The journey of an enquiring mind

I have a close non-muslim friend who, for lots of different reasons, has over time become quite interested in understanding and learning more about Islam.

It started off as an interest or a hobby, researching things and then talking about them with Muslim friends, but as the days have gone on I’ve noticed her becoming more and more interested, and really liking what she is learning.

It’s been an eye-opening experience watching someone else ‘discover’ Islam. Our regular chats about religion started off being a basic QnA session with me having most of the answers, but as time wentand she continued researching, the chats changed and now she is the one teaching me!

How many of us don’t know the answers to ‘why?’ we follow certain guidelines in Islam? Or why certain rules are in place? Or why some things are forbidden? Or why some things are loved? As many of you, I was blessed to have been born in a Muslim family, so I grew up knowing and believing the pillars of Islam. A lot of what I believe in is so much a part of me, that I don’t question and understand the real reasons behind much of the wisdom of Islam any more.

Watching my friend on this path, I see her thirst for knowledge, I witness her understanding and growing love for Islam, and I’m inspired. She has inspired me to learn more about my religion, to have more answers to the ‘why’s’, and to increase the love I have for my Islam.

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. The more you learn and know about Islam, the more you will increase your love, as it is indeed the most beautiful religion. Seeking knowledge is also spoken about in the Quran and in Hadith:

Allah says: “But say: “O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge”.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever seeks a way to acquire knowledge Allah will make easy his way to Paradise.” [Sahîh Muslim (2699)]

It was also related by Anas b. Malik that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim.” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (224) and others]

I’m not sure where my friend’s journey will take her, but may Allah open her heart to Islam Inshallah, Ameen.

How to respond to common reactions/questions from non-Muslims

So.. I think almost all muslim sisters who blog about hijab have written a post on weird questions from non-muslims so I will not do the same.. I rather want to focus on how to react to one or two common questions, in a positive manner that will help in educating and inspiring the non-muslims around you.

The weeks before I started wearing hijab, I was already anticipating the questions and trying to figure out what my response would be. The obvious question: “Why are you wearing it?” I thought the answer would be just as obvious, but it is quite difficult to verbalise in a few minutes what was a journey of months or even years for some people.

So, how do you answer this question in a ‘one-liner’, as most of the time the question is not an invitation to jump into 20minutes of Da’wah! Here are some good (in my opinion) answers:

  • It makes me feel closer to my God
  • It’s a constant reminder of my Faith (I can feel it on my head all the time).
  • I do it to please my God
  • My beauty is only for my husband
  • I want people to love, respect and judge me for who I am, not for how I look
  • A lot of the key principles of my religion are based on modesty, and my Hijab is one way of being modest.

The second most common question I’m asked, which was one I was not prepared for, is: “Who is forcing you to wear it? Are you oppressed?”

For this one, I didn’t really have an answer. The first few times I just stared in shock! After that I started laughing it off and went back to my “Why are you wearing it” responses.

Now I still get those questions, but what I always try to do is to show people how much I love my hijab, by enjoying wearing it! I think this is why it is almost important for me to have fun with it, to play with colours and styles, not to be fashionable and/or attractive, but just to make people understand and believe that I am doing this out of choice, I am embracng it and I love it 100%

More interesting colour combos

Remember my coral scarf from day 1? Well this week I found a new way to wear it!

Take a look, what do you think?  These shoes were the first pair of ‘çolour’ shoes I’ve ever bought! I’ve only ever owned black, white or brown, boy have I  been missing out!

Basics: Wide leg black pants; grey viscose top

Hijab: My favourite coral floral 🙂

Accessories: Coral bracelet (The top is too busy for a necklace I think); coral shoes!

The top is longer than it looks, and the pants leg is super wide, so it is a nice modest, non-form fitting, stylish look. Both the pants and the top are very versatile, and once you get the hang of, and the confidence, to do the colour mixing you could wear this often with different colours every time; purple, yellow, red, pink all good look with this top-pants combo. You could also use this top with some cardis, but I’ll show you that another time. So far, do you like what you see? 🙂 Comments, feedback, criticisms welcome 🙂

Note: I forgot to mention that almost all my wardrobe looks are work wear; as I work in a corporate environment, I need to look quite formalish every day. Let me know if you would like me to show you some casual looks also; for me, the casual look has been really easy, it is more the work wear that has been stressing me out!

Playing with colours… I don’t have to match?!

So, this is week 4 of wearing my hijab and I’m proud to say that i’m getting  good at it 🙂 So it’s easy to put the hijab on now (I don’t prick my head anymore, and once I tie it in the morning, it stays whole day. Compared to week one when I had to re-adjust twice during the day hehe..

So of course I don’t have enough clothes to go through a month cycle, so I’ve worn most things twice or maybe thrice, but as the days go on I’ve been getting bolder with my hijab choices, and finally this week I didn’t match – twice! Hehe take a look at the pic, and you’ll see what I mean.

Week 1: I wore this dress with a black long sleeve tee underneath, black heels, black necklace, black scarf. It looked – OK.

Week 3:

Basics: Black and white dress; white long sleeve undertop

Hijab: Plain blue scarf

Accessories: Long blue bead necklace; white wedge sandals.

I’m so proud of myself! Would never have been so brave before! (Like I said I am a fashion newbie). What do you think? Can I/you pull this off?

Disclaimer: I’m too shy to take pics of myself, so I’m either taking pics of my clothes, or trying to find the best match on the net; I’m building up an online replica of my wardrobe lol.

Disclaimer 2: Sorry the pics are so fuzzy. Does anyone know how I can make better quality pics? Is there a program I can use to do this? (I’m using MS paint to copy and paste my pics)

5 tips to Muslima-fy your wardrobe

So.. you’ve made the Big Decision, you’re ready to start wearing the hijab…. but your wardrobe is not filled with modest clothes! So what do you do? Throw it all out? Go on a shopping spree to every hijabi shop you know? Visit aunts and friends in the hopes they have some hand-me-downs to get you started?

Breathe 🙂 It’s quite easy to transform your wardrobe by adapting some of the clothes you already have.

Tip #1: Stop buying any more short- sleeve / tight fitting tops and shorter length skirts

This is an easy one, all you do is stop looking at these type of clothes in the shops! Now I’m not saying you won’t be able to buy and wear these clothes anymore, but your wardrobe is probably filled with lots of these already, so try to work with those first.

Tip#2: Do some spring cleaning

Now is a great time to clean out your wardrobe. As an exercise, fit on all the shorter length skirts you have, and see if you can wear them with pants in summer or boots in winter. Also, fit on all your short-sleeve tops, and if they’re not too tight, see if they will look OK with a longer sleeve tee under, or perhaps a cardigan over. You can also wear longer length cardigans for your short tops. Anything that cannot be adapted, give away – But this should not the the majority of your wardrobe (unless you need an excuse to go shopping :))

Tip #3: Find replacements for the items you need to give away

For example, if you need to give away a shorter shirt, find a longer length, long sleeved white shirt as a replacement. Find a full length skirt to replace your 3/4 length skirt. Now is a good time to start a list

Tip #4: Create a ‘basics I need’ list

Now that you’ve gone through your wardrobe, it should be pretty easy for you to list which items you need, to transform some of your clothes. Make a list of long sleeved tshirts in the colours that you need. Black, white, beige, cream, brown are usually good to have, plus one or two colours that you already have the short sleeved tops for.

Make a similar list for cardigans. Once again, black, white, brown are good to have, but this is also where the colours can add lots of style to your wardrobe. Cardigans come in a variety of shapes and styles, so be sure to get a good mix, i.e. some longer length, some short, some thinner knits, etc. I will post some ideas for a ‘starter cardigan kit’ sometime soon.

Tip #5: The fun part, matching hijabs!

Ok, so now you’ve got your clothes list sorted, make a list of scarves/hijabs that you need! Resist the urge to buy 10 of the same kind, as the new ones come out all the time, so you don’t want to fill up your collection immediately. That said, you can actually never have too many scarves, so if you see one that you really like, and you don’t have something to match, it’s still OK to buy it 🙂

Good luck, and let me know if these tips help! And if you have any more 🙂

Mix and Match: A nice basic outfit

So… I’m not the most creative person when it comes to fashion.. and I don’t think I’m someone with a great sense of style….

…but wearing the hijab has sort of forced me to become a bit more conscious of what I’m wearing, and I’ve surprisingly been enjoying it! It’s been fun to match outfits and scarves, and bring some colour and style to what would otherwise have been a very dull wardrobe! So I am going to try and show my like-minded sisters out there how easy it is to look modest and stylish at the same time.

Also, the aim is to show you how to match your every day wardrobe, instead of showing you lots of cool new items that are out there, that you can’t afford to buy! So I’ll find pics of clothes very similar to mine, and then I will show you how to wear the same items lots of different ways 🙂

So this ensemble is a good stable in my work wardrobe.. before my hijab, I would’ve worn this without the belt and with black shoes, but I think the tan takes this outfit from ordinary to stylish! OK, so maybe my style realisations are a bit basic lol, but there must be sisters like me out there 🙂

Basics: Grey pants; Longer length White shirt; Tan peep toe heels

Hijab: Brown floral scarf

Accesories: Tan skinny belt; Tan bag

A bit about me

Ok, so I’m going keep this short 🙂

I’m 27, married to a wonderful man for two years now alhamdulillah, and live in Cape Town, South Africa. Allah has not blessed me with any children yet, but Inshallah when the time is right.

I was born in a Muslim family, though my parents were not very strict or religious so the hijab was never something that was forced or even encouraged. I’ve been surrounded by friends and family who wear the hijab for years now, but never felt the need to wear one until about a year ago.

I took nearly an entire year from deciding to wear it to actually wearing it! I spent a lot of time thinking,reflecting, reading about it, praying about it, practicing hijab styles I was comfortable with,muslimifying my wardrobe.

1 Jan 2012 was the date I set for myself , and I met it alhamdulillah! After 5 years of wearing 3/4 skirts, short sleeve tops n loose hair to work,I finally made the jump!
Had lots of questions and looks the first few days, but I was prepared 🙂

So far so good, 3 weeks and counting 🙂 I will blog sometime soon and give you all some tips of how to prepare for the transformation.

Ok so it was a longer blog than anticipated. Last time I promise!

PS. Any thoughts, suggestions, criticims, questions appreciated and welcome. Please email me. 🙂