Faith Friday: Confessions of a Sinner

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some people hate the word "sin". I don't know why. Maybe it makes them feel judged. But I don't focus on that because I know I make mistakes. I know I have made bad decisions. I know I can be selfish, unforgiving and impatient. Being a sinner makes me human and vice versa because at some point we all have moments of weakness.

Empathy vs. Sympathy (I Make This Mistake All the Time!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Has someone ever confided in you or told you how sad / conflicted / stressed / angry etc. they felt only to hear you say something like... "At least, you have a job" or "At least, you're doing well in something else. Life's not all bad". Well, I do it all the time and all this while I thought it was a way to make people feel better by reminding them to look on the bright side but I guess I was wrong! 

It made perfect sense to me when Dr Brené Brown said, "Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection." 

How true is that? The last time I had a bad day I reached out to someone I thought could relate to and yes, it was the fact that we had a connection that made me feel a lot better. I'm so grateful for these seemingly small important lessons.

This World Was Designed to Break Your Heart

Monday, December 09, 2013

A thought that crossed my mind today.
Inspired by Hamza Yusuf's 'Dunya and Tribulations'

xx Sha 

Faith Friday: Where are Your Manners?

Friday, December 06, 2013

Last June, I wrote a blog post with a controversial title: "I Hate Muslims". Obviously, I don't dislike [all] Muslims but this explains why I chose that title. 

"What surprised me was that in the "real world", Muslims can also be "bad" people and that it wasn't my non-Muslim friends who have hurt me the most even though some were not the best influence. After becoming a more "practicing Muslim" I naturally gained more Muslim friends compared to before. I thought my life would become simpler because I assumed all Muslims would share the same values - helping one another to do good deeds, never envy except in two occasions, advising and protecting each other from harm.  
But the reality is Muslims have let me down in ways I didn't expect and there were times when I said "I hate Muslims" even though I knew I shouldn't make a blanket statement like that. It's not fair on others. I'm not saying I haven't disappointed people and made mistakes. I'm very sure I have. I just had high expectations of others and got hurt."

Faith Friday: What's Fear Got to Do With Love?

Friday, November 22, 2013

I used to have a problem with the idea of fearing God. What's fear got to do with loving God? Why would God want to instill such an unpleasant emotion in us if He was truly Loving and Merciful?

Then I was reminded of the time I saw a mother yelling at her 6 year old son for racing up and down a flight of stairs with his friend. She warned him once with a stern voice. It didn't work. Eventually she walked over to the stairs, yelled at him and pulled him aside for putting his friend and himself in danger. She instilled fear in him.

She did it out of love. And he knew that. So he stopped.

The Good Word: a lesson by Prof. Al-Attas

Sunday, November 10, 2013

{photo: A dignified wattle tree, Dunedin}

I attended Professor Syed Naquib Al-Attas' lecture for the first time last night. I was surprised by the large number of people that were there. At least 500 people attended last night's session. In the [nearly] two years I've been back in Malaysia I've heard his name in passing but I was not aware of his magnanimity as a scholar. I am utterly embarrassed by this but I do believe the right opportunities will manifest or become apparent to us when we are ready to seize them.

During his lecture, Professor Al-Attas casually brought up verse 24 from Surah Ibrahim. I recall coming across this verse while reading this chapter of the Qur'an on the day of Eid ul-Adha. I thought, "Wow, that's really beautiful but I wonder what it really means."

My question was answered last night.

{VLOG} Sneak Preview of Mantanani Island Holiday

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The video was shot with a Samsung Note 3. Pretty awesome huh? 

If there's one thing you should notice about me by now is that I love the beach. I initially wanted to go to Bali with a girlfriend but coming from a very protective family I was advised not to. #MuslimGirlProblems

In the end my family planned a trip to Mantanani Island, Sabah in West Malaysia, and it was my first time in Sabah too! So much of it reminded me of New Zealand. The clean, green environment, mostly. And the culture of the indigenous people reminded me of the Maori culture. 

Anyway, the video is a sneak preview to an upcoming blog post, inshaaAllah. I have hundreds of photos to choose from so you can imagine it will be challenging to write that blog post! But I can easily say this... Sabah made me fall in love with Malaysia all over again. 

{Faith Friday} Being Grateful Makes You Healthier, No Kidding

Saturday, October 26, 2013

photo: Wild flowers in South Island, New Zealand

As individuals we can be different in many ways, from our personalities to our preferences to our physical appearances. But there is one universal and fundamental element that has been encoded into our DNA. It’s the one thing we all have in common and that is the desire to be happy. Everybody wants to be happy. 

Even Aristotle believed so when he claimed, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” That’s a lot of pressure, Mr. Aristotle. But what is happiness? What does it mean to be happy or unhappy?

I Love My New Job!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Salaam and hi guys,

Eid Mubarak! This is one of the reasons why I've been so busy. I am now working for Peace Meal. Please check out our upcoming events this week.

with Mohamed Geraldez
7 PM, 16 October @ Bangsar Shopping Centre Surau (mussolah)

{VLOG} This is Water: False Ideals & Real Freedom

Friday, October 04, 2013

You know why I'm not a vlogger? Because I'm convinced I'm a better writer than I am a speaker. And I don't even think I'm that good of a writer to begin with (I'm always amazed when someone tells me they follow my blog). Plus, whenever I upload a vlog on YouTube I get the weirdest choices for the video thumbnail. #StoryofMyLife

The excerpt from David Foster Wallace's 'This is Water' speech which I shared in the video was taken from You may read the full speech here or listen to it here

Everything Changes

Monday, September 23, 2013

Have you ever lived life without thinking about life? You take one day at a time and everything seems fine until you realise something you had not realised before. 

I don't know why I'm telling you this but perhaps a part of me believes it will help make a difference in someone's day. I woke up at 4.30 am last night with an epiphany.

Questions for the Tall White Man

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not your usual event title, I know. But that's kind of our attempt at being ironic. [check out Hipster Muslim, by the way]

Are you searching for faith, answers, hope, an identity? A poet, brother and teacher; perhaps the Tall White Man can help you in your journey during this chilled out session with Arabic coffee and spoken word poems. This session is created for the youth by the youth. It is a safe space for the youth to ask questions regarding faith, spirituality and this crazy thing called life.

A Piece of Morocco in Malaysia

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Moroccan Pavilion at the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem; an escape from the twenty first century and one of my favourite spots in Kuala Lumpur. 

The Moroccan Pavilion is situated in the botanical gardens in Putrajaya. It is designed to showcase the rich tradition of arts and architecture of Morocco, and the Moors. The traditional art and style of the 4 Imperial cities of Morocco - Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakech - is housed in a modern tropical building. The master plan respects the Moroccan tradition of movement from Public - Semi-Public- Private realms. The public enters through the main ‘bab’ (gate) / glass crescent into an intermediate garden; which leads to another ‘bab’ and so on. The water channel represents the link between Morocco and Malaysia, the host country. The pavilion design comprise of two opposing square, symbolising ‘yin-yang’ tradition of the East. {source: RDA Harris}

Though guests are not allowed to take photos of the pavilion's 'private realm' (which is simply divine, by the way) I can certainly show you a sneak peek of this exquisite masterpiece. 

Ramadan in Putrajaya

Friday, August 30, 2013

Putra Mosque, Putrajaya

I was looking through my folders and found these photos I took during Ramadan this year. My family and I love to go mosque-hopping during Ramadan because every mosque has its own special aura but we love praying taraweeh regardless of where we are. We realised we hadn't prayed taraweeh in Putrajaya before so we spent a weekend in Putrajaya to experience both Putra Mosque and the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (a.k.a. Iron Mosque). 

The Woman Who Changed My Mind About Quitting Blogging

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Not to sound melodramatic but I couldn't have stumbled upon Kübra Gümüşay's TEDx talk at a better time because for the past one week I've been at home - in quarantine - wallowing in self-pity as I caught the chickenpox. I know, who gets chickenpox in their twenties?! #StoryOfMyLife. But that isn't the only reason why I've been feeling jaded, confused, angry (at myself for being confused) and so darn fed up.


Faith Friday: Allah, Your Plans are Better than My Dreams

Friday, August 16, 2013

via weheartit

"The spiritual path is not linear. You will get what you need in the moment you need it but it’s not the way you expected. Everything that comes to you is in reality for your benefit. We accept the Qadr (Decree); not only accepting, but also knowing the lessons Allah has/is teaching us through that. We might learn through by being hurt, or through tribulations." - Shaykh Yahya Rhodus via Healing Hearts

Eid by the Sea

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I hope it's not too late to wish you guys Eid Mubarak :) This is where I spent most of my Eid holiday. By the beach, alhamdulillah.

I'm Just Not Feeling Eid

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Honestly, I'm not really excited about Eid ul-Fitri. I don't know if it's because I'm down with a terrible flu (that's what happens when I stop taking my supplements!), or because I'm tired from work, or the fact that Eid hasn't been the same for us ever since my Dad passed away. I'm not feeling it at all.

Faith: What's Fasting Got to Do With It?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

{source: Crayola}

I. Can't. Believe. Ramadan. Is. Almost. Over. 

It feels like it has only been here for a minute. Maybe it's because I have been working full-time during Ramadan this year and I have had a lot on my plate. Last year's Ramadan experience was more easy going in terms of time management. I suppose that's why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to use our time wisely, as we never know what will come up in the future.

"Take advantage of five matters before five others: youth before old age, health before falling sick, wealth before poverty, free time before becoming busy and life before death." (Hadith explanation:

Tips for Clearer, Brighter Skin

Monday, July 29, 2013

No make up, just a layer of tinted moisturiser and a touch of mascara

"You have nice complexion!". I often get told that and it always surprises me. Why? Because I am my own worst critic. When I was a teenager I adored MTV VJ Donita Rose (I still do) and I thought she was the epitome of beauty. I never felt I was pretty enough for the world because I didn't look anything remotely close to the girls on television. When I was growing up I had many insecurities about the way I looked. Now that I'm 25, if I could go back in time I'd have many things to tell my teenage self! But for today I'd like to share some advice on looking after the skin because I'm not one of those people who has naturally flawless skin.

Faith Friday: Milking Surah al Mulk

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said:
“It (Surah al Mulk - The Dominion) is a protector; a rescuer; saving from the chastisement of the grave.” {At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim} 

Death is a scary yet inevitable part of our lives. The thought of death frightens us so much that we live our lives in such a way to help us forget about it or at least be distracted from the thought of it. Personally, I think not believing in an afterlife or believing in one that is a continuation of worldly life diminishes the purpose of our life on Earth. Is life just about accumulating wealth and living comfortably? If that's enough to make anyone happy why do rich and famous celebrities who seem to have it all die from drug overdose?

Fatih Seferagić: From Houston to Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

photo by Rafidah Ahmad

"Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.”
- Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him {Al-Bukhari and Muslim} (source: Rewards, Benefits and Virtues of Qur'an and its Recitation)

My blog is kind of my accidental vision board. Due to Allah's will, I end up meeting some of the people I have written about despite never imagining that I'd someday meet them. When I blogged about Fatih Seferagić last year it never crossed my mind that I'd eventually meet the 18 year old hafiz. When I think of a hafiz, for some reason I think of someone who's the total opposite of Brother Fatih i.e. strict, serious and older. (Yeah, we should never stereotype!) One might say he is quite the YouTube sensation but not for anything frivolous. He's well-known for his Qur'an recitation and many young girls would also say, for his youthful good looks too (can I get a mashaAllah?). Thanks to Muslim Professionals Forum, Brother Fatih flew all the way from Houston, Texas and spent almost 3 weeks in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Faith Friday: Ramadan Trials and Rewards

Friday, July 12, 2013


Salman Al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salam) gave a speech on the last day of Shaa’ban, and said:

"O people! You are being approached by a great and blessed month. A month which contains a night that is better than one thousand months. Allah made fasting within it an obligation and made praying in that night an optional act of worship. He who performs any righteous voluntary act within it, will be rewarded like one who does an obligatory act at any time other than during Ramadan.

2013 Ramadan Series - You're Invited!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Ramadan Series is an annual endeavour by Young Muslims Project aimed to inspire the Muslim youth to redirect their focus during the holy month of Ramadan. InshaAllah (God willing), every Sunday morning we will discuss a topic in relation to this blessed month and the purification of the soul with a knowledgeable scholar of Islam. 

This Sunday we are fortunate to have Sister Tasneem Ghauri to speak on the topic "The Power of Self Control and Forgiveness" and YOU'RE ALL INVITED to come and hang out with us :) For more information on the topic and the speaker visit the Facebook event page. Do follow YMP's Facebook page or Twitter account to stay updated on our upcoming Ramadan Series open circles.

Ramadan Dua by Br. Fatih Seferagic

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

We recently had Brother Fatih Seferagic with us here in Malaysia. He spent about 3 weeks in Kuala Lumpur, alhamdulillah, courtesy of Muslim Professionals Forum. In collaboration with MPF and Genius Aulad, one of the programmes my friends and I helped organised was a Ramadan workshop with Brother Fatih for children aged 7 - 12 years old. At the end of the session Fatih recited a dua (prayer) to welcome the month of Ramadan. 

Ameen to his dua! May Allah (swt) grant us a blessed and fruitful Ramadan, inshaAllah.

p.s. More video snippets of Brother Fatih to come, inshaAllah. Work is crazy hectic lately. Just give me some time :) By the way, do check out 'The Spirit of Fasting' by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda and 'The Different Forms of Fasting' by Imam Khalid Latif! 

Prelude to Ramadan 2013

Monday, July 08, 2013

source: weheartit
 Allahumma balighna Ramadan.
O Allah, allow us to reach the month of Ramadan.

"And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers. 
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.
Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.
{Surah ad-Dhariyat, 51:55-58)

Verse 56 of Surah ad-Dhariyat is one of the most quoted lines from the Holy Qur'an and understandably so. "What is the purpose of life?" is after all the biggest philosophical question out there and through the Qur'an, God tells us the answer and He couldn't be more direct and succinct.

Faith Friday: Saint vs. Sinner

Friday, June 28, 2013

{via YoAz}

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Mr. Mandela's words reminded of the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). 

“All human beings without exception are sinful, but the best sinners are those who repent the most.” {Tirmidhi}

Are Smartphones Killing our Memories and Experiences?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is smartphone photography killing our memories and experiences?


The art of documenting something normally signifies the importance or rareness of an occasion but today even breakfast apparently deserves to be captured and commemorated. I am 100% guilty of taking completely useless photos. I am aware of it and I want to do something about it, as I described in this post. I believe it's important to learn how to distinguish between a memorable moment and a moment that doesn't necessarily need to be eternalised in a photograph or video. We are distracted by the idea of a memorable moment that we forget that these moments are memorable because they're meant to teach us that we cannot  turn back time and reclaim the present. Its meaning lies in us immersing in a moment in time we call the present. 

Oh, the irony.

Featured: New Straits Times x Love to Dress

Monday, June 24, 2013

from left: myself, Maria Elena, Asma' and Sumayyah Nasaruddin
photography by Daniel Zain

Faith and fashion can truly bring people together. In fact, that is how I've met some of the most interesting people. Not to forget, being a blogger is also an important element in all of this. Today my friends and I were featured in the New Strait Times because the designer of a new Muslimah clothing line called Love to Dress is none other than Sumayyah Nasaruddin, a friend I've made through our shared passion for Islam, fashion and knowledge. When she asked me to be one of her models for the debut of her clothing line I did not hesitate to be a part of it!

Bye Bye Braces and Hello Ramadan (soon)!

Salaams all! 

I hope you're having a good weekend. Alhamdulillah, I am despite the horrible haze we are currently experiencing due to forest burning in Sumatra, and as some of you might notice I'm no longer wearing braces! :D 

The Heart Knows

Saturday, June 22, 2013

{source: unknown}

The heart knows.

It knows it's alive
when it's not ashamed to be shy.
It knows it has been deprived
when tears drop like water from the sky. 

How to Have More Positive People in Your Life

Monday, June 17, 2013

I really needed to hear this. 

I wrote 'I Hate Muslims' because I don't have a problem with being as real as I can be. Your wounds may not be the same as mine but we all bleed, and we all bleed the same colour blood.

Qur'an Workshop with Fatih Seferagic in Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brother Fatih Seferagic is no stranger in Malaysia. I even wrote a post about him because I was impressed by this young man, mashaAllah. Videos of the 18 year old hafidh who completed the memorisation of the Qur'an at age 12 went viral on the Internet last year and with high demand he will be in Kuala Lumpur at the end of June 2013, inshaAllah.

  Can you believe this got almost 2000 retweets?

Brother Fatih will be one of the speakers at this year's Being ME event on the 29th of June but Young Muslims Project have created a special event in anticipation of the month of Ramadhan.

Hijabi Hair Care

Sunday, June 09, 2013

There are many misconceptions about Muslim women, especially Muslim women who wear hijab, and one of them is that we don't take good care of ourselves or care about the way we look when we're not wearing hijab.  Like most women, Muslim women are also conscientious about hair care even though they don't show their hair in public. The root of healthy hair (pun intended) is a healthy scalp so I'd like to share some simple tips on hijabi hair care.

"I Hate Muslims"

Saturday, June 08, 2013

I have a confession. For the past one and a half years I've been struggling with something that has weighed heavily on my heart. It affected my relationship with others. It even affected the way I write and work.

Trust issues.

You see, I've always been an open-hearted person. Although I try not to be very trusting I also dislike being suspicious of people. However, that changed when a person whom I considered to be a very close friend did something behind my back to betray the trust I had in her. I can accept deceit and malice from a stranger or an acquaintance but not from someone whom I considered as one of my best friends.

Style Sunday: Baby D's Baby Shower

Monday, June 03, 2013

A quick Style Sunday! 
Who is Baby D??? :) 

Hijab accessory by Ameemoo :)

The Art of Giving Advice

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself." 
- Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

This is one of my favourite hadiths; one that I try to practice in my everyday life (keyword: try) because I believe that being sincere with others is a deed much beloved in the sight of God, and being sincere with others includes wanting the best for them in this life and in the hereafter. Sometimes this means giving advice to the people we care about.

Millionaire Gives it All Up for Islam

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This is a unique story about a man's journey to Islam. I found this video today when a friend asked me to suggest videos and books for her friend who is interested in learning about Islam. Each story of conversion (or reversion, if you prefer) is different but they all illustrate how merciful God is towards His creations in different ways. Conversion stories also have the power to make us realise how we easily take His guidance for granted.

"...Allah guides whom He wills [He guides those who will to be guided]..." {14:4}

"And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good." {29:69}

Anger, Adebolajo and a Response to the Woolwich Tragedy

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shaken. Disgusted. Confused. 

Those were my immediate reactions when I came to know of the news about the British soldier who was publicly attacked and decapitated by a British-born Nigerian convert to Islam in a 'suspected Islamist attack' in Woolwich, South East London. Not again. Not another murderous and violent act by Muslims, I said regretfully to myself. Let's put conspiracy theories aside because we need to face the reality of the situation in a rational way. Michael Adebolajo is Muslim, he has participated in protests and has been very transparent about his beliefs regarding the involvement of the British government in military operations in Muslim countries. It was reported that he handed out "radical pamphlets" in the past.

OOTD: Blue Ivy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This post is not related to Beyonce's daughter in anyway, sorry Beyonce fans. I just thought... the colour blue + green leaves = blue ivy? Anyway, enough of my cheesiness because I actually have golden leaves to show you! 

Sticky Date Pudding

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Winter is around the corner in the Southern Hemisphere and a warm sticky date pudding is the perfect companion on a cold winter's night. Having said that, it is nice to have no matter what climate or season you are in. If you have guests who arrived unannounced or if you're in the mood to satisfy your sweet cravings this easy-to-make pudding is your answer because it only takes 20 to 30 minutes to make. This recipe was given to me by my friend Helen (thanks girl!) and I'd love to share it with you.

A Day with Yasmin Mogahed

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I first came across Yasmin Mogahed's work on during my final year at university. It was a stressful year for many of my friends and I, but discussions about Yasmin Mogahed's Serenity radio show and inspiring articles helped get us through our trials that year. When I returned to Malaysia I had the chance to listen to her speak live at the 2012 Being ME conference. This year I have been fortunate enough to attend her talks and meet her in person again, alhamdulillah. I was invited by the lovely Husna Musa to an afternoon tea session organised by Light Upon Light and Viva Palestina Malaysia, and when that ended we rushed to attend another lecture by Yasmin Mogahed that evening. So you could say I spent a day with Ms. Mogahed :) 

One of the best parts is that ticket sales of both events went towards projects for women in Gaza, inshaAllah. Here's a little something for everyone who couldn't be with us that day.

Overcoming Adversity

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

"The opportunity of adversity"

The video title caught my eye so I clicked on the link without knowing who the speaker was.

Aimee Mullins.

Nope, not a clue. At the time, that is. Her introduction was about the concept and definition of disability but I couldn't figure out what her "disability" was until later on. As a paralympic champion and double amputee her story is definitely worth knowing and I had an "Aha!" moment (as Oprah would call it) while listening to what she had to say on the advantages of adversity (yes I know it seems like a paradox). I'd like to share her inspiring words so you can have a new perspective on life and challenges.

Nona & Mateen's Fairytale Wedding

Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you liked Nona and Mateen's first wedding reception you would like their second one too but for different reasons. The first reception was elegantly traditional whereas the second reception which was hosted by Mateen's family was unique or as Malaysians would say 'lain daripada yang lain' (different than the rest) and a little 'out of this world' because its theme was 'Alice in Wonderland'! 

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect that night but I was mesmerised by how amazing she looked. What she wore were unlike any other wedding dresses I had seen in Malaysian weddings. Why don't you see for yourself?

Nona & Mateen's Traditional Malay Wedding Reception

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I know most of my blog readers are women :) And women love wedding-related blog posts so I promised I'd share pictures from my friend Nona's wedding receptions.  In Malaysia it's common for the bride and groom to hold two wedding receptions - one by the bride's family and another by the groom's family. In Nona and Mateen's case they had three wedding receptions. I only attended the ones in Kuala Lumpur but I heard the reception in Sarawak was very beautiful too. 

This particular post is about Nona's reception. I would say it was a traditional Malay wedding especially in comparison to the one by Mateen's family and you'll have to wait to find out what its theme was! For now have a look at what I captured from Nona's elegant traditional wedding reception. 

Dove's Real Beauty Sketches - Men (parody)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My previous post was about Dove's Real Beauty Sketches and a serious take on how corporations and the media industry control the way women think about their self-image. The parody above while being super funny (I laughed until tears came out) actually creates another criticism of the Dove ad campaign. 

Admit it ladies, when it comes to the physical appearance there is a lot more pressure on women than men. In general, of course. Metrosexuals not included. Women spend more on clothes, shoes, bags and skin care products. A lot more. Why don't we need an ad that tells men they are more handsome and dashing than they think? Why are men more likely to joke about their looks?

What Real Women Think About Dove's Real Beauty Sketches

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Real Beauty Sketches from John X. Carey on Vimeo.

Dove's latest advertisement has been floating around social media as of late. While I understand the jubilant reactions from women I couldn't help but feel something was a bit "off". The first thing that came to my mind was, "This is just another marketing tactic so people feel more positively about the Dove brand." As poignant as the ad seems this is precisely what marketing and advertising is all about  swaying consumer judgement about the brand and its products and ultimately affecting consumer behaviour. 

Yes, it's a well-produced ad but all I'm getting from it is: What you look like is important and it will always be important no matter what age you are.

Style Sunday: Femme en Fuchsia

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I think it's fair to say 2012 was the year of weddings. Well that's how it felt for me, at least! It really seemed like most of my friends chose the year 2012 to get married and the year 2013 to have babies :) It feels very surreal... but hey, more weddings meant more reasons to get dressed up!

For Nona's wedding reception in December 2012 I wore a fuchsia evening dress I had designed myself. It's a very simple dress but because of its attention-grabbing colour I only wear it to formal events. 

Femme en fuchsia (woman in fuchsia)

Colours of My Life Meets Little Life of Mine

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In my three years of blogging I feel pretty blessed to say I've made many friends from all around the world and Amnah of Little Life of Mine is one of them. Who knew I'd actually have the pleasure of meeting this lovely Palestinian-American mama of three from California in person someday? Amnah and her family came to visit her sister Iman (also a blogger) who moved to Kuala Lumpur last year. God has a way of bringing people together, doesn't He? 

Iman planned a trip to FRIM (Forest Research Insitute of Malaysia) and gave Amnah a little surprise - ME! I was more than happy to meet them there because it would be a much more memorable experience than having a meal at some mall. 

(clockwise) Amnah and I on the canopy walk; Iman flashing us a peace sign at the waterfall; blue fern (I thought it had been spray-painted on at first!)

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Sunday, April 07, 2013

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we need more women as writers and reporters. She reminds me of a 13 year old girl who once said to herself, "I want to be a journalist because I want to help people tell their stories."

Faith Friday: Be Like an Ocean

Friday, March 22, 2013

Arabian Gulf, Qatar, 2011

Allah Most High bestows His mercy, compassion and grace upon the one who learns and acts with good intention. He brings him close by raising his level. He is pleased with him; He forgives his faults. 

When one is lifted to that level, one's heart becomes like an ocean. 

Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized Possessions

Thursday, March 14, 2013

{originally by Amanda Gorence for Feature Shoot}

Alessia – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possesions—their toys. Galimberti explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of the countless corners of the world; saying, “at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play.” 

But it’s how they play that seemed to differ from country to country. Galimberti found that children in richer countries were more possessive with their toys and that it took time before they allowed him to play with them (which is what he would do pre-shoot before arranging the toys), whereas in poorer countries he found it much easier to quickly interact, even if there were just two or three toys between them.

Advice to Women by Malcolm X

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Faith Friday: Hate the Sin Not the Sinner

Saturday, March 02, 2013

*This post was meant to be published yesterday but I was only able to record the video today.  I totally have a new level of respect for vloggers now!  InshaAllah you guys had a blessed Friday*

I see it happen all too often. Sometimes in a passing remark, blog post or tweet, someone says such-and-such is a bad Muslim because they saw them doing this or that. As a weak human being I've done it too even  though I know negative comments like that, as opposed to constructive criticism, actually reveal more about the person who is projecting negativity than the subject of negativity. Happy people naturally spread happiness and want to help others when they see someone struggling. When we pass a judgement without knowing the person or understanding the context of their situation, what does it say about us?

The Secret Powers of Time

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Many of life's puzzles can be solved by simply understanding our own time perspective and that of others."

I discovered this fascinating RSA video today. According to Professor Zimbardo there are three types of people: past-oriented, present-oriented and future-oriented. 

I don't necessarily agree with all of his statements such as, "The closer you are to the equator the more present-oriented you are." Many Malaysians and Singaporeans are very future-oriented people. In other words, very kiasu

And isn't it highly possible that we can be a combination of two or three of the categories for different aspects of our lives?

Nevertheless, I thought it was an interesting discussion especially because I believe a slower pace of life has many benefits. Watch the video and assess yourself. Are you past-oriented, present-oriented or future-oriented, or a combination of a few? Do you think your nationality or religion has contributed to your perspective of time? We often joke about "Malaysian Standard Time" or "Muslim Standard Time". Could this theory about time perspective explain why some cultures take punctuality more seriously than others?

Light Upon Light

Thursday, February 21, 2013

 {original image : we heart it }

The Gift of Gaza

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

 Banksy graffiti on the separation wall in Palestine

When Operation Pillar of Cloud commenced in Gaza we turned to Twitter for coverage and commentary because the majority of mainstream media failed to deliver sufficient information. Harry Fear's live reportage of the 8-day war was one of the few that garnered worldwide attention on social media. From digital activism to real life activism, Fear is currently on a tour to speak about his personal experiences in the occupied land. It never crossed my mind that I'd listen to him speak in person someday but I did when he was in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago.

Style Sunday: Rosa

Sunday, February 17, 2013

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Assalamualaykum (peace be upon you)
Some lovely ladies e-mailed and asked me to post more Style Sunday photos. I sense that I won't be doing that many Style Sunday's in the next one month so here are some shots I took quickly today. I attended my cousin's daughter's aqiqah ceremony for her baby boy. 

*Rosa means rose or pink in Spanish

Are Women in Media Getting Dumber?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Harsh words, I know, but I have your attention now, don't I?

Yesterday I thought about why journalism means a lot to me. It's not necessarily a field many women flourish in, particularly when it comes to investigative journalism. Where have all the women political journalists gone? Though it is subjective, why were only 22 women listed as outstanding journalists in the last century

A myriad of questions flooded my mind. Is the nature of the job incompatible with the role of women in society? Are women generally disinterested in current and political affairs? Are women simply being "dumbed down" by the media? Are men and women always telling women what they can and cannot do?

I had the opportunity to ask Mustafa Davis, a filmmaker and photographer whom I admire as someone who seems to be balancing his faith and career very well, what he thought about the role of Muslim women in media (2:15 - 3:33). Part of his answer was: "If you have an influence on people then keep doing what you're doing." It seems a bit silly that I felt I needed to be assured by someone (a man) but I wanted his take on the issue.

{courtesy of PerimeterOne Studio}

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mini lanterns in front of a Chinese temple on Jonker Street, Malacca

One of the perks of living in a multicultural country such as Malaysia is the numerous public holidays that we get to enjoy throughout the year. We recently celebrated Maulidur Rasul, Thaipusam and now we can add Chinese New Year to the list. 

Gong Xi Fa Cai! ("Happy Chinese New Year" or "Have a prosperous New Year" in Mandarin) 

Cultural festivities usually mean an influx of tourists from around the country and world will visit major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of welcoming my friend Susan and her husband, Andrew who were transiting in Malaysia before heading back to New Zealand after a 2-month trip in Uganda.

Faith Friday: On Death & Dreaming of Paradise

Friday, February 08, 2013

We granted not to any man before you permanent life (on earth): if then you should die (O Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him), would they live permanently? Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good as a trial: and to Us you will be returned.
{Surah Al-Anbiya', 21 : 34-35} [Tafseer of verses 34-35]

On a Monday less than two weeks ago we buried a family member. He was a young man; my cousin's eldest son. Although I was not very close to him the news of his sudden death shook me. "Wan Radzi's son, Wawan (his nickname)! He just passed away! Today! Asthma attack...," announced my brother incoherently.

Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.

The four-hour drive to his hometown gave me more than enough time to contemplate. Wawan's death stirred up one of those hard-hitting, awakening "that could have been me" moments. Young people die everyday and in more tragic ways, I know, but Allahyarham* (may God have mercy on him) was family and he was only a year older than I am. 26 years young and lifeless because a traffic jam prevented him from arriving the hospital on time after an asthma attack. It was no one's fault but simply God's will. Fate, as they say.

Style Sunday: Sweet Melon

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

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Okay guys, I'm well aware that it's not Sunday but that's how busy I've been.
These photos were taken on Sunday though so I'm not exactly cheating, right? ;) 

Malacca's Mystical Mosque

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm always on the road lately and one of the cities I frequently visit is Malacca or Melaka. It is a popular tourist destination due to its historical significance. One of my favourite mosques to visit over there is a mosque called Masjid Kampung Kling or Indian Village Mosque. Situated in the heart of Malacca city centre and surrounded by charming traditional buildings, this mosque is often visited by tourists from all over the world. If you ever come to Malaysia or Malacca specifically you must drop by and discover what makes this mosque special.

My Journey to Islam by Rori Kanar

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meet the woman behind the beautiful and vivacious American Muslim vlogger, Yaz the Spaz (Yasemin Kanar). This is Cuban-born and American-raised Rori Kanar a.k.a. Yaz the Spaz's mum. In this video she shares her journey to Islam with us.

I love listening to stories like this. As Muslims we often get caught up in the do's and don'ts until we forget the purpose of Islam in the first place, which is to bring peace into the hearts and minds of people. Every now and then we need to be reminded that Islam is for everyone and we need to help others find their way towards God instead of condemning them for their shortcomings or struggles.

I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about Rori Kanar as much as I did. Have a great day / night everyone! 

How to Believe in Yourself

Monday, January 14, 2013

{original image by kelly rae}

Today I read "What I Wish I Knew at 21" which was written by Oprah and I could relate to it. Self-doubt has always been something that haunts me from time to time. For a very long time I didn't believe in myself until I had no other choice. There is no way a person can move on with life and be successful in what they aim to achieve if they didn't believe in themselves and the fact that they were put on Earth for a very good reason. 

The Pens Have Been Lifted and The Pages Are Dry

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Have you ever wondered about how you got to where you are right now? Like right now. This very moment.

There are times when I wonder far ahead into the unforeseeable future and there are times when I look back into my past and reminisce. Either way, my mind will then transport me back to the present moment and I think, 

Whoa. Is this what time does to us?

Right here. 

Right now. 

Is this where I want to be? 

Is this who I want to be?


Saturday, January 05, 2013

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Assalamualaykum (Peace be upon you).

A belated happy new year to each and every one of you! I pray 2013 will be a year of peace, reconciliation and hope, inshaAllah (God willing), after what we have witnessed in our own homelands and in other parts of the world in 2012.