Saturday, 15 December 2007

Muslimah Working From Home - The Smorty Option

Being a mother is a major headache for any Muslimah today. Ask any new mum nursing a baby or just carrying her bundle of joy around in her arms. You worry about those years to come whre baby is growing up and the years of hormonal turmoil that accompany children that follow.

That is why many Muslimahs turn to work from home. Even those fortunate enough to be fully provided for feel an inevitable need to earn money of their own. After all, we are all born to think, the same way our babies are born to grow and make their own decisions.

Muslimahs working from home is not uncommon in any country - in fact, women working from home are of multitude culture, religion, upbringing and social status. Many agree that once they graduate from being a wife to a mother, many feel compelled to search for opportunities to earn while tending to their children.

Luckily for many, these opportunities do exist. Writing, web design, small business accounting, blogging, provide avenue for women to reaslise their work from home dream.

Blogging for money is exceptionally popular for mothers with the penchant to write. Not only is blogging perceived as therapeutic, it allows mental activity, which can easily die off when tending to children 24 hours a day. Getting lost in your kids is not unusual, especially if you are sticking to a strict routine. Getting paid to blog is just the icing on the cake. The concept of getting paid to blog is known as blog advertising where bloggers are given blogging tasks by paying advertisers. An objective view of the product or service at hand, within a stipulated length allows the advertiser to have his or her product promoted through your blog.

Services like Smorty provides such energy for passionate bloggers to get paid for writing blogposts on advertisers. Of course not all Work From Home Muslimahs are bloggers and are the least interested in writing or blogging. But if your home-based business requires some advertising, turning to Smorty is also not a problem at all. Smorty accomodates advertisers of a range of businesses and passes on your business advertisements to bloggers for effective promotion. blog advertising is an affordable yet effective method of delivering your business credentials to a wide network of internet surfers.

In years to come many more women may leave the career paths for the full-time job as mum - and if things can't get more demanding, many will look into work from home opportunities. The headaches of being a mum and those hormonal years to come may effectively be subdued.

Friday, 7 December 2007

You Look Phat!

That could be misinterpreted in more ten ways, especially if the person saying it to you did not write it out on a piece of paper and hold it over her head. And even worse, it would bring on more than ten mood swings within seconds!

It's not phat to be fat. Magazines grace stalls by your walk way; advertisements skinny dip on your tv set; bill boards spin heads while you drive. It's not phat to be fat. Skinny is the deal. Skinny is beautiful. Thin is neat. Thin is in. It's not phat to be fat.

That's what aesthetics shout out today. Dieting, looking good in clothes, a body without lumps, bumps, backs and fronts, are what beauty manufacturers are screaming out to women nowadays. They have capitalised on that fear of being a little overweight. One too many curves will cause a whirlwind of headaches. It's not phat to be fat.

How do these beauty gurus empower women who feel depressed, upset and even a little sad about the little bulge called a belly; the extra kilo called age; and that extra skin called skin?

They empower us with diet pills, diet shakes, tummy trims and other fancy frills. In the plight to be skinny, many of us, once in a while, fall prey to the jingle of tablets and to the fizz of a flab burner shake.

It happens, but it should not. If you listen a little closer to the jingle and the fizz, you would learn that there are stories behind the tablet and the drink. Some are not very nice and some are quite dangerous.

Know that these diet supplements are not all approved by your health ministry or authority. Know that these diet supplements could contain far more medication than approved supplements (such as multivitamins) to speed up favourable results. Know that these diet supplements hack away at your insides, they erode your body to allow you to slim down to the figure of a 1. Know that these diet supplements may affect your liver due to their high content of chemicals, and your liver may not be able to process them. Know that these diet supplements can act as a silent time-bomb in your body, waiting to explode when time is most unlikely. Know that these diet supplements can cause cancer.

We are born into this world that is laced with beauty. A new mother embraces the beauty of her child. When friends and family come a-calling, their comments let the word slip and slide.
But as the baby grows up, the word is used less and less... and is more callously defined by the people around her.

It's not phat to be fat. Teenagers fall prey to anorexia and bulimia around the world. There is so pressure to be thin and to stay thin. There are too many "friends" keeping a close eye on how they look in their skinny clothes.

But wanting to be thin is one thing, wanting to be healthy is another.

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it is generally accepted that obesity represents an unhealthy lifestyle. But it is untrue that skinniness should be associated with good health. A woman who is slightly overweight but is a happy and confident person is healthier than a woman who is severely underweight and feels compelled to keep up with the trends.

If you feel that you are overweight (which most of us do) and feel like shedding a few pounds, whatever you do, stay away from diet pills. They are harmful and harm is unlawful in Islam. Instead, respect your body and take care of it the healthy way.

Exercise, exercise, exercise - a good workout gets your body working and burns off calories effectively. You do need to exercise, not only to lose weight to be build up stamina, ward off illnesses and to essentially live longer.

Also, observe a good diet. Steam food rather than fry; grill your meals rather than buy. Take control over what you eat.
Keep your fridge stocked with fresh vegetables that you can chop up as a salad and plenty of fresh fruits when you need to snack. Eat a balanced diet with a colourful array of protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Eat well during breakfast to ward of hunger pangs that lead to bingeing. Have a light early dinner and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Your body deserves this. You deserve it.

You will feel better, lighter and more energetic.

So, it is not phat to be fat - but it is not wise to be unhealthy and fall prey to vulture advertising that so-called beauty gurus impose on the insecurities of women.
And as for skinny clothes - :) - alhamdulillah, Islam provides for this too - wear Hijab, love Hijab and live Hijab - be the confident, healthy and happy Muslimah, Allah intended you to be. You will look phat!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Hijab Fashion Shows - What do these say about Hijab?

Islamic fashion shows are becoming popular in some Muslim countries as well as the West. Many of them feel compelled to demonstrate what an Islamic dresscode entails. It's true, models are dressed up in different forms of hijab - where the model is covered from head to toe, save for their faces and hands.

Fashion designers use different fabrics, colour and cuts to display a full hijabi attire that Muslim women are allowed to wear in public. However, not all fabrics, colour and cuttings adhere to Islamic ruling. Some fabrics are transparent, displaying inner garments of the model, which are clingy or body-fitting. Though there is no general restriction on colour in Islam - some designers combine colours of their outfits, or emphasise highly on one fluorescent colour - defying the whole purpose of Hijab - which is set out NOT to attract attention. Some fittings are a cut too tight and show off the Muslim woman's figure. Though these types of clothing are not appropriate for a Muslim woman when in the presence of non-Mahrams, she is allowed to wear them in the comfort of their her own home - with her Muslim sisters and Mahram brothers in Islam.

So, if Islamic fashion shows comply completely with Islamic rulings, are they allowed? Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas still says "no."

With models walking up and down the catwalk with an array of spectators gliding their eyes all over them commenting on their "appearance", there is nothing really to be modest about. Hijab disallows and disencourages non-Mahram men from looking at women and requests them to question their faith and modesty when in the vicinity of non-Mahram sisters. Modesty and shyness is no longer an element of Hijab if it is being paraded around by models, who need to use their appearances as the core element of their career. And in general, most models do not even observe Hijab in their daily lives.

Muslim fashion designers therefore, are required to find alternate creative means in promoting their work. In fact, they should look into the more "religious" aspect of Hijabi clothing rather than prey upon the aesthetics and materialism that Islamic fashion shows entail.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Who do you respect?

There are many interpretations of a woman wearing Hijab and plenty of misconceptions.

One important representation of a Hijabi woman is the fact that she wishes to be respected. Respect in today's world has very much to do with seniority and / or hierarchy. We tend to find that we need to respect people who are smarter than us, those who are older, more qualified or have more experience. We feel we need to respect men and women who demonstrate leadership skills, those who are higher-paid, those who have been around alot longer. They all command respect.

But why? Is it because we feel inferior to them - that they are better than us in certain skills, more knowledgeable than us in certain fields, drive a bigger car, live in a nicer duplex? Maybe they do reserve your respect. Maybe...

However, how do they command your respect - is it through haughtiness, dictatorship, arrogance, snootiness, the bling-bling of their sportscar's headlights as they wave goodbye to you while you are waiting in line for a bus?

It is easy to fall into the trap of respecting and looking up to someone because he or she is smarter, richer, more experienced, better looking or more qualified than we are. Having said that, of course, some of these smarter, richer, more experience, better looking, more qualified do deserve our respect - because there is another way of gaining respect from another person.

It is through modesty. A sincere conversation, being an active listener. Genuinely caring about another person. Displaying humility that any haughtiness of just by being smarter or richer than the next person does not affect you - rather it has an adverse effect on you - that you truly believe you would be the same person without all those qualities. You feel thankful and grateful for what you have and who you have become.

The same goes for a woman in hijab. Not only is her dress a representation of modesty. She values herself for the person she is without imposing herself on others. Muslims respect Sisters who respect themselves by adhering to the guideline of hijab.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Prayer Attire - Is it really necessary?

The prayer attire market is a lucrative market for Muslim-dominant markets. Women purchase prayer attire that allow them easy and comfortable use when performing Salaah.

There are many different forms (if you like) or prayer garb. Many are loose, made of cotton, usually white and can be either two piece of a single cloak that covers the whole body, save the Muslimah's face and hands.

These type of apparel are wonderful for Muslimahs as it just makes Salaah all that much easier. However, they are not necessary for a Muslimah to wear them in order to perform a valid prayer.

There is a misconception that without wearing the prayer attire during the five daily prayers, a prayer becomes null and void - totally unacceptable.

I realise this stems for cultural practices, as in some countries, a certain fashion or make of prayer clothes is required to fulfill the obligation of Salaah.

The truth is, as long as a Muslimah is covered from head to toe, save her face and her hands and has performed her ablution, she is ready for prayer, insha'Allah. Therefore, there is no need to worry about having the "right attire" to pray in, especially when one is out and about.

This also highlights the importance of Hijab. You cannot pray if you care not fully covered in accordance to Islamic principles! Being covered for Allah does not only mean being covered during prostration or bowing, it means being covered all the time.

It is great that women purchase prayer clothes. I agree that they are comfortable and airy to pray in and they are easy to manage, especially when you are at home and are uncovered. However, Islam is simple and there is no need to worry when you are without your prayer attire. You are allowed to pray in whatever you are wearing, as long as you are adequately covered, in accordance to Islamic principle.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

2Hijab - The Haven's Top Pick!


Alhamdulillah I am back and double Alhamdulillah that I am back. Sometimes when things run amuck we forget that we are not really in control of what happens in our lives. What we can control is how we deal with them.


Anyway, good news after returning to Hijab Haven, I received some feedback regarding the Haven. Apparently, 2Hijab scores alot ofpoints for new Muslimahs! Masha'Allah, well done 2Hijab.

I can see why though. They have a great range of scarves that suit different tastes of Muslimahs around the world. Personally, I like the way they have intergrated the different cultural tastes of women through their colours, textures, patterns and even fabrics.

Their abayas and jilbab collection are also something to look at. In fact, if you're happy with 2Hijab, just looking around the one store can help you pick out a whole new suit for the upcoming special occassion. It could be anyting. An interview, a party, your anniversary dinner, your graduation, a baby shower.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit this store. You should do it now! Insha'Allah you won't regret it!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

'Eid Mubarrak Everyone!

I am not sure about everyone else around the world, but tomorrow represents my last suhoor for Ramadhan, thus tonight, my last Tarawih. Masha'Allah, I would not gloat and say I did fabulous this year, but certainly, HUMBLY, I have (think) that I have become a better person.

Insha'Allah this will be my personal theme until next Ramadhan, may Allah bless me!

So if I don't see you, until we have celebrated 'Eid, 'Eid Mubarrak to you, may all our deeds have been accepted and blessed by Allah.

Here is an interesting page to read before your final iftar, if you have not done so already.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A cure for many ailments...

O mankind! There has come to you an admonition from your Lord, a cure for whatever (disease) is in your hearts, a guidance and a blessing for all those who believe. Say: 'It is the grace and mercy of God (that He has sent this Qur'an), so let the people rejoice over it, for it is better than (the worldly riches) they hoard.
(Yunus: 57-58)

We are on the home-stretch leading to the end of Ramadhan. Has the month of reflection affected you? Many people fall unwell during the month of fast. Definitely, your body goes through changes. You stay awake longer, eat a whole lot less and you spend more time in prayer, which is actually a very relaxing exerise for your body.

It is no wonder some of us come down with the sniffles, a cough, sometimes dehydration.

These little things happen for a reason.

Sometimes during a detoxification, we tend to fall ill before we get better. It helps our immune systems strengthen and build up as we encounter these little ailments. To get over them, imagine little children in Africa that have nothing to eat even after the sun sets. Fasting 24 hours a day is no longer a choice for them. For better-off Muslims, even those who fall a little ill, they are able to enjoy a proper meal at the end of the day with friends and family whom they love, before proceeding to prayers for the night. Alhamdulillah.

Another reason why we fall ill, whether it is during Ramadhan or not, is a way for us to have our sins erased. Even a little cut removes sins of the same weight. There is no reason to toss ibadah aside when this happens. Visit the nearby clinic and get whatever medicine that will help you through the few days and continue fasting.

Insha'Allah there is virtue in steadfastness and holding strongly to faith. There are again, millions of children in Iraq who have been denied medical attention by ridiculous sanctions.

Their ailments are far from the minor scratch. Some have dimembered limbs, internal bleeding, cracked bones and dysfunctional muscles. Yet, they live day to day, maybe without even a proper meal.

We should all pray for healing. For ourselves and our faith in the Lord. We should also pray that all the pain and suffering endured by less fortunate Muslims be alleviated. There is a cure for every disease. May we find one for cruelty and ignorance!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Ingredients of a Muslimah

What makes up a Muslimah?
Modesty - A Muslim woman is always modest in her appearance and in every way she carries herself. She does not need to attract attention by sprucing up her her attire, neither does she need to jingle her bracelets. She does not need to laugh out loudly or dance around for others to notice her. Attention that is paid to her is through her intellect, her character, her wit and her
Uniqueness - She is proud of who she is and needs not to live up to expectations of others. She needs not beautify herself to please another; she needs not join social rings that invite the "in" club; she needs not indulge in gossip or slave over what is hot and what is not. She is herself, and she is proud to be herself - she does not mind standing out from the crowd in her own unique special way, in which she pleases Allah, and Allah alone.
Self-sacrifice - There is nothing more important than tending to others. They could be brothers and sisters in a war-torn country; orphans living down the street; her spouse and her babies; her parents and her neighbours. The self-sacrificing Muslimah always lends a hand. She may be cooking for her parents, organising a charity run, feeding her children, writing for a Muslim magazine. She sees her place in the world as a person who is there to make a difference.
Love - She is the all-time lover. She loves and hates for the sake of Allah - loving all that is clean and pure; beautiful and pious; she loves all that is good and anything that will help her be a better person. She loves her family and her spouse; her friends and her neighbours; her brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith and brothers and sisters of other faith. She loves her children, and mostly, she loves herself for she is a gift to herself from her Creator.
Imaan - Her imaan or her faith defines her. Because she submits to Allah, when she is happy, she praises Him, when she is in need, she prays for His help. Her unshakeable faith helps her through difficult times and reminds her of herself during happy times.
Meaningfullness - Idleness is her enemy. Laziness is her nemesis. The Muslimah's life is full of meaning. Everything she does, she has already understood that it is for a certain good. She moves forwards, never backwards. She leaps for opportunities and reaches out to the sky for stars and cloud fluff... all for a reason. She does not dwell in shallowness, neither does she indulge in ignorance. She always moves forwards, full of meaning.
Assurance - Or should I say self-assured? The true Muslimah is confident in the way she carries herself. Mostly because she does not have to feel belittled by those who prey on vulnerability. She does not need to answer to anyone but Allah and as long as he is not displeased with her, she has nothing to worry about! She looks beyond the superficial and all that is material... she looks to the afterlife and she is assured that everything she does works towards eternal happiness.
Humility - A Muslimah displays humility at all times. She is never arrogant or condescending upon others. She admits when she makes mistakes and corrects others with care and tact. She i a student regardless of her age and position and is always willing to learn something new. The vast knowledge Allah has displays, humbles her and no matter what her achievements are, she thanks Allah. In prayer, she demostrates humility when she places her forehead on the ground in full prostration to her Lord.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Monthly Hijab Competition by Muslim Base

Muslim Base has launched a monthly Hijab essay competition. I think it has been going on for quite some time now but it is never too late to try jump on the writing wheel.

You are allowed to submit an essay with relevance to Hijab and are entitled to win 20pound worth of Hijab from the store! Masha'Allah, that is good news.

Even better news is that Muslim Base has structured this competition such that all entries will be rolled over to the following month. This will allow every entry to be entitled for a future win. Insha'Allah all participants will eventually win their worth of Hijabs.

Read up here to learn about the terms and conditions as well as contact details!

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Desert Store - Definitely Not a Mirage!

There is a new store in the Haven, and it is called Desert Store. Read more about the store here.

The clothing collection for women actually look really great, as you can see by this snapshot of the store.

There are also plenty for men, children, prayers and personal hygiene.

So, don't waste time, hop-on over. Arabia has never been this close to you!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Anti-Hijab Fever in Kosovo

It is unfortunate that Muslim countries have adopted ridiculous viewpoints regarding the Hijab. This ban in Kosovo obviously denotes the blatant lack of education with respect to women's rights in Islam.

Not only is the school violating these students' rights to dress as modest young women, they also have placed the image and appearance of the trio of greater importance as compared to their excellent academic track record.Apparently how they dress is more important that their intellect! Astarghfirullah!

It is misleading that three brilliant students should be kicked out of school for doing nothing but abiding by their Islamic beliefs.

For a country that claims to be a Muslim country or Muslim inhabited country, the demonstration of these 2 schools contradict the practices of the religion.

Denying a student, male or female, the right to a proper education is just a passport to stupidity and ignorance. Denying a woman's right to dress modestly is passport to calamity. What has happened to this country?

May dua's be said for Fatmire Jashari, Valbona Kabashi and Mihane Veliu. May Allah guide them in times of their difficulty.

Monday, 24 September 2007

What has happened to my blog?

Something's wrong. There are no spaces between paragraphs even when I press enter.

Who is really in control?

The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said that women totally dominate men of intellect and possessors of hearts.
But ignorant men dominate women, for they are shackled by an animal ferocity.
They have no kindness, gentleness or love, since animality dominates their nature.
Love and kindness are human attributes; anger and sensuality belong to the animals.
She is the radiance of God; she is not your beloved.
- Jalal Al-Din Rumi
Despite endless messages conveyed by Allah Ta'ala through His Apostle (peace and blessings upon him), blatant sexism exists in today's modern society, regardless of culture, traditions and religion. No matter how developed a nation's mentality can be, the continuous plight of differences and disagreements between Mars and Venue persevere and often cause more disruption than the mere commotion.
There are plenty of ayahs in the Qur'an calling for men and women to work together to form a progressive ummah. Treated equally but differently, men and women are made to complement one another.
The believers, males and females, are partners of one another; they shall jointly enjoin all that is good and counsel against all that is evil. (At-Tawbah 9: 71)
But women are not identical twins of men.
Possibly, this is where all the confusion begins. There is always talk of superiority and inferiority; passivemess and submission; leadership and even possible prostration. Most of the time, statements are made out of context and with an absence of understanding.
As Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him), this is obviously a concoction of the ignorant man!
In tow of modernity and female liberation in vogue, it is hardly news that Islam comes under fire when speaking of the status of women. Due to improper conduct of Muslim men and women, media hype capitalises in a few examples of animalistic capacity, as described by Jalal al-din Rumi.
It is unfortunate that men and women who fall into this category lack the understanding of Islam and its practices.
On the flip-side though, the non-Muslim world is not spared. Female liberation and progression that boasts freedom over and above the Hijab only provides avenues for women to be stuck in a rut of living up to expectations - and in general - the expectations of men.
It ranges from clambering up and down the corporate ladder, with a huge a compromise of values for many female employees; slaving to the latest skin deep trends and fashion faux-pas; being forced to contribute to the household income on a 50-50 basis and wake up for night feeds; or even having to forgo children all together.
Who possesses who? Who controls who?
Does nakedness of human society represent power or poverty. I guess it depends on which part of the world you dwell in - and if the answer is power, it is only skin deep. After all, sexism exists in the non-Muslim world too.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Footprints in the Sand - Thanking Allah!

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

written by Mary Stevenson

Mary Stevenson could not have gotten it more correct in this beautiful passage she wrote in 1936. It depicts so vividly a conversation between a man and his creator. How man, through fitrah - the natural inclination in believing in God - wishes to speak to God.
Of course, when this wish comes true, man sees his life through all trials and tribulation expecting God to be by his side.
What we always remember are our troughs in our lives - those dips that take us into bottomless cauldrons of uncertainty. The times we feel abandoned and alone; cold and starved; hurt and betrayed.
Mostly at times like these, we pray. But as we pray, we question our Lord on His abandonment. Why would He leave me alone like this? Where is He? Why me?
In turn, when man is allowed a conversation with the Divine, he still questions his Lord on those difficult passages of his life. Where were You? Why did You leave me?
How ignorant we are to think that we would be able to walk alone during those times, let alone walk on our own two feet?

Seek your provision from Allah, and serve Him, and give thanks unto Him
(Al-`Ankabut 29:17).

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Nerves, Anxiety & Fasting

Ramadhan at a distant glance can sometimes seem intimidating. I'm not talking about the non-Muslim who is reading about the impending Holy Muslim Months in a local daily - I'm talking about the Muslim who is about to embark on the month, fasting - refusing food, drink and marital intimacy for the duration of sunrise.

In addition to that, once the sun dips, it is not all fun and games, karaoke singing and food fests. Ramadhan is just a continuous whole month of worship, worship and more worship.

Iftar, the breaking of the fast, is followed by Maghrib prayers, a quick preparation for Tarawih prayers, usually held at the Masjid or Islamic centre, right after Isha'. Then there are those Muslims who awake in the early morning for other prayers such as Tahajjud, Hajat, Taubah. Others recite the Qur'an in the spare time. If not already awake, Muslims rise before dawn for the blessed meal that would help them through the day. Fasting begins once again.

I always thought I was the only one feeling totally unprepared for the fast. But after reading this post, I realise it is only natural. It can be intimidating to know that as a Muslim, you would engage in so much of worship 24 hours a day - for some, more than they can muster for the rest of the year.

Alhamdulillah, anxiety and nerves settle once Ramadhan arrives, and the natural inclination of surrendering to Allah and only Allah, kicks in, as if it were the day we were born.

There really is magic in Ramadhan, for those who focus on excelling in the eyes of Allah. Maybe it is all the nerves and anxiety that help build up the zeal to continuously worship God like there is no tomorrow!


I guess a person who is generally apathetic about religion would not enjoy Ramadhan the same way a person who was chewing off finger nails and prespiring like crazy as the month approached.

Personally it was a difficult preparation for me this year. I thought I would buckle, for several health reasons. But masha'Allah and Alhamdulillah, Allah has made it easy for me so far! He has given me the energy that I has been absent for some time now and rebuilt my self-confidence in partaking in this beautiful month - despite my nerves and ugly fingernails!

One week has passed since the first iftar, may the next four weeks be as wonderful as this one.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Sisters Ramadhan Issue - For Sisters, from Sisters

Alhamdulillah! The third issue of Sisters Magazine is out! In conjunction with the beautiful month of Ramadhan, find everything and anything you need regarding the month.

As many know, Sisters is an e-zine tailored delicately for the fabulous Muslim woman. If you want to read up on women's news reported by a dynamic team of Muslim women around the world, Sisters is the e-zine for you!

A snippet of this issue? Sure!

Read up on:

Ramadhan in the Qur'an and Sunnah;
The wisdom behind fasting;
Exerting oneself in the last ten days of Ramadhan;
Preparing your home for Ramadhan;
Making this Eid your best ever with our fun and fabulous celebration ideas!
& a Gorgeous Eid fashion feature!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

"Decoding the Dress Myth," A Brilliant Article

One of my favourite webistes on the net has to IOL, just because there is so much information on Islam and I always try to learn something new. Personally, it refreshes my need for faith and realigns my principles when browsing through their articles.

Tonight I found this article particularly engaging. There are plenty beautiful articles supporting and loving Hijab and its wonders for Muslim women in every dedicated Islamic website. But this one was like a breath of fresh air.

A short excerpt:

"If a young lady wearing niqab does not want to start mixed-gender dealings, that is her right. Logically, then a woman who chooses to expose certain parts of her body, then she is inviting attention - and that is her choice. But the latter does not have the right to control the choices of others or claim that she is more liberated and progressive."

Hijab has alot to do with the right to protect one's self from obscenity. Obscenity can stem from your own self, other people and / or the general surroundings.

Personally, one comment I dislike about the Muslimah's dresscode, but unfortunately usually hear is that "hijab is just not a modern way to dress -"

"Decoding the Dress Myth" reminds us all that (poorer / slave) women pre-Islam in Arabia were made to dance around the Ka'abah or at parties partially or lewdly dressed for the pleasure of lecherous men. These women had no choice but to conform to this obscene practice.

It is unfortunate that women who are partially dressed nowadays boast that they are modern and up todate as they haphazardly keep up with the latests trends and fashions (that are forever changing) to remain modern in the eyes of others.

And moreover, they do have a choice!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Ramadhan Reduction Special from Tudung Online!


How was your first day of Ramadhan? Mine was absolutely brilliant Masha'Allah.

More good news for Malaysian shoppers (only). Tudung Online has reduced delivery costs for orders from their store to RM2 for peninsular shoppers and RM4 for shoppers from Sabah and Sarawak.

They have a new awesome collection, especially for Ramadhan and Eid. Be sure to check them out now, since the scarves have been selling out extremely quickly.

Only 1 Pound per Delivery? Check out Island Cosmetics


Island Cosmetics has reduced their international postage fee to GBP1 per order. Is that not incredible? Internationally!

In fact, it is free for shoppers in the UK.

Save money this Ramadhan by purchasing your fragrances, make-up and skin care products from Island Cosmetics.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Going Hijabi for Ramadhan!

Aaahh... it is that time of the year again.

Ramadhan is a month of reflection for many - it provides time to appreciate the abundance of blessings Allah Ta'ala has bestowed upon us - most of which usually go unappreciated. It is a time to reflect on our deeds as suddenly we are conscious of all that has taken place over the year.

May we make amends during the month? Though we are are required to practice Islam throughout the year, Ramadhan always provides food for thought, with evil eradicated from our lives - the devil in shackles, leaving us to stand tall and turn away from distractions that could sideline our iman.

Many women decide to don the Hijab for Ramadhan, marking respect for the holy month. Somehow during this month, ibadah becomes simple, as it should be. It is not taxing nor tedious and practice is as easy as gentle breeze in the evening.

Wearing the Hijab during the month acts as a reminder to continue steadfast worship throughout the month. At the same time, many women who start wearing the Hijab during Ramadhan find that it is, after all, an easy task - enjoyable, liberating and fulfilling.

Ramadhan is a good time to start learning new forms of worship. Besides the Hijab, one can learn new prayers, read new versus of the Qur'an, visit neighbouring orphanges.

It is such a beautiful month that the normal environmental burdens such as heat, fatigue, laziness and ever miserliness are wiped away. Don't believe me? We fast don't we - staying away from food, drink and marital relations during the day, and we do it so easily!

Ramadhan Kareem everyone - may this Ramadhan flourish with love and joy, full of worship and renewed faith for Allah Ta'ala.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Hijab Against Pedophilia

We have always marked the age of puberty the right time for both boys and girls to start obseving hijab. Generally it is when a girl first experiences her menstrual cycle and a boy's voice changes. However scholars have also mentioned that physical maturity does not necessary translate into mental readiness for adult life so they have added a few years to the benchmark for when they see hijab as an obligatory dresscode for both genders.

It is unfortunate though that many children nowadays grow up faster than even their physical developments. Some parents now even feel the pressure of encouraging hijab at an earlier age. By right, a child is a child and is allowed to be a child for as long as childhood permits.

But with the widespread atrocity of pedophilia and child ponography, children are becoming victims of distaste, just by being children.

It may just be an innocent talent show where kids are allowed to be kids, prancing up and down on stage, making their mark on their little world, impressing their parents and being cheered on by the masses. However, talent contests, which I may add, are now evolving into reality shows have little girls primmed up in make-up swaggering their hips around in stuffed brasserie miming to the latest bubblegum pop song. Was I talking about a talent show? Boys are not left out either. Latest dance moves and body signals emit lewdness that we normally see in the contemporary music video.

TV seems to be just the perfect breeding ground for blatant disregard of modesty. Though it may be all innocent and fun watching children enjoy themselves transforming into dancers, pop singers or favourite rap artists, who knows who may be watching? The show could very well be a dream-come-true for a pedophile.

Maybe it is wise to teach children about hijab a little earlier and even have them dress accordingly. Lewdness is becoming a norm in this world and the worse victims would be our children.

I don't find anything wrong with children appearing on the television. I just don't think they should be exploited for their innocence - and they really are innocent - even at their physical age of maturity.

The scholars are right, they need a few extra years of injury time to be considered an adult. As parents, we are responsible to guide them to proper Muslim dress-code. They need to know the wonderful value of decency and need to know that they need to be protected.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Sikhs Under Tighter Surveillances at Airports

This has obviously got much to do with brothers of the Sikh faith. It is not impossible that Muslims too will be subject to these checks. Just a heads-up!

Four Sikhs Subjected to Mandatory Turban Pat Downs Over Past Two Weeks

New York, New York (August 19, 2007) - The Sikh Coalition has learned that Sikhs are being subjected to heightened screening procedures, including mandatory turban pat downs, at all U.S. Airports.

The Coalition became aware of the change not from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), but through 4 Sikh air travelers who were subject to mandatory turban pat downs during the past two weeks. While theTSA acknowledges a change in policy has occurred, it has declined to providedetails of the policy change for professed security reasons.

The new procedures are in direct contradiction to a detailed turbanscreening <> policy( that has been in placesince November 2001.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks in New York andWashington, D.C. Sikh<> community groups worked closely (< with Department of Transportation officials to devise an airport screeningprotocol that would meet national security requirements, while safeguarding religious pluralism.

The Sikh Coalition is very concerned that a policy affecting millions of Sikh air travelers went into effect without any community group input. The resulting procedure revokes longstanding regulations on which our community has come to depend, and opens the door to legitimizing practices that undermine religious pluralism.

The Sikh Coalition is sending this advisory to alert millions of Sikh airtravelers of the change and to provide advice on what to do if subjected tothe new screening procedure.

What is Happening?

Over the past two weeks, four Sikhs -- Prabhjit Singh, Inderpreet Singh,Pritpal Singh, and Prabhjot Singh --- were all required to submit to turbanpat downs in order to board an airplane. At San Francisco International Airport, where three of the incidents occurred, TSA screeners insisted that Sikh travelers submit to pat downs oftheir turbans as a condition of flying on both domestic and international flights.

Similarly, at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, a Sikh air traveler was pulled aside by TSA screeners and told his turban would be patted down before boarding this past week. When requested, screeners did agree in three instances to conduct additional screening in a private area. TSA screeners, however, refused a request inone instance to wand the turban instead of patting it down. Screeners also refused to provide a copy of the new screening guidelines citing security concerns.

The Sikh Coalition's Response to the Policy Change

Since the Coalition first learned of the new procedures this past Thursday, we have been working to confirm whether a change in policy has occurred andto understand the parameters of the new policy.

On Friday, August 17th, a TSA representative confirmed that a change inairport search procedures has occurred. The TSA, however, refuses to provide the public with a copy of the new search policies, citing security concerns.

Nevertheless, the TSA has assured the Sikh Coalition that it will provide the Coalition with information it can share with the Sikh community by Monday, August 20th. The TSA has also promised to meet with Sikh Coalition staff members early this coming week to discuss the Sikhcommunity's concerns about the new policy.The Coalition will report back to the Sikh community once it reviews theinformation the TSA provides on Monday, and after it meets with the TSA later this week.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Let us Believe...

In all distress, there is comfort;
in moments of darkness, there is light;
in moment of despair, there is hope.

There has to be - because we are Muslims.

In actual fact, we have to unite. Unity in the Ummah is the only way we can overcome adversities such as this. But there is always hope when all else is lost. There are always ways to help.

Hope is through Allah and to him alone. Let's pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters who steadfast believe in becoming better Muslims - the same way we should pray for ourselves!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Hijab always in focus -

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty sheds light on an important question here.

It is not unusual to have bouts of uncertainty concerning Hijab once in a while. Is it really ordained? Why women? Why only women?

It can be confusing with the surrounding controvery. Hijab always being in focus, always talked about, always scrutnised.

Sometimes everything gleams at us so clearly and we fully understand and accept Hijab as our own.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of Hijab resources on IOL. This can be your starting page.

Happy learning!

High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, "O my Lord! advance me in knowledge." (Ta-Ha: 114)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Ten Things I Love About You (part 2)

(6) I am proud of who I am

Now, I am proud of who I am. I have eliminated worries about my weight, my height, my waist line. My brain has emptied out all these useless insecurities and filled itself up with ambitions that have brought my career to sky-rocket, my children to excel in school and my marriage to flourish. My parents are always proud of my achievements. I am able to lend a helping ear to those in need and hand-hold through to comfort without worrying about myself all the time.

I continue to strive and to learn and to harbour as much knowledge as possible with every passing moment as my nose will never be caught between leaves of cosmetic magazines sending signals to my brain that those glamorous pictures of beautifully computerized women are true to life.

My esteem is rock-steady because I know how to water it and fertilise it and reach for the light, the sun – rather than grovel in the soils of self-pity in search of worldly happiness that is as shallow as its glossy roots.

(7) I gel with the weather
I am always cool and comfortable with you around. You are loose around my body and do not stick to me on a hot blazing day. You give me air to breathe and when I am on the move, I glide easily as I do not worry about what I look like from behind or from the side – in fact I have nothing to hide, because I am all hidden.

If I feel cold, I slip an extra piece of clothing on – something just as non-revealing and it keeps me warm throughout the different seasons in the year.

(8) You have given me a sense of belonging
I do not wonder around aimlessly hoping for things to get better and worry why I do not fit in. This is because you have given me a sense of belonging that I belong to the believers of God. That by committing myself to you, I have made a commitment to the Muslim Ummah and insha’Allah will always be part of the Muslim community.

I have no qualms about not joining in on the latest hip parties or glamorous societies. I have you and you have linked me to true believers and advocates of Islam.

(9) I have become a better person
Now that I have you, I actively find ways to become a better person. It only fits the purpose as when you are around I feel the inner me must find ways to improve itself to suit the outer me. If I want to demonstrate the beauty of Islam, I have to do it from within as well as from the way I look from the outside.

I pray more diligently and smile a lot more. I provide for charity with whatever I do not need. I love my family more and pay attention to my friends. I shop wisely, and drive with greater care. I take time to laugh and I take time to cry. I appreciate everything that happens to me and it makes me a better person. I take my time to learn from my mistakes and never to repeat them again because I appreciate my every milestone I make in becoming a better Muslim.

(10) I feel closer to Allah with you around
And because of all of this, I feel so much closer to Allah. I am a more conscientious Muslim and I live from day to day in remembrance of the Lord. I do not worry about the shallow matters of dunya and concern myself with things that can make my life in the akhirah the most rewarding experience.

Thank you Hijab,
I hope you realize how much you mean to me!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Ten Things I Love About You (part 1)

Dear Hijab,

I am writing this letter to tell you how much you mean to me. Though there are so many reasons why I cherish you and appreciate every moment of the day with you, I thought I would list the top 10 reasons why I love you this much!

(1) You keep me protected
I feel safe all the time with you are around. I attract much less negative attention from those men at the stalls, men at the construction site, men across the road, in their cars, in the office and at the mall. In fact, they do not bother to look even twice because they know I do not bother about them. I do not care for their attention, their cat-calls or free drinks. They know that I can take care of myself and do not require their attention to feel appreciated. In fact, I can buy my own drinks, and I proudly do so while they do not look on.

(2) You are kind on my wallet
Because of you, I do not feel compelled to run out and buy that latest top or newest edition of designer lip stick. I am not obsessed how my hair looks or falls or sways with the wind so I don’t visit the hair saloon religiously nor do dish out bundles of notes to buy their expensive hair sprays / conditioners / shampoos / hair dye. I don’t need to plague my weekends with shopping sprees to make sure I look like the next top model or rising TV personality.

I am all kept and proper and I buy only what I need when I need. I am not a display ornament that has to be beautified by those products that brandish endless shelves at the beauty sections of shopping malls or are obscenely displayed in beauty magazines.

I can save money for more important things because of you. Like alms for the poor and my pilgrimage to the holy land. I have stashed money away for me to pursue my PHD and take care of my parents when they are older. In fact, my children’s accounts are thriving thanks to you – insha’Allah they will be given the best education possible.

(3) I have learned to love myself for who I am
Now that you are here, I look in the mirror before going out and I see someone without make up and without a strand of hair dangling for attention. I see myself as me, the way God made me. I do not have to look like anyone else or pretend to be someone else. I learned to be myself and appreciate all the natural beauty I have been honoured with, by the grace of God. I am perfectly imperfect and I love myself for looking like this.

I love my eyes and I love my smile – I love my skin, though none of them are perfect. I love them because they are invaluable presents for God and I appreciate them for all their imperfections.

(4) I know people who truly love me for who I am
I need not be obsessed with how others see me. Should they not like what they see, then it is obviously a certain shallowness speaking to them as I am much more than just “a look”. People who appreciate me love me for who I am and what I can do to make the world a better place.

There are those who think that I am not up to their standard to befriend because I don’t wear the latest skirts and my earrings are covered by my scarf. Or maybe it is because chocolaty strawberry is the latest blusher and my cheeks are as naturally rosy as ever.

But I do not mind them. In fact, because of you, they do not fit into my standards when they do not understand my opinions on 101 contemporary issues that surround us today. People who appreciate me for that are my true friends and friends that will last a lifetime.

(5) My husband, he always feels like so good about himself
It’s funny how girlie magazines are always ranting about how to sooth that male ego to keep your man happy, yet when you are with me they think that I’m succumbing to my husband’s dictatorship to the depths of a bottomless pit.

They do not understand that the reason you are with me is because I truly succumb to God and not my spouse. Yet, magically, by this submission, my husband and his ego are always a-smiles! He always feels secure when I am out and about because he does not feel threatened of any unwanted attention. He is assured that I am safely guarded from the public eye curbing the dangers that may befall the vulnerability of any woman on the street.

And when I am at home, with him, unveiled, that really massages his ego. He knows that he is the only man who is allowed to see me with make-up on, pretty jewellery and a short denim skirt. He really feels like a chump because of you.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Sharing the Responsibilities of Hijab

Men and women complement each other. We are both halves of a whole – says the Qur’an, as it has described spouses to be garments for each other. What do garments do? They protect us from unwanted attention, protect us from the weather, disguise our imperfections and beautify us.

What more the garment known as Hijab? Hijab is an obligatory fulfillment ordained by Allah Ta’ala upon women. Muslim women are required to don the headscarf and wear loose, non-transparent and long clothes when in the presence of non-mahram (marriageable) men. Men too have the same obligation to dress the same – save for the head cover.

However, the Hijab, always a media hype, seems to be the most controversial piece of clothing for the practicing Muslim woman. When asked why the head-covering is required, Muslims always answer: a woman is not allowed to display her beauty in front of men who are not related to her.
Yes, this is true by all means, but sometimes, interpretation to this sentence brings yet another wave of misconceptions where women have to be covered and have to be protected and somehow or another women are the oppressed gender in Islam. What is more? Men in Islam force this dress-code upon women. As mentioned, these are misconceptions, and misconceptions easily brought about by a simple truthful sentence.

So as Muslims, let us think: let us turn it around and see how it sounds. If a woman is not allowed to display her beauty, how does this affect the man?

The next time someone asks you about the Hijab, whether you are a Muslim man or woman, tell them: a man is not allowed to look at a woman’s beauty if she is not his wife nor is not related to her.

This sentence tells us the same thing that woman are to be covered and have the utmost right to be protected from the ogling of the opposite gender, yet, men are the second half of the whole, and they are the ones who must guard their modesty and steer clear away from any form of proximity.
This elevates the true Islamic status of a woman by women are not meant to be seen as sex objects, but are to be recognized as women of substance. When a man marries a woman, he does only vow his loyalty and dedication towards a woman of piety, he is also allowed to enjoy her beauty as she is allowed to unveil in front of him.

The Qur’an requires believing men and women to lower their gazes and guard their chastity when dealing with the opposite gender. It further requires women to drape their hair veil over their chests – this sentence just exemplifies how attractive women are to the opposite gender that Allah prompts us with a friendly reminder that women are to concentrate on improving their inner beauty rather than their physical attributes.

The Hijab therefore requires men to be equally responsible to guard the Hijab of women through advising their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and other relatives the importance keeping the veil and at the same time, the practicing Muslim man guards his own Hijab in more ways than one.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Bringing Out the Inner You

It is not always easy to be a good Muslim. It sounds easy in principle – anything you do for the sake of Allah, which is good and pure in intention awards you merits. However, practicing what is preached is not always easy. We live in a world full of temptations that tingle our nafs in many ways more than one, and easily distracts us from the core reason of our existence – to praise and worship Allah.

Yet there are moments in the waking day when we know we are aware our good deeds and try our best to live up to the expectations of our Lord.

Grooming the inner Muslimah is always harder than the outer Muslimah. The Hijab can always easily be worn according to Islamic principles but that inner Muslimah sometimes feels left out of the hip and happening circle where women dress to kill and to please. Taming the inner Muslimah shrew is not always be easy.

Then there are the accompanying issues – while dressing up like a Muslimah may not be a problem, the heart is always vulnerable to evil slurs and innuendoes.

There have been many times where I hear comments of Muslimah X, who wears the Hijab, but has a bad habit of back-biting. Muslimah Y, who always covers, is a serial dater and has quite an obsession with the opposite gender. Muslimah Z, who dresses modestly, committed embezzlement during the closing of her company’s accounts.

These uncharacteristic personas contradict violently with the image of a Muslimah. It is not only a short fall of a Muslimah to act in the manners above but it is detriment to Islam when she dresses the right way but acts the totally opposite.

Keeping Up Appearances

Remember, we become advocates of Islam when we don the Hijab – we are known as the Muslim woman whether a daughter, wife, mother, in-law, colleague, neighbour or student.

When this happens, realize that you are representing Islam on the outside through your Islamic dress and whatever you do from the inside will reflect upon Islam. Though negative behaviour is never related with Islam, the religion walks a fine line between truth and misinterpretation. A little stumble by a Muslim towards un-Islamic behaviour causes the whole religion to be construed. Do not allow your actions lead to Islam taking the defense stand in a court case.

Guard your modesty, says the Qur’an, and it does not only refer to covering your physical beauty –
it also refers to purifying your heart.

Always engage in good deeds as they will actively eradicate bad deeds. The more pro-active we are in representing Islam in its true light, the closer to Allah will be and the brighter will His guidance shine.

Keep good company, as friends or also known as our sahabah play an important role in our lives. True Muslim friends help us maintain our modesty and amplify good Islamic behaviour at all times
and encourage us to become better people.

Learn from the Prophet’s sahabah, his first company of followers. Many of them were women – his wives, relatives, children and other Muslimahs of his time. Read up their histories and learn how they practiced Islam. Inspire yourself to live like them and feel honoured to be part of the ummah.

Never lose faith in Allah – always keep your relationship with him sturdy. Build up on Islamic knowledge and your ibadah (worship). Take time away from the world, be it only an hour a day and ponder upon the blessings He has bestowed upon you. Truly believe that He has chosen you as a follower - because He has - and that is the greatest gift anyone could have.

So the next time you don the Hijab, look into the mirror and ask yourself, really ask your Inner self, what you are going to do today to bring out Islam through to the Outer you.

Friday, 22 June 2007

You Will Always be the Muslim Woman

The image of Islam, caricatured by the West has always been rather bleak. What more the image of a woman in Islam. They have painted it grim. A woman in black with a face covering and more cloth to cover a king size bed of any grandeur. If the woman is not wearing a face covering, she still has her head fully covered and is still wrapped around in a bed sheet. If the cloth she dons is not black, it still covers her body, oppressing her from freedom of speech, thought and movement.

And when you can't imagine such an image even grimmer, wait to you hear the description of her role as a Muslim woman: servant to her husband, baby-making factory, education-deprived, slave to the kitchen, prisoner in the home. The list goes on - no matter what the Muslim woman looks like.

Unfortunately for Muslims in the other parts of the world - i.e. Muslim not populated countries - there are those who are caught up with such reports from the leading media and begin to look down on fellow sisters who persist in dressing the Muslimah fashion. These "covered" sisters are described as backward, traditional, eastern (if you like), and in a nutshell.... just not modern enough!

Needless to say, many Muslim women are affected by such snide, cruelty and ignorance gelled together into a lump of insult. As much as they wear the Hijab proudly for the sake of the Creator, those labels stick out from all the cloth that cover them and may poke into their self-esteems.It's harder than you think to wear Hijab without the people to support you and it pays to support a sister who is coming into the wonderful world of Hijab, be it she a new Muslim or a born Muslim. But firstly, always remember to support yourself.

As a Muslim woman, it is imperative to remind yourself that you are a confident woman with a good education. You may be a wife and a mother but the you only slave for the sake of Allah. Tell yourself that everyday and toss those rocks of insult aside. Once you have stood up to those who see you as "THE Muslim woman," support another sister who may be facing the same issues.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Changing the Perception of Desire

It's not uncommon for new Muslims or born-Muslim sisters who are about to embark on the wonderful world of hijab to wonder and ponder and wonder and worry about donning the head covering.

Sure, it's innate in human nature that we want to look beautiful, feel desired and to be sought after - hence the million adverts on telly, the radio, in glossy magazines on hair shampoo, hair dye, hair conditioner, hair accessories, latest hair-do's and many more.

The hijab, the hair-covering does not deny us from feeling beautiful, desired or sought after, it changes its perspective. Beauty as cliche-ic as it sounds is really not defined by physical appearances alone. And what greater beauty is beauty than beauty in the eyes of Allah Ta'ala. His Royal Comandment for women to dress modestly, with a head-scarf included, protects and liberates women - causing a diversion of attention from her physical appearance to her intellectual, articulate. ambitious self.

Would it not be better to be desired as a potential painter, business partner, journalist, civil engineer, politician, wife, teacher and / or mother than an object of elementary desire that is cleverly sewn into the mind-deceiving adverts above.And to be sought after? Well, don't we strive for the success of the akhirah, when we are sought after by our Creator and to be Majestically requested to be amongst who dwell in paradise?

Sure, it may be difficult for some women to liberate themselves by dressing modestly but looking past that - loving Allah Ta'ala and His Directive to wear Hijab is actually really easy - especially when you know the right people to help you through and know the right places to buy that extra inch of material.

Having said that however, by no means, should you stop following the fascinating developments in the hair industry. Style it up for yourself. Wear it down for your spouse. Have fun when around your sisters. Relax when around your Mahram.


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