mi pueblo existen aproximadamente unas 7 iglesias, y es un pueblo muy pequeño. ¿Lo pueden creer? Casi el 90% de nuestro país es Católico Romano, y a pesar de que yo lo vea como una religión incorrecta y que están cometiendo el pecado más grave ante Alá, shirk (asociar a otros con Alá), mi pueblo no piensa lo mismo.

Por esto es que debemos de informar más. Por el momento creo que las redes sociales son nuestro mejor – y peor – enemigo, ya que es por donde se acerca más a la sociedad joven y futura de nuestro paĂ­s.

Obviamente hay mucha información falsa sobre el Islam, más en el idioma español ya que no existen muchos hispanos musulmanes. Por esto debemos de informar correctamente a nuestra comunidad tica.

Nadie nació con conocimiento y debemos de entender que la ignorancia nos enferma. Nos ha enfermado a tal extremo, que seguimos creyendo en las falsedades de una iglesia Católica que han degradado a Alá (swt) lamentablemente. Que Dios los tenga en su misericordia y que se arrepienten ante Él.

Como Alá dice en el Corán:

Da lo mismo que adviertas o no a los infieles: no creen. Alá ha sellado sus corazones y oídos; una venda cubre sus ojos y tendrán un castigo terrible. (2:6-7)

Mi misiĂłn inshallah es poner el Corán y varias copias en las librerĂ­as; por el momento que sean las más conocidas del paĂ­s que se encuentran en los “molles” y tambiĂ©n en las ciudades más grandes como San JosĂ© y Heredia.

Será algo lento, pero inshallah tendremos, como musulmanes, la valentía de llevar a cabo esto.

El Islam es la religión más pacífica que existe. Nunca ha tenido la obligación de llevar a alguien a creer en ello a través de guerras o a la fuerza. Es por esto que poniendo el Corán en las librerías, la gente lo tomarán por conciencia propia y no seremos como aquellos Testigos de Jehová que le van a tocar la puerta a la gente como desesperados.

El Islam también hay que saber que no es para todos. Como Alá dice en el Corán:

Los siervos del Compasivo son los que van por la tierra humildemente y que, cuando los ignorantes les dirigen la palabra, dicen: «¡Paz!» (25:63)

Así que no tema a aquellos que no creerán nunca en el Islam, ya que en sus corazones hay un sello que no los dejan ver la verdad. Siempre tenga paciencia y no deje que los ignorantes te quiten la paz, ya que este es el Shaytaan que te tratará de vencer.

Inshallah Alá (swt) nos guiará hacia el Paraíso. Y Alá sabe mejor.

Chao.