Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why did you delete the marriage blog?

I made the painful decision to delete the marriage blog. Why? Because I didn't want it to be a source of fitnah for anyone. Unfortunately, some people were reading the blog like they would a tabloid.

My intention in creating the blog was not so that people can try to figure out who I was speaking about in the examples I gave. My intention was not to provide fodder for gossip or for people to derive some sort of perverse sense of pleasure off of my misery or the misery of others. My intention was to highlight the struggle, sorrows, up and downs, joys and triumphs of single/divorced Muslimahs using myself and my experience as an example. (With a few anecdotes from the lives of other sisters I've had the pleasure of knowing in my life). I also wanted to address issues that are often swept under the rug in the Muslim community. More importantly, I wanted to give voice to my experience.

Unfortunately, some people in my local community have discovered the blog. I fear that some of them will use my words against me. I'm afraid that they will not understand the point I was trying to make but instead twist its meaning. I'm afraid they will take my personal business and gossip about it rather than to use the information to promote much needed dialogue. I also don't want them to make assumptions about which sisters I'm speaking of in my anecdotes. The fact of the matter is, I've lived in several different cities, travel reguarly, and I communicate with sisters (and brothers) across the country and around the globe . Some of them have shared their experiences with me so that I could address issues they've dealt with in my blog. My world is not so small that I have to draw every anecdote and situation from my local community. (Some people need to grow up!) The other thing is, I'd often change the location and sequence of events so that individuals' identity remained protected. The only person I really put on blast was myself (and with good reason I hoped.) Yet, in the end it all comes down to this; fitnah, gossip, assumptions, and the like. I don't want any part of that.

I apologize to all of the sisters (and brothers) who commented on the blog and/or emailed me privately to thank me for boldly discussing issues that were affecting our community and our sisters. In the end, blame the blog's demise on haters and gossip mongers.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Photo Blog

As salaam alaikum all,

I started a photo blog over at wordpress. I was inspired by Afro Sugar's photo blog. Not long ago, I asked her or him (not sure who is putting the site together) if they could post some pics of Black Muslimahs since we are beautiful too. Although there is a picture there right now, I had some issues with it... After thinking about it, I said, who am I to tell someone else what to post on their blog? I realized that I could start my own photo blog dedicated to hijabis. So here it is, my contribution to the ummah (lol): Modest and Beautiful

If you have any pics you'd like to suggest, please send them to me at Jazakhallah!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's Your Clothing Style?


Every woman has a clothing style. Since I like experimenting with different styles and different looks I never really thought I had a style. I told myself I merely wore whatever I felt in the mood to wear. But then one day I realized that I do in fact have a style. No matter what kind of clothing style I may experiment with, I always default to what I like to call a Muslim Audrey Hepburn look. It's an interesting mix between Islamic clothing with a classical, elegant spin on it. (Maybe that's the reason why people always think I have money- ha!)The jacket/shirt pictured above from Marabo is SO me. In fact, I can already see myself in that shirt with my long black skirt, my black Etienne Aigner shoes, a sleek black hijab (tucked in) and a nice (costume) tennis bracelet dangling from my wrist. Don't let it be sunny out- I'll have on my diva sunglasses too! Yes, ladies that's me all day.

And let's not forget my diva work tote!

That's what I've come to discover. I have to take the diva/Hepburn in me and "Islamize" it. What is your clothing style?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How far is too far? Modesty and Fashion

Recently I was at conference and a miniature debate waged between two sisters about the current state of fashion available to Muslimahs. One sister complained about how glittery everything was becoming and how difficult it is to find something simple but elegant. She said the new glitter hijab and abaya phenomenon runs counter the Islamic idea of modesty. In an exasperated tone she asked, "How modest are you if you're a walking disco ball?" Several sisters applauded her. Another sister challenged her however. She said that Muslimahs who never wore hijab before are just trying to "make it work for themselves" and if it takes a glittery hijab then so be it. She felt some Muslimahs were trying to express their individual and personal sense of style while at the same time wearing hijab. She felt it was important not to pass judgment on anyone and to acknowledge the fact that sisters have taken the step towards wearing hijab, alhamdulillah.

After reflecting on the aforementioned conversation I started asking myself, how far is too far? Have I ever crossed the "modesty line"? And where is that line? Who defines it?

So, here are two cents.(Please keep in mind that this is not a fatwa I'm issuing and no one has to follow what I've said. I'm just sharing my thoughts):

First off, as I said in the beginning of this blog, I don't subscribe to the belief that I have to wear earth tones only. I like colors and I have hijabs & modest clothing in wide variety of colors; from fuchsia to yellow to baby blue. I don't think that every Muslimah has to be a carbon copy of one another. I think I can have my own individual sense of style while at the same time maintaining the requirements of hijab. I believe that I can wear pants as long as they are baggy and that I have a shirt that comes to my thighs or above the knee.

On the glitter phenomenon:

I do have a couple of glittery hijabs and one abaya with a sequins on it. To be quite honest with you I love to be as fashionable as the next person. However, I'm 32 years old and I'm a professional. I'm not 16. I'm starting to feel like I'm a little too mature to be rocking hijabs with tons of sequins and glitter on it. I don't want to feel like a cross between a teenager and a Muslim Diana Ross while wearing hijab. I do think when a sister has on a glittery, sequined abaya along with a matching hijab, tons of makeup, stripper shoes, and a sparkling purse I can kind of have a raised eyebrow. (Even as I try so hard not to judge anyone). When it comes to fashion, just as in life, I prefer balance. I don't like to be blinged out form head toe. I don't like to over do it. I try go for the right blend of flair and simplicity.

For instance, if I wore the hijab pictured below, I'd wear it with something plain. Like an all black outfit with a jean jacket over it. I wouldn't wear it with a red skirt and gold shoes.

At the same time, there are certain kind of hijabs that I feel are just too sparkly to be considered modest.

Here is an example:

I purchased this hijab on an impulse buy and now I regret it. I don't think you can quite see how shiny it is but it has the same sequined pattern all over the hijab- in gold! If I chose to wear it, you'd see me coming from a mile away...

Where is the "modesty line"?

As much I'd like to believe that I know where it is, I'm not sure I do. I mean, I can say based on my own judgment. However, how much of it is my nafs? How much of it is igonrance? Given that I've broken from the Salafi teachings I originally had when I first became a Muslim, who do I turn to in order to ask such a question? It seems that almost every book I've read on the subect comes from that line of thinking. How will I know which is which? In one aspect of my research on this subject I found the aforementioned quote:

The garments must not have such bold designs or consist of such bright colors that they charm and attract men’s attention to the woman wearing them. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: "..And let the women not display their adornments…" (An-Nur 24:30-31) This verse describes the outer garments as well as the actual body underneath. Hence the outer garment should not be attractively decorated with the result that special attention is drawn to the woman wearing it. On this condition scholars like Dr. Abu Aminah Bilal Philips argue that this point is relative to the environment one lives in. For example in Saudi Arabia it would not be recommendable for a women to go out in brightly coloured clothes because that is not the custom of Saudi women, they wear black. On the other hand, if a woman went to Malaysia (where it is customary for the women to wear floral fabrics in various colours) and wore black she would be drawing more attention to herself. Allahu a’lam

I have a problem wth this statement: "The garments must not have such bold designs or consist of such bright colors that they charm and attract men’s attention to the woman wearing them." It makes it sound like the onus is completely on the woman. Does it become my fault if a man is attracted to me? What if I have on a black hijab and he's attracted to me? Is the problem the color of the hijab, me or the man? Hmm... But at the same time I can't deny that tight jeans, tight shorts, gobs of makeup, becoming completely blinged etc. do interefere with modesty. I can admit that I feel it is inapporiate to wear the aforementioned to jumah, a conference or to an Islamic gathering. And the question becomes, if they're inappropriate for an Islamic gathering should they be worn at all? Hmm...

Any conclusions?

I suppose the bottom line is that sisters need to just think about modesty and their intentions. I think it's important to keep having this conversation with yourself and to be honest. (And of course to do your research). Just because they make it and call it "Islamic clothing" or "modest clothing" doesn't mean that it always is. At the same time we shouldn't be judgmental of other sisters who haven't reached the level of understanding and iman that we have, right? I'm not perfect and I'm still working through my feelings on this subject (if you can't tell already). I may very well decide to part with some of the clothing and hijabs I have because I think they cross the line. I don't know sisters. I'm thinking, studying and reflecting...What do you think?

Check out this article on the subject.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


As salaam alaikum everyone. Ramadan Mubarak. Just checking in to say I'm sorry for not keeping up the blog but you know how busy this month is. Anyhow, I took this pic of my outfit last week and I thought I'd share. I love yellow!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I SHOP, insha'allah: ISNA 2007

As salaam alaikum all,

Yes, it's that time of year again. ISNA is having it's 44th annual convention. Alhamdulillah, my hotel is booked and registration is paid for. What does this have to do with fashion you ask? Well, if you want to get some really great Islamic clothing at a discount price (and in addition to some Islamic learnin') I suggest going to conferences like ISNA. If you don't know already, this happens to be the largest conference in the United States and vendors come from all across the United States and Canada to sell their wares. I can't tell you how many times sisters have asked me where I've gotten something from and I've had to break the news that I bought it at a conference in another state. (Sorry sisters).

People have a lot of things to say about ISNA and what a fitnah it is. I personally have enjoyed myself each time and didn't find myself in any trouble. I just did my thing. And as far as fashion goes, I usually make a list of items I would like to buy so that I can stay focused and not go on a wild, gluttonous shopping spree. This year I am limiting the amount of money I'm going to spend, insha'allah.

Here are a few of the things I have on my list:

A white georgette hijab
A two piece prayer garment
Two unique abayas
Creme-colored hijab pins
Pop and Hip Hop Nasheeds (trying to avoid the music during Ramadan)
A couple of books
Some type of program to help me learn more Suras
Jelly candy from Astrolabe (they were good y'all, don't sleep)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Product junkies unite

I am an admitted product junkie. I've tried to reel it in over the years and I think I've been successful so far. I wanted to share some of the tried and true products I love.

For my face:

Nothing has worked as effectively as St. Ives Apricot scrub. I use the one for gentle skin and it keeps my face nice and exfoliated. Not only does my face practically glow after using this product but I also love how clean my face feels afterwards.

For moisturization I use this or I use Oil of Olay's original moisturizer. And yes, I admit it, in the winter time I used Oil of Olay's "touch of sun". Even though I am brown my face still gets pretty pale. Touch of sun keeps a nice sun glow on my face without overdoing it. That's my secret...shhh....

For my skin:

No matter how many lotions I've tried I always end up back to this one. I love the smell and it really helps to keep my dry skin nice and soft. No ashiness over here.

And of course I can't forget the good old fashioned Vaseline my mom and grandmother used to make me use. I usually apply this to my feet in order to keep them soft. In the winter time I buy the baby-scented Vaseline and use it all over my body. It works like a charm for those with dry skin. Just don't put on two much. I've ruined plenty of good outfits by merely slapping on the Vaseline, lol.

Bath and Body Works Mentha Body Vitamin Body Wash

This stuff makes me want to live in the shower! At first I wasn't going to get it because my sister thought it would smell like "old ladies" since it has peppermint in it. (And I assume she means like Ben-Gay or something). However, not only does this body wash make your skin tingle (literally) but it has a nice, clean peppermint scent to it. No oldies here...

I couldn't find a large picture but Suave has a new line of body washes called "Exhale". I use "juicy tangerine" and "lime verbena" pictured below when I don't want to spend the $12 on the Mentha Body Wash.

As I'm sure you all know by now, there is nothing healthier for your skin than good water. Most of the time I'm able to get in 2 liters of water a day. It always annoyed me how they seldom have water at Islamic events. Now I just get used to bringing a water bottle with me- esp. during iftar! So if you are one of those people who does not drink water, I am telling you, if you want to have nice skin and a good digestive system you need to drink water- no way around it.

For my lips:

Yep, good old-fashioned Carmex does the trick every time. Years ago there was a rumor circulating that Carmex was addictive. NOT TRUE. However, I love the stuff and my lips stay nice and moist. I keep one on the night stand and one in my purse at all times. And it's cheap too!

I love wearing lipstick. However, since I'm trying to keep it on the humble as a Muslimah and since I haven't quite weaned myself off of having some color on my lips I've taken to using lip gloss. This one is from Bath and Body Works. I use others if I find one I like.


I know as Muslimahs we're not supposed to go outside with perfume on. Rather than douse myself with perfume, when I am not using Nivea, I buy scented lotions from Bath and Body works and use those. Since I have on long sleeves and long dresses, no one can smell the scent unless they're hugging me or really close to me. I like having some sort of scent on and I guess this is my way to do it.

And of course, I buy oils from the that lone brother who sells them in the masjid. (Go to any predominately African-American masjid and there is at least one brother selling them). Here's a little trick I can let you married sisters in on. Buy a nice, soft scented body oil (nothing heavy or musky) and put a little between your breasts, between the thighs (yes, I said it), a little on the wrists and on the ankles. Your husband will love it and he won't have to kiss your neck and taste perfume, LOL.

So there you have it, some of the products I swear by.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I-35W Bridge Collapse

I know this has nothing to do with fashion but I have to say I am very blessed and so grateful to be alive and healthy today. Yesterday I was thinking about going to the halal store but decided to run some other errands instead. If I had've gone to the store I could have very well been on this bridge when it collapsed. Alhamdulillah, I am okay and my family is okay. I pray for those who aren't as fortunate as me...From Allah we all came to Allah we shall all return.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oh the jilbabs...

As salaam alaikum family,

It's been a long time but insha'allah I promise to do better as far as posting...anyone miss me?

If you've read my Islamic clothing site review you know that I am not a great fan of the exorbitant amount of money 2 Hijab charges for shipping and handling. (Just looking at the shipping cost makes me angry)! However, every once in a while they tempt me with a nice-looking jilbab. So far I've only ordered one item from them (when temptation got the better of me.) Now it seems like temptation is back in full effect. Though I don't wear abayas or jilbabs all the time (and it seems less and less these days) when I do purchase an abaya or jilbab it has to be something that's unique;something with character.

I really like this denim jilbab:


I also like this one:

Can you see me now

And this one that I've been salivating over for more than a year now:

In the words of Victoria Beckham, this jilbab is "major". (Don't ask, lol). I'm still thinking about ordering two of the three and just eating the shipping cost for now. I'm undecided though...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Islamic fashion to the fore

Rosmah launching TV9’s new fashion programme called Busanain Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. With her is TV9 chief executive officer Bukhari Che Muda.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, as a model Islamic nation, can set the standard for contemporary Islamic fashion and make the region a key fashion centre for Islamic apparel, said Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s wife, who is also the patron of the KL-Jakarta Islamic Fashion Festival, said that Islamic fashion “is probably the world’s most misunderstood segment.”

“Islamic dressing, especially for women, can embody all that is required in Islam and yet still remain fashionable, contemporary and stylish.

“The essence of Islamic fashion lies in the fact that it doesn’t degrade women by making them mere objects of desire, rather it captures the true beauty of the woman – her grace, charm, character and virtues,” she said yesterday.

The Islamic Fashion Festival, to be held from July 3-6 in Jakarta, will be graced by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah and will see the participation of more than 35 designers.

They include Melinda Looi from Malaysia, Chossy Latu, Harry Dharsono, Resna dan Sapto, Ghea Pangabean, Samuel Wattimena, Ana Avanti and Adjie Notonegero from Indonesia.

Rosmah added that the festival was a result of the positive response to the first Islamic Fashion Show, held during the Malaysia International Fashion Week last year.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ode to polka dots and the search for modest clothing

As salaam alaikum everyone (sorry I've been away so long. I've been very busy).

Let me just jump right in and say that I absolutely polka dots! I was so pleased when I saw that they have made a come back. As a Muslimah I'm always on the look out for Islamic (or Islamically oriented) clothing with polka dots. So far I've run into very few. The only polka dotted clothing I've found so far is this skirt (pictured below) from Marabo Online:

I love it! Someday soon I plan to order it insha'allah. I've basically settled for the few polka dot hijabs I've been able to find. Though I rarely shop in the mall, when I have been there I've kept my eye out for something "convertible". So far I haven't seen anything.

As most hijab-wearing Muslimahs know, it's very difficult to find something modest around this time a year (let alone something polka-dotted.) My experience has been as follows: if it's long-sleeved it's tight, see-through or too short. If it's baggy it's also see-through or too short. If it's a long skirt it has huge slits on the sides or in the back. I used to feel so frustrated until I discovered the world of online Islamic clothing stores. Alhamdulillah, I live in the Twin Cities so I can venture to one of the Somali malls where they have a large variety of long skirts and hijabs. (I used to tell my Florida friends that they would pass out if they saw the vast amount of stalls with nothing but Islamic clothing)!

I recently went to the Somali mall and found, much to my surprise, several polka dot skirts. I have to say that the sisters do a good job of ordering clothing that is inexpensive but stylish. They seem to know what the latest trends are. (Most of their skirts go for around $20 and hijabs for $5). However, like everything in life there is a downside. The two for me are: (1) Many of the skirts are mermaid-shaped. I don't care to own so many skirts in that shape. (Maybe one or two but not a wardrobe full). (2) If you're a person who loves to be original it can be rather difficult since practically every Somali woman in the Twin Cities buys her clothing from there. I don't like wearing the same type of clothing everyone else is wearing. (Call it the diva in me, lol).

Anyhow, I digress. If you know of any great polka dot finds, drop me a comment.

Friday, June 1, 2007

So cute!

I found this pic on someone's flickr photos. (If this is yours and you don't want it here please let me know.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A new website and new clothes

Every once in a while I browse the internet for new Islamic clothing sites. As I was searching yesterday, I was came across a website that has tons of long skirts with beautiful prints. (It's not an Islamic clothing site but an Indian one). I love the skirt posted above. Can you picture it with a white shirt, blue hijab, a jean jacket and gold sandals? (That's what I have in mind for it). Most of the skirts cost around $26! I'm not sure of that amount is in Canadian or U.S. dollars since the site is based in Canada. I haven't ordered anything yet but there are several I have in mind, insha'allah.

Another thing I do is to browse the Islamic clothing sites. I went on Shukronline's website and fell in love with this shirt (if it's possible to fall in love with clothing, lol):

Right now it's going for $48.95 plus shipping and handling. I REALLY want this shirt! I can't decide if I want it in "sunglow" (the color posted above) or in "Iznik" a kind of royal blue-looking color. I have been trying not to buy anything for a while because insha'allah, I am planning on getting a car sometime this month or next. However, I think I've basically talked myself into this one. *smiles*

I also like this skirt from Shukronline which is selling for $54.95. However, I don't think I will be purchasing it. I do realize I can't have everything I want nor can I afford it. But I can dream can't I?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Right now Shukronline is having a sale. Some of their dresses which are usually $70 are now $49. A vast improvement! They also have skirts, shirts, and pants on sale too.

BTW, does anyone know where I can get an Islamic business suit? (Preferably in black or navy blue?) As I attend more events for work I realize I really need one in my wardrobe. I gotta look all professional but Islamically fly. Ya know?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Devotion leads women to wear hijab
Muslim clothing sees cultural acceptance

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Insherah Odeh did not mind being stared at.

She knew when she started wearing the hijab - the head scarf worn by Muslim women - in 1990 her decision would stir different emotions in people.

Some friends were angered by her decision until Odeh explained her reasons. Strangers would stare while she stood in line at the grocery store with her children. A few even came up to her and asked about the "rag" covering her head.

"I didn't get mad or anything, because anytime you see something different than your culture, of course you're going to react that way," said Odeh, who has lived in the United States for 40 years, the last 23 in Rocky Mount.

Then, as now, Odeh's response to the curious, concerned and even the angered is the same: The hijab is part of her religion, and wearing it a decision she made. Most people accept this, and through the years, the fascination has waned.

"I don't have any problem with it today. They've gotten to see more people wearing it," said Odeh, 56.

In a society in which fashion has seen skirts get shorter, necklines lower and everything tighter, the sight of a woman in a hijab stands out, said Khalilah Sabra, executive director of the state's chapter of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. They become, in many cases, the most visible sign of Islam.

What many people fail to realize is that wearing the hijab is a choice Muslim women make, Sabra said. She converted from Catholicism to Islam in high school in California and immediately began wearing the hijab, a garment similar to the habits she was used to seeing nuns wear.

"Other people have defined it as a way that Muslim women are suppressed, but they are not suppressed by hijab. It is looked at as an honor, a religious symbol by which we distinguish ourselves from other people," Sabra said.


The decision to wear the hijab should not be forced, said Odeh, who was born in the West Bank. It has to come from a woman's heart.

"If it's not from your heart, you probably put it on a year or two and take it off. That's nonsense. If you're going to put it on for a year or two and take it off, it's better for you not to put it on. When it comes from your heart, because you want to, you want to get closer to God, you put it on and you'll never take it off," Odeh said.

The hijab is meant to be a religious statement, but in recent years it has become a political tool, Sabra said. People point to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran where hijabs or burqas, garments that cloak the entire body, are compulsory. But that is a form of cultural domination and is not in accordance with Islam.

"There is no religion by compulsion. That is one of the verses in the Quran," Sabra said.

Hijabs have been hotly debated in European countries in the last few years, and France banned the wearing of the garment and other religious symbols in public schools, Sabra said.

"Now Muslim women can't even have a college education unless they take off their scarves. They can't go to any type of public university in Paris," Sabra said. "There is a real fear that eventually, there might be attempts to suppress religious wardrobe here in America, even though the Constitution clearly says that practice of religion is your constitutional right."

While growing up in Jordan, Fazyeh Shehadeh, 44, was not close to her religion. It was only after she came to the United States in 1984 that she more fully embraced Islam, and another six years passed before she put on the hijab.

"A lot of girls say it is hard, but when I took the first step, I just did it," said Shehadeh, a teacher at Masjid Al-Huda Islamic Center on Memory Lane.


There is no one style or design for hijabs, Shehadeh said. They can be different colors or designs to match an outfit, but they should not draw attention to the wearer or incite lust.

Arwa Zughbi, a student at Edgecombe Community College, made the decision to wait and wear the hijab after she graduated from high school to avoid any pressure. In the three years she has worn it, no one has been disrespectful to her because of it.

"I wear it because I feel like it does protect me from any harm. I feel like I present Islam," said Zughbi, 21.

Though she covers her head, Zughbi wears jeans and long-sleeve shirts. She said she is not ready to wear the long, completely concealing garments yet.

The criteria regarding women's clothes mostly apply when they are in public, Odeh said. A woman can wear anything she wants in her home, and - as long as she remains decently dressed - she can forego the hijab in the company of select male relatives, women and children 10 and younger.

"You are free to do whatever you want in the house, but if someone knocks on the door, they can't see you like that. You have to run and put on the hijab," Odeh said.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

France: Fusion Muslim Chic?

By Alexandra Steigrad/Reuters

PARIS/ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - Clad in skinny jeans, wrap dresses and carefully sculpted headscarves, a generation of young Muslim women is making its mark on Europe’s urban street culture, and influencing mainstream fashion.

The daughters of migrants to Europe from Turkey or the Maghreb, these girls say they are as conscious of style as of Islamic dress codes–and want to fuse contemporary chic with elements of their religious and ethnic background.

“H&M and all the French stores have taken our fashion,” said Mahika, a 24-year-old from Paris. She sees Muslim influences in the current trend of wearing dresses over jeans, and layering sweaters and tops.

Shopping for clothes has become simpler, she said: young Muslim women are now able to dress entirely from mainstream outlets if they choose.

Many of her peers agree, although a Hennes & Mauritz spokeswoman said Muslim fashion has not specifically inspired their collections.

“I find it very easy to dress. You find all kinds of things in town. It is about combinations and it has got easier since you see the influence of our fashion in general fashion,” said 20-year-old Bushra Sayed, a student from Rotterdam.

“I am a Muslim but I am also a person who is interested in fashion and I want to combine all these things,” she adds.

Bushra wears a dark brown scarf wrapped tightly around her head and neck, a dark blue shirt, a figure-hugging grey tweed waistcoat and matching knee-length skirt over jeans.

Bushra’s look is a world away from the black voluminous robes and long scarves worn by more traditional Muslim women, which completely hide the contours of the body.

“For me it is important to cover my body, except the hands, feet and face. And within that I can wear whatever I want, but it should not be too tight and short,” she said.

“My mother, friends, and relatives are very enthusiastic and I did not have to fight at all for my own style.”

Bushra is among five women to put together MSLM, a new glossy fashion magazine in Dutch, French and English, aimed at style-conscious young Muslims offering tips, for example on new ways of covering the hair — with baseball caps, hoods or chunky knitted scarves.

The title of the English, Dutch and French language magazine–which the women call a “zero issue” or one-off for now–is a play on the Dutch word for female Muslim, Moslima, and the clothing sizes medium-small-large-medium.

“An increasing group of young women is exploring the boundaries of being veiled and seductive… they compensate the veil with figure-hugging apparel, expressive make-up and higher heels,” Dutch stylist Isis Vandrager told the magazine.

The women have also organized a fashion exhibition in Rotterdam alongside the magazine, displaying outfits made by Dutch designers with Islamic dress codes in mind.

One dummy in the exhibition wears a black halter-neck dress, while its back, arms and legs are concealed by a black-lace cat suit worn beneath.

“I see Muslim girls dress in very tight-fitting clothes these days so I thought ‘why not make a cat suit?’,” smiled Dutch designer Mada van Gaans.

Also on show are jeans by Italian clothing maker Al Quds, designed specifically for Muslims, with a baggy cut and multiple pockets, making it easier to kneel for prayer and store watches, rings or other jewellery when performing ablutions.

“It’s not just Muslims who are buying our jeans now. It’s a good fashion product, first of all. That means the spectrum of our audience is growing,” brand manager Susanna Cavalli said in a telephone interview from Italy.

The women behind MSLM and the show believe European Muslim street style might even one day influence women in the Middle East — but not yet.

“There are Turkish girls here who wear these scarves which are just so out there and striking — but they don’t wear them when they go home,” said Natasa Heydra, of MSLM.

In fact, the number of young women at the clothing fair of an annual conference of French Muslims in Paris shows interest in fashion trends from the Middle East and in traditional dress is still very high.

“It’s both to help women dress according to Islam’s rules, and also to meet a demand,” said Asmaa Buhallut on the aim of the clothing show.

In France, a country which fiercely upholds its secular identity and which banned the veil in schools, there are not so many Muslim designers, she added: brands and designers from abroad use the event to reach the French Muslim public.

The array of bright colored clothing on display also gives women a source of inspiration.

“What’s trendy are bright, vibrant colors, light fabrics, and in general, ensembles, mostly pants,” said 18-year-old Nassima, of Tunisian origin.

Stallholder Ouslghozi Jkrom, selling traditional dresses and inexpensive veils, agreed.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Hijab styles I like

BBC news did a little spread of the different types of hijabs, alhamdulilaah, I found it. Check it out

Here is a website that shows you how to wrap the shayla hijab: Click here and wrap away!

This website is for the hardcore Muslim divas! Brace yourself

Some photos of hijab styles (click on the picture to enlarge it).

I found these courtesy of hijab shop. I like the fringe in the front.

ohhh, this one is nice

Here is a tucked in style I wear when I have a presentation for work or go to a conference. I think it looks elegant.

I might try this when winter rolls around again, insha'allah.

This is the Mauritanian hijab. As you can tell, they take a big piece of material and wrap it around the body and to the head. They call it a malafah. In my years of being married to a Mauritanian I've been unable to wrap it properly. I also trip over the fabric, lol. Sudanis also wear the same type of garment but they call it a "thob".

I love the way Malaysian and Thai sisters wear their hijab. I tend to wear mine like this if I have on a baggy shirt or I make the hijab bigger so it covers the breast area.

I found this pic on someone's flickr blog and thought it was absolutely beautiful, mashallah. (If this is your photo and you don't want it on your blog, please contact me and let me know).


I like the way she wrapped her hijab. did she get it to look so neat?

I will keep adding more hijab style to this post as I find them, insha'allah...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's all about hijabs

When I first took shadadah in the 90's there wasn't an abundance of Islamic clothing sites or any Islamic clothing stores in my city. My friends and I, who had no sewing experience, used to go to the fabric store and buy material to "make hijabs". I chuckle to myself when I think about how we'd buy hemming tape and iron down the edges, lol. During that time the only way a new, Jamerican Muslimah like myself could get a "real hijab" (i.e. one from overseas) was to rely on immigrant sisters to bring them from back home. Also, at that time hijab pins hadn't made it on the scene so a sista was constantly buying safety pins which easily snagged on the fabric (thereby ruining it.)

So, after going through some changes and not wearing hijab for many years(another story in itself), I came back to find that there were so many different varieties of hijabs. There were different fabrics, colors, shapes, and types. What's more, they were completely accessible to me. I could buy them online or I could go to a store and purchase them. With so much variety it's often very confusing to figure out where to begin or what type of hijab to purchase. Fear not sisters, I am here to give my hijab advice. And trust me, I've tried 'em all...So I dedicate this post to the newly converted sisters, the sisters who are returning to wearing hijab, or putting it on for the first time.

The most common types of hijabs are:

-The Al-Amirah Hijab or "two-piece hijabs". It basically consists of an underscarf and tube-shaped piece you pull over it. (I usually wear these for working out). Al-Amirah hijabs tend to stop just above the chest. However, there are some that are longer.

-Similar to the Al-Amirah hijab you have the Kuwaiti hijabs which combine the shawl/oblong with the al-Amirah underscarf. I own a couple of these and what I like most is how they stay put throughout the day.

-Square hijabs. This is basically a scarf that is folded into a triangle and placed on the head and then pinned under the chin. It can be wrapped several way but I prefer to wear mine like this. Not only does it cover my chest area but I like the way the fabric frames my face.

-Triangle hijab. No need to fold or wrap this one. It's already in a triangle and it is simply pinned under the chin. (I usually wrap it the same way I do the square hijab mentioned above).

-Oblong or shawl styles hijabs which are rectangular in shape but can be wrapped around the head. Some sisters are so good at wrapping these that they don't even need a mirror to put it on! I'm not one of those sisters. Though I tend to wear the square hijabs most often, when I do wear the oblong ones I find myself fixing it throughout the day. They don't stay in place all day like the square ones. Some sisters don't use any pins when they wear the oblong hijabs. This is another thing I can't do. I usally pin it under my chin, wrap it around and then secure it with a stick pin which I place on the side.

As I mentioned you have so many different types of fabrics; chiffon, cotton, georgette, polyester, rayon, satin, lyrca-cotton combos, silk etc. One of the most frustrating things for me (if you haven't guessed already) is when the hijab won't stay put all day and constantly has to be readjusted. I also don't like it when the hijab just won't "lay right". For this reason I like the georgette fabric . You really can't see it in a picture but you can certainly feel the difference in the fabric. One type of hijab that I always find myself tugging on throughout the days are the Italian satin hijabs. They're so pretty and sure to make an outfit look dressier but oh man...they slip and slide all day.

Similarly, there is much variety in terms of color. You have everything from the standard black to orange, green, ocean blue and everything in between. I'm not one of the sisters who believes in wearing only earth tones, black or white. I like colors (and most earth tones make me look sick. I stay away from beige, light olive, and certain browns.) Though I love black hijabs, for some reason people are more afraid of a Muslimah in black than in any other color. I usually won't wear a black hijab if I have a presentation, am traveling, or attending an event for work. It really freaks people out! Anyhow, apart from the colors you have hijabs with embroidery, sparkles, fringe etc.

The way I see it, just because I have to be covered doesn't mean I can't have fun with it. I like to experiment with color, texture, fabric and style. I think the best way to end this post is to leave you with some pointers I've picked up along the way. (Feel free to add any in the comments section).

-Don't use safety pins on light or delicate fabrics. Not only do they poke holes in the hijab but they can rip or snag it. I recommend using hijab pins.

-Consider different fabrics and their use for different situations. For instance, the Italian satin hijabs I mentioned above can be really hot in the summer time. I once wore one in South Florida in July. Big mistake!

-For my African-American, Caribbean, and African sisters: Don't wear cotton hijabs or cotton under scarves on a regular basis. Also, be careful with the polyester and chiffon hijabs as well. They break our hair off. Most likely the friction from the fabric will thin out your hair around the temples and sides. I learned this the hard way. I was living on Organic Roots Stimulator's Fertilizing Temple Balm. Oh, what a tragedy.

-Also, for my African-American, Caribbean, and African sisters: Wear a thin satin or silk underscarf with hijab. I went to the beauty supply store in the 'hood and bought a "lady do rag" and small satin scarves that are used for bed time. Alhamdulillah, no more breakage. (And to think, my non-Muslim hair dresser was saying I shouldn't wear hijab anymore, hmph).

-Use the shoe holders (that hang on the door) to keep your hijabs organized. I've found if I can't see a hijab then I may forget I have it. This also prevents your hijabs from taking up space in your closet.

-When I lived in Florida, the sisters and I used to have "hijab swaps". That is, we would bring the hijabs we normally don't wear (or don't like anymore) and trade them with each other. You'd be suprised at how much someone might appreciate the hijab you no longer wear.

-One trick I use is to not always wear the same hijab with a particular outfit. Apparently, people think you have on a different outfit if you switch the hijab. I thought this trick only worked on non-Muslims but it appears to work on Muslims too. I don't know how many times sisters have asked me if I had on a new outfit when I just wore a different hijab with the outfit. (BTW, I always tell them it's a different hijab not a new outfit).