Translator: Fatıma Nur Dinçer
Today we will be traveling approximately 12 thousand km to San Kristobal (Ahmediyye).
The village of San Kristobal, Chiapas/Mexico, has been a place of Muslim majority since 1994. The natives of this village, later on, named the village Ahmadiyya. Muhammed Nafia is the name of the Spanish national Muslim who introduced the villagers to Islam. Nafia and his friends, who came to the region as a result of the Zapatista uprisings, continued with their dawah (preaching) and stayed here for many years. These efforts had begun to bear fruit over time, and the locals of the village, Tzotzilli (from the Mayan ethnic group), continue this path opened by Nafia with increasing numbers of Muslims every day.
Nafia not only did his dawah (preaching) but also developed economic activities for new Muslims in three sectors: food, carpentry, and textiles. With this, an almost self-sufficient economy was created, thus giving Muslim men the freedom to leave their jobs and pray during the shift, and Muslim women to gain an independent income, especially by working in the textile sector, while also contributing to the formation of the domestic economy.
Although the locals were initially distant to Islam; they appear to be warmed to the religion, which did not crash with their culture and affirmed the values which they knew to be true.
55-year-old Amin explains the reason for him choosing Islam as below:
“I am someone who likes cleanliness and to change my clothes frequently. Islam was a religion which drew importance to cleanliness, this is what intrigued my interest in the religion.”
Distance sometimes becomes an obstacle in performing religious rituals. Chiapas is one of the poorer areas of the country and it can be difficult to find ‘halal’ meat which is prepared under Islamic rulings. During Eid-ul-Adha, the community sacrifices two cows, and their need for halal meat is met from this occasion. They also distribute and share their meat with their Christian neighbors in the area.
Muslims here are now trying to bring Islamic teachings to the Mayan community, now they are the ones who are giving dawah (preaching) about Islam.
Mexican Muslims are active on social media, they share their future or past events on these platforms. There is also useful information available on their website for those who are interested to find out more about Islam.
This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! Meksika’da Kimsenin Bilmediği Müslüman Köyü