Rehue (Idris) Calquin is an indigenous Latin American from the Mapuche tribe, Argentina. He is the spiritual guide of his tribe who obtained this role and ability from his mother. He and his wife, Sofia, embraced Islam seven years ago, and before their conversion, they used to pursue a lifestyle surprisingly similar to Islam. We have met them in the historical Sinan Pasha Madrassah, Istanbul, and talked to them about their experience of being a Muslim in Argentina, and the role of the Prophet (pbuh) in their lives.
We know that you didn’t have an established religion as we understand it, but in your "lifestyle" before Islam, did you have the concept of prophethood at all? How was it?
Yes, we had a concept of prophethood among our people, but it was a very very old concept. It is so old that we can say it got lost in time, since it is not used nowadays. Long long time ago some people must have come to teach a certain lifestyle, but not like a religion that is known today. It is rather a concept like a spiritual way of living. It does not have gatherings for rituals for salvation or to get rewarded in life. You would do things not because you are afraid of being punished, but because you love God. Everything you do in this life influences your afterlife, but your motivation is not the fear of your afterlife but only the love of God.
Our ancestors taught us that Allah is the Creator. He creates constantly. He creates animals, plants, people, everything we see and everything we do not see. Everything we know and those that are yet to be discovered. It is logic and convenient to take care of this creation. It is our responsibility to respect and preserve this nature.
So, all of these are the teachings of the prophet, but the name and the life of the prophet is forgotten?
Exactly. We talk about a 12,500-year-old tribe here. The Mapuche people is the most ancient nation of the Americas.
When we come to today’s time, what was the role of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in your conversion? What is his role now in your life?
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the pure and perfect example of all the things we had heard. He is the exact, clear example of the search of perfection. His role for us is very important because he is the person to follow.
And what was your connection to the Prophet? How did you get to know him? In the Quran? From a book about his life?...
It’s simple. In the words of the Quran, you can find the reflection of the Prophet's life. We can also read the Sunnah, the hadith, but if we don’t understand what Allah said about the Prophet in the Quran, then we are lost. We need to understand both the words of Allah in the Quran and the life of the Prophet as an example in front of us. It is important to understand that his life is a reflection of Allah’s mercy and a guidance for our lives. Also, if I understand that the Prophet did something and I do the same because he did it, but if I fail to understand the perfection of Allah in his behavior, then I end up being a fanatic of a human being. So we also need to appreciate the perfection given to the Prophet (pbuh) by Allah.
You are also a medical doctor. Do you have any knowledge about what is called 'tibb an-nabawi' - the prophetic medicine? What can you say about it?
I have some knowledge about it, especially regarding the importance of nutrition and spirituality. When somebody says that it’s a good medicine to read a certain surah or make a certain dua, it’s important to really live it, to internalize it. You will not just heal yourself by repeating certain words, but with the spiritual essence of it, you can get into a healing process. So I understand that in the prophetic medicine, it is essential to have the consciousness with it. And I believe this is the best medicine: The medicine for your body is your nutrition, and the medicine for your spirit that sustains your body is your connection to Allah.
Can we say that following the Sunnah of nutrition and the spiritual life/prayer can also be a preventive medicine?
Yes, but of course there are things that are predetermined by Allah, and passing of time may influence your body as well. So there may be some losses with the passing of time. In addition, there are many things that are medicine. For example, family is medicine. Having children, to see your children grow, to share time with them, to walk in peace are all medicine. To take a good breath is medicine. Not to get angry, to have a good character is medicine. What the Prophet (pbuh) said about having a good character is medicine.
So these are what you practice as a doctor, and are also compatible with the prophetic medicine, right?
I’ve felt like you were already living an Islamic life, but you just didn’t know that it was Islam. :)
Yes, probably, because as a spiritual guide, I was prepared to live in a certain way, but Islam helped me complete it. Islam is the flower that gives beauty to your heart. To your very existence. It is very important to find beauty in your life. Sometimes people get worried a lot about what to eat, what to wear or their five daily prayers. But if beauty is missing in their lives, it is not worth it. After all, Allah knows what you hold in your heart.
Thank you very much. This was all I had as questions. Anything would you like to add?
Yes, there are a lot. :)
Mainly, we believe that Islam is the path to freedom, because it leads us to truth. And it is the truth that will make us free!
InshaAllah we are all in that path, and we pray that we are all going to reach that point of completion and freedom.