Friday, August 27, 2010

My Hijab Story: Published on IGIC

Good afternoon all!

Just wanted to thank you all for your advice about my halaqa! I love having this blog because everyone is so friendly and helpful, Mashallah. May Allah (swt) grant you all Jannat! Ameen!

And most importantly, my hijab story that I recently wrote, was published on I Got It Covered! YAY! You can check it out here: Journey Back to Hijab.

Inshallah it is able to benefit you!


Oh...and tonight is my halaqa! Pray that it goes well! 

Until next time...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help Needed!

Salam Ladies,

I have a big favor to ask. I have been asked to do a short halaqa (Islamic talk) at the Masjid. I have to discuss how women can keep their Iman (faith) high and stay strong in their deen, while they are on their period.

Since we cannot pray and fast, we often feel disconnected from Allah (swt), especially in Ramadan, and many girls find it hard to keep a close connection with the deen. I wanted to ask you all for any points that you can think of that I could possible share with the group or any articles that I could use as a source.

Alhamdulillah, I do know a few things I will say, but it is pretty difficult to find information on this subject. Any advice or articles would help. The halaqa is for Friday night, so I have about two days to prepare.

May Allah (swt) reward you for your help!

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pakistan Flood: Time for a Change!

The Pakistan flood is something that has been in the news and media for a while now. Surprisingly, the flood has continued since July, showing no signs of slowing down. The flood started out in the the Northwestern region and has now has now stretched 1000 km, reaching Kotri and Hyderabad! Subhanallah, there are more monsoons expected in the next few days.

Today we spoke to family who lives in the area. My cousin told us they have started to evacuate people from Hyderabad and Kotri due to the flood level increasing. They are scared to leave their area, which is still safe currently, however, because people who have left their homes already have been robbed. Their houses have been turned upside down, so if they do get to return, there will nothing left. If they are not hit by the flood, all their belongings will be gone anyway. Subhanallah! 

What is wrong with our people? Allah (swt) is putting them through a major test, a major punishment, and people still do not learn. They do not have khauf (fear) in their hearts! This country is literally being washed away, but its inhabitants refuse to take a lesson. 

While all this is going on, an entire village brutally beat and murdered two boys, while the police watched. The boys bodies were "shown off" to the city and they were then hung upside down! Is it really a surprise that Pakistan is being flooded right now? People are robbing others' homes and campsites where aid is being sent! Does no one have taqwa anymore? 

I am not saying the entire country and its people are horrible, of course. I am Pakistani myself. But many people are corrupt in Pakistan and it seems the corruption is still not being washed away with the flood. People are too focused on Dunya and do not have enough fear. So many people are suffering due the the ignorance and corruption of the few.

This flood is also a test for us, those who are not physically affected by it. We need to show our support and donate. We need to help in whatever way we can. And this should also increase our iman. It should make us grateful for that all that we are blessed with. We should use this to focus our attention to the things that matter.

We chase this dunya, material things that do not matter, and we forget what is important. This world will perish! Our belongings, our families, our homes will perish. Now is the time to seek forgiveness. Now is the time to make a change. Now is the time to focus on your akhira! I sincerely pray that Allah (swt) grants the people affected by this flood patience and grant them health and safety. May He protect them and turn their hearts towards Him and forgive their sins. Ameen!

Until next time....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

OOTD: Iftar/Dinner Outfit

First of all, thanks to everyone who gave their input about the new template. Most of you seem to like it so I am going to stick with this for a while, but maybe I will change it back if I'm in the mood.

Also, yesterday, we were invited to my uncle's house for iftar and I wore my new outfit. It was a zebra-print, poncho-style salwar kameez and I LOVE it! 



Until next time...

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Template

Just wanted to get your opinion on the new template. That last one started looking a little gloomy so I figured this one was a lot more fun.

What do you guys think? Should I stick with the new pink one or go back to my old black one?

Thanks in advance!

Until next time...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fashion Friendly: Bliss Couture

Ladies,

I am not sure how familiar you all are with Pakistani fashion, but Alhamdulillah, they have managed to create some wonderful, modest, Hijab-friendly looks! The trends right now are very decent and stunning. I'm posting a few photos of outfits I really like and that anyone can purchase! The price range is decent, some more expensive than others.

Bliss Couture is the company. The woman who runs it basically makes replicas of designer outfits at affordable prices. You can find her Facebook Company page here: Bliss Couture.

The absolute wonderful thing about this is that the outfits are CUSTOM MADE to fit you and to look that way you want. Some of the outfits are sleeveless or transparent, but you fill out a form for the outfit you want and you tell them exactly what you want the outfit to look like, so you can add full sleeves, change the colors or add lining so that nothing is see-through. All outfits come with the shirt, pants and a long scarf (dupatta). Also you can choose any style of pants that you want (wide leg, skinny, trouser, etc). This way, the outfit is custom made for your modesty level, which is a hard thing to find nowadays as a hijabi!

You can have them made floor length and wear them as a dress or abaya or have it made shorter and wear it with jeans. It's all up to you. Her prices include stitching and shipping, so they might seem expensive, but you are also getting a lot. Also, if you order more than one, you can bargain with her a little bit more to bring the price down. Simply go to her page and comment on the outfit(s) you like and she will send you an order form, inshallah.

These are some of the outfits I like, but there are A LOT more, so you should definitely click on the link and check it out. Inshallah I plan to order after Ramadan.

Let me know what you guys think and which outfits are your favorites?

Happy Shopping!

*Note: Some outfits don't have prices, but you can comment on her picture and she will let you know how much it costs, inshallah.






$125

$85

$99

$99


$99

$75


$75


$75

$75

       
$175

                                             $124                                                    $124


Both $124



$75


And my favorites:

$99



                                   
$75







Until next time...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Journey Back to Hijab

My hijab story is more like a secret diary that no one should ever read. It is filled with horrible facts about me and points out my weaknesses and mistakes. You will not find butterflies and rainbows in this story. Rather, my journey to hijab is filled with fear, negativity and regret. So I warn you all: read with caution.

 The most important thing you should know is that I used to wear hijab, but eventually took it off. I hate saying it, admitting to the world that I was one of those ignorant girls who went backwards after putting on the hijab, instead of moving forward with my deen. But it’s what I did and I can’t change it.

I first put on the hijab due to an extreme iman rush after an Islamic conference and pressure I felt from my community members, because, Mashallah, almost all the girls I knew already wore hijab and were so religious. I always felt like an outcast not wearing it, so I decided to just do it.

After putting on the scarf, however, I was extremely self-cautious. I would feel fine wearing it when I was around my religious friends, but, when I was with other ‘normal’ people, I was ashamed. I tried to cover, while still blending in: wearing hoods and hats to cover my hair, instead of proper hijab. I didn’t understand that ‘hijab’ was true modesty, not only in dressing but actions as well. I treated the hijab simply as a cloth on my head. I regretted the day I decided to wear the hijab and every bone in my body screamed at me to take it off, but I was afraid of what people would think of me. So I continued my self-loathing and wore the scarf. I felt horrible because I knew I wasn’t getting reward from Allah (swt). After all, I only kept on my hijab from fear of people’s judgment, rather than fulfilling the command of my Lord.

The regret continued and became stronger each day. I woke up miserable knowing I had to put on my hijab. I hated going out, especially with my husband, because I felt that every other girl looked beautiful to him except me. His consolation only made it worse. I didn’t believe him when he said I looked beautiful because I felt ugly, inside and out. I was always irritated and fighting with everyone around me.

After two years of my ongoing battle with the hijab, my nafs finally won, leaving my iman scattered to pieces. I shed the command of my Judge.I couldn’t handle it anymore. But taking off my scarf didn’t give me the relief I was looking for. I still had regret. Sure, I was happier sometimes because I got to make my hair, but I felt really bad and disappointed in myself. This time, when I was around my religious friends, I felt ashamed. I felt like I was less than them. I knew I wasn’t happy before, but at least I was following Allah’s (swt) command. Now, I still had regret and I was disobeying. It was a lose-lose situation.

I tried to console myself whenever the regret kicked in, telling myself that at least I was a good person that prayed, fasted and dressed modestly. But I always knew in the back of my mind that I was disobeying Allah (swt), every second of everyday that I was in front of non-mahrams. My biggest fear was dying without wearing the hijab.

A year and half after taking off the hijab, I went to Hajj with my husband, Alhamdulillah. It was quite the experience, but I did not cover when I came back home. Subhanallah! Now the guilt was doubled. Everyone was calling me Hajji, but I felt like a big fraud, a failure. While I was discussing hajj with a few people, someone said, “A sign that your hajj has been accepted is if you change after completing it.”

I immediately felt foolish. I knew I hadn’t changed all that much even though my reoccurring dua at Hajj was that I wear the hijab. This slowly brought about the change that I needed. At that point, I knew I had to wear hijab again. I had to make a difference in my life and gain Allah’s (swt) love.

I thought about putting on the hijab everyday after that. Every morning I would wake up and say to myself, “Today is the day…” but it never was. I walked around everyday with a smile on my face, even though I was constantly in battle with my nafs.

Why am I so weak? How come everyone I know can wear it, but me? How is it possible that everyone just loves hijab and I despise wearing it?

I realized that I didn’t simply hate the hijab, I was afraid of it, afraid of what it could turn me into: a self-loathing, low self-esteem introverted human being.  I felt like my iman was so much higher when I wasn’t wearing hijab than when I was. The fear of wearing hijab was so strong, that even truly wanting to wear it wasn’t enough to make me put it on.

I tired to increase my iman as much as I could, so that I would have the courage to cover myself, as my Lord has prescribed.  My sister-in-law visited me from Atlanta and took that opportunity to speak to me about death and the last days. She told me that she used to be afraid of death because, like me, she didn’t want to die hijab-less. Once she put on the hijab however, she said that her fear of dying had decreased immensely. She helped me realize that my fear of hijab was miniscule compared to my fear of the Day of Judgment, when I would be asked about my deeds.

What would I say when I was questioned about the hijab?  I didn’t want to look ugly? I feel like inadequate saying it to myself, so how could I possibly say that to my Creator?

In hopes of continuing to increase my iman, I listened to lectures and something the speaker said really hit a nerve with me, Alhamdulillah. He said that the Day of Judgment is 50,000 years long and that is not even including the rest of the akhira, just that ONE day. Meanwhile, we live on this earth for maybe 100 years, if we are blessed with a very long life. And on the Day of Judgment these 100 years will seem like they were 15 minutes long, if that. Will it be worth it, at that point, that I got to show my hair off to strangers and feel ‘pretty’ for 15 minutes? Of course not!

My fear of hijab was slowly starting to diminish, with the help of Allah (swt). Soon after, I was truly inspired by a close friend of mine who decided to wear the hijab. I was so happy to see her at my door, proudly wearing her white and black hijab. I was so shocked and a part of me, a huge part, felt guilty, because there she was covered and modest, meanwhile I did not even wear hijab. My shock was not due to her lack of iman or anything; she is Mashallah a very good Muslim. Rather, it was because of her family, who was very against hijab. But against all odds and by the will of Allah (swt), she chose to wear the hijab anyway. She put Allah's (swt) command first, disregarding what her own family would think and how they would react. I was overwhelmed by her strength, proud of her courage and jealous of her commitment and iman. She truly inspired me and made me feel the guilt of disobeying Allah's (swt) command without saying a single word.


That was the last straw. Alhamdulillah, I decided to wear the hijab a few days later. This time I felt so strong and ready to face the challenges that would confront me.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the hard times, but I knew that earning Allah’s (swt) wrath just to show off my hair was not only foolish, but also utterly insane. It has been three months since I put on the hijab and inshallah I plan to keep it on. Wearing the hijab is not just a once in a lifetime decision. It is a choice you make everyday, every time you step out of your house or meet a non-mahram. By the will of Allah (swt), I hope to make the right choice everyday, for the rest of my life, and look forward to reap the benefits in the akhira. 

Until next time...

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Purchases: LV and Coach

I am so happy, Alhamdulillah! I recently bought two new, FABULOUS items.

First of all, about two weeks ago I bought Coach Coasters! I didn't even know Coach had coasters, but I went into the store and saw them there. They were so cute. Plus, I have been needing coasters every since I moved to Chicago, but never got around to buying them, so I knew it was a sign. They were originally like 100 dollars (which is utterly ridiculous and I wouldn't have bought them at that price), but I got them on sale for 30 dollars! Yayyy! They are all colorful and pretty. An excellent buy, in my opinion. The hubby wasn't too excited about it and thought 30 dollars were too much for coasters, but he clearly doesn't understand the worth of these things. LOL


Next, the absolute best purchase of all: my new Louis Vuitton Manhattan PM! I have been wanting this purse for sooooo long and I finally just got it two days ago. =)

I already had one LV that my hubby got me as an Eid present, two years ago and now I have my second. 

This is the one I owned before: Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM



And here is the new guy:





Alhamdulillah, I feel so utterly blessed that words cannot even describe it. Just wanted to share some of my joy....

Until next time...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ramadan Annoyance.

Well, just like everyday Ramadan, I wanted to invite my friends over for an iftar/dinner. After all, there is so much reward in feeding the fasting person and cooking is something that is not too difficult so why not reap all the rewards I can?

Yesterday (Friday), I emailed/called a few friends to come over for Sunday. One of my friends who lives a bit further away said she can only make it on Saturday (today), which was the next day! But I moved a lot of things around and said Saturday would be fine. I was supposed to go to my in-laws house today as well and I even changed the date with them! And, it was only supposed to be a girls event but she couldn't come without her husband so I changed it to a couples event and didn't invite some of the people that I wanted to. After all this trouble, she messaged me today around noon and said she can't make it, because her husband thought that the iftar was next Saturday.

I am pretty upset right now. I understand things come up and you can't make it sometimes, but I had to do so much in such short notice for her only to find out that she cancels on me. I even made all the meat last night so that I wouldn't have to do so much work today. Now, there will be so much food. I can't invite anyone else because the iftar is in 5 hours! Who is going to come on such short notice?

Subhanallah! I am really trying not to be annoyed, but it is so hard. I do not want to have such feelings in my heart, especially during Ramadan.

Any tips on being patient or what I can do to feel a little better? Should I talk to her or just let it go?

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramdan Mubarak/Kareem to All!

I know I have been so MIA for a while now, but with Ramadan finally here, there were a lot of preps to take care of. Inshallah I hope all of you are in the best of health and iman.

I wanted to wish everyone a happy Ramadan! May Allah swt accept out deeds, bless us with mercy and erase our sins so that we may enter Jannat al Firdous! Ameen!


Until next time...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Avoid Al-Muyassar Hajj Group Link

Salam everyone,

In efforts to get back the Hajj money that has not been returned to my sister and brother in law, we have created a group on Facebook, encouraging people to join and call the group. This group has at least earned a response from this Hajj group, that was completely ignoring us before. So I wanted to ask you guys to join the group on Facebook and inshallah they will return our money once they see people care about the issue.

Please click on the link: Avoid Al-Muyassar Hajj and Umrah Group - and click on the "JOIN" next to the title.

Please know that we have no interest or desire to ruin anyone's business or name. This group is simply to warn others of what happened to us and also to convince Al-Muyassar to give back the Hajj money. Inshallah once this happens, we will notify all the members that things have been cleared up and delete this group immediately.

Jazakallah Khair and May Allah swt reward you for your efforts! Ameen!



Until next time...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Warning to All: Avoid Al-Muyassar Hajj & Umrah Group!




Salam Everyone,  

Today I just want to warn everyone about a Hajj group that my sister and brother in law were going with last Hajj, but the group ended up taking their money, did not get them their Visas and they did not even go to Hajj at all. Subhanallah! It is so sad to see such people working supposedly in the name of Islam, meanwhile taking money that does not belong to them.  

I am not the type of person who likes to talk bad about people or businesses or anything, because I do not like to ruin things for others, but I feel like I don't have a choice but to warn everyone about this group, because I would not want this to happen to anyone else.  

Do not go with Al-Muyassar Hajj Group. My sister paid them almost $10,000 and Ahmed Al-Qadri, the owner of the group, did not even refund their money. It is been 9 months and he won't even return their phone calls. 

Inshallah, we are hoping that he will come to his senses and return the money that does not belong to him. My sister is going through some tough times right now and getting that money back would be a lot of help. Of course, everything is up to Allah swt. May he grant her patience and grant Ahmed Al-Qadri hadaya! Ameen! 


Until next time...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Frequently Remember the Destroyer of Pleasures: Death


Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are towers built up strong and high.
-Holy Quran 4:78


Today, there is a Janazah for a girl I know...no....for a girl I knew. Her name was Muneeba  and she was only 23 years old. We were not "friends" in particular, though we used to be in high school. We also worked together a few times and went to night school together as well. Her death is a very sad one, not that other deaths are not, but the way she died brings tears to me eyes. 


Her parents went to New York and she and her friends when to the beach. By the end of the night, only her and three other people were left. Around 3:30 am she drowned. Her friend tried to save her, but the current was too strong and she was a very weak swimmer. The police called her house and told her younger sister, who then called her parents. They drove home immediately, an excruciating 14 hour drive, knowing their daughter might be dead. I say might because her body had still not been found. The coastguard searched for three days, but to no avail. Subhanallah! They had to find out what to do Islamically in case the body was not found. A janazah without a body to bury! I cannot imagine how heart-wrenching that must have been for them. Alhamdulillah though, her body was finally recovered yesterday afternoon. May Allah swt have mercy on her soul and forgive her sins. Ameen!


There was an article in the newspaper about her drowning, saying that alcohol was involved and other ridiculous information was added that didn't need to be. It is sad because some people in the community chose to judge her after her death. Sometimes, ignorant people make me so mad. Firstly, there is no need to speak ill of someone who has passed away and secondly, rather than standing around and make judgments, it is better to make a dua for the deceased and remember that your life can also be taken at any second. 


Inshallah we can all use this as a reminder, because we tend to get so caught up in this dunya, in meaningless worldly actions, that we forget our reasons of being here in the first place. My iman level definitely hasn't been at its highest recently. I have been thinking about weddings, vacations, school, and just having fun that I forgot to focus on my deen and iman. I bet Muneeba didn't know she wasn't going to reach Ramadan. I keep thinking that I will start doing more Islamic activities once Ramadan starts, but I do not even know if I will be alive at that point. We should try and make the changes in our life that we need to NOW, instead of tomorrow. 


I hope everyone can say just one prayer fo Muneeba if they get a chance. May she be protected and forgiven for her sins and enter Jannat-al-firdous. May her family be granted patience to deal with this situation. Ameen!


Until next time...