27 September 2011

How To Control Your Anger

"Anger begins with madness and ends with regret"

 Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R)


As we know, anger often leads us to do or say things we wouldn't in a normal situation and this can lead to irreparable damage. As Muslims we know that anger is a deception of Shaytan (Satan) and is used by him and his allies to lead mankind astray. Islam teaches us certain things that we can do in order to successfully control our anger and keep the devil at bay.

I have been reading about the steps we can take in order to conquer anger and decided to do a post condensing them into a short, readable guide. All information is from either the Quran or reliable ahadith.

If you start to feel angry about something, take a step back and do the following: 

1. Seek refuge in Allah (SWT) by saying:

"Audhu bilAllah min shur ash shaydhaan al rajeem" (I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan). This is what the Prophet (S) used to advise.

The Qur'an says: "And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Shaitan, then seek refuge in Allah, He is hearing and knowing." [7:200]

2. Change your physical position:

If you are standing, sit down (preferably on the ground, but this is obviously not always possible).

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down so his anger will go away; if it does not go away, let him lie down."

3. Don't "discuss" your disagreements when angry:

It is counter-productive. It may be difficult to hold your tongue but remember that you cannot take back a word once it has been spoken.

The Prophet (S) said: "If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent."

4. Do Wudu (ablution):

5. Remember...
...that whatever happened is because Allah (SWT) allowed for it to happen. He knows best and as He has said in the Quran, you may hate something that is good for you and love something that is harmful to you.

25 September 2011

Voting Rights For Saudi Women

King Abdullah says women will be allowed to run as candidates in municipal polls and will even have a right to vote.

Well it's a start...

23 September 2011

Brown.. Yum

I'm not usually matchy matchy when it comes to colours in an outfit but is there a finer marriage than brown and cream?!
All items in this look are under $50 each :)

22 September 2011

Reader's Look: Edibe

A fashionista from Melbourne, you may have seen her blog (Hijabi and the City) which showcases many of her wonderful looks. Here are a few of my favorites:

I cannot fault this floral skirt look - tis a dream :D

Excellent monochrome styling - liking the jacket and skirt combo.

Check out the 3 ways that she has styled this same skirt, I especially like the second look:

As an 'extra long cardigan' enthusiast, I am loving this casual, played down outfit.

Love it all! What do you think of her style? For more looks check out her blog. And if you would like to be featured, email me!

18 September 2011

Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 Review

A while back I said that I was thinking about getting the LV Damier Speedy 35 bag in the Ebene colour. I ended up buying it for my birthday in April and have just sold it on eBay. As it is such an expensive purchase I thought I would review it for anybody thinking of buying one.

Customer service:

Going into a Louis Vuitton shop always makes me feel a little unworthy, everyone else in there seems to know exactly what they are doing but I go in there and feel so out of place :/ So if you're like me, don't fret - you're not alone.

Anyway, buying a bag from there is fine, usually the sales assistant is helpful but that really depends on the shop you go to. I have heard that LV sales assistants are known to be quite mean in some stores. I bought mine from the shop on Bond Street and the SA in there was nice enough.
As far as I have heard Louis Vuitton has a very bad reputation for returning and exchanging items. All you have to do is a Google search and sites with lots of complaints about their bad service will come up.

After using my bag for two days and looking after it extremely well I noticed some damage to the leather piping, this was pretty disappointing for a bag of £455 so I took it back. I was seen by the same SA who I had bought the bag from two days before, she said that there was nothing that could be done because I must have damaged it myself - I hadn't even put the bag on the floor once. The receipt says you can return for any reason within 7 days of purchase but neither she nor her manager was having any of it.

I wasn't giving up that easily, so I tried another store in central London and told the SA there the same story. He took it straight away and said that it would be sent to Paris to "evaluate the damage". After about a week I got a call from the shop and they said that a new one was ready for me to pick up.

Be really careful when you purchase an LV bag because the level of service you get will be down to the SA that serves you. So many people have said this in Internet reviews and my story illustrates that.

Below is the exact colour and size that I got:

The bag is basically just one big space; there is a small, relatively useless pouch inside but apart from that it is quite difficult to organise or find anything in the Speedy especially the 35, which is the largest available in the Damier range and just fits A4.

Make sure that that if you do buy one you are completely sure of the size of the bag that you want because you'll find it neigh impossible to return after about a week. Looking back, I would have bought the 30 so that it looks a bit little less bulky and doesn't fit as much, so won't weigh as much. Just so you know, the numbers stand for the width of the bag in centimetres.  

If you want the Speedy because it is a classic LV look then go for it, if you want it for it's functionality and individual style, I would say you can get a much nicer bag for the same price or less.

Value for money:
These bags go up in price every year. I bought mine for £455 in April and it has now gone up to £465. I recently sold it on eBay for £405 which I think is pretty good. Some people say that the bag is not worth it because it is not made of leather, however these bags are always desirable and you would not find it difficult to sell after 2 or 3 years of usage, or even more.

I think that the Damier Ebene Speedy is better value for money, one because it looks nicer and two, because it doesn't get dirty and the leather handles don't darken over time like the Monogram bag does.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this bag if you want something practical or something that is not widely replicated. In my opinion, the only good thing about the speedy is that it is a classic style that looks good and you can also get a good chunk of your money back if you decided to sell the bag.

15 September 2011

Hijab Autumn Look

I love big slouchy knitted cardigans, they are great for Autumn weather (as long as it doesn't rain that is..).

Autumn Look by stylishmuslimah

13 September 2011

When & Why I Started Wearing Hijab

I thought that as I have posted other people's hijab stories I should write mine, as part of the hijabi beginner posts.

I think I should start with a slightly difficult confession. And that is, for the first half of the period that I owned and wrote this blog, giving people advice on how to and how not to wear their hijabs, I didn't wear it myself. I started this blog in September 2008 but did not step out of the house attired in hijab until Eid of September 2009. This post was the first that I ever wrote during which I actually wore the hijab; I remember even now how happy I felt that I could finally post about my style - before then, I would never mention my own clothing or "my hijab", I simply allowed people to assume the apparently obvious.

I would not blame you at this point for thinking that I am a hypocrite, after all why should somebody who doesn't do something themselves dish out advice to people on how to do that very same thing? Well, I will try to explain my reasoning behind the blog and to do that I will need to take you back a few years...

I grew up in a very "white" area. All of my friends, neighbours and teachers were English and I was completely closed off from Muslims for most of my life. Although growing up I never ate non-halal food and I fasted in Ramadan, I didn't give Islam much thought, I was just the normal token foreign kid who pretended to celebrate Christmas.. :(

I remember when I was 9 my dad asking me when I am going to wear the headscarf, not wanting to disappoint I said I would when I started secondary school (aged 11). This, however came and went and I was relieved that he didn't bring it up again for a while.

At 12 years old, I travelled with my family to do Umrah for the first, unforgettable time. There are two things about that trip that I cannot forget - one, the overwhelming and unexplainable feeling of fear I got the day before we headed out and two, the beautiful sense of calmness I got the very first time I set my eyes on the Ka'ba. I have been to Makkah many times since then but I have not experienced those two feelings to the extent I did the first time. It was then that my interest first grew in Islam, I remember coming back declaring that from now on I was going to pray everyday.

That lasted a week.

From then on we started going nearly every year and I loved every trip. The only thing I hated about the Umrahs was coming back, for two reasons. One, is the obvious and two, is that I hated the guilt I got when the airplane touched down in Heathrow and I would slip of my headscarf and abaya to reveal jeans and a top. Oh my dad's face..

Throughout secondary school, I never admitted that I was Muslim even though I avoided the main haram things. I didn't want people to make fun of me - I remember back then, getting called an "Arab" was considered offensive, hence I laid low.

There was one girl in the year above me who one day came in with a headscarf on. She was 14 and the only one in the entire school. It's strange but even though I am a Muslim myself, I automatically looked at her in a different way, like she was suddenly so much more "foreign" than she had been before. I avoided her.

I can't remember the exact age at which I started praying - I think it was 15 or 16. I do remember, however, that it was around this time that I started feeling very guilty about not wearing hijab. Nevertheless, I put this to the back of my mind when I met the one and only girl who wore a headscarf in my secondary school, at college. She had taken it off after two years telling me that she found it too difficult. I felt better at somebody elses short coming in something I found so difficult to do that I started college at 16 and soon became a fashion-obsessed student.

Although I didn't wear a headscarf in college, I did cover everything but my hands, face and hair. You wouldn't have caught me in shorts but you wouldn't have caught me in wide leg jeans either. I also prayed, I never admitted it though. I remember once some Indian guy in Biology started making a joke about how hilarious it would be if I "prayed on a mat". I point blank denied it.

..I went home that day and prayed.. on a mat.

In the meantime, whenever we would go to Makkah I would renew my faith in Islam and Allah (SWT). I made a pact with myself that I would wear the hijab when I started university. No ifs or buts this time: I was determined to do it.

You may ask at this point that if I wanted to wear it so badly why didn't I just go for it? The answer is, I don't know, I just couldn't. I was too scared of what people would think. Thinking back now I squirm, but I remember I was even uncomfortable going out with my own mum because of what people might say about her hijab.

Anyway, 2 years of college came and went and I decided that I wasn't ready for university yet, so I deferred my entry and worked for a year. I reasoned with myself that my pact had not taken age into consideration - I was to wear it when I went to university. After all, my dress had greatly improved, I prayed, fasted, read the Quran, increased my knowledge in Islam (and hijab) and avoided haram. I would spend another year hijab-less.

It was at the start of this gap year and during Ramadan that I started the blog. I had been making hijab outfits on Polyvore, thinking about what I would wear when I became a 'hijabi'. I started buying really modest clothing and saving them for university. I couldn't wait to be a proper hijabi. The blog started as a way to showcase my Polyvore looks, no more no less. But then I got really into it and thought why can't I give people advice? I had read and researched plenty about the hijab and I loved fashion so I didn't see why I couldn't write about it just because I didn't wear a headscarf, I figured that I adhered to hijab in other ways.

Sometimes I considered telling my readers the truth, but I thought that if I did they would stop reading and think I was a fraud, as well as this I had started getting messages from people saying that reading my blog had made it easier for them to wear the hijab so I thought why ruin it?

It's funny because during that particular Ramadan my dad told me to wear a headscarf while I was fasting. I cringed, I loathed it. I would wear it when he was there only and would take it off in the car before we even got home. I so wanted to wear it, but not on somebody elses terms and not at that time or place.

Fast forward a year and we finally moved to an area with a slightly more mixed population. It was two weeks before I started university and the end of Ramadan '09. We decided to go out for Eid and I knew we would be going to the mosque as well. At 19, I decided there and then that that was the right time. I remember my exact outfit - a cream mac, wide leg jeans and a red headscarf. I said nothing, I just went downstairs like normal. It was the weirdest, happiest feeling. I had finally done it.

Almost 2 years later and I don't regret my decision one bit. It's odd how as you get older other people's opinions of you don't matter as much - I didn't care what people thought anymore. I am glad I didn't put it on sooner and I'm glad I didn't keep putting it off either.

Perhaps I did "long it out" more than necessary but I think if I hadn't, I would have probably just taken it off after a while.

My advice to anyone thinking of hijab is don't just use either your heart or your head. Use your logic and reasoning and research to be sure in your mind that the hijab is a mandatory requirement in Islam. If after this you still really don't want to wear it, focus on your other aspects of your religion for a while (especially prayer). I'm not encouraging people not to wear it, just not to wear it and then take it off due to weak Eman or knowledge.

06 September 2011

Praying.. or not, as the case may be.

Regarding salah, I used to be quite jealous of men and considered it a huge injustice that they don't have obligatory breaks in their prayers.

But I realised recently that there is a silver lining to this cloud, and that is although mens' prayers are more constant than womens', they don't get to experience the sweetness of returning to salah - nothing beats that first prayer back :)

05 September 2011

Waterfall Cardigan & Maxi Skirt Combo

Waterfall Cardigan

In my opinion, the best cardigan for a maxi skirt is a flowy waterfall style one. Give it a try, I think you'll like it :D

02 September 2011

Oh The Irony...

I recently came across the results of a survey which found that 69% of the people asked believe that Islam encourages the oppression of women.

If there is one thing I absolutly cannot stand it is when people hold uneducated opinions - or more accuratly, guesses - about Islam.

Let's forget about opinion here and just look at the facts so that we can set the record straight. Islam brought women their rights during a time that in other countries women were being bought and sold as cattle.

We Muslim women gained ownership over our money and were able to inherit while women around the world were themselves being inherited. 

We were given the right to education and work, and the right over our husbands' to provide for us regardless of whether or not we choose to work and regardless of how and when we spend our money.

Muslim men are commanded to treat women with kindness and respect and not to take them as objects. Islam is the only religion to limit the number of wives a man can have, putting heavy conditions on the man, making it very difficult to marry more than one woman (in a time when men would marry hundreds as and when they pleased).

Unlike other religions, Muslim women could choose their husbands' and were given the right to initiate a divorce. We are not seen as commodities with an expiry date, rather have an elevated and respected status in Islam as mothers, wives and daughters and important contributors to society.

Women are NEVER degraded in the Quran and are described as equal to men. The words "male" and "female" are mentioned the same number of times in the Quran - 23 times each. The Prophet (SAW) mentioned the mother three times before mentioning the father once, when asked about the importance of parents.

Unfortunately though, in this society most people are under the impression that being "equal" to a man means being the "same" as a man. It is for this reason that if a woman doesn't work, she is considered backward, oppressed and lower than a man because she is not acting like a man.

The reality is that if women had been told to work so that the government could tax another 50% of the population instead of being told that they were being liberated, far fewer women would have jumped on the feminist bandwagon.They would have used their logic to deduce that men and women are ALREADY equal and it is totally ridiculous to gain equality with somebody simply by 'acting' like them. If I acted like my pet hamster would it make me equal to it..?
I am genuinely so very thankful that I am a Muslim woman because I do not need to prove myself to men or to "gain" equality from anybody - I already have it, in it's most perfect form from my Creator (SWT). And it was given to me 1300 years before the women who did this survey.

And there's the irony.

01 September 2011

Style Inspiration

I can't remember which site I got this photo from, but I'm liking the look:

I'm thinking if she added a jacket or cardigan to cover her waist she'd be good to go.