Ramadan Decorating Ideas and Printables

Eid Printables

ModernEid’s 2015 Printables make it easy to decorate for Eid.

One of the amazing parts of Ramadan as a Muslim parent is getting the chance to introduce the magic of it with your children. One of the ways to bring that magic to your child’s life is to welcome Ramadan to your home by decorating it with Ramadan decorations and crafts. Here are some tips to make decorating your home for Ramadan fun, easy and not too messy.

Printables

I admit it. I am a Muslim mom who loves shortcuts that look fancy. Who doesn’t? I have a newborn and a toddler, but I still want my home to look cute and ready for Eid and Ramadan. What is the best way to do it? Using printables. With the click of a mouse, you too can make a Ramadan decorated room worthy of Pinterest. Here are my favorite printables:

ModernEid Printables

Sakina Design Ramadan Printables

In My Studio Ramadan Banner Printable

DIY

Since my oldest child is now 4, I decided we could make a banner together so that she could have fun too. However, the perfectionist in me wanted the banner to look cute too. So I did an easy DIY banner with this kit from Target. To make it even easier, I added these stick on letters from Target to spell out “Ramadan Kareem.” She loved it! She got to play with stickers and I got to create a cute Ramadan banner. It was a win for all of us.

We also did crescent moon and star cut outs and doused them with glue and glitter. Let me just add that I now know why adults call glitter evil. It is terribly messy and is hard to get out! However, my daughter loved the activity and if it makes her excited about Ramadan, it is worth the mess and memories.

Lights

Oh Christmas, you aren’t the only holiday where people want to put up lights. Long ago, I used to stock up the day after Christmas on lights so that I could string them all over my house when it was time for weddings, Ramadan and Eid. This season, it seems that retailers are catching on about Ramadan and there was an abundance of lights to be purchased in the patio section of my local Target (oh Target, how I love thee). Some Muslim moms even found gold and silver battery operated lights in the Dollar Section of Target! Seriously, how are you not running to Target now?

I was not one of those lucky thrifty moms and I selected a super cute gold themed string of lights by Lilly Pulitzer from Target for Ramadan (I promise, this post was not sponsored by Target, I just happen to shop there a LOT).

How are you welcoming Ramadan this year? Do you have any decorating ideas that you would love to share? Please let us know in the comments below!

Rewriting the Muslim Narrative

I have an admission to make. Ever since the atrocities of Gaza, I have not been able to blog about Hijabi Life (food, faith, parenting and fashion). Why is that? It seems frivolous. Children are suffering all over the world and I am writing about the best eyeliner or hijabi fashion trend? How out of touch does that make me sound as a Muslim American who is privileged enough to live in peace and prosperity? Let’s take a lesson from Marie Antoinette and not be complacent with our comforts.

However, the news has taken to breaking my heart and I can’t stay silent any more. With attacks like the Sydney Siege and Peshawar, it seems like the Muslim narrative is being written by a few extremists and I refuse to let them speak for me. It is my responsibility to use my privileged position to not only speak out against these sick individuals, but try to help make the world a better place with my own actions. Muslims need to get out of the reactionary mindset and start doing things. Far too often we see Muslims reacting to what extremists do.

How about if Muslims band together and actually do something versus reacting? Instead of criticizing those who are doing something, get out and do something good.

Instead of the typical knee jerk reaction to the news, I ask you all for a favor. Let’s do something to make the world a better place. Let’s volunteer in our communities. Let’s take a moment out of the bubble of our own lives to empathize with those who are less fortunate. It can be as simple as donating to your local food bank or reading to kids in the library. When we look at the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), we will see he was never ever harsh. Why is it that we are so harsh and hard hearted? Extremists are the polar opposite of the teachings of Muhammed (saws) and actually reflect the way people were in the time of Jahiliyya (time before Islam). Let’s pray to God that we are not like them. I am grateful for my family, health and other blessings, but it is time to start giving back. What will you do to give back for your own blessings?

Racism in Islam

Basma K

Unfortunately, even gorgeous hijabis like Basma K have to endure racial slurs.

Racism. It is a charged word being used to describe events in Israel, unannounced FBI visits and the unjust surveillance of large swaths of the Muslim American population. While racism or discrimination against Muslims is a fairly new thing, it is not new to the African American community. It is almost institutionalized.

With the increased awareness around racism in America thanks to what is going on Ferguson, MO after the tragic shooting of Michael Brown, as an Ummah, we need to start looking inwardly at our own racial biases against others.

As much as Muslims would like to claim the diversity of our Ummah is an indicator of our tolerance, I know actually know there is an ugly underbelly of racism in Muslim communities. How many of us have heard our elders in the community speak derisively against other races? How many of us have seen supposedly religious members of our community shoot down a perfectly good proposal for their daughters simply because the man in question is an African American? How many times have we seen those same daughters married to men of the same ethnic background but with questionable morals? How many times have we seen aunties in the community laud a marriage between a daughter in the community and a white man? In fact, I recall one time attending a wedding where one aunty had the gall to tell me that the sister was lucky to have married a white man because it would ensure her kids would be fair skinned!

I kid you not. These situations have occurred. Even in our younger generation, racism still is a seed of destruction that germinates. It even happens to me when I am driving and I rail that a fellow driver’s poor skills is due to his/her ethnicity.

It is wrong. It needs to stop with us.

During the Prophet (saws) time, there was racism in pre Islamic Arabia. Blacks were sold and traded like property. There was misogyny. Women were also treated like property versus as individuals. It is wrong for us to assume that after Islam was introduced to this society, that racism was completely eradicated. It was not. There were instances of where racial discomfort could be felt. It was an active process to remove racism in the community.

For example, Barakah (Umm Ayman ra) was an Abyssinian slave that was considered a devout Muslim in high esteem of the Prophet (saws). When the Prophet (saws) said to his companions: “Should one of you desire to marry a woman from the people of Paradise, let him marry Umm Ayman.” None of the companions stirred except Zayd ibn Haritha (ra). They were all hesitant to marry an older black woman. It was not easy, but the Prophet (saws) tried to devote his life to fulfilling the beauty of Islam which included eradicating social constructs of class and race.

Even till the very end the Prophet (saws) was telling his followers to leave the ugliness of racism behind. “O people! Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab have superiority over an Arab; also a black has no superiority over white, nor a white has any superiority over a black, except by piety and good action. Indeed the best of you is the one with the best character.”

How can Muslims rail against Islamophobia when we can’t even support our fellow brothers and sisters in need? We need to help others if we want them to help us.

 

Has Hijabi Fashion Gone Too Far?

Hijab Fashion

Does modest fashion have to be so serious?

Salaam my lovelies! I hope you are all doing well inshallah. I know I haven’t posted in a long time. It is not because I don’t love to write; I really do. I LOVE that my writing has resonated with so many readers and that I get the most lovely comments on my posts. However, the divisiveness in our little hijabi blogger community has left me shaken. As you remember, I viewed being a hijabi blogger as a chance for Muslim women to regain our narrative back. Modest fashion is a part of that, but I also wanted to blog about other Muslim American topics such as raising good Muslim children, having a healthy Islamic marriage and even where to get good halal food.

However, it seems that there are a lot of trolls who persist in tearing hijabi bloggers to shreds. I have written about this before, but I will actually share an incident that has bothered me immensely. We all know how I have my Follow Friday posts on Hijabi Life. I actually posted a Follow Friday post on a sister named Imaan Ali who used to blog on a blog called The Hijablog. We all know hijab is an extremely personal experience and that there are ups and downs in everyone’s faith. So for hijabi bloggers to document our lives is very hard to begin with. So you can imagine how much backlash Imaan got for making the very personal decision to take her hijab off.

Here is the thing: She is still the same person. She is still a human being. Do you really think trolling her or any bloggers who admired her will really change the situation? I know she is not the first hijabi blogger to take her hijab off (Winnie Detwa also received backlash for taking her hijab off too). However, I don’t expect her to be the last. How terrible is it that we are so quick to bash the bloggers we so ardently adored? Personally, I don’t want to be adored. I want to be able to share my own thoughts and feelings in the hopes that it provides some souls a little comfort in their own lives. I think it is wrong how we have quickly made hijabi bloggers the end all be all. Please avoid taking bloggers on as idols. I don’t think a single blogger wants to be idol worshipped like a celebrity is in Western culture. And if there is a shred of pride from cult status, then we as bloggers need to be aware that showing off is so dangerous that it’s like the black ant on the black rock in the night with no moon. It can sneak up on you like this.

And here is my quandary: Should I keep blogging about hijabi fashion? I feel like it has taken on more baggage than I was aware of. It also limits my writing. I want to be able to write and help others. With the situation in Gaza, I can’t help but feel silly to write about just modest fashion. I would like to share more Islamic/DIY/political posts though. If you agree or disagree, please let me know. I am not asking you readers to all agree with me, but I do think that we need to have some more tolerance and forgiveness in our own hearts. The way we treat others in this world is how God will treat us when we meet him. Let us have more mercy.

Parenting Tips for Ramadan

Ramadan Countdown Poster

Ramadan Countdown Poster from Moderneid.com

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are all doing well inshallah. It is almost time for my most favorite time of year: Ramadan! For those of my readers who may not know what Ramadan is, it is one of the holy months in the Islamic calendar where Muslims fast from eating food, drinking even water, and sexual relations during daylight hours. Nights are spent in hours of prayer and spiritual contemplation. Muslims believe this is the month that Shaytan (the Devil) and his minions are chained as well. It may seem bizarre to some that a month where worldly pleasures are denied can be my favorite time of year. However, if you ask a lot of Muslims, they will agree. There is a sense of closeness with Allah swt (God) in this month because there is an ongoing dialogue all month be it through fasting, prayer or charity.

Trust me when I say it took a long time to appreciate this month. As a youngster to be told to shut off Buffy the Vampire Slayer to pray was just agony. Now that I have my own little girl, I have been trying to think of ways to welcome this holy month in my own household and let her know how very important this month is to me and to a lot of Muslims.

Make it Special

I think growing up we noticed how other faiths like Christianity and Judaism were able to make their own holidays special. For Ramadan, I think it is important to associate good feelings with your own children. For me, I plan to decorate my home to welcome Ramadan and ask my daughter to help me. I do this for Eid too. On Eid, my toddler woke up to a gorgeously decorated home and was so excited because she knew it was a special day. I already started telling her about how Ramadan is coming and how we will pray to Allah for anything we need (even if it means Hello Kitty stickers). If you don’t want to make your own Ramadan decorations, make sure to check out Modern Eid. They have an amazing selection of Ramadan and Eid decorations that are just the right amount of stylish and are fit for Pinterest. I will be ordering their Ramadan Countdown poster so that Safiya can countdown the days to Eid with good deeds that she can do daily.

Make a Plan

I also plan to map out what I will be cooking (only easy dishes) so that I can make time to pray and read our holy book The Quran. If your child sees you pray, she will start to do it herself. Parents really do lead by example. I also helped my own daughter map out good deeds she can do all month. These good deeds are as simple as helping by picking up toys, giving someone a smile or hug and even donating old toys to a charity.

Involve Other Mommies

Another way to get your kids excited about Ramadan is to get together during Ramadan with other couples and their kids who practice too. If your child sees that other children are fasting and are excited about Ramadan, it becomes contagious. The moms and kids can do something simple, like read a Ramadan story and have iftar or even do a simple dua with the kids. It is also nice since the mommies can get a break from cooking that day too!

Make Some Memories

I am also thinking of ways to make some memories with my little one too. I want her to remember that Ramadan is a special time where we did special things together. One of those ways is to work with her and bake some cookies. When we bake our “Ramadan” cookies, she will remember good times with her mama and also remember a special Ramadan recipe. If you want, I can share my special “Ramadan” cookie recipe with you too!

What are your plans to make Ramadan special for your family? Let me know in the comments below!

Are Taking Selfies Dangerous?

Keep Calm and No Selfies

Taking selfies can be more damaging than you think.

I have an addiction. No I am not addicted to drugs, or alcohol, or anything that is traditionally deemed as destructive. However, deep down I know I have an addiction that could possibly be destructive. I am addicted to taking selfies. At first, I was all about just taking pictures of friends and families just to capture the moment. But it was when I was ruining happy moments to take selfies that I realized that my hobby of taking pictures has gone too far. Who am I really posting all my selfies for? I should be actually basking in the fun moments with my family versus taking a multiple pictures only to “delete” most of them and keep only the ones I thought were the most flattering.

My moment of realization actually came with seeing the movie Divergent. In the movie, there is a group of people called Abnegation who are kind and think of others. They deny themselves “pleasures” in order to stay connected to feeling empathy for others. One pivotal thing I noticed was that this group of people did not spend too much time looking in the mirror because they felt it bred vanity. When I saw this scene, I felt a moment of realization. I was spending way too much time worrying about how I look, taking selfies, and getting ready than I did about my fellow Muslims in Syria and all over the world. As I was trying to connect via selfies, I was actually disconnecting with reality.

Time recently reported how a teenager almost committed suicide when he came to realization that he couldn’t take the “perfect” selfie. Danny Bowman told The Mirror: “I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t I wanted to die,” Bowman told the Daily Mirror. “I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life.”

I am opening up about my addiction with you lovelies because it is one that is spreading in our lovely Ummah faster than you can say bismillah. Like any new technology, there is good and bad that comes with it. The one nice thing about Instagram and selfies is that it has definitely normalized hijab for Americans. It has also served as inspiration for many sisters in the community who want to dress modestly, but also want to look stylish as well. However, the negative aspect is when you start to worry you are not “stylish” enough, harass your loved ones to take a ton of pictures of you, and you interrupt a perfectly lovely meal just to take snaps of yourself with food. I am not judging anyone. This post is about me. I am ashamed to admit that this is me. However, I do want to change. I have decided not to take pictures of myself no more than once a week. I have also promised myself to treat myself kindly. I know I may not be a super hijabi fashionista, but I try to be a good mom, wife and valued member of the community who helps others.

In fact, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf gave a khutba at MCC recently where he said that selfies should really be called nafsies (nafs is the term used for a human’s base desires and instincts). Do we really want to give in to our nafs on a daily basis? I know I don’t and I will try my best to stop myself from this selfie tendency. Here is what the Shaykh has said:

The end is coming and people will do anything to occupy their time to avoid the inevitability of Death.

People are completely distracted and they are not present in their lives.

People completely fade away as we are living in a very trivialized civilization.

The Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) has warned: the “The intellects will be removed from people”; these are our Prophetic traditions.

Do I really want to be one of those people whose intellect has been removed? I personally was scared when I heard this. I am so very lucky to have scholars locally here in the Bay Area to remind me, but I am writing this post to remind you. Let’s remove this selfie addiction and replace it with something more positive, like Suhaib Webb’s “Rug Life” if we feel the need to take a picture.

While I am still working on my digital addiction, I know it will take time. Granted, this is more self diagnosis than via a health professional, but I know it is something I need to change. Do any of you feel like you have the “selfie shakes” (when you literally start itching to take a selfie)? Let me know in the comments below.

Key Learnings From The International Muslimah Fashion Week Scandal

IMFW

International Muslimah Fashion Week quickly turned into a scandal where rumors of a scam erupted.

Salaams my lovelies! Happy Friday to everyone. I typically do a Follow Friday post, but I wanted to address the rumors of scandal regarding a  modest fashion event called International Muslimah Fashion Week. Unfortunately, what was promised to be a few days of bonded sisterhood fun, has quickly turned into a scary situation because of what seems to be either poor planning or bad intentions. Allah (swt) knows best as to what truly did happen, but I will say I was very sad about the sisters who invested so much money and time to be part of what could have been a great event. So many vendors, bloggers, and Muslims were planning to attend and to be told it was cancelled is one thing. However, it is whole other thing to wait till the last minute to cancel. Countless bloggers traveled from all over the world to attend this event and were ultimately stranded in a foreign country! My heart truly does go out to these hard working ladies. However, I am sure they will find the kindness of Muslim Americans can be felt wherever they go. I feel even WORSE for the sisters who scraped and saved to spend over a hundred dollars just to attend this event and meet inspirational hijabis. They may have even flown cross country or internationally to attend. What is their recourse?

When it comes to events, we should demand that they be put on with some professionalism and organization. Last year, I attended a Halal Fest here in the Bay Area and it was chaos! I truly wanted to support a Muslim event, but we need to start expecting that they are organized like all events should be. Melanie from Haute Hijab wrote a great piece on the fallout from the IMFW scandal here that highlights just that. It is time for the Type A Muslims to come forward and start organizing Muslim events that are timely, affordable, and accessible to all with good intentions.

I will make a confession: I was tempted to attend just so I could meet some hijabi bloggers I truly admired and to get the word out about Hijabi Life. I may not be a glamorous hijabi blogger, but I wanted to ensure that my readership got the scoop on all things modest fashion. However, I am really selective about which events I attend and my OWN intentions. If I find it digresses and I am just feeding my nafs for “fame” in the modest fashion scene, I actually pull away. For example, I did MC for Fashion Fighting Famine SF because it was a good cause, but I didn’t want to use it as a means to promote myself. It was more to ensure we helped a local charity in the community. Since I had no such basis for IMFW, I personally did not want to attend it because it felt like I was digressing from my true intent of this blog which is to support my fellow Muslims sisters.

I really do hope for the best for all the ladies involved. Let’s all make dua and think of a better event that inshallah will take away the confusion, hurt, and hate this one may have caused. Perhaps we can have a redo of this event, but at a lower cost per ticket and also with a charity or cause we can all be proud of. OR we can just use this as more reason to BACK organizations like Fashion Fighting Famine who do modest fashion shows but are legitimate and help others. Let’s learn from this and truly come together as a community.

Online Shopping Review: B. Hijaby

Hijaby B. Hijabs

B. Hijaby Hijabs are eclectic and beautiful. Perfect for the hijabi who wants to stand out!

Shopping online for hijabs and modest clothing is always nerve wracking. I always wonder if I will still like the items I order when I actually get them, or if shopping for hijabs online is worth it when there are so many hijab options at easily accessible stores such as Target, H&M, and Forever 21. Then I actually get the package and I think to myself, “Why do I doubt the power of shopping at Muslim owned businesses?”
One thing that I noticed with shopping online for my hijabs or modest clothing is that there is always a personal touch when it comes to what you order. These businesses take time to pack your items nicely and send you a personal note, or slip in just a few extras like hijab pins.

One such online hijab destination is B. Hijaby. The owner of the company, Asima Bhatty strives to provide hijabis an eclectic mix of hijabs that you can’t find anywhere else. In fact, she just launched a new collection of hijabs that you need to check out! Her hijabs go beyond the average hijab. B. Hijaby hijabs are wider than most hijabs; which allows you to create intricate folds, create cool turbans, or just give you more coverage in the front. Let’s be real, we can appreciate coverage in the front when possible!

A distinguishing factor of the hijabs from B. Hijaby is that the patterns on the hijabs are unique and regularly replenish their stock. You can be rest assured that when you wear a hijab from B. Hijaby, that your hijab will not be gracing another hijabi at your local masjid (that is until you share your shopping secret with them!). I actually had an instance where I wore a hijab from Target and my husband could not find me because there were 4 other women wearing the same hijab!

B. Hijaby prints range from elegant ombre prints all the way to eye catching animal print hijabs in fun summer colors. B. Hijaby has the prettiest floral hijabs I have seen. Here is a rundown of the shopping experience:

Online Browsing: B. Hijaby is sold through a Facebook page, so browsing is a bit more challenging than a traditional website. That being said, it is easy to look through all the albums to see all of the hijabs and prints since all of the prints are true to the image. Since they are planning to launch a website, I expect shopping and browsing for hijabs online for this brand will be easier in the near future iA. Also, did I mention the scarves are so affordable? I can see myself buying a ton of hijabs.

Buying Experience: Since this time, the scarves were gifted, I am not able to share how the buying experience was. I will definitely be shopping here though and when I do, I will comment on how the ordering experience was!

Shipping: Shipping is fast and easy. Since B. Hijaby is located in the U.S. you are sure to get your package shipped fast. Expect 3-5 days for delivery. All in all, I highly recommend this hijab shopping destination.