Eid Mubarak!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taken in Doha, Qatar
Muslims in New Zealand will be celebrating Eid ul-Fitr tomorrow, inshaAllah.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish 
a very happy and blessed Eid to my family, loved ones and friends!
To those who are near, I am excited to see you all tomorrow.
To those who are far from sight but close to my heart, I am missing you this Eid. 

Taqaballahu minna wa minkum.
May Allah swt accept our efforts throughout the month of Ramadhan and inspire us to be steadfast in our worship and good deeds.

"But those who believe and work righteousness,- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear,- they will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (for ever). And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury;- beneath them will be rivers flowing;- and they shall say: "Praise be to Allah, who hath guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was the truth, that the apostles of our Lord brought unto us." And they shall hear the cry: "Behold! the garden before you! Ye have been made its inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness)."
{Surah Al-A'raf: 42-43}

Minted Giveaway Winner

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry. I know most of you wrote from the heart and I really appreciate that. It was great to see how Eid 2011 will be special and different to you guys.  InshaAllah, the positive changes we have made during Ramadhan will stick with us throughout our lives and that He may continue to guide us and give us strength to lead our lives as Muslims.  This is the tough part... unfortunately, I can only pick one winner.

Congratulations to Izyan Darling! I'm sure celebrating Eid as a newlywed with a baby bump is going to be very special for you. Congratulations on so many levels, Izyan. I'll make sure Minted will be in touch with you soon. 

Eid Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya in advance to all. 
May Allah swt accept our good deeds and forgive us for our shortcomings.

Featured in InTrend

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just a quick entry to say thank you to InTrend for featuring me in this month's issue! I was pleasantly surprised to hear the news from one of my besties, Vivy, who is also featured in the magazine this month, along with my hijabi friends Hana Tajima, Maria Elena and many others. Yay! I'll consider this as an early birthday present ;)

As I'm not in Malaysia my sister kindly scanned some pages for me and can I just say I love InTrend's hijabista theme for this month? My sister said it's a great issue with lots of cool and useful fashion tips for modest wear. I can't wait to see the rest of the magazine when I'm back in Malaysia. 

All you lucky people in Malaysia should grab a copy because I hear they're selling out fast! 

Minted Eid Cards Giveaway

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eid ul-Fitr, or as we like to call it in Malaysia, Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, is only a week away and I'm sure you guys have your Eid outfits sorted out. But have you got your Eid or Hari Raya cards all ready to go? If you're like me, (busy with deadlines and life, in general) I want you to know that it's not too late! After all, Eid is celebrated for an entire month in Malaysia and I think that should be extended to the rest of the world as well. It's only fair, right?

I also want you to know that a US-based greeting card company, Minted, has personally contacted me because they know how important Eid is to Muslims so they've come up with a new line of card designs especially for Eid. I've checked them out and they're really cool. Not only are they are modern, chic and elegant but they are also customisable. Have a look at the range of Minted Eid Cards and be prepared to be impressed!

You can add photo of your family or any photo you've taken for that personal touch. Be as creative as you like!

You can also write a general Eid message at the back of the card.

So you know what this means? Yes! Minted has generously agreed to give a USD$100 gift voucher to one of my readers so one of you can have the chance to choose and customise  your own Minted Eid Cards. Yay! To enter this giveaway just answer a simple question:

Leave your answer in the comment box below and please include your name / username or e-mail address. The giveaway is open to all and so yes, it is an international one. The winner will be chosen and announced on Sunday, 28th August 2011 at 12 p.m. (please note: New Zealand Time is GMT+12).

Feel free to share this with everyone on your Facebook wall, blog, Tumblr, etc. The more the merrier!

Sneak Preview: Doha, Qatar

I've been meaning to blog about my trip to Doha, Qatar for a long time. For now, I'll give you a sneak preview.

 I love the instrumental Arabic music that was playing in the background when I recorded this video. 
Can anyone tell me what kind it is? Is it khaleeji
Because it's quite different to the other khaleeji music I've heard. 

Seeing of the Signs

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Très cool, oui?
Some things just have to be shared.
Found via Journey of a Muslimah, by the way. Definitely worth a look.


While Waiting for Lailatul Qadr

Friday, August 19, 2011

It feels like this month has gone by at the blink of an eye. Can you believe we've already reached the last ten days of Ramadhan? Because I can't. And you know what they say about the last ten days of Ramadhan. Yup, Lailatul Qadr will be coming soon, inshaAllah. The night when countless numbers of angels descend on Earth as a sign of Allah's Power and Mercy. The night God has ordained its value to be worth more than a thousand months. While we look forward to Lailatul Qadr after the hearty iftar we just ate in the safety and comfort our homes there are people out there who don't have the privilege and luxury to do the same. Throughout Ramadhan we've seen news clips about people who are homeless and starving. People who face injustice. People in need. 

I admit I feel helpless when I am confronted by such images. Overwhelmed, most of all. Those people aren't living in different cities or countries. Those people live in a different 'world' than ours altogether. While we fast for twelve or fourteen or however many hours in a day, the victims of the drought in the Horn of Africa aren't able to break their fast because they have no food or water. Can you imagine not breaking your fast for days? While I can't speak for you guys I can definitely speak for myself. I live in a world where my biggest worry right now is getting my assignments and dissertation done on time. To be honest, I tend to worry about a lot of things because I'm pedantic like that but all my worries are trivial in comparison to "What am I going to feed my children tomorrow?" or "Will they find a cure for my disease?".

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: "(God) will (question a person) on the Day of Resurrection (saying)): 'O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.' The person will say: 'O my Lord, how could I visit Thee when Thou art the Lord of the worlds?' Thereupon (God) will say: 'Didn't you know that a servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him, and were you not aware that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by him?'  
(God will then say) 'O son of Adam, I asked you for food but you did not feed Me.' The person will say: 'My Lord, how could I feed Thee when Thou art the Lord of the worlds?' (God) will say: 'Didn't you know that a servant of Mine asked you for food but you did not feed him, and were you not aware that if you had fed him you would have found him by My side?'  (Sahih Muslim, Book #032, Hadith #6232)

In a state of being overwhelmed I usually end up not doing anything to help people in need because I don't know where to start. However, this year I decided to change this bad trait of mine because sometimes it isn't about how much you can give or do. It's about doing something in the first place. It's about caring for humanity even though you don't personally know who you are helping. It's about being a part of something great by dedicating yourself to a cause that is truly worthwhile. Today, I'd like to go to bed with a list of things I'd like to think as deeds that have been worthwhile of my time and effort. 

One of them would be writing this post to urge you to be charitable and help someone sincerely. Anyone. Perhaps someone in your family, community or even someone you don't know. It doesn't always have to be in monetary form as the concept of sadaqah (charity) in Islam is very broad.

I know as one person I can't save the world but as they say, to the world you may be just one person but to one person you may be the world. In the last ten days of Ramadhan while waiting for Lailatul Qadr you can help to make a difference in someone's 'world'. Here's a humble list of causes by Muslim Aid to give you an idea. 

Or perhaps the Rara Zikry Medical Expenses Fund is a bit more closer to home for all you Malaysians out there. 
"On 19th of March 2010, Zarith Nadhira went into coma for 2 months due to a mild asthma. Initially she was admitted at Darul Ehsan Medical Centre Shah Alam, subsequently referred to Subang Jaya Medical Centre, was admitted in ICU. Alhamdulillah she woke up from her coma but was unable to speak or communicate with her parents, relatives & friends. She needs to be fed through a tube at her lower abdomen. Her hands & legs were stiff until today and she needs further medical treatment from specialists at University Hospital. Her diagnosis is Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy, in simple explanation : brain injury due to lack of oxygen because she had difficulty breathing.... continued."

More Snow!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We had another white weekend in Dunedin. Although I’m down with the flu I was determined to not miss out on some snow fun. Did I mention that I’m staying with a wonderful Muslim family at the moment? They were generous enough to offer me a place in their home as it’s my first Ramadhan without my family. I know I chose to live alone this year (my attempt at being ‘Miss Independent’, I suppose) and I’ve survived so far but waking up for suhoor during winter in an empty house was no fun at all so I accepted their offer. It’s been really nice spending time with this family of four. Steve is a Kiwi who married an Indonesian, Arien, and together they had Ali and Yasmin, aged 14 and 12 respectively. I’ve known the kids ever since they were little and it’s hard to believe they’re so grown up now. 

During the long weekend we went out to enjoy the snow so here are some pictures to make you go brrr!

Pretty view from the backyard

Mornington Park

This shot perfectly captures the spirit of this family!

'Sup bro? Nothin', just chillin'. Literally.

Now all the snow has melted away and we're only left with freezing temperatures. Apparently New Zealand even made it on international news because of all the snow we've been getting. Yup, it even snowed in Auckland for the first time since the 1930s! Climate change, much?

So Peachy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I've been getting requests, both online and in-person, for a close-up picture of this dress which I designed and had it tailor-made.

On a different note, we're in the third week of Ramadhan already! Eek! 

Take Back Your Heart

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

This is an amazing reminder for us during Ramadhan.
I've lost my heart to dunya often enough to feel incredibly moved by this piece of writing by Yasmin Mogahed.


No one likes to fall. And few people would ever choose to drown. But in struggling through the ocean of this life, sometimes it’s so hard not to let the world in. Sometimes the ocean does enter us. The dunya does seep into our hearts. 

And like the water that breaks the boat, when dunya enters, it shatters our heart. It shatters the boat. Recently, I was reminded of what a broken boat looks like, of what happens when you let everything in. I was reminded because I saw someone, just like me, fall in love too much with this life and seek to be filled by the creation. So the ocean of dunya shattered her boat, as it had shattered mine, and she fell out into the water. But she stayed down too long, and didn’t know how to come back up or what to hold on to.

So she drowned. 

If you allow dunya to own your heart, like the ocean that owns the boat, it will take over. You will sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor. And you will feel as though you were at your lowest point. Entrapped by your sins and the love of this life, you will feel broken. Surrounded by darkness. That’s the amazing thing about the floor of the ocean. No light reaches it. 

 But, this dark place is not the end. Remember that the darkness of night precedes the dawn. And as long as your heart still beats, this is not the death of it. You don’t have to die here. Sometimes, the ocean floor is only a stop on the journey. And it is when you are at this lowest point, that you are faced with a choice. You can stay there at the bottom, until you drown. Or you can gather pearls and rise back up—stronger from the swim, and richer from the jewels. 

If you seek Him, God can raise you up, and replace the darkness of the ocean, with the light of His sun. He can transform what was once your greatest weakness into your greatest strength, and a means of growth, purification and redemption. Know that transformation sometimes begins with a fall. So never curse the fall. The ground is where humility lives. Take it. Learn it. Breathe it in. And then come back stronger, humbler and more aware of your need for Him. Come back having seen your own nothingness and His greatness. Know that if you have seen that Reality, you have seen much. For the one who is truly deceived is the one who sees his own self—but not Him. Deprived is the one who has never witnessed his own desperate need for God. Reliant on his own means, he forgets that the means, his own soul, and everything else in existence are His creation. 

Seek God to bring you back up, for when He does, He will rebuild your ship. The heart that you thought was forever damaged will be mended. What was shattered will be whole again. Know that only He can do this. Seek Him. 

And when He saves you, beg forgiveness for the fall, feel remorse over it—but not despair. 

As Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) has said: “Satan rejoiced when Adam (peace be upon him) came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.”

There is a powerful and amazing thing about tawbah (repentance) and turning back to Allah (swt). We are told that it is a polish for the heart. What’s amazing about a polish is that it doesn’t just clean. It makes the object that is polished even shinier than it was before it got dirty. If you come back to God, seek His forgiveness, and refocus your life and heart on Him, you have the potential to be even richer than if you’d never fallen at all. Sometimes falling and coming back up gives you wisdom and humility that you may never otherwise have had. Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) writes: 

 “One of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said: “Indeed a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise; and another does a good deed by which he enters the Fire.” It was asked: How is that? So he replied: “The one who committed the sin, constantly thinks about it; which causes him to fear it, regret it, weep over it and feel ashamed in front of his Lord—the Most High—due to it. He stands before Allah, broken-hearted and with his head lowered in humility. So this sin is more beneficial to him than doing many acts of obedience, since it caused him to have humility and humbleness—which leads to the servant’s happiness and success—to the extent that this sin becomes the cause for him entering Paradise. As for the doer of good, then he does not consider this good a favor from his Lord upon him. Rather, he becomes arrogant and amazed with himself, saying: I have achieved such and such, and such and such. So this further increases him in self-adulation, pride and arrogance—such that this becomes the cause for his destruction.” 

Allah (swt) reminds us in the Qur’an to never lose hope. He says: 

“Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls [by sinning], despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful,’” (39:53). 

And so, this is a call to all those who have become enslaved by the tyranny of the self, imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs (self) and desires. It is a call to all those who have entered the ocean of dunya, who have sunk into its depths, and become trapped by its crushing waves. Rise up. Rise up to the air, to the Real world above the prison of the ocean. Rise up to your freedom. Rise up and come back to life. Leave the death of your soul behind you. Your heart can still live and be stronger and purer than it ever was. Does not the polish of tawbah remake the heart even more beautiful than it was? Remove the veil you have sewn with your sins. Remove the veil between you and Life, between you and Freedom, between you and Light—between you and God. Remove the veil and rise up. Come back to yourself. Come back to where you began. Come back Home. Know that when all the other doors have shut in your face, there is One that is always open. Always. Seek it. Seek Him and He will guide you through the waves of the cruel ocean, into the mercy of the sun. 

This world cannot break you—unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys – unless you give it your heart. And so, if you have handed those keys to dunya for a while—take them back. This isn’t the End. You don’t have to die here. Reclaim your heart and place it with its rightful owner: God.

{Beautifully written by Yasmin Mogahed at SuhaibWebb.com}

How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Just because.

Faith Friday: Listen

Friday, August 05, 2011

I was having a conversation with Hana Tajima about her conversion to Islam when I said, 
"I love the Qur'an because it's always revealing itself."

What I meant by that is whenever I read the Holy Qur'an I always find something new that takes my breath
 away. I came across this verse last night and it hasn't been off my mind ever since. 

Just thinking about it makes me speechless.
It's so true.
How can we expect God to answer our prayers if we ourselves do not listen to Him?
"Let them also, with a will, listen to My call and believe in Me"
Does anyone else feel the power of these words by Allah? 

Is it just me?