Is being an American Muslim a big part of your identity?
Yes, but I think more so is being a Latino-American Muslim.
What was your first Ramadan experience like?
Honestly, I cannot recall too much the first Ramadan but I know that the “no food or drink” part took a little while to get used to. At the same time, my brother and I were so hyped about being Muslim that we helped each other get through it.
As time went on the struggles of food/drink became easier as others became more apparent – i.e. not getting angry, doing more good, being more patient, etc. This was also because at first, when learning about Ramadan, the food and drink part is the first thing we were taught/learned.
What advice would you give to a convert who is experiencing Ramadan for the first time?
This advice is for myself first and foremost, to this day, but to take things slow. Not to jump into everything all at once because it becomes overwhelming and hard to keep up with. I would advise, to take ONE thing that they can do consistently and do that act/actions throughout the month, something that can carry over after Ramadan as well.
What would you wish Muslims who are not converts knew about your Ramadan experience?
I do not think I have anything special that I wish for them to know.
In your opinion, what should non-Muslims know about Ramadan or Islam in general?
The fact that Islam is a guide and has answers for EVERY aspect of our daily lives. Putting all the negativity and people aside, Islam is pure and the truth.
As a Latino-Muslim I found it very appealing that Islam has great teachings about family, being good to parents, etc. and that is how we were raised. Having that connection made the transition easy. So if we, as human beings, can just look at Islam for what it is we can see the benefits and the beauty of it.
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I am a Latino-Muslim, converted at the age of 18, still working on myself and something that will never stop. I own my own construction company and jiu-jitsu academy and love working with kids, the community and am focused on anti-bully work.
I am a human being, make mistakes and being Muslim takes work – the beauty of it and what makes it easy is that we were given a complete GUIDE and ROADMAP in the Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad. Becoming Muslim is the BEST decision I ever made for myself. From being confused and lost and not knowing what kind of relationship I needed to have with my Creator, to having clarity and being sure that Islam is the truth.