Confessions of a Jealous Hijabi

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I have a confession to make. Typically I am so positive and encouraging, but I noticed a really ugly feeling that welled up in myself recently.

I noticed I was getting jealous of one of my fellow hijabi bloggers! I mean it happens. One of the things that bugged me is how it seems that fashionistas always make a big fuss over thinner bloggers than curvy ones. I mean I get it, clothes look better on skinnier girls, but it depressed me a little to see it matters among the hijabi set too!

I know it’s only human, but I felt terrible. I wanted to celebrate everyone’s successes but I also wanted to feel successful too.

Then I realized putting myself down wasn’t going to do anyone any favors. So I made dua for the person I felt jealous of. Made dua for her to be forgiven for her sins, her health, her family. And do you know what? It made me feel better. It really did.

And I am not going to be discouraged. I blog because it makes me happy. If it helps you lovely readers that makes me even happier.

The Gift of Blogging

Social Media connects us all!

Social Media connects us all!

I had to write a blog post because I am so terribly excited how inspired hijabis are about social media.

I went through a period where I moved to a new place and didn’t know a soul except my girl Fay. On top of that, I was exposed to some fairly immature mean girl instances that made me want to run and hide and not be social at all. Luckily, I have found my core group of girlfriends who I trust and love more than anything alhamdulillah.

The other gift in my life I received was this blog. It has connected me to so many of you! When I used to read how I was supposed to love my sisters in Islam for the sake of God, I used to feel uncomfortable, but now that I have started up this blog, I can honestly say that I live that saying more than ever. So many of you sisters have uplifted my spirits and made me feel welcome in the blogosphere. How can I possibly thank you all?

I am also so proud of my girl Sana Hasan for starting her own blog called Mod Hijabi. For those of you who need fashion inspiration, please check her out! She is not only a hijabi fashionista, but she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside mA.

If you want super delicious baking recipes, please check out Aaisha Shaikh’s Baking Part Time blog.

I have been friends with both of these bloggers before they launched their blogs, but their blogs give me a glimpse into a part of them I may not have seen before. So for social media I am grateful. It lets me know that we have our own local circle, but we can branch out and add far flung friends to our circles too. So, if you have been tempted to start blogging, taking pictures and sharing, please do so! I promise its a fantastic voyage and I will be one of your biggest cheerleaders too.

Raising Muslim Kids In A Hyper Sexualized World

Muslim Children in Hyderabad

Muslim Children in Hyderabad

With more children suffering at the hands of this sexually driven world, I am starting to feel scared as a Muslim parent. Recently, The Telegraph did a whole article about the prevalence of pornography in all facets of our lives and how they are starting to affect children. Reading the article struck fear in my heart. As a parent of a toddler who is barely 2, I am starting to realize that she is absorbing everything around her; good and bad.

I am lucky because at this age, I can be her media gatekeeper. I refuse to watch anything remotely adult around her. It has been a blessing for me too. I recently shared an article on my Facebook about how desensitized that our society has become that Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance did not cause anyone to bat an eyelash. I was blessed because I didn’t subject my eyes and my soul to what was described as a purely objectifying performance that did a disservice to the singer and women in general. However, I can’t shield my child from glancing over magazine covers while in line to buy groceries and other inevitable instances of sexualized exposure.

That being said, I am not going to despair. In the time of the Prophet, there were all sorts of ignorance (jahiliyya) around. People used to go around the Kaaba naked! So in order to combat these influences that may take away my child’s innocence, I plan to do the following:

  • Spend as much time as I can: I plan to spend every moment I can ENGAGED with my child. I lock my phone in an unknown place unless we are FaceTiming grandparents and I spend as much time as I can talking to my child face to face. we play games, we play pretend, we do yoga, we watch child appropriate TV. We even pray together. I want my time with her to dominate her memories.
  • Teach boundaries: I want my daughter to know what is right and wrong. When she does something wrong, I simply say stop and walk away so she knows that there are consequences to her wrong actions. I hope this instills a sense of responsibility in her inshallah. I am still a new parent, so if anyone has any pointers, please let me know! She knows that she can’t touch any electronic device without a grown up supervising.
  • Show your love: I show my daughter I love her all the time to the point she rubs my kisses away. But I want her to know that she is loved for who she is, not for what she looks like or what she can give anyone. I want her to grow up feeling valued as a human being so that when the time comes, she will know that she is not an object and that she has more to contribute to society. It is so sad, but even The Onion did a parody piece about the awkward moment that a girl transitions into a sexual being. So when that moment comes, I hope that my daughter knows she is more than that to me and can hold tight to the values I raise her with inshallah.

The Grace in Gratitude

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I am finishing off my birthday weekend (after eating way too much cake…yes my sugar fast has ended and I think I need to get back on it) and I am laying in a comfortable bed with my little babykin to warm me. I feel content and grateful to God.

Gratitude is something we all talk about trying to have, but why is that? It is most likely because when you are grateful about the people and things in your life, then you are happy. That is the real secret to happiness. Trust me, happiness doesn’t come from money, being insanely beautiful, or having a number of material things.

In fact, if that were the case, I think most super models would never have a divorce, rich people would never get depressed, and self help writers would definitely be out of a job because the rest of us would be a lost cause.

As I gain more experience in life, I realize that a lot of my own happiness comes from being thankful. Thankful to Allah (swt) for a roof over my head, food to eat, my family, and my amazing friends. When I think about those suffering in a multitude of countries, I feel guilty for even doubting my luck for a second.

So if you feel stressed, bitter, or upset, ask yourself if you have counted your blessings. That is the trick. Count your own blessings instead of someone else’s. Try it and let me know how you feel.

Best Friends: Why They Matter In Islam

Muslim best friends

Muslim best friends

Whenever you see the movies, the emphasis is always on finding the One. The One is typically a romantic interest, but what about finding the One in terms of your best friend? I have to say, that may be one of the single most important relationship in our own lives. If you look at all of those movies, isn’t there always a goofy best friend? Even Disney characters have best friends (even if they are a monkey named Abbu).

The reason best friends matter is because they have known you long enough to understand why certain things are important to you. They have also most likely seen you at your best AND worst. And they are always there for you mentally even if they are not physically close by.

One of the most amazing relationships that I have come across is that of Abu Bakr (ra) and the Prophet (saws). They were as we would say now, besties. When the Prophet (saws) realized he was a messenger of God, he told his wife, and then he told Abu Bakr(ra). And when Abu Bakr (ra) heard this, he didn’t dismiss it or think that his best friend was crazy. He supported him from the very beginning. They brought out the best from one another.

That is how I feel about my best friend Farah. She and I met when we were 13. I was a new hijabi and she wasn’t. But we knew we were both Muslim and somehow over the years, we brought out the best in each other. When I need a piece of sound advice based on the deen, I know I can turn to Farah. She always manages to not just say what she knows will make me feel good, but she tries to tell me things from an honest perspective because she cares. That is something no one can ever buy. I remember whenever I falter in my faith, Farah will be there to remind me and lift me back up. I hope that I do the same for her.

One of the most profound stories of the Prophet (saws) I have ever heard is when he was making the escape from Mecca to Medina with Abu Bakr (ra) by his side. A lot of people tend to focus on the chase part of it, but one of the things that touched my heart is that the Prophet (saws) wasn’t alone in the cave when bounty hunters were after his head. He was with his best friend and they had God watching over them.

The reason this touched me, is because whenever I feel alone or in despair, I remind myself of this instance. That we are never alone. That God is always with us even in the darkness of a cave. And if we are lucky enough, we have a best friend to illuminate our lives too. I love you Farah and I know you read my posts, but this post is especially for you. You are always in my duas and in my heart.

Life Lessons for A Hijabi

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So it’s a New Year and I keep thinking about how much my own life has changed. As a hijabi, I feel like people have a tendency to assume that you should act a certain way.

The beauty of human beings is that we are all different. Some hijabis are loud, some are quiet, some are artistic, and some are pragmatic.

For a long time, I tried to conform to what I thought people expected from me. However, at the end of the day, the best person you can be is yourself.

Obviously, we should strive to be better in our faith and other arenas, but over time I have realized I like myself just the why I am in terms of my strengths.

I love writing which is why I blog. I love how it gives me a way to share my thoughts with all of you. I used to be scared to share what I thought. But now I realize that if I do, I may help one of you embrace your own strengths!

So here is to all of my readers. I hope you have the courage to speak your mind and embrace who you are too.

Job Hunting? What Every Hijabi Professional Should Know

Hijabi Professional

Hijabi Professional

As a professional, I know it can be a challenge to look for a job while wearing hijab. Fortunately, I was always able to let my credentials shine enough for potential employers to not notice my hijab at all. That being said, while job hunting, I did run into a few places that were not as culturally aware. It is nearly impossible for any employer to be blind to the limitations that potential candidates may pose. For example, in the U.S., married women may have a harder time with employment because employers may worry about pregnancy. Orthodox Jewish candidates may also face untold discrimination with requests to keep Sabbath.

My dear family friend Murshed Chowdhury wrote a wonderful article on the blog Life Hacker that details how to handle job hunting with non traditional issues such as hijab. I can not tell you how helpful this article will be for all of you fellow hijabi professionals. Here are some of my own tips for anyone who is a hijabi looking for a job:

  • Make Sure You Are Qualified: This sounds like a no brainer, but I don’t know how many times in my own hiring process that I notice applicants who are not qualified applying for roles that would not work well for them. Yes, you should strive for your dreams, but also be realistic. For example, in law school, I realized I love to write. Rather than quit school and try to apply for journalism postings, I created my own blog while I studied. This helped me gain critical experience that I needed in order to land my job with Thomson Reuters later. If you want to be a designer at a big company, try working as an intern at a small design house in order to gain the experience you need.
  • Submit Your Resume Electronically: I know this seems odd, but I have noticed in my own experience that my resume is noticed a lot more when it is a stand alone piece. Once a potential employer sees my experience and educational background, they are more likely to make a call and do a phone screen. It also helps to network and tell your friends and family that you are looking for a job in particular industry. While I am pretty sure they won’t have a job lined up for you, they may know someone who is. It is all about networking.
  • Build A Team You: In law school, I created a team I called Team Minara. This is a team that is comprised of friends, family, and mentors. Any time I needed advice, I turned to them. Remember that even when you land that job you keep in touch with your team. I still keep in touch with my team because they are the ones who got me where I am. Make sure that you build out your own team so that you can turn to them during your job hunt and even beyond that.
  • Always Be A Professional Through The Process: If a potential employer wants you to do a phone screen or interview, make sure that you are on time, look clean and polished and that you have done your research not only on the specifics of the role you are interviewing for, but the company and its culture as well.
  • Never Compromise: People respect your morals and values….if you stick by them. Don’t flip flop on where you stand because it can get confusing for colleagues. It also shows that you don’t have the discipline to stand for what you believe in. I remember how I refused to drink and my colleagues were confused because another Muslim colleague did. Well they lost respect for the Muslim colleague who did in the long run. While I say never compromise, that does not mean that you miss out on office parties or other workplace events. Just make sure you are cordial and that you respect others as you would like to be respected.

I hope that these tips help you all in finding that job of your dreams. Let me know how your own job hunt goes and I may feature you on Hijabi Life!

A Key To A Happy Muslim Marriage

Muslim couple, sunset

A happy Muslim couple

Jumah mubarak my lovelies! I hope that you are all doing well on this Friday inshallah. I have been doing a lot of fashion/style/beauty posts so I decided to do a Muslim lifestyle blog post today on marriage. I wanted to do it on a topic that I think is super important because I feel like young Muslim couples are being pushed more than ever to part over things that may not be worth fighting over. Just as a background, I will be celebrating my own 4 year anniversary with the Hubster next week inshallah. Over those years, I had to learn a few things the HARD way. I wanted to share one of the key elements that I found my own marriage much happier.

One of the things that I noticed that really affected my marriage was nagging. Yes, ladies, while nagging works in the short term, one of the awful long term effects is that your husband starts to resent it (and maybe even you) and then he will start to ignore you and tune you out. It is tempting to resort to nagging, but let me tell you, it is not worth it if it will poison your marriage over time. If there are any brothers reading this, let me also tell you that while your wife may be driving you crazy with her nagging, you need to critically think about why she is nagging too. Does she have a valid point? Then just do yourself a favor and listen to what your wife is trying to say.

At this point, I try not to nag, but if something is bothering me or is important, I let the Hubster know. Since I am not a chronic nagger, he actually takes what I say seriously and listens (for the most part….I still have not won my war against socks on the floor…if there is a wife who has please let me know your secret!). One of the most important things I learned from my older married couples is that you need to stop nagging because it makes your husband feel like a child. When he feels like a child, he will act like one which is not what either of you want.

How do you stop nagging? Here are some tips:

  • Notice what your husband is doing right. Does he call you to tell you he loves you? Does he make the bed for you? Does he change the oil in your car? My Hubster always surprises me with flowers, helps with the baby, and does other little things. When I feel tempted to nag, I remind myself of ALL of these good things.
  • Is the thing you want to nag him about a recurring issue? If it is a recurring issue that is important to you, you should talk it over with your husband. However, if this is a bad habit that is not going to break, assess if this is something you can live with. For me, rather than nag about socks on the floor, I just pick them up and put them away.
  • Tell your husband you love him. I sometimes forget how express how much I care for my husband. I have started to remind myself that just because he is a man, doesn’t mean he needs any less love than I do.

I hope these tips help you in some way, and that we can all be blessed with happy marriages. Are there are any tips you have? Let me know in the comments box!