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!

Being A Single Hijabi

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Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are having a great week inshallah. I wanted to write a post to help my single hijabi sisters out.

I wanted to let you know that as a hijabi since 1994, I had my share of naysayers. Lots of people tried to tell me that as a hijabi I wouldn’t find a guy interested to marry me.

In my early 20s I was indignant. How dare they tell me I can’t get married? But as my late 20s rolled in, I panicked. I started to notice my non hijabi friends get snapped up and married. I was starting to notice looks of sympathy amongst the auntie set.

Let me tell you, it’s not easy. But stay strong hijabis! It may seem like even the “religious” brothers are marrying non hijabis, but Allah (swt) has written who you will marry. It’s only a test. Remember that if you stay strong, you will be rewarded by Allah (swt).

I can tell you that in my own experience, I had patience and alhamdulillah I found the perfect spouse for me. He supports my professional life and nurtures me spiritually. So stay strong sisters! It does get better. In the meantime keep being your awesome selves. Sending some love and duas your way. You are definitely not alone. 🙂

Mothers In Islam

Muslim mom cradling her son's face.

Motherhood in Islam reflects the innate nurturing side that all mothers have for their own children.

Salaam my lovelies! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend inshallah. In the United States, yesterday was Mother’s Day, so I hope my fellow Muslim moms felt the love from their children and families.

One of the things that I noticed in our community is that there is a deep divide about celebrating Mother’s Day. While I have written posts about how it is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate holidays like Halloween or Christmas (based on scholars), it is typically because these are holidays based on other faiths. However, many Islamic scholars have deemed it permissible to celebrate Mother’s Day. And why would we not want to celebrate Mother’s Day? It is a day where we can honor our mothers like Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saws) recommend!

In fact, in the Quran, Allah (swt) states: Allah says: “And We enjoined upon man concerning his parents. His mother begot him in weakness upon weakness and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.” (Qur’an, 31:14)

We all know this hadith: Abu Hurayrah relates that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Which person is the most worthy of my excellent companionship?”

He replied, “Your mother.”

The man asked, “Then who?”

The Prophet said, “Your mother.”

Then the man said, “Then who?”

The Prophet replied, “Your mother.”

Then the man said, “Then who?”

The Prophet said, “Your father.”

(Bukhari and Muslim)

While we know this, did we ever stop and think about the meaning of this ayah and hadith? First, let’s look at the ayah. Allah (swt) mentions how the mother had “weakness upon weakness” when she has a child. This refers to the weaknesses of pregnancy and delivery. Yes, motherhood starts with pregnancy’s trials too. Once I got pregnant, I realized how my mother must have endured countless sleepless nights as a pregnant woman as well as countless days feeling the lovely waves of nausea from morning sickness. Alhamdulillah, motherhood is one of those rare moments where the very being taking your strength and energy becomes the very being you love even before you see him/her!

The hadith also indicates how important mothers are because of the difficulties of pregnancy and delivery as well as parenthood. If you notice, the hadith lists your mother 3 times over your father. Why is that? This is because your mother carried you for 9 months, had to endure childbirth, and then helped raise you versus a father who helps raise a child. Fathers are still important, but it shows Allah (swt)’s mercy on and fairness on mothers.

I actually overheard an older man complain about Mother’s Day asking why not celebrate fathers too? Well, in the United States, Father’s Day is celebrated in June. So both parents have a day to be recognized. That being said, Islam elevated the status of mothers because mothers have this extra portion of parenthood. So why not take the time to appreciate our mothers? While we should do this every day, doing something extra for our moms on this special day makes her feel appreciated and we gain reward. What better way to earn Jannah? I think its easier than doing any extra form of ibadah (worship).

So make sure to show your mom some love. And fellow Muslim moms, remember that while Mother’s Day is important, even if you didn’t get break, Allah (swt) sees all your hard work and will reward you accordingly inshallah. So keep being that awesome mom!

Muslim Children and Bullying: What Do Parents Do?

Stop bullying

We all need to work to stop bullying of all kids.

Salaam my lovely readers. I hope you are well inshallah. I was recently asked by a fellow Muslim parent to discuss a pretty serious topic: Muslim children and bullying. In particular, what does a loving Muslim parent do when kids at school ask/tell their child if he/she is a terrorist?

We all view bullying as a rite of passage to adulthood. Teen movies always depict the popular kids picking on everyone else and reigning supreme in places like high school or even junior high. However, bullying is going even further than before because bullies have high tech tools like smartphones and laptops. It can make even seemingly harmless labels linger a lot longer than they should. How can a child teased about one incident move on if that one incident is forever memorialized on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr?

Another scary dimension for Muslim parents is the added burden of being labeled as “other” in America even if you are born here. Before, it was harmless surprise in the face of fellow Americans to see a hijabi speak in accentless English. Now, we have to face the fact that people may look at you as a scary person, or there may be bigots who hurl insults at you or your children. We have to teach our kids to value themselves first so that no matter what other people say or think, they will have a strong foundation of self esteem and worth to elevate themselves beyond that.

How do we instill this in our kids?

  • Make Sure Your Kids Know They Matter To You: I want my baby girl to always know she is first in my heart besides God. I want her to feel safe to tell me about her day and her choices (even if right now its picking cereal over rice). She knows she matters because when she calls or reaches out for me, I am responsive. Be there for your kids so that they never feel alone.
  • Let Your Kids Know They Are Not Alone: When I share stories of my early teen hijabi days and what bullies said to me as a teenager to other teens, they look surprised because it is similar to the stuff they get too. Times may change, but people don’t. Share these stories with your kids so they know it happens to all of us, even their parents. Also, tell them God is always watching and listening to them. When they feel despair, HE is always there.
  • Encourage Civic Responsibility: One of the best ways to combat bullies is for your kids to get involved with helping their community. It helps them feel valued, loved, and gives them a sense of belonging. All of these things are the very things that bullies want to strip away from our kids. Another added benefit is that it actually helps deepen bonds in our community and is part of the Sunnah (life of the Prophet Muhammed (saws).

When Dreams Are Deferred

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Sometimes it’s hard to say why, but you can get afflicted with sadness. During these moments it is best to remember what Allah (swt) tells us about what he promised the people of Musa (as) after they crossed the river and escaped Firawn:
And remember when your Lord made known, “If you are grateful then I will surely increase you but if you are ungrateful then surely My torment is surely severe”.
Surah 14 Ayah 7

Why is that? The people of Musa (as) suffered unspeakable sadness at the hands of Firawn. So instead of letting that sadness etch a bitterness in their hearts, Allah (swt) is giving them an antidote.

Gratitude is the cure of sadness.

I have been noticing that I have been sad because a lot of my own dreams have been deferred. At first I was sad. I mean my dreams are more like wanting to see Allah (swt)’s house during Hajj, or even something mundane as going to Paris.

I realize that Allah (swt) is deferring these dreams and I can’t question that.

However, on a deeper note, I realize that gratitude is important as well. It helps you have more sabr (patience). It helps you realize what your blessings are and prevents us from causing God’s displeasure.

Gratitude helps us stop and appreciate what we have. Here is where I definitely felt like a first world problems (whiny blogger). I am upset about Hajj? What about Syrians losing their family members daily? Or Palestinians not even given their rights to cross a checkpoint to see a doctor? That really puts it in perspective.

Gratitude helps bring more blessings. Allah (swt) promises in that ayah that if you are grateful, Allah (swt) will increase you. The Arabic is beautiful because it does not specify what. This means that Allah (swt) will increase each person in something they need based on their life. How poetic is that? And Allah ( swt) doesn’t specify the punishment for ingratitude, but we should avoid it because who really wants to face Allah (swt)’s anger?

So for the moment, I am turning inward to be more grateful. And you know what? Somehow I don’t feel so sad anymore.

The Importance Of Taking It Slow

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Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are having a great weekend inshallah. Some of you may have even had a long weekend thanks to Good Friday.

It’s been a crazy hectic few weeks in terms of traveling for work for not only myself, but my Hubster too.

So we thought we would take a day to explore some place that wasn’t too far but was just far enough that we could feel like we got a little mini vacation in.

We went to Monterey and Pacific Grove in California. Not only did we feel refreshed, we felt rejuvenated on the inside as well. We spend so much time on screens (laptops, iPads, iPhones, etc), that we forget the beauty of Allah (swt)’s creation. In Surah 13, Ayah 3, Allah (swt) says:

And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draweth the night as a veil o’er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!

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Here I was witnessing the beauty of sea cliffs carpeting with wildflowers before me today and wondering how we are have become numb in our daily lives. I am very guilty of not looking at the beauty of nature more and making dhikr or dua as I do so.

We need to take it slow sometimes. It will make us better spouses, parents and Muslims. We can’t do everything! No one expects us to either. Sometimes we are our own worst multitasking enemy. So remember to take it slow and realize that you may think you are doing nothing, but strolling and taking in nature’s beauty and doing dhikr cleanses our hearts and rejuvenates the soul.

So if you are like me, I ask you to do yourself a favor. Unplug even for an hour and take your little ones on a nature adventure. It will be fun for the kids and you will notice how relaxing it is for you too. It is in our nature to admire things of beauty and worship our Lord. So this will help you do both.

Try it and let me know what you think inshallah. 🙂

Success In A Muslim Marriage

Older Muslim Couple

With some hard work, your marriage can be one that lasts long into your golden years inshallah.

All marriages get into a rut. We have all been there. We get so used to our spouse, that anything they do may annoy us. Those little beard trimmings in the sink? Not so cute. Those socks on the floor? Downright annoying. Those late nights at the office? All of it can have you wonder “Why did I ever bother getting married?”

News flash ladies: All of these feelings are normal! What is not so great is that we are so used to instant gratification in our culture that the minute things get tough, we are all ready to walk away. I don’t know if this is because we are used to everything being disposable now. I remember how when we bought a television, that television was anticipated to LAST forever (or at least a decade or so). Now, if you keep your television longer than five years, people think you are crazy. Even with clothes, we are so used to just throwing away clothes that rip or tear versus trying to mend them and wear them longer. I have friends who have made fun of me for taking my battle worn flats to the cobbler a few times because I did not want to throw them away.

It seems that disposable culture is seeping into our personal lives too. We are so quick to throw away friendships, marriages, and even blood relations.

My lovely readers, please take some time and think about how to rethink things in your marriage. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Focus On What Made You Fall In Love: Was it your spouse’s smile that made you start caring? Was it the easy way you can talk to your spouse about anything? Was it the way your spouse gently wakes you up for fajr? Retrain your mind to see those qualities first. It makes it a lot easier to let go of the things that annoy you.
  • Realize That Some Things Won’t Change: If those annoyances are recurring things, it is highly probable that those things are not going to change. So instead of forcing your spouse to conform to your needs and desires, try to overlook these things. It will save you a lot of fighting and stress.
  • Focus On You: Sometimes you may be overworked and your spouse inadvertently gets the brunt of your stress! let your spouse know if you need a break for some “me time.” Chances are your spouse will work with you to keep you happy too. For me, I have to work out and I need time to blog. So my Hubster always makes sure to take care of the baby while I do that. When I come back from whatever it was I was doing, I always feel happier and more likely to share the love all around. That saying “When Mama is Happy, Everyone Is Happy” is totally true in our house!

What are your ingredients for success?

Hijabi Fitness Ideas

Hijabi fitness

As a hijabi, you can be modest and in shape.

Salaam my lovely readers. I hope all is well with you inshallah. I have been on a major fitness kick lately. I don’t know if its the spring weather, or if I am just tired of lazing about, but I am more pumped than ever to try new gym classes, healthy recipes, and get my hijabi fitness on. It looks like the fitness bug is going around because I was talking to one of my husband’s relatives who managed to lose a whopping 35 lbs mashallah! She was sweet enough to say that I inspired her (haha the day before I inhaled a cookie that was 440 calories).

Needless to say that flattering comment got me motivated again to keep at it.

I first starting wearing hijab as a 13 year old. I even went a step further and wore an abaya. While that was great, it was also a critical time that I stopped exercising. Why? It seemed to hard to wear modest clothing and work so why bother? I wish I could go back in time and tell my teen self that yes fitness is important and that you can do it modestly too. The other thing is that since I was wearing looser clothing, it was easy to gain weight and not even notice.

Fast forward almost 20 years later, I still wear modest clothing, but I work out. I wear maternity clothes when I do exercise since it provides me the coverage I need as a hijabi. I also make sure to track what I eat, weigh myself in the morning (sometimes I want to throw my scale out the window), and just make sure to have fun when I exercise. I recently started taking belly dancing classes with only women. If a non coordinated person like me can do it, so can you! I look silly, but I am still trying because our bodies are an entrustment (amanah) from God that we must take care of.

Once you start to work out, the bug will catch on. My mother in law just started working out herself at 51 years of age mashallah. It’s never too late to start! Let me know how you stay motivated to exercise while wearing hijab. Also, what class should I try next?

Patience in Islam

Patience

Patience in Islam is not only a virtue, its something we should actively cultivate.

As a mom, it’s hard to see your child throw fits, go to Daddy instead of you, or even be sick. In those times, I really try to remember that sabr (patience) is a quality adored by our Creator. In the holy Quran Allah (swt) states:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Qur’an, 2:155)

While it is not easy to be patient, just realize that nothing good comes from being impatient. If you are late for work, bemoaning all the traffic lights turning red will not change the fact that you are late. It took me a long time to realize that while I could not change my circumstances, I had the ability to change my reaction to those circumstances.

Even with that knowledge, I know I am still not perfect. Sabr is not just enduring what befalls you quietly. It is a delayed gratification. If you can delay your instinct for instant gratification, Allah (swt) will reward you if not in this life, then the hereafter.

I recently moved to a suburban area and we only had one car. So instead of my commute being 6 minutes, it was a whopping 60 minutes with public transportation. While taking that, I would sit and think how unfair it was that my contemporaries all had cars and I was needlessly suffering. However, I had to remind myself that I made a choice not to purchase a brand new car because of ribah (interest which is forbidden in Islam) and I needed to have sabr to save for a used car.

I carried this internal dialogue for 1 year. But Alh, Allah (swt) is merciful and instead of having to wait any longer, my mother in law bought a car for our family. Do you see how Allah (swt) tests you even if you have a good intention to obey him? Trials bring you closer to God while punishments push you away from God. I felt guilty for even entertaining such “woe is me” thoughts.

We can never be grateful enough to God for our blessings. Even with our trials, it’s nothing compared to others. What about our sisters and brothers in war torn countries? Or in poverty? Or worried about feeding their children?

With this in mind, let us make dua that we have sabr jameel inshallah so that we can please our lord. It is a virtue that helps us complete our faith. After all, the Prophet (saws) said:

“Patience is half of faith (īmān).”