Hala Wallah Ya Banat

Thursday, June 30, 2011

View from inside Masjidil Haram, Mecca, June 2011

Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Alhamdulillah, I'm back from my two week trip! To those who guessed that I went for Umrah, well you people are a clever lot aren't you? JazakumAllah khair for all your well wishes. My family and I spent eleven days in Saudi Arabia and three days in Qatar. We had an amazing time, shukur alhamdulillah.

Write more tomorrow, inshaAllah.

xoxo, Sha

Monte's with the Ms In My Life

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tonight I ate the yummiest dinner I've had in months! Alhamdulillah, for good food and good company. It was the perfect goodbye meal... thank you.

900 gm grilled lobster in garlic butter. I feel spoilt rotten now. 

Some of the freshest oysters I've ever had.

I even tried escargot for the first time. It was baked in cheese. Can't say no to that.

I know I take a lot of things for granted but not this time. These past few months have been a rollercoaster ride but I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because inshaAllah, I will be travelling to a place that is very close to my heart very, very soon. So soon that I'm doing some last minute packing right now.

Alhamdulillah, for everything and I mean everything

Say: "O my Lord! Let my entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honour, and likewise my exit by the Gate of Truth and Honour; and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me)."
{Surah Al Isra, verse 80}

Faith Friday: One of Many Favourites

Friday, June 10, 2011

Simply out of the blue I found this sweet little ladybug in my room last week.
It reminded me of one of my favourite chapters from the Holy Qur'an;
Surah Luqman.

It's hard to pick a favourite verse but for today this one truly stands out.
"Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold: and with Allah rests the End and Decision of (all) affairs."
{Surah Luqman, verse 22}
What's your favourite surah lately?

{Watch Part 2}

Finding My Way Home

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I guess I should've mentioned this earlier. I'm back in Malaysia!

I arrived safely on Tuesday night, alhamdulillah. I'm happy to be back with my family and it's so good to see my Mum again. I never told you guys this but I spent the last three months in New Zealand on my own for the first time ever. In the beginning I found it very hard. I had to do everything on my own and I didn't have the family support I was so used to. It was especially hard for me because I'm doing my post-grad at the moment and it's a completely different experience compared to being an undergrad. It's double (possibly triple?) the workload and my lecturers have high expectations therefore I'm constantly pushing myself thus always feeling tired and overworked. I remember being in the elevator with a classmate after we finished a three-hour lecture on a Monday afternoon and she said meekly, 

"Oh... I'm so tired."

"Oh my God, me too!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, no, I don't have a social life anymore," she went on.

"No way! I thought I was the only one," I said with an odd sense of relief. 

Truth be told, I'm exhausted and I have a million things on my mind. All I want is to just be at home and with my family right now. Alhamdulillah, Allah's given me that opportunity. Believe it or not, I still have an assignment due next week. It never ends. Sometimes I kick myself for continuing my studies instead of graduating last year but I know this is what I've always wanted and I have to make sacrifices. I'm also good at keeping myself busy and doing more than what I really should. Too good, if you ask me. If you're familiar with Marxism, well, I definitely see myself as a human being who believes that the essence of my existence is in performing labour.

That's how I measure my self worth.

So I read, contemplated, articulated, wrote and I continued to do so even if it meant sleeping a mere few hours a day. I always wished we could have more hours in a day so I could get everything done. Unsurprisingly, I fell sick and I was always fatigued. There were days I was so tired that I couldn't fall asleep. Nevertheless, I never wouldn't have gotten through these past three months without God's protection and guidance and the support of my wonderful and caring friends in Dunedin. And I know I'm extremely lucky to have a supervisor who is very encouraging. He believes in my potential and is constantly trying to draw the best out of me.

As much as I love what I do, it's time for me to be with my family right now. I need to be away from the world. I also need to focus on my deen. I'm still learning how to balance dunya and akhirah. These days I feel so distant from Allah azza wa jal (the Mighty and Majestic) and I desperately want to strengthen my relationship with my Creator. I need to feel at home again and there's no feeling at "home" quite like feeling close to Allah subhana wa taala (the Glorious and Exalted).

It's clear to me what I need right now is to find my way home once again...


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I'm sure you've heard about "Mooz-lum". If you haven't then it's probably time you watch the trailer.

Or even better, watch the movie online over here
(Thank you Riham for the link.)

EDIT: I've just finished watching it. I think the director, Q Basir, did a good job in showing the complexities of growing up as a Muslim in America. What I like most about "Mooz-lum" is that it's trying to encourage both Muslims and non-Muslims to think about their roles and to be self-critical during challenging times like the one we live in right now. Are we making things better or worse for others? There are a few intense moments in the movie and Basir is not afraid to admit that Muslims make mistakes and he is not apologetic about it but he makes his point when the character of a Muslim girl named Taqwa says to her dismoralised older brother, Tariq:

"What you've seen is wrong. I beg you, don't let a few people shape your view on an entire faith. Because what I've seen in so many others is beautiful."

My complaint? It's too short. 99 minutes, c'mon! Maybe there should be a "Mooz-lum 2".

Thriller: "Niqabis" in Paris

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Thriller in Paris - extended from redragprod on Vimeo.

I was working on a major assignment when Chloe showed me this. 
LOL. No offence to any niqabis out there.
 I'm speechless but I think it's funny nevertheless.

Do you think the dancers effectively sent their message across? 
Please watch until the end of the video to know why it was created.
Hopefully you will understand  the positive message behind it  =) 

HFW MAY 2011 {Day 7: Party Hostess}

Whether it's a party for ten or a party for two... it's always fun to dress up and be colourful. Leave behind whites, blacks and nudes. This is your time to shine! If I were to host an all girls' party I wouldn't wear hijab but for some occasions (say a kid's birthday party) you have to because photos will be taken and you'd want to be on the safe side.  

An all girls' party... is an opportunity to show a different side to yourself so don't be afraid to explore different styles and trends. As the hostess you want to look good but you definitely don't want to overdress and make your guests feel uncomfortable. If you want you could set a theme so they can have some direction when choosing what to wear for your party.

I love hosting events and throwing parties... I enjoy every aspect of it  (when I'm not busy with studies) - cooking, baking, decorating, dressing up and spending time with my girls. If I were a Desperate Housewife I would be Bree Van De Kamp! (Well, maybe just the domestic "goddess" part and not so much the cougar part). For this ensemble I chose to combine some of my favourite colours - peach, turquoise and lilac. I wore bright yellow Italian shoes because they reveal the bold and unpredictable side of me. Plus they're really cute, don't you think? 

And so it ends...  I can't believe seven days have come and gone so soon. It's been a thrill to participate in Hijabi Fashion Week May/June 2011. I've seen many inspiring looks by such stylish and beautiful girls, mashaAllah. I hope everyone else enjoyed being a part of this experience with us regardless of whether you've posted your looks or not. Thank you so much for supporting us! And of course, a massive thank you to Asma and Em for all their effort in organising this for us. I think the new format reflects how much HFW has grown since last year. Well done ladies!

HFW MAY 2011 {Day 6: Vacation Wear}

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Absolutely breathtaking scenery, eleven awesomely beautiful girlfriends and one very much needed holiday... that pretty much sums up my recent road trip to New Zealand's most amazing holiday destination, Queenstown. If I could choose one place to live in New Zealand for the rest of my life, Queenstown would probably be it. 

It's autumn at the moment... and it gets pretty cold down here in the South Island. I made sure I kept myself warm and toasty by wearing this lush fur vest. Some people choose to dress more casually than usual during a vacation but I'm kind of the opposite. Holidays are about spending quality time with your family and/or friends. It's also about spending quality time with you because you need to take care of yourself too - mentally, physically and spiritually. Therefore during a vacation I do one of the things I love most which is having fun with fashion!

On that note... I try not to wear tight jeans or pants when I go out nowadays. 90% of the time you would see me in a dress or skirt because I think I  look the most modest in them. However, on some days I do make an exception and for the road trip I did it because a) a skirt / dress would've been quite hard to do activities in, b) I don't own any loose pants / jeans that would've kept me as warm. These jeans were the most practical option for me. 

So girlies... please don't think I'm advocating tight jeans as appropriate outdoor clothing for Muslimahs. They're great to wear at home, definitely. Having said that, I'm not judgemental if you do wear skinny jeans or skinny anything for that matter. Not wearing tight clothes is something I'm personally trying to change about myself ever since I started wearing hijab a year ago. One thing I've learned is that it does take time to have the hijabi mindset and the best thing is to do it gradually. I never force myself to wear something I don't want to but I do take the time to learn more about Islam in order to understand why God wants both Muslim men and women to dress modestly. With that, I hope to better myself as a Muslim by taking baby steps, inshaAllah.

For my resort beach-wear look... check out this post from the holiday I went with my family a few months ago. I <3 Malaysia. 

P.S. Can someone please make these cool palazzo-like jeans more widely available? Because I really would like to start wearing more denim jeans again! 

{Want to see more styles from other participants? Click on the badge below}

Faith Friday: Humility

Friday, June 03, 2011

A little reminder to keep our intentions and actions in check.

HFW MAY 2011 {Day 5: Jumaah}

Attending Friday prayers... is something I was introduced to when I came to New Zealand. Muslim women in Malaysia generally don't attend Jumaah and I think it's just a cultural thing. Having said that, I think it's awesome to go to the masjid, listen to the khutbah, pray congregationally and then catch up with the Muslim women in the community, especially here in the West where we are a minority. 

Entering the mosque... is basically entering the House of Allah. We should be as respectful and humble as we can and not only in our behaviour but also in the way we present ourselves. Muslims are encouraged to wear their best attire on Fridays and if it is within our means we should also wear new clothes as well according to this hadeeth:

The Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) said, "If one has the means, he should buy two pieces of clothing, other than his work clothes or [everyday clothing], to wear on Friday." 
                                                                                                                           (Abu Dawud)
But let's not use this as an excuse to go shopping or to dress over-the-top when we go to the masjid, ladies. Allah swt doesn't like it when people are wasteful or arrogant. God loves cleanliness and modesty so that should be the basis of our dressing everyday.

Jumaah Mubarak everyone! 
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HFW MAY 2011 {Day 4: Date Night}

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Every girl wants to be swept off her feet... and look good while she's at it! When a woman is with her other half she should translate her true persona into her style. 

Be the natural you...  with an extra feminine touch. Date night with my fiancé or husband is about being as feminine as I can be because that's who I am. I have countless floral print dresses but this is one of my favourites at the moment because it perfectly reflects my personality - from the pink roses to the lace detailing - it has 'Sha' written all over it. 

On date night... make yourself feel special because you are special. One of the many wonderful things about being a woman is that every woman is beautiful in her own way. So don't be afraid to be your charming and enchanting self for your husband. 

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HFW MAY 2011 {Day 3: Work Out Wear}

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

This photo is pretty much self-explanatory, innit?

Whether you're playing sports or working out in the gym... the Islamic etiquette of dressing doesn't go out the window. It can be quite a dilemma. I would prefer to go to a female-only gym or do yoga at home so I can wear what's most comfortable and appropriate for physical activity but a good run in the outdoors is a nice change. 

Before I started wearing hijab... I would wear tight clothes (e.g. sleeveless top or t-shirt and leggings) to a unisex gym so I'm happy that wearing the hijab has changed all that. I think when a Muslimah has to choose what to wear when she exercises is one of those defining moments for her - will she still protect her modesty or compromise it for the sake of a few moments of comfort in dunya (as tempting as that can be for all of us)? I think I would choose the middle path. 

Work out wear should... allow you to have fun, move freely and give you good ventilation. Which is why I love this Capsters aerobics hijab! No, I'm not saying that because I was sent one by Capsters for review purposes. I actually really, really like it because it has solved a major problem for me. 

Let's face it ladies... wearing hijab during exercise is no one's first choice but if your faith means a lot to you then the Capsters range of sports hijabs provides a very good solution because there's no need for a scarf inner to prevent hair from coming out in the front and it helps to cool you down as well due to the small openings on both sides of the hijab which aren't obvious and still ensure coverage of the neck. InshaAllah, I'll do a proper and extensive review once this semester ends (which is soon, yay!). 

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