SHAFAQNA- An Exclusive Interview with Lorena Ochoa Jasso from Mexico by Fatemeh Abbasi
Lorena Ochoa Jasso was born in Mexico City. She is 32 years old. She studied law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She is currently a freelance lawyer. She hopes that next year she will be able to study a specialty in family law which is what she is currently doing. Some years ago she began to investigate different religions in order to find answers for her questions. Finally she found her answers in Islam and embraced Islam in 2013. She also chose Rashida as her Muslim name. This interview is an account of her spiritual journey from Christianity to Islam. Rahyafte NGO (related to Edoardo Agnelli Islamic Association) appreciates her for accepting the interview.
For the first question, please tell us what was your religion before converting to Islam and what caused you to embrace Islam?
I grew up with Catholicism that is a branch of Christianity and is a very common faith in Latin America, but I was not a practitioner so I do not know many things about this religion.
What led me to embrace Islam was the need to seek God, to know God as a Catholic had no approach to the Church and obviously with God, so I began to investigate different religions such as Christianity, including Judaism. But I did not find the answers I wanted … until I met a person from Egypt who told me about Islam and I discovered how wonderful Islam is and there are answers for everything.
How and when did you become Shia Muslim?
First I learned a bit with a Sunni Egyptian here in Mexico, but my interest in learning more led me to know about Shiism. So I attended Shia Islam classes and realized that Ahlulbayt is the truth and I decided to make my shahada as a Shia.
I began to learn and study about Imams (AS), especially Imam Ali (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS). And now I go to a Shia Islamic center to continue learning.
What was your family and friends’ reaction after your conversion to Islam?
The reaction of my family was good, they supported me and continue to support me a lot. They even have a lot of interest in learning and my niece has come with me to the Islamic center. As for my friends, many of them stopped talking to me, criticized me, and of all the “friends” I had, only three remained who respect me and try to understand Islam.
Which verses of the Holy Quran have impressed you more?
The verses that impressed me the most are: “Indeed in the heavens and the earth there are signs for the faithful.” Quran, 45:3 and also “Lord of the east and the west, There is no god except Him, to take Him for your trustee.” Quran, 73:9
What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? When I did the prayer for the first time it was in the Islamic center that I go to. I remember that I cried a lot. It was a feeling of peace and I was also very moved to recite it in Arabic.
Was not it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?
Praying five times a day for me is very difficult because at work I am not allowed to do it but when I am at home I do it without any problem.
What do you think about hijab? Has wearing hijab had any effect on your life?
The hijab is the way that women and the daughters have to protect their beauty. But it is not only this; it is also a way of behaving towards other people, i.e. we must behave in a modest way without attracting attention.
In my case I have had many problems for the use of hijab. For example at work, I am not allowed to wear it, likewise in the street people take photos, they insult us, they laugh at us. I believe that there is still a long way to go for Mexico to change the mentality regarding the current religious diversity.
Have you taken any action to invite people to Islam? If yes, what experiences and recommendations do you have?
I have participated actively to spread Islam through social networks like Facebook. I manage a profile on Islam in conjunction with other brothers. I also manage a big TV channel that is not yet active and sometimes when people have doubts with respect to Islam, we try to inform them.
Which Islamic books do you read?
I have obviously read the Holy Quran; The Moral Virtues of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and the People of His House by Baqer Sharif Al-Qurashi; Introduction to the Duties and Rights of Women by Ibrahim Amini; Leadership of the Islamic Community by Ya’far Subhani; A Synthesis of the Life of the Messenger of Islam, Magnet Imam Husein ibn Ali, Ali Ibn Ul-Husain Magnet, An Exemplary Government (Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS)), Imam Ya’far Ibn Muhammad As- Sadiq (AS), all these books have team of writers of the Foundation Dar Rah-E-Haqq; Youth and Moral by Sayyed Junta Musavi Lari; the Shia Responds by Saiied Rida Husaini Nasab. I also began to read Al-Mizan, the keys of the Paradise supplications, salutations and selection of Mafâtîh Al-Jinân.
If you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness you have found in this religion, what do you say?
I knew Islam at a time in my life when things were not right and I found peace. I remember when I first heard the adhan without being Muslim yet … I cried a lot. It was a feeling of knowing that God was there and that I knew for what I was going through at that moment.
Thank you very much for your attention.
An Exclusive Interview with Lorena Ochoa Jasso from Mexico by Fatemeh Abbasi
DUA: Allah please accept this from us. You are All-Hearing and All-Knowing. You are The Most
(Taken from:To Be Earnest In Prayers By Amina Elahi)
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