don’t sell your hijab

hijabi

My dear sisters in faith, in this world where women are valued almost solely for their sexuality, where we are being told that we must strip ourselves of dignity to amount to anything, please stand strong and defend your values. Not just with words, but with unfailing demonstrations of  loyalty to your convictions about modesty and piety.

I’ve noticed an unusual trend of sisters who claim that hijab is extremely liberating (with whom I wholeheartedly agree) while donning the very tightest of clothing, heavy makeup, and flashy jewelry. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not a full-time jilbabi, nor can I claim to never have put on a bit of mascara in public. This is also not a criticism of the genuine efforts that are being made to reconcile fashion and the Islamic dress code. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong in experimenting with different cuts, fabrics, patterns, and colors, as long as modesty is not compromised. There is no particular style that needs to be worn in order to be modest. I actually dislike the culturally arrogant opinion that an abaya is inherently more acceptable that other garments.

However, more and more often, the “reconciliation” of fashion and Islam has come at the expense of modesty. Turbans and skinny jeans continue to gain popularity. Online clothing stores that claim to sell “modest” or “Islamic” clothing sometimes sell items that the mothers of the believers (RA) would have deemed entirely profane. There are so many girls saying that “hijab is a journey,” but in any journey, one should be moving forward, not backward. If you take a look at a Muslimah vlogger’s Instagram account, there seems to be a consistent direction toward immodesty instead of the other way around, with the headscarf revealing more and more of the hairline or neck, shorter hemlines, tighter clothing, heavier makeup, and more wanton displays of beauty as time passes.

Why is this happening? Are the trends that this dunya impose upon us truly more important than those that Allah commands us to observe? Is the makeup really for yourself? In that case, why do you only wear it to go out? Is it alright to completely ignore the commandment of hijab and leave the house in a mini-dress if you wear it “for yourself”? Again, I don’t mean to shame, discourage, or hate on anybody. I cannot judge any sister’s fate in the akhirah. Perhaps the sister who doesn’t wear hijab at all is more loved by Allah SWT than myself. But when we Muslims see something that is decidedly wrong, and there are solid proofs of it, we must forbid the evil.

The unfortunate truth is that these same girls who rave about the benefits of hijab and criticize the unreachable expectations of society for a woman’s appearance are the very same ones who sell their modesty to accommodate for those expectations and beauty standards. The West values women only for their appearances? Yes, well, the most well-known hijabis on social media platforms are the ones who are known for their fashion and makeup content. Only these attain large followings. The only thing that modern Muslimahs are known for these days is beauty, not character.

We have extensive accounts of an extremely influential woman from our Islamic history- A’isha RA, mother of the believers- but not one of them describes her hair, body, or even her face. She is known for her legacy of ahadith, her contributions to the Islamic legal system, and her piety. Strive to be recognized and remembered for your actual achievements, not something as trivial as your sense of style. Your followers will be of no benefit at all if you had to reveal what Allah SWT told you to cover in order to get them.

I totally understand that the pressure is strong. It’s hard to look at all those beauty gurus and the hype surrounding the Kardashians and still feel confident. I get it! It’s not like I’m not a normal girl. It’s easy to look at hijabistas on YouTube and think, “I guess that’s alright to wear…” But whatever your interpretation of proper hijab is, stick to it. There is no compromise when it comes to Islam. I promise that you will feel more barakah in your life if you stay true to your modesty.

Ladies, please do not subject yourself to a form of slavery that Allah SWT took a special effort to free you from. If you believe that the hijab has freed you, don’t exert yourself to be a captive! Don’t sell your hijab to fit in, or to feel pretty. You are already so pretty and the hijab will not detract from that loveliness at all. However, you are worth so much more than just a pretty face. Your own Creator has given you value, and has honored you with one of the greatest honors- being among the believers!

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afef pants from the-muslim-store

I have ordered two jalabib from the-muslim-store and I wanted to review one of them today to let other Muslimahs know about this website. I’ll review the other one at another time insha’Allah. In my searches thus far, jalabib shopping tends to get quite pricey, especially because of the high shipping costs to the US. This can be extremely frustrating for ladies residing in the states who don’t want to spend every penny they have to wear Islamic clothing. I’ve decided to start reviewing the items I order online to help other ladies achieve modesty without breaking the bank. I purchased the “Afef pants” by Al-Afifa brand in rose clair (light pink).

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The Afef jilbab is a two-piece jilbab consisting of a long khimar that reaches past the knees with an integrated tie-back headpiece and a pair of sirwal pants. Mine came with a free pair of grey socks, which was a welcome surprise even though the material makes my feet kind of sweaty. As shown in the picture above, It’s really more of a dusty pink rather than “light” pink, but I love it all the more for it.

There are no tags specifying the composition of the material, but although I don’t know the exact makeup of the fabric, I can tell that it’s made mostly, if not entirely, of polyester. The Afef  jilbab has a soft and flexible crepe fabric. It doesn’t wrinkle easily. It’s completely opaque and wonderfully lightweight which makes it very suitable for the atrociously hot and humid climate where I live. I was impressed with the high-quality stitching as well. I’m 5’3″ and wear a size XS to S for reference in case you girls want to buy it.

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I do have a few complaints about this jilbab. This is a one size, which is usually not a problem for me, but I know it can be a problem for many. I am not tall so I was surprised to find that the pants were actually shorter than I had expected. They don’t droop down very low in the middle, which looks somewhat awkward, so I pull them down as far as I possibly can to fake it. Also, this is clearly meant for very slim ladies, which is also not a problem for me. However, if you do not typically wear an XS or S, these pants will be tight, as they are not very elastic. The website says it is “slightly fitted” but that’s only true if you’re small. I did read that they can sew plus size jilbabs upon request though, so you can contact @muslim_jilbab on Instagram if you would like to ask for that.

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I’ve included this picture for more detail and to show the color in different lighting. The sleeves are kept in place with elastic sleeve cuffs, which, much like the waistband, are not stretchy at all. They do serve well to maintain one’s modesty, however. The batwing does not extend all the way to the sleeve cuff- rather, it ends below the elbows where a separate sleeve is attached. Other jalabib on their website do not have this. In all honesty, I’m not sure that I like this feature.

The price of the Afef pants jilbab is $23 alhamdulillah, which is not bad at all. Previously, this company was divided into three websites. I created accounts on all three because I found that there were actually different shipping costs for each one! However, now the-muslim-store only has one site: https://the-muslim-store.com/en/ and the shipping prices are higher than they were when I ordered this jilbab. I paid about $18 for shipping, which is high but can definitely be worth it if you order several items. I’m not sure what the price is now. It seems to vary randomly, as far as I can tell. It differs when you place different items in your cart, and it differs day by day.

I hope that this review has been of some benefit to you girls! Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

just pray

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu❤️ Now that the final ten days of Ramadan are upon us, I wanted to write a reminder to extol not of the virtues of fasting (as there are many people who already have in this month), but of the importance of salah. I have discovered that a number of Muslims fast during Ramadan without praying, and this is extremely alarming. Unfortunately, I’m pressed on time to write this, but I think that now begin the most momentous moments of Ramadan and I simply must touch upon this topic.

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A Very Brief Overview of Why Salah is Crucial

Salah is the second pillar of Islam right after the Shahadah. The obligation of salah is deeply tied to the very essence of our iman. The main criterion to even be a Muslim is to declare one’s faith in Allah SWT, and the next obligation is prayer. It is so important, so essential to our religion, that the Prophet SAW said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr stands his giving up prayer” [Narrated by Muslim, 82]. Leaving prayer can lead to, if not directly cause, disbelief.

I don’t want to delve into the controversial discussion about whether not praying makes one a kafir, but I do want to emphasize that it is the first thing you will be asked about on the Day when you stand before your Lord. If your prayers are sound, all your other deeds with be sound… But if they are not, likewise the rest of your deeds will not be sound. How can one neglect the second pillar and observe the fourth?

Fast is Invalid without Salah

The Prophet SAW said: “Whoever does not pray ‘Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 520]. The majority of scholars agree that without salah, the fast is both incorrect and invalid. Neglecting salah is a major sin, and when fasting, one must refrain from major sins for the fast to be valid, and even minor sins in order to gain benefits.

Aside from the validity of your fast, from a purely logical standpoint, you simply cannot reap the vast spiritual benefits of Ramadan without performing salah. Abstaining from food and drink for the sake of  your Creator isn’t of much use if you’re not even communicating with Him and simultaneously committing one of the most serious sins. Fasting without praying is just undergoing an extreme diet for a month. I promise I am not saying this to discourage anybody. Quite the opposite- I just want to urge my brothers and sisters to pray.

It’s Not Too Late

There are so many things that can be said about the absolute indispensability of salah in a Muslim’s life, but I don’t have time to review this broad topic tonight. If you weren’t praying before, now is the time to start, not the time to languish about invalid fasts.

Regardless of what you have or haven’t done during Ramadan, turn towards Allah SWT during these last ten days in search of Laylatul Qadr and make these days the best. Seek His forgiveness and maximize your worship with a sincere heart. May Allah accept our fasts this Ramadan and enable us to find the blessed Laylatul Qadr. Ameen!

natural deodorants that actually work (and some that don’t)

Two years ago, I started thinking antiperspirants were killing me (among many, many other products) and henceforth embarked on a quest to find a more natural alternative. Although it hasn’t necessarily been proven to cause cancer or Alzheimer’s, and I’m not entirely sure that it was, in fact, killing me, I still thought it would be better to remain on the safe side and avoid aluminum and other unpleasant-looking ingredients in my new deodorants.

You see, when I made this decision, I didn’t realize precisely how long it would take to do this. When it came to finding natural versions of shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, and lotions, I had few issues. However, natural deodorants are just… Ineffective. They really suck! I first bought the Jason Pure Natural Deodorant stick and went home, eager to start my new aluminum-free life, only to find that I smelled like something akin to an onion within mere minutes following application. Mortified at my own stink, I consulted the web to figure out what in the world was wrong with me, or natural deodorant. Most of the websites assured me that it would take a while for my body to “detox” from all the bad antiperspirants I had used before. It’s just a matter of patience!

So I thought. Days passed and I continued to reek of dirty wet rag. I assume this was a fairly lonely period of my life because I’m certain no other human being could tolerate my pungence. Plus, I was running to the bathroom several times a day to wash my armpits and reapply, which means I spent a considerable amount of time at home. I slowly realized there was no hope for Jason and went off to buy other deodorants. These included the brands NatureLove (still garbage if you want to go natural because it has propylene glycol,) Crystal Essence, and Tisserand.

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Three wonderfully ineffective deodorants: NatureLove, Tisserand, and Crystal Essence

I still stunk. The worst part was that aluminum-free deodorants aren’t even cheap! I lost hope and concluded that I would have to accept the fact that I was going to die at the hands of antiperspirants. I resumed using my old stuff for another year or two, with occasional applications of my natural deodorants when I forgot they suck. I didn’t die, mind you, but it does usually take a good while until American consumerism kills you.

I remembered my noble cause after a while and went to my local Marshall’s, where I knew I could find an wide array of alternative deodorants. Behold! The only effective natural deodorant brand I have ever used:

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The holy grail of natural deodorants: schmidt’s

Let me introduce you to Schmidt’s. Before you get all excited, I’m going to be honest. The only reason I like this brand is because it sucks less bad than all the rest. It makes me smell normal and nice about 80% of the time. I’m pretty sure no natural deodorant will ever be as good as the “real deal.” Anyway, what’s awesome about these is that they’re vegan and cruelty-free, and free of aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, and phthalates. Basically, I don’t think they will kill me. Maybe that will change someday but for now, I am content. There are two forms of this deodorant: the tub version (on the right) and the stick version (on the left). Originally there were only the tubs, with a funny little spatula for application. You have to warm both of these guys up before they can actually spread out.

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Weird spatula applicator

Once you get past the weirdness of vigorously rubbing your armpits on the daily, it starts to feel kind of normal. I actually prefer the tub version because I can just breathe on the bit of deodorant I scoop out and it’s good to go. The stick tends to stay stiffer and I think it’s not as effective. By the way, if you’re looking to smell “powder fresh” like your Dove deodorant, no natural deodorant will work for you. All of them smell like herbal medicines, including my beloved Schmidt’s.

As for the “detox” thing, I’m still not sure if it’s true. After about a month of using Schmidt’s, I noticed that I sweat a lot less. I used to be a really heavy armpit sweater, so this is a welcome change. What’s even weirder is that the deodorants that didn’t work at all before now can fight off stink for much longer than they could before. They still don’t compare to Schmidt’s though.

So there! I’ve heard of other natural deodorants that work, but they’re not readily available where I live and I think ordering some online is the height of health-conscious paranoia. I’m not mentally prepared to stoop to that level yet. These deodorants costed me something around $4-5 at Marshall’s, but they can get kind of pricey depending on where you look. I hope you all find decent solutions to your underarm odors!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu😁

 

menses during ramadan

We all start Ramadan on that iman high – praying taraweeh nightly, eagerly fasting, and reading Qur’an. However, for us ladies, menstruation comes knocking at what always seems to be the most inconvenient time. For some, it feels like everything is ruined. Others take it as a time to be lazy in their ibadah. Many sisters complain of feeling disconnected not only from those who are fasting, but also from Allah and the Qur’an.

However, your period is neither a time to slack off in worship nor a time to brood over one’s lot in life as a woman. Your period is not a curse, it is simply what Allah SWT has decreed upon the daughters of Hawwa. There are still many things we can do during this blessed month during our menses, and you should take advantage of them!

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my tools for a happy Ramadan- dhikr, Qur’an, and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet SAW

Tips for the Menstruating Believer

1. Listen to Qur’an: Listening to the Qur’an is a blissful experience and keeps one’s mind focused on Allah. One of the things that I appreciate the most about it is that you can do this whenever. Play it while cleaning, driving, or cooking, and feel the barakah enter everything you do. If you tend to feel distant from Allah SWT during this time, listening to the Qur’an will help fortify your relationship with Him, insha’Allah.

2. Dhikr: Engage in extensive dhikr. Remember Allah SWT constantly. Similar to listening to the Qur’an, this can be done all the time. I often recite dhikr while I walk to my classes. It is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW to seek istighfar a minimum of 100 times daily. Other simple phrases that one can repeat are SubhanAllah (glory be to Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest), Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to Allah), and la ilaha illAllah (There is no deity but Allah). Dhikr also helps reduce anxiety and brings about great rewards.

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28

3. Da’wah: Giving da’wah is an obligation upon every believer but all too often, we forget this. Take some time to tell a non-Muslim about Islam, especially about the blessed month of Ramadan and the purpose of fasting. This has been made so much easier now than before. We can transmit knowledge of our deen through social media, where it can be seen by hundreds of people.

4. Gaining Knowledge: Listen to lectures and read Islamic books to keep your iman strong. Now is not the time to slack off on learning. No matter how knowledgeable you are, there is still something more to learn. Pick up a volume of tafsir and learn the deeper interpretations of the Glorious Qur’an.

“Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.” Surah Al-Mujadila 58:11

5. Serving One’s Parents: Now is the best time to fully engage in helping your parents. You can take the easy route by cleaning the house and saying “ta-da!” to your mom, or you can spend some quality time with them.

“And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord!  Bestow upon them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.'” Surah Al-Isra 17:24

Don’t underestimate this amazing way to please Allah SWT. If making another Muslim smile warrants a reward from Allah SWT, one can only imagine the rewards for making one’s parent’s smile!

6. Du’a: Go ham on du’a.  The Prophet SAW said, “Du’a is worship” [Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 3372; Abu Dawood, 1479; Ibn Maajah, 3828; classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2590]. Supplication is a powerful form of worship. Even if you can’t perform your salah, Allah SWT is still listening to you. He is waiting to bestow His infinite mercy upon you. If your period falls on those last ten days of Ramadan, you still have the opportunity to seek out Laylatul Qadr by making extensive du’a. Don’t just sleep through that blessed night!

7. Sadaqah: Spend in the way of Allah as much as is within your capabilities. There are many Islamic organizations that help feed, clothe, and shelter Muslims around the globe. You can give charity by donating to these. However, every act of kindness is charity in Islam. Feeding animals or people, removing something harmful from a path, and smiling at your sister in Islam are just a few examples of this.

8. Feed Those who are Fasting: Feeding people receives its own blessings but is a particularly blessed act during Ramadan. You can literally gain the same reward as a fasting person! The Prophet SAW said, “Whoever gives iftar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 807; Ibn Maajah, 1746. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibaan, 8/216 and by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami, 6415].

I hope these tips can be of some benefit to all you girls out there! Don’t let your period get you down. Ramadan Mubarak!

so who is this girl?

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

in the of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful

I hope you are all making the best use of Ramadan 2017 insha’Allah. I should probably introduce myself but I believe that names, ages, and all other particulars that would describe a person under the usual circumstances are fairly superfluous and entirely unnecessary for the purposes of getting to know someone. I often find that the people I befriend most easily are those whom I meet spontaneously, and I grow to love them without knowing a thing about them besides their actions. May the same happen with us❤️

I plan to write about:

  • Islam
  • natural/organic lifestyle
  • modest “fashion” (if you could call it that)
  • books

and more, Insha’Allah. I pray that everyone who reads this blog discovers something new, smiles, or leaves with their faith reinforced. Whatever truth written on this blog is only due to Allah’s guidance, and any error is from me. Please correct me if I have made any mistakes.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu😉