Follow Friday: Noor Tagouri

Noor Tagouri

Noor Tagouri aspires to be the first hijabi news anchor on a major US network

Salaams my lovelies! Jumah mubarak to you all. As you know, I typically do a Follow Friday blog post on a hijabi’s Instagram account that I adore. Well I know I have blogged about Noor Tagouri before, but her Instagram account just begs to be followed. Why is that, you ask? She is a globe trotting, fearless example of a hijabi who is trying to show the best side of our faith to others. Whether she is studying domestic violence in Italy, or going on speaking engagements, Noor Tagouri’s Instagram account can serve as a inspiration to empower other hijabis to be active in their communities.

She is also beautiful too mashallah! However, she is not just a pretty face. What really strikes me is the beauty of her actions. You can really see her trying to understand where others are coming from. I feel like this is an essential quality of news anchors. If you look at the most popular news personalities, it is not their looks that make them successful, it is their ability to relate with the people that they are interviewing to get them to open up about their lives. I think Noor Tagouri will follow in those footsteps and really shine as a news anchor inshallah.

Her Instagram account is @ntagouri. Make sure to follow her for your own daily dose of community activism.

For scenes in my own daily life on food, fashion, and family, feel free to follow me @hijabilife too.

Keeping Up With the Khans

Showing off is one of the diseases of the heart that every Muslim should try to avoid.

Showing off is one of the diseases of the heart that every Muslim should try to avoid.

**Disclaimer: The last name in the title is not a specific family, it is just a common Muslim name used to illustrate a point (it was also close to Kardashians which is why I selected it).**

It is the last ten days of Ramadan and I am terrified. Why is that? There is the strong possibility that even though I strove very hard to commit good deeds during Ramadan, there is a disease of the heart that could essentially wipe those good deeds away. Now what can possibly be so harmful that is can obliterate a whole month’s of hard earned good deeds?

It is called ar riyaa. For those of you who don’t know this term, it is an Arabic word that means to be a show-off. Specifically, it is someone who does something in order to gain the praise of others.  In this day of social media, it is easier than ever to fall into this without even realizing it. In fact, in American society, we are encouraged to step with our best foot forward. Just take a look at what rappers say and you can get the gist of what ar riyaa at a superficial level is. It is all about their swag, their game, how many people of the opposite sex want them, etc. However, this post is not about rappers. This post is about American Muslims. Muslims who strive to be better people and may not even realize when they are showing off. Sometimes, we Muslim Americans can overdo even good deeds and fall into the trap of showing off.

Now what does Islam say about showing off? Why is it so bad for us?

According to a lecture by Suhaib Webb, the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ said, “The one who prays and wants people to see them has committed shirk. The one who fasted and they want the people to know about their fasting has committed shirk. The one who gave sadaqah (charity) and wants people to know about their charity has committed shirk.”

The Prophet ﷺ even said that  it’s so dangerous that it’s like the black ant on the black rock in the night with no moon.

If you question why showing off is harmful, just think about how you feel when you see someone else showing off. Yes, you are happy for that brother or sister, but doesn’t a part of you think to yourself with an eyeroll, “yeah okay hot shot.”? How does that promote the sisterhood or brotherhood that Islam wants to foster in our community? Even non Muslim communities are not really too kind about people who show off. There are terms like “keeping up with the Joneses” and countless stories of regular people eyeballs in debt just to show people they have a fancy house, car, clothes, etc. This disease of the heart transcends time. It was present in ancient times as well as present day. In fact, even the ancient Greeks created stories of tragic heroes whose downfall was hubris (pride) which is one of the rooted causes of showing off.

So this is why I get scared, I am human and I like to share snippets of my life with all of you. I like praise too, However, do I like that enough to literally wash away all of my good deeds? Not really. I don’t want to be the next Kardashian in the sense that I want people to emulate what I do unless it is for the sake of Allah (swt)’s pleasure. So this Ramadan, please pray for me and for yourself that we don’t trip ourselves up with this very human flaw.

Hijabi Obsession: Polka Dots

kate-middleton-diana-dresses-lead

Ever since I saw the cute polka dot dress Kate Middleton wore in a gentle nod to the late Princess Diana to debut her darling baby boy, polka dots have been every where! While not all of us can be princesses, we can all certainly look like princesses in some gorgeous polka dot pieces ourselves. Here are my favorite hijabi polka dot pieces that you can rock to get that timeless classic look yourself this summer:

Hijab-ista Polka Dot Hijab

Hijab-ista does the cutest green ombre polka dot hijab

Hijab-ista never fails to disappoint me when it comes to their quick shipping and excellent customer service. You can imagine my excitement when I saw this ombre green polka dot hijab! It’s perfect for summer and combines two of my favorite trends: polka dots and ombre.

Haute Hijab Polka Dot Maxi Skirt

Haute Hijab creates the perfect summer polka dot maxi skirt

My next favorite comes from the design house Haute Hijab. This darling polka dot skirt reminds me of something Audrey Hepburn would wear on a hot summer day in Paris while rocking her signature kerchief around her head and some cool sunnies to finish off the look. What do you think of the polka dot look? Let me know in the comments below!

Forgiveness In Islam

Forgiveness

Forgive others in this life like you want God to forgive you in the next life.

I have a terrible confession to make: I hold grudges too long. I don’t know why, but even as a child I remember thinking about different ways I had been hurt by people and writing them off quickly. In fact, my childhood best friend nicknamed me The Grudge! It was only recently I realized just how self destructive this flaw can be. I am writing this post to tell you lovelies that holding grudges; no matter how justified you are, is not good for your mind, body and soul. I hope that the way I dealt with my flaw will help you too.

Let’s start with dealing with hurtful people. While you are right to feel hurt, if you hold a grudge against the person who has hurt you, you only hurt yourself. There is a popular saying that: “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person dies.” I can attest to that fact. Every time you revisit what a person has done to hurt you, you allow that person to hurt you over and over. Does it really feel better to discuss that pain over and over again? For me, it only made me sad and upset. The other thing to note is that by allowing this person to hurt you after the fact, you are indeed allowing them the pleasure of hurting you more. You are better than that. Don’t give hurtful people that much power over you.

Forgiveness is not a weakness, it is empowering. This is why the best of Creation, Muhammed (saws) forgave those who hurt him in his life. He forgave Hind (ra) for being ruthless after his beloved uncle Hamza (ra) was killed, he forgave the Quraysh even after their boycott lead to the death of Khadija (ra), etc. When you forgive, you actually free yourself from the hurt that the other person caused you. That same childhood best friend (she is a very wise lady mA) told me that when you forgive someone, it is like setting a prisoner free and realizing that prisoner was you. You will find yourself at peace after you forgive someone.

So now that we spoke about forgiving someone, how do you do it? If you can, let that person know you forgive them whether it is in person, a call, or even text. Say that life is too short and that you forgive them and that you also hope they forgive you. One thing to note is that you should not have expectations from this person to respond. In fact, if they have hurt you, they may very well continue in their campaign to be hurtful. But you can be rest assured that you did everything you could so that you can meet God on your terms. In Islam, the way you treat others in this life is how God will treat you in the next. What better way to meet God than as a forgiving person? We all want God’s mercy, but how can you expect his mercy if you are not merciful with his Creation?

Lastly, it helps to focus on the bigger picture and help others. Volunteer, give to charity, or even spend time with your family. It helps puts things into perspective. What are your tips on forgiveness this Ramadan? Share them with me in the comments below!

5 Tips On A Productive Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan is an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Make sure you take advantage while you can.

Ramadan is a time where Muslims all over the world refrain from food, drink, and physical relations during daylight hours. While most people tend to focus on the food aspect of Ramadan, this holy month is a great opportunity for Muslims to transcend animalistic needs and instincts and focus on spiritual growth.

I know I tend to gain weight in general (even during Ramadan), so I will make sure this year to keep my body healthy so that I can focus on my worship versus slaving away in the kitchen. We all know that Ramadan is not easy, but here are some of my own tried and true tips to ensure you have a productive Ramadan this year too!

Avoid Negative People

We all have toxic people in our lives. They are the people who are naysayers, make fun of your goals, or just plain don’t like you. Well, try to avoid those types of people this Ramadan. Not only will it make you happier, there is an added bonus of avoiding the huge sin of backbiting. It will also help you hunker down and focus on achieving your goals for Ramadan too.

Eat Suhoor (pre fasting meal before dawn)

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Researchers have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Can you imagine the benefits of eating a nice balanced suhoor before you embark on your fast? I plan to alternate between oatmeal plus fruit with egg whites and veggies. Eating suhoor ensures you will have the energy to the face the day of fasting and free your mind to reflect on deeper thoughts.

Have a Plan

While these tips are generally helpful, we should all have specific goals in mind for Ramadan. Is it to complete the Quran? Pray every night of tarawih at the masjid? Whatever your goal may be, make sure to map out a plan of success. For example, if you want to complete the Quran, break up the Quran in blocks each day to read. If you want to be at the masjid every night, make sure you plan out your meals and arrange for things in your home to be taken care of. Whatever your plan is, ask for help so that you can reach your Ramadan goals inshallah.

Avoid Idle Talk and Engage in Dhikr

When I am fasting, I find it easier to avoid the typical chit chat. I am still friendly, but avoiding unnecessary conversations has kept me from being distracted from what I really wanted to accomplish during Ramadan. Another bonus is that I have found that I am super focused on my work at the office and that leads to efficiency which is a win win. Doing dhikr also keeps remembrance of Allah close at hand too.

Go Easy on Iftar (post fast meal)

While its normal to want to binge eat after you break your fast, try to avoid over indulging. While traditional foods for breaking fast are deep fried, just eat a few dates and drink some milk. This way you can pray without having a bloated belly! After that, you can try some light protein with a few veggies. That way, you get healthy nutrients and you can avoid losing lean muscle mass.

I hope these tips help you have a productive Ramadan inshallah. From my family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Ramadan!

Follow Friday: Indah Nada Puspita

Indahnadapuspita

Indah Nada Puspita captures a fresh almost anime style for hijabis

Salaams and jumah mubarak my lovelies! I hope you are having a wonderful Friday inshallah. As you know, I typically do a Follow Friday blog post on a hijabi that I think is inspirational on Instagram. Today I want to introduce you to Indah Nada Puspita. a super cool hijabi blogger from Indonesia. She launched her own fashion line in 2012. One thing that really struck me was the theatricality of her styling. I guess that isn’t surprising since Indah Nada Puspita’s secret dream is to be an opera singer or Broadway actress.

I love her Instagram account because it illustrates how transformative hijabi style can be. Sometimes, Indah Nada Puspita is almost unrecognizable to me with her style transformations. So that is why I love to follow her and see different ways to shake up my own wardrobe and makeup so I don’t fall into a style/beauty rut. Make sure to follow @indahnadapuspita on Instagram for all sorts of fashion fun and let me know who you think I should feature next on my Follow Friday post!

Until then, keep living well and remember me in your prayers!

Curvy Hijabi Blogger in A Skinny Hijabi Blogger World

Curvy Hijabi

Curvy hijabis can look fab too!

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend inshallah! I had a great one too. I spent my weekend catching up on reading all about how empowered hijabis are becoming. In fact, the rise of fashion hijabi bloggers caught the eye of The Daily Beast. It was wonderful in every single way except when I looked at all of the hijabi bloggers featured, none of them were even close to a size 6 or up. I love all of my hijabi sisters no matter what size they are, but it was so disheartening to see the lack of inclusion of any hijabis who are curvy or even plus sized.

It is already challenging to be a hijabi, now try adding curves to the mix! There are so many times where I will see a hijabi fashion blogger look absolutely darling in an outfit only to try it on and discover I look like an elephant in the very same outfit. Or I look a little TOO good for a hijabi… It’s a fine line to walk modesty with fashion if you have a fuller chest believe me. There isn’t a maxi hijab in the world that can cover my chest so I typically have to wear a cardigan or jacket to cover my assets up! It can be hard to see why a curvy hijabi would bother with trying new fashion trends. But, those trends can sometimes help you enjoy wearing hijab and feel empowered to talk to others about Islam. Fashion isn’t just about looking good, its about the confidence you get. It allows you to transform yourself into an intelligent human being who has something to say. It is definitely not about hiding in a sea of boring clothes, so take heart if you have as hard of a time styling yourself as I do.

Fellow curvy hijabis, I am here for you. It is all about taking a trend and making it your own. Are there any hijabi fashion trends that you would like me to modify and blog about? Let me know. In the meantime, keep reading for hijabi fashion tips that work for all sizes here!

Hijabi Style: Great Gatsby Inspired

Great Gatsby Hijabi Style

Flapper style meets hijabi style in this collage!

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are all doing well inshallah. I have been dying to see the movie The Great Gatsby. It is a complex novel with no real heroes or heroines. Just extremely wealthy but human characters who make sometimes fatal mistakes. One of the things that drew me to the recent film adaptation was the dazzling array of fashion looks worn by the characters. It makes me want to go back in time just to wear some of the clothes!

That being said, then reality struck me. First off, there were no such thing as flapper style hijabis back then. The Prohibition brought out the worst in people, there was the impending Depression coming, and you need to have a stick skinny body in order to actually look good in flapper fashions. Good thing there are newer options for hijabis to embrace the fashion from The Great Gatsby without looking like you traveled back in time. As you can tell from my styled collage, curvy hijabis can work the flapper look with a fishtail gown and a nice shrug in a contrasting color.

I was inspired to create this look based on what Amena Khan from Pearl Daisy wore to a tea party a few weeks back. Here is her look:

PearlDaisyGreatGatsby

Amenakin blends the old with the new in a lace dress and silver accents.

As you can tell, I modified the dress for a curvier hijabi. I also took liberties to add a more flapperesque headband and an art deco lariat versus a traditional Hyderabadi satlada.

What is your favorite look at the moment?

Hijabi Beauty: Smokey Eyes

smokey eyes

Smokey eyes are a great way to dress up your look for evening.

The eyes have it! While some hijabis are all about the bright lippy, I am and always will be devoted to my eye makeup for a dramatic look. Beautiful eyes enhanced with kohl have been a quintessential part of Muslim women’s beauty routines for years. In fact, the Prophet (saws) used to use kohl himself. Aisha (ra), the Prophet’s wife once said: “I used to pack Allah’s Messenger’s things for him. I would pack some oil lotion, a mirror, a pair of scissors, a kohl jar and a tooth stick.” It was also said that the Prophet also took with him a kohl jar as part of his toiletry. Back then, kohl used to protect the eyes from sand and the sun’s glare as well as enhance the beauty of your eyes by emphasizing your eyes’ brightness.

While you have to be careful of kohl that may contain lead, you can always recreate the smokey eye look with a few products from your local drugstore. It is the perfect way to transform tired eyes from a hard day’s work into sparkling eyes! I recommend keeping the rest of your face clean and simple. I actually take off any makeup and just soften my skin using rose water. I then add a gray shadow all over the lid coupled with a darker black shadow to contour my crease. I finished with liquid gel eyeliner and mascara.

What is your go to look? Are you a lippy hijabi or a smokey eye hijabi?