Tag Archives: islam en latinoamerica

There is no such thing as true love… Or is there?

15 Jul

This is directed to those people that happen to love a person more than they love Allah. If you are one of them, then listen up.

Love is not the fairy tale it seems to be. Neither is it forever. To be more realistic, nothing in this life is forever. We all die. We all retire our jobs. We all grow old and lose our young attractions. There is nothing that speaks stronger in this life than death. Because some can lose their jobs and others won’t, but as Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) says in the Qur’an:

Every soul will taste death. (Qur’an, 3:185)

So why are we so attached to these worldly desires? It is clear proof that we will all perish, pass away, and new generations will substitute our position in this life.

People will hurt you, even when you least expect it.

They will forget about you.

b215206663

Their love is limited.

Whether it be your spouse, your parents, or anyone you had a strong connection with, in the end it is a temporary love or one that will eventually hurt you.

You will get your heart broken, they will lose trust in you, and the word “forgiveness” doesn’t even exist in their hearts.

cover-11_copy

Unlike human beings, who are full of errors and mistakes, Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) is the only one that will love us even more than our own mothers do.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us:

Allah is more compassionate towards His slaves than this mother towards her child. (Reported by Muslim)

Allah will never hurt you. Allah will love you even when you are committing sin. And do you know what the most wonderful part of it is? That Allah CAN forgive us. Unlike those people that we love, if we commit mistakes they cannot forgive us for them. Allah’s mercy is bigger, greater and more important to have than any finite human being like ourselves.

Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur’an, 39:53)

It is also narrated in this hadith qudsi (meaning that it is an interpretation of what Allah says):

O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it.

Subhanallah.

Allah is the MOST forgiving. This forgiveness is the only one we should seek. Because He is the only one that will judge us on the day of judgement. Let’s make du’aa for this:

Ya Rabb, make us of the pious, of the believers, whom associate none with you, whom have taqwaa deep in their hearts, whom actions are directed towards you and towards you only! Ya Rabb, we seek your forgiveness, and we ask nothing in return, only of what you shall bestow upon us. Ameen!

forgiving1

Allah will never hurt us.

Allah will never try to look for revenge.

Allah loves us and is closer to us than our jugular vein. Even after He, the All Mighty, created us with errors, He has mercy upon us and waits for our true and sincere forgiveness.

Now tell me, who in this world is like that?

Who, from the people you love, has these qualities? No one. Because Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) is incomparable.

This is why we shouldn’t love people more than we love Allah. Because His love is the only pure, merciful and beneficent love we need in our lives.

Sufficient for us is Allah. (Qur’an, 3:173)

Allah will never forget us.

Unlike people, Allah will remember us if we remember Him. Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) says in the Qur’an:

So remember Me; I will remember you. (Qur’an, 2:152)

Allah’s love is limitless.

His love for us has no boundaries. For humans, if we commit a mistake, they forget us, they say mean things to us and forget about the love and connection you once had with them.

For Allah, this is not the same. Even after we have fallen in sin, even if our sins are thicker than the foam of the sea, if we ask for his sincere forgiveness, Allah will forgive us. Insha’Allah.

Take my story as an example. Before becoming Muslim, I was in the worst of sins. If I would have died in this state, I would have gone to hell because of it. Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) says to us in the Qur’an:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. (Qur’an, 4:48)

Also, Allah says to us:

O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah . Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice. (Qur’an, 31:13)

If Allah wished, He could have made me die in that state of shirk (associating others with Allah). Because He ta’aala has proven to us many times how hundreds of people die in the state of shirk every single day. In my country it is hundreds each day! May Allah protect us from those that do.

But Allah is so merciful, He has chosen us to be Muslims, from this darkness that we are in. Even after we have committed the worse sin there is for Allah, He still forgives us and gives us time to repent!

Where will you find someone like this in this dunya (world)?

People are greedy, selfish, stubborn and egotistic. Their only desire is to please themselves. There is no true love for many people, and it is only until you get hurt by them that you realize what their true intentions really were.

It is hard for us to forgive others. There are those that never accept forgiveness from you, no matter how true and pure your repentance is.

But for Allah we can commit sin as many times, that if we truly repent from our hearts, He will forgive us. Subhanallah, all Glory be to Allah!

Let us take advantage of this Ramadan to seek forgiveness from our Rabb, our Lord. This is the month to ask for sincere forgiveness to Allah, so do not take it lightly!

When you are sad, stressed out, or in depression, read Qur’an and you will see how peace will enter your heart by remembering Allah.

Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. (Qur’an 13:28)

And Allah knows best.

tumblr_m5i8k9JGQW1ryv631o1_500

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.

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

carlos_latuff_cartoon_muslims_and_christians_united_in_egypt_against_scaf

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).

n00051921-b

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.

quran_recited

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

Contact with the Opposite Gender in Costa Rica

6 Mar

crossgendershake

Bismillah hirRahman nirRaheem

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

As Salamu ’Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. May the peace and mercy of Allah be with you. I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic for a while now but needed a bit more of validity to my opinion before I courageously posted it up.

Here in my lovely, tropical country the weather hasn’t been so pretty. Which I don’t mind, since I happen to love the cold weather. People from all across the nation greet each other with kisses, hand shakes and even occasional hugging. Hand shaking isn’t so common here but instead ticos tend to greet the opposite gender with a kiss on the cheek.

From what I’ve read there is a lot of comments and Hadeeths mentioning hand shaking with the opposite gender as being haram (illegal) or highly not recommended. This is primarily due to the Prophet’s (salalahu alayhi wa’ salam) example towards his treatment to non-mahram women (relatives).

The word used both in the Qur’an and Hadeeths to define touching is lams. Strictly speaking, this is in reference to actions that precede sexual intercourse. In other words, any act with a lust intention or fitnah (temptation) behind it.

I assume that back in the day, if you were to kiss a woman you would have the intention on marrying her. Now, in this chaotic world we are living in, even the act of sexual intercourse is not associated with marriage. I believe that even in Muslims this has slightly been corrupted in our generation.

Despite this, many scholars such as Imam Al-Shafi`i and Imam Abu Hanifah have strong arguments as to how the slightest touching of the hands can end up invalidating your wudhu or state of purity. This is further explained in the Qur’an:

O you who believe! Do not approach Salah after… lāmastum (touching) women, but if you do not find water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth, rubbing your faces and hands. Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. (4:43)

Although in the Qur’an the word touching does not state specifically what kind of touching or with what intention it’s done with, scholars have found two meanings for the act of touching the opposite gender: touching with lustful intention, and touching without this desire behind it.

I strongly believe that we as Muslims should not shake hands, let alone kiss when greeting the opposite sex no matter what your intention may be (you never know what the other person is thinking or what their intentions are). Not only is there no authentic Hadeethic proof that the Prophet (saws) was seen shaking hands with a non-mahram woman, but it’s also mentioned in the Qur’an as I quoted before.

Of course physical contact with your spouse and close family members is not considered haram, since they are mahram to you. Also, a Hadith narrated by A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) as recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad states that:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to kiss `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and then go to pray at the masjid without renewing his ablution.

It’s those not related with us that we must be careful with.

In Costa Rica, if you are already a local here you will know just how hard it is to avoid this contact with the opposite gender throughout the day. If you’re not a local, then I’ll quickly describe it for you.

In Hispanic culture, if you’re a woman you greet both male and female with a kiss. There doesn’t exist hand shaking in our culture as we find his “cold” and not friendly-like. This is usually only performed during interviews or in the work field. When greeting friends and family members you usually greet them with a kiss on the cheek. If you’re really close with them or haven’t seen them in a while you might also see people hugging.

This whole kissing thing isn’t considered strange or taboo in our culture. Boys and girls won’t giggle or feel embarrassed when greeting each other like this, unlike in other western cultures where even a hand shake is awkward.

So therefore, it’s always been a “normal” thing for me to greet people with a kiss. Whether it be an uncle or cousin, or friends from my university, I found nothing wrong or haram in it.

In fact, I once had a friend that backed away when I was going to greet her with a kiss, which I then considered her to be really weird after that happened. Now, I find it normal for her to have done that.

So what can you do if you live in a society where kissing or even hand shaking is normal between the opposite gender?

First, we must find the logic behind not greeting someone with a kiss or hand shake.

We live in a society where all these haram things are now halal to us, and this has been done through Shaytaan’s meticulous planning to make us fall astray from the path. Think to yourself. How can approaching a male and planting a kiss on his cheek not be strange for you? Would you like your husband or wife to do this with other males or females?

Not only is it disrespectful to your spouse (or future spouse), but it’s also disrespectful to you. You are giving permission to this person to touch you in this manner, so what wrong would it be if he happened to touch you on another place if you’re already allowing him to kiss you?

Once you’ve realized the wrongness in it, and how disrespectful it is for you as a woman or man, you will find it easier to want to respect your body. It’s much more peaceful to know that you are the one who decides who kisses you or touches you, then to know that any man or woman can come up to you and plant a kiss on your face.

If you don’t respect your space, then who will?

Finally, keep in consideration the word of God, the Qur’an and what it tells us:

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent (35:31)

If you dress in a modest and very “Islamic” way as I like to put it, when you tell someone that you do not greet with a kiss or with a hand shake, or with any other physical contact, they will find it easier to accept. As where if you dress like everyone else is dressing, with shorts or clothing that clings on much to tightly to your body, then they will want to laugh into your face, since you will be dressing in a manner that will obviously attract the opposite sex.

Think further into it. If you see a woman on the street with very modest clothing (like a nun in Catholicism) then you will automatically respect that woman. The way you dress makes a statement of it’s own that you won’t have to put into words each time someone will greet you.

I’m not a Hijaabi (one that wears Hijab) yet, but inshallah when I decide to use the hijab, I think that men would automatically feel drawn back from me, and they will respect my decision on whether or not I greet them the way everyone else does.

In the end, it’s all about respecting yourself.

Keep in mind that in a Hispanic culture, there will be men (or women if you’re a guy reading this) that will want to greet you with a kiss. And sometimes it’s not even in a lust manner; it’s just the way they’ve been raised up. But keep in mind that if you allow yourself to be exposed like this, you are also permitting him or her to have permission to do other things or say things to you disrespectfully. It might not happen, but you are allowing yourself to be in that situation.

If there is fear of fitnah or desire in it, then it is most surely haram.

I feel that women in my country have lost this shyness altogether. Even the men have lost their shyness towards women. When you avoid any contact with the opposite gender, you feel not only good with your effort in doing so, especially in a country where everyone greets this way, but you would also have more affection and love for those that truly care for you, such as your spouse.

Inshallah this will make you meditate (metaphorically speaking) about greeting and touching the opposite gender in your country. May Allah (swt) give you health and blessings each and every day!

Chao.

References:

al-Qaradhawi, S. Y. (4 de Junio de 2008). Shaking hands with a non Mahram. Recuperado el 5 de Marzo de 2013, de Suhaib Webb: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/faqs-and-fatwas/shaking-hands-with-a-non-mahram-dr-yusuf-al-qaradawi/

Holy Qur’an. (s.f.). Recuperado el 25 de Febrero de 2013, de http://quran.com/2/170

Khalfe, M. A. (s.f.). Does touching the opposite sex break ones Wudhu? Recuperado el 5 de Marzo de 2013, de http://islamictext.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/does-touching-the-opposite-sex-break-ones-wudhu1.pdf

My Secret Life as a Muslim

25 Feb

arenal_volcano

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.

rel_islam_0313

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.

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

Image

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