Published on September 20th, 2016 | by Rafael Barajas0
From Mexico to Madinah: The Story of Brother Rafael
My interest in Islam began when I was only 17 years old. I started to read the Qur’an in Spanish from my computer and finished reading it completely, Alhamdulillah. Although I initially read it without any particular aim in mind, from the very beginning I knew that this was not a book like any other book I had read before. I noticed from the very first page that God was being praised and honored in such a unique way, in a manner that I had never experienced. I continued reading and a strange sensation came over me. Without wanting to exaggerate, I felt a lot of peace and tranquility when I sat in front of my computer and read it carefully, verse by verse.
I have always liked science and I was amazed that many scientific facts, which have only been proven in the last few centuries, appeared in the Qur’an. Things such as the Big Bang theory, the expansion of the universe, the structure of the earth and space, the stages of the embryo in the mother’s womb, and many others were discussed in detail in the Qur’an. It was very surprising to me that they were described in such a clear way, understandable to any person with any level of education. I found that the Qur’an provides details about individual life, family issues, social justice, rules of engagement in battle, and, of course, worship of God. After reading it, I did not waste time in accepting that the Qur’an was a divine revelation and I decided to accept Islam.
During a holiday in my country, which happened by coincidence to be the night of the 27th of Ramadan, I took my father’s bicycle and rode to the place where the Muslims in my city gathered. Although it was very far from my house and I passed by dangerous neighborhoods to get there, everything turned out perfect. I proclaimed my Shahada (testimony of faith) and everyone treated me well. They gave me a prayer rug and books, which I hid beneath my t-shirt so that my parents would not know, and I arrived back home after midnight. My Catholic family did not know about my conversion to Islam until a few years later. I used to hide the signs that I changed. Nevertheless, they noted a few things about me that were different. I used to withdraw from the family at certain times so that I could pray my five daily prayers, and sometimes I did not eat or drink everything they served.
After my Shahada, I received many blessings. I noticed that it is certainly Allah that hears our supplications. Everything that I feel discomfort with is eased, and anything that I could need, I receive more than I ask for when I put my trust completely in Allah.
Alhamdulillah, I had the opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia and study at the University of Madinah for about a year. I was able to learn to read the Qur’an in Arabic and some of the language itself when I arrived not even knowing a single letter of the Arabic alphabet. Once there, I met excellent people who exhort and invite others to do good deeds and practice Islam in the best way. Apart from the knowledge that I received, which is invaluable, I also received the legacy of the prophets, the motivation to teach others about Islam.
I also had the chance to see beautiful places. The simple act of visiting a masjid was of such great value to me since in my native city there are none. And, what is better than arriving at the city that gave refuge to our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and then having the possibility of performing the Hajj? It is something unforgettable that I hope we all have the opportunity to accomplish. I advise you all sincerely to strengthen yourselves, especially those who value too little this Islamic obligation. If you visit Makkah and perform the Hajj, it will change your life!
Unfortunately, I had to leave the city of Madinah due to family problems. Although it made me sad, a few months later Allah made it possible for me to marry an excellent woman with whom I am very happy and feel proud to share my moments.
At the present time, Islam in my city, Guadalajara, continues to grow. Although it is growing at a slow pace, it can be said that there are new Muslims every month. We have less than five musallas, congregational prayer areas, but generally the people do not bother us if we pray in public or if we publicly invite others to Islam. There is more curiosity and interest in Islam than any harassment or rude comments. However, it is a sad fact that female converts are more likely to face opposition than the men.
Insha’ Allah, the situation of the Muslims will get better throughout the world. However, before anything, we should be conscious that any change has to first come from our part by having sound intentions, performing righteous deeds, inviting others towards the good and condemning the evil. For this, there is nothing better than finding the wisdom in the Holy Qur’an, or following the excellent example of our Prophet, peace be upon him.