[Faith Friday] How Do We Fix a Broken World?: Reflections on the "Global Tawbah" lecture by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]." (30:41)

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is a contemporary American Muslim scholar who has inspired many people, particularly Western (or Westernised) Muslims who can relate to the issues highlighted in his books, classes and speeches. I attended one of his events in Kuala Lumpur last night. It was a lecture entitled "Global Tawbah" and he addressed several concerns in relation to the modern Muslim world and ummah.

I have come across individuals who say that religion is the root of evil because it has caused many wars and atrocious acts. I admit a lot of terrible things have happened in the name of God and religion but a lot of wonderful things have happened in the name of God and religion too. Do they not count for something? We cannot make a blanket statement like that without considering the other side of the argument and which one makes more sense. And what about agnostics or atheists who commit crime and violence? What would be their reason?

The act of tawbah, repentance or turning to God, is one of the most integral aspects of being Muslim. As humans we are driven by our ego, lusts and emotions. Yes, Allah (swt) created us with these qualities but He also created us with intellectual capabilities so we may we able to practice self-control.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Assalamualaykum and merhaba everyone! I'm back from Turkey and I had a phenomenal time, alhamdulillah. I wanted to blog about this before leaving but things didn't work out that way. I was featured in Hijab Fesyen's August 2014 edition issue under their "Blogger Sukses" (Successful Blogger)  section. It was kind of them to feature me, honestly. I don't think I have achieved much but God willing, I hope to fulfill more of my goals and aspirations so I can help the community in any way I can.

If you don't live in Malaysia and/or you don't read Bahasa Malaysia, I'll briefly describe what the article was all about - from blogging to my online business. Most bloggers attain fame and popularity by sharing all the fun things they get up to and I love reading about them but I personally feel it would be misleading for me to portray my life that way.  I started blogging because I wanted to change people's perception about Muslim women in the West and also to help Muslim women who can relate to me and my thoughts and struggles as a Muslim and a woman. Over the years I have made many acquaintances and friends through my blog and it's been an eye-opening experience getting to know them. I feel blessed to have a blog!

Eid #OOTD + Trip to Turkey (I want to meet you!)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Salaam everyone! A belated Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim readers :) The last 2 weeks have been really busy for me  because a) it was Ramadan and b) I'm planning a trip to Turkey, inshaAllah, hence the lack of posts. Today I'd like to share some pictures of my Eid ensembles from the upcoming ShaElaiza Galleria collection. If you follow me on Instagram (@shaelaiza) you would have already seen them there but if you don't, here they are. 

Wearing the intricately embellished Elissa blouse in white and grey

Presenting the stunning Valentina scarf in dusty pastel green

Technically, Eid is over but Malaysians do like it to celebrate it for a month so Selamat Hari Raya to those who are doing so :) Anyway, YES, I'm planning a trip to Turkey, inshaAllah, and it would be absolutely lovely to meet with any sisters who are living in Istanbul. If that's you or someone you know, do get in touch with me at shahirahelaiza(at)gmail(dot)com

How to Have Hope & Deal with Anxiety

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"If anyone removes one of the anxieties of a distressed person in this world, Allah will remove one of the anxieties of the hereafter from him. If anyone conceals a fault of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in the hereafter. Allah keeps helping a man (or woman), so long as he (or she) keeps helping his (or her) brother (or sister)." - Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him (Musnad Ahmad)

Last year I had the opportunity to ask Shaykh Yahya Rhodus how to deal with anxiety from witnessing wars, cruelties and catastrophes, and not being able to do as much as we want to help those in need. The Syrian civil war escalated last year and the news was filled with pictures of dead bodies and of children being mutilated and murdered. I witnessed a level of evil that was unfathomable to me.

This year, the list of catastrophes keeps getting longer. The kidnapping of 200 Nigerian school girls. The siege on Gaza. The mystery of the missing MH370 and the crash of MH17. The persecution of Syrians, Iraqis and the Rohingya. The trials and hardship faced by our brothers and sisters in faith and humanity seem to continue.

A Few Favourites From the International Ramadan Photography Competition

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I've been trying to take some photos myself but they are no where close to these stunning images. I'll continue trying though, inshaAllah! Ramadan is a beautiful time of the year and it is an honour to be able to share it with the world. Perhaps through this initiative more people will see the humanity in Islam and Muslims and begin to support the plight of the Palestinians, Syrians, Rohingya, Africans, and so on. 

It's not too late the participate in the competition, be a part of this movement and get a chance to win USD $1500. Please visit Spirit of Ramadan for more details. For now, here are some of my favourites from the International Ramadan Photography Competition Facebook page so far. 


Faith Friday Vlog: Feeling Demotivated During Ramadan?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Assalamualaykum, here's a little something I made for those who are feeling a little demotivated during Ramadan. Sorry for the poor lighting and quality. I filmed it on my MacBook in a rush but I hope I got the message across.

Here's a list of 25 ways to enter Paradise. Watch the video and you'll know why I've shared this link. I also want you to watch Imam Omar Suleiman's video on how we can attain Paradise, inshaAllah.

Jumaah Mubarak!


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

This is an urgent appeal from Viva Palestina Malaysia (website / Facebook). If you are not in Malaysia, please contact your local Islamic Relief centre or any other authorised organisation that is doing something similar. Israel has mercilessly launched another attack on Gaza and martyred at least 25 people so far, including elderly people and children. We are praying Operation Protective Edge will not have an aftermath worse than that of Operation Pillar of Cloud which took place during Ramadan in 2012 whereby 170 Palestinians died and over 1000 were injured. Almost half of them were women and  children.

The recent attack has left hundreds of Gazans injured and according to my friends who have been to Gaza, the hospitals have very limited medical supplies and equipments. Below you will find the names and ages of some of those who have been martyred in the last few days. Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.

Two Best Times for Dua in Ramadan

Monday, July 07, 2014

Salaam beautiful people. I came across this video yesterday and I really want you to see it. We are given a multitude of opportunities for us to seek Allah's help and guidance through dua (supplication) and sadly, we let them slip away. 

"Qadr is always fighting with dua."

Dua has helped me get through some of the most challenging times but it has also tested my patience and sincerity. What I've learned is that we have to be certain that Allah will answer our duas but it will be at a time when He deems best and it will not always be in the way or form that we expect. 

I really, really want to emphasise on this: Never give up on your dreams and your duas. So let's use these amazing opportunities to make dua for ourselves, our loved ones and those who are going through hardship and loss. Please remember our brothers and sisters in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Myanmar and many, many more around the world who are facing oppression and difficulties. The more we make dua for others, the more Allah will have mercy on us too, inshaAllah

International Ramadan Photography Competition 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

What does this remind you of? The story of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and al-Buraq's night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and back, yes? This photo is fantastic on so many levels! 

I've always loved photography. I'm not a professional photographer but I do admire good art and photography. Some photos have a way of making you look at them again and again, some bring out feelings of wanderlust and others invoke thoughts and inspire you to take action. 

This is one of the reasons why the International Ramadan Photography Competition - Capture the Spirit of Ramadan was launched by StudioBasel. Apart from encouraging amateur and professional photographers from all over the world to use their creativity and passion to strengthen the spirit of Ramadan within themselves and others, it's a great way to counter negative images of Islam and Muslims with positive ones. There are 3 categories - architecture, spirituality and culture - and you are welcome to submit a maximum of 3 photos a day. Here is an extra incentive: the first prize is USD $1500. 

I will be sharing more of my favourite photos from last year's IRPC in the course of the week, inshaAllah.

Drama Before Ramadhan: Learning to be Pleased with Allah in Times of Hardship

Sunday, June 29, 2014

illustration by Sarina Iskandar 

SubhanaAllah, how fast time flies and how lucky we are to welcome this blessed month of Ramadhan into our lives once again. Alhamdulillah - all praise belongs to Allah - for another precious opportunity to become closer to Allah, our Creator and Sustainer, and to earn His pleasure through acts of worship, kindness and generosity. I'd like to wish you a fruitful Ramadhan in which you'll reap the rewards in this life and in Jannah. Ameen. I also want to share with you a story about an incident that happened to my family and I two days ago and what I learned from it, alhamdulillah.

Lessons From My Father and His Death

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Abah and I in Perth, a place he often referred to as his second home

If my father was alive, today would have been his birthday. My father passed away seven years ago but every 23rd of June I still think of him and say, "Today's Abah's birthday!". Being the youngest in the family and a true blue daddy's girl I sometimes still don't know what to make of his passing. I had lost family members prior to that but I never seriously thought about my Dad not being around anymore until it happened one summer's day in New Zealand.

One day I came from varsity and found that my Abah had passed away in his sleep. Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. He wasn't at the peak of his health but he wasn't chronically ill either. I still remember that day very vividly. It was the 28th of February and the weather was perfect as the sun shone like I had never seen before in the typically gloomy Dunedin. I even remember thinking to myself, "Today is such a beautiful day! Nothing could possibly go wrong today."