Monday, 28 October 2013

Get Real | Speaking without thought

Asalaamualaikum Everyone! This is a tiny look post (coz I'm not sure what pics to put up with this post) with some hopefully thought provoking content! As you all know in these recent days it’s been and will be the return of the Hujaj and I am sure that many of you have been or will be visiting these blessed Hujaj. On my visit, this past week, an aunt mentioned to one of the girls that her scarf was not appropriate hijab wear. That ignited a conversation about these type of comments between us.

Knowingly or unknowingly, these remarks can hinder or deter someone from trying to wear hijab, especially for someone living in what is deemed as a western country. People should understand that hijab is a personal journey, as I have made mention in my Look Post | Boy/Girl Turbanation.

Further more, I came across a status on Lisa Vogl’s page recently regarding a revert who had been Muslim for only 7 days, attending her first Jumuah in the masjid. It happened that another muslimah condemned her regarding the manner in which she performed her salah. Needless to say, the poor girl never returned to the masjid. Lisa made a very valid point in saying, that Muslims should be more helpful to new reverts so as not to discourage them.

This nagging issue, came up again when I read Baked the Blogs, Talk | My Acne Story post on her blog. She mentioned that someone put up a status on facebook with regards, to her Talk | Flaws and All post that, he/she found it fake when a blogger who seemed extremely happy with her image, flaunted her beauty, always wore skimpy outfits and lots of make-up, could blog about insecurities. This then made me realize that I have come across many similar comments about other hijabi bloggers, may it be their skinny jeans, open necks or arms, make up and even eyebrows!

It made me realize that people have become more and more brazen to speak their mind and all this prompted me to write this post. A person making a comment may not mean to intend harm but nonetheless it may come across as judgmental. It is true though that Islamically when we see something wrong we should educate to rectify, yet we should not publicly force this. It should be done in an amicable and above all friendly and private manner.

Why do people feel the incessant need to voice their thoughts? The fact is that it is human nature to judge, but what is it that makes most people think that their own houses are not made of glass?

As Lisa said in her status these judgments can push born muslims and converts away from Islam rather than help to push them towards the right path. It therefore disguises the fact that Islam is a beautiful religion. However, it is not Islam that falters, but us Muslims who should not make a mockery out of our deen by acting too carelessly. We are suppose to, after all follow the most perfect example, of our Beloved Nabi Rasool in his acts of kindness and reservation.

Think about this, someone that may not wear hijab the proper way may have the purest of hearts and be closest to Allah the Almighty. No one knows what a person holds within. We, as muslims are constantly criticized just for being muslim from people of all faiths. Why do we then make it even harder by internally criticizing our own?

It is also true that in Islam the different madhhabs have slightly different views on certain topics, for example, Shafii’s feet forms part of their awrah and hanafi’s it does not. This makes it obvious that we should ensure that we are properly educated ourselves before we even think to pass comments on others. However, in the instance that we are properly knowledgeable and feel the need to correct someone, it is of paramount importance that we should take the person aside and explain the grievance in the kindest way. I play not innocent, as I myself have been caught judging from time to time. As I am sure we all have at some point.

I personally feel though, that it is of vital importance we put an end to this denigration. We all should stop feel mightier than thou and realize that if we put an ounce of effort into helping people rather that criticizing, the world would be a better place for it.

We are lucky enough however, to have those few that are there to help. Those that won’t be telling you that your hair is sticking out, in any malicious way. People like Lisa and Monika and Nashiha of the HijabiBengali sisters who, after the incident with the new revert decided to start a page called the Deen Team in which they aim to assist reverts along their journey.

It is only this way can we start to change and heal, and instead of push away, positively affect people. Who does not want to be able to encourage their fellow brothers and sisters and know that they have somehow contributed them to finding the right way? I know this is not the type of things I usually blog about but I think its important to get real every now and again. I’d like to end this of by asking, how many of us are guilty of disparaging a person when on hindsight we could have found a better alternative and by doing so become better people ourselves?

Soon to come to the blog, local inspiration and a husband post! Until then keep it you, and keep it modest. Much love!


Madhhabs - Religious jurisprudence
Awrah - Intimate parts

Friday, 25 October 2013

Attendance | East West Designs

Asalaamualaikum people! As I wrote that and it dawned on me that that is how I should be beginning each post. With the wish of peace be upon you! How beautiful! Anyway before I get way off track here, I have been meaning to write this post for some time. It somehow just got away from me. I do apologise.

So, I managed to attend the East West Designz first ever fashion show on sunday the 5 October, after I thought I would not be able to make it. It was held at the High Grove coffee shop in Lansdowne and man! was it a fashion show. It's hard to believe that it was their first ever fashion show, because it was so well organised and the turn out was great.

East West Designs is a fashion label that aims to bring clothes that are comfortable yet stylish. A clothing label with an edge of east combined with western trends. The clothes to me, seem to transcend most shapes, sizes and even ages. What looked to me very hip and trendy for the younger person seemed to also be so well put together on an older lady. Before the fashion show I already owned a pair of East West Designz pants which I love, but I was honestly even more impressed come fashion show day.

The show kicked off with some Eastern funky music, and as the room filled the atmosphere was tangible. You could tell from the faces of the crowd that they appreciated the display. During the interval the attendees were treated to snacks and drinks. Ooooh and red velvet cake to die for! I am a red velvet cake freak and it was truly one of the best I've had! Guests could shop as well, not only from East West Designz clothes and Rebel Funk accessories but also from Shezen and GHD.

I also helped to style some of the scarves but was there as Chroma Creative Designs (my photography and design business) capacity more than a memrsme capacity. I was hired to shoot the event, so I truly saw it from both perspectives. Well done to the team at East West Deigns it was truly a great way to spend two hours on a sunday afternoon!

 For more pictures visit their website at www. or facebook page. Until the next post, keep it you and keep it covered. Much Love!


Monday, 21 October 2013

Look Post | Eid Ul Adhaa

Hey Lovelies! Eid Mubarak again to you all. Just a quick look post to show what I wore Eid day. I wore an old dress in the morning as opposed to the norm of an Abaya. Truth be told I didn't go out to buy an outfit for this Eid. It somehow seemed to be that crunch time of the month and new outfits are clearly not the way to be spending money in these times. I was however lucky that I had these items in my closet that I had not worn before so it ended up being a new outfit anyway - Lucky me! I apologise for just the one picture of each outfit as you all know Eid day is a rush and this is all I had time for.

Dress: Marion and Linde (old, Still love though!!)
Shoes: Zando: Lynx
Blazer: Mr Price

Scarf Styling: memrsme
Accessories: Rebel Funk

I hope you guys enjoyed the Interview with Chelsey Hijab Love which you can read here if you missed it, and I am very excited to be sharing the next interview with you, that I may just post it up ahead of schedule. My next post will however be a bit more of a 'serious' topic, an issue that has been  cropping up quite often to me lately - Judging! Until then, much love you guys!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Interview | Chelsey Hijab Love

Hey lovelies! So after the most awe inspiring interview with Lisa Vogl which you can read here, it sparked the idea to do a series of these type of interviews to further inspire people. I must admit that I'm barely into it, but it has thus far been an amazing journey reaching out to people to share their hijab experiences with me and my readers. Here is our second international interview on Islam and Hijab. Chelsey from her Youtube channel Chelsey Hijab Love, is an American revert. She is a Vlogger and has posted videos about her journey to islam and hijab on youtube. She often also makes her own clothes and puts up some very interesting Tutorials. Here is my little chat with her.

1.     Hi Chelsey, could you tell us a bit about yourself for those of us that don’t know?

Well my name is Chelsey. I am 26 years old. I was born and raised in Forida, USA.
2.     Where you very religious growing up?

I grew up in a loving family who wasn't very religious. We celebrated all the Christian holidays, but we weren’t a family that attended church, nor was I taught too much about God. But my family was fun and loving. Typical American family, I'd say. I grew up by the beach, with bikinis and flip-flops being an average weekend get up. I grew up very open-minded and free spirited about life. 
3.     What influenced you to find Islam?

I began to look into Christianity when I was 11, than again around 15 or 16. I will sum it up... I simply lacked faith and found myself questioning so many aspects of Christianity. Around this time I began modeling and competing in USA Beauty Pageants. I loved it! I did that until I got married to my long time boyfriend at 18 years old. We began dating in 2001. He entered the United States Marine Corp in my senior year of high school. He wanted to make a better life for us. Later that year in 2005 we got married and I moved to California. Not only was I away from my family but, he was soon shipped out to war the following year. He was then deployed 3 times throughout our six year marriage. This unfortunately brought us apart. 
In 2011 I began realizing my life wasn't heading in a direction I liked. I also sought out God, but never felt connected to any faith. I had considered myself Atheist for most of my life and thought of religion as kind of a joke. Realizing I never researched Islam properly, and having had some Muslim friends I decided to dive in. At this time my marriage was going down the drain and we couldn't hold on any longer. We ended up parting after almost 12 years together. Although it was the hardest thing I had to ever do, I knew in my heart Allah swt had other plans for me. I soon decided to convert.

4.     Wow, what then made you start Vlogging?

Soon after I got involved with my now husband. Allah swt blessed me with love again, when I needed it most. We were engaged for a while, me having just got out of a marriage, I didn't want to rush anything. Around then I started wearing hijab and began my YouTube channel. I wanted to do beauty videos, but soon realized their wasn’t many converts speaking about their journey to Islam, thoughts, struggles etc. I began using this as my main topics. I’ve made some friends and inshAllah has helped a few girls along the way. 
This past April, my husband and I decided to make it official. We got married in the Mosque; very simply. Then not too long after getting married were we blessed with a positive pregnancy test. We couldn't feel more blessed to have a little boy on the way. So, I continue my channel with Pregnancy Vlogs, sewing vlogs, life topics and I have gotten back into some beauty videos, since my education is in Cosmetology. I'm working on being my own boss inshAllah. I'd really love to create a modest fashion line. It’s slightly been in the making for a while. When Allah wills, it will all come together.

5.     There is a common fear amongst some non-Muslims that Islam is the religion of a group of extremist. What light can you shed on this about Islam to non-Muslims?

It simply comes down to ignorance. I find that many people fall into manipulation and education from the wrong sources. Non Muslims see war and corruption from Muslims and Muslim countries, but fail to notice the corruption around them. They point fingers at whole groups, instead of individuals. Most people grab hold of negativity, stereotypes and one sided information and run with it, as if they've mastered in Political Science. I would kindly suggest that if one wants to truly know what Islam is and who muslims are, as a majority and not the minority, they should visit a Mosque or seek a Muslim for information and stop relying on networks whose entire agenda lies around the destruction of Muslims and Islam as a whole.

6.     What where your thoughts on the hijab prior to reverting and after how long did you start to wear hijab?

I started researching hijab prior to my converting because I knew it was something I might have to do if I made the choice to convert. I began watching hijab tutorials and researching hijab fashion. Although were not supposed to wear hijab for the beauty of it or fashion, I came from that lifestyle, so ultimately there had to be an appeal for me to jump-start my desire to wear it. After seeing how beautiful it could be I thought, "I could wear this, but maybe later on in my life." I was a model, a hairstylist; I wasn't ready for all that just yet. As my faith grew and my desire to not be seen as a sexual object anymore increased, I saw not only the beauty of in fashion, but I saw the true beauty of it in faith. A year after I converted in August 2012 I put it on, and although I'm not perfect, I haven't removed it alhumdulAllah. I now feel naked without it.
7.     How has wearing the hijab made you feel?

I've always considered myself a bit of a feminist,  and unlike most who feel its liberating to reveal their bodies (which I did at one point) I know feel this liberation within myself to control how others perceive me. I focused so much on my outer beauty growing up, having been judged for it...literally. I started to see how men looked at me, how I'd always been known for my hair or my body, and thought "What the heck kinda feminists am I?!" I fell in love with a great man, whom I wanted to show my beauty to and him alone. I started to see the world differently, our priorities as women as humans. My opinions on hijab may be liberal at times, but I am also very dedicated to my decision. Its apart of who I am now.

8.     How has your family reacted to you reverting and wearing hijab? 

Well my father and I have always been very connected on the same mindset of religion, so when he found out I was looking into Islam he kinda thought I was silly. My mom of course being very open minded, still found herself only understanding what she had seen and heard of Islam and Muslims from the news and papers. She was more or less very frightened for me. When I began wearing the hijab it was just too much for them. My father got used to it a bit faster than my mom, as she still doesn't get it, but they both stay very supportive of my change and choice now. My parents see me happy and responsible, they have also been able to learn a lot about the misconceptions, and have opened their minds a bit more. AlhumdulAllah they love me so much and just want to see me happy.

9.     What were the challenges that you faced in wearing hijab in a Western Society?

I didn't really find too many challenges really. I've always been a self thinker, and continue to be confident in my choices and who I am. I never really cared too much about others judgment, opinions or stares so my only challenge would be getting used to the lifestyle change. I grew up by the beach wearing skirts and bikinis, swimming with my family in pools. I've missed laying out by the pool and absorbing the sun, but hey I guess its a skin cancer preventative. I also miss my hair being out at times, being a Cosmetologist, I love hair, especially my own. I've come to truly understand and except my choice though and wouldn't change it.
10.  In most western societies Hijab is seen as oppressive toward women, what can you say against this common thought and what in your opinion are the advantages of wearing the Hijab?
Oppression is truly perceptive. What one society or culture finds to be oppressive cannot always be related to that of another’s. In the west we know to be beautiful, live life up, work in the fast lane, and whatever you can do, I can do better. This is no difference whether you’re a male or female. Women here forget how long it took for us to receive certain rights we do now. We feel that earning our own money, being a businesswoman and making choices for ourselves as individuals make us liberated, but I can say the same for women around the world. Muslim women, for the most part, decide to wear the hijab for one reason or another, but not because it oppresses them, but liberate them in one way or another. For me, I feel liberated from this sexual identity I've been characterized into. I feel liberated to have a choice of how people perceive me, not for my long legs or size of my chest, but for my character, my thoughts. Of course a beautiful women is a beautiful women regardless, and of course dressing modestly could prevent many unwanted stares, but for me veiling myself as Allah has requested gives me that extra something that allows me to feel just a little bit stronger in my independence of making my own choices, for what's best for myself.

11.  How has your dress sense evolved since wearing hijab and how would you describe your fashion sense?
Well being a curvy girl that modeled, it felt more attractive to be in more form fitting attire. Also living in Florida shorts and sundresses were a must. I also kinda grew up with the idea of "if you got It, flaunt it.". (Giggles) .Of course in a classy way. I was the high heel, short shorts wearing, red lips, Miami/Florida girl type. (Not sure how to sum that up.) Some used to say I was Barbie-ish minus all the fakeness (chuckles). Now I find myself being more bohemian, but still liking my black leather jacket and Ray Bans. I wear flats much more and oversized shirts are my best friend. I don’t know if I can really sum up my style. If one were to look on my instagram they would see I'm all over the place. I try to still stay true to myself, but a more modest version.
12.  What type of hijab style is your everyday and what is your favorite?

Again my style is really all over the place. I love turkish style but I don't find it universal with all outfits. I loved turbans for a while, but now just get annoyed with finding a way to cover my neck. I've fell in love with maxi hijabs. So that's kinda my go to. The way I wrap it really varies on the outfit though.

13.  Who and What inspires you in terms of hijab and modest fashion?

Hmm difficult question. I find myself really enjoying my individualism. I wouldn't say I'm inspired by anyone in the terms of style. I like what I like, and anyone, or anything can inspire at some time or another.

14.  Do you have any style tips to share with memrsme readers?

Be yourself. Find what works for you and work it. Some girls look beautiful in flowing maxi dresses, and others rock out kicks and oversized tees. Don’t feel like you have to put yourself in any category and try new things.

15.  I know that you make your own clothes tell us what inspires you in this regard and who is your favorite clothing designer?

I just love to create. I really find joy in making things. I've always found myself to be more on the creative side, but inspiration is one thing that makes it difficult for me, as I believe it to be with many artist or creative minds. With clothes, I love fabric. I have to see it and feel it, and than I find myself thinking about what I can make from it. I also find inspiration and other garments, but recreating them to be modest. My sewing skills lack a bit, as I haven’t been sewing for long. I'm still learning and gaining education on how to make certain things, so I haven't been able to conquer certain designs I have drawn down. I know this might be strange, but regardless of all the things I've been into...modeling, cosmetology, art, make up, fashion design...I've never studied ones art enough to have favorites or people that inspire me. I guess I never want to feel like someone else's work turns into my work. I like to be free thinking and open. I unfortunately don't have a favorite designer.

16.  What advice can you give to Muslim women who are afraid or feel that they are not yet ready to wear hijab?

First we have to be educated properly on our faith. We need to know what hijab is, not just as a scarf around our hair, but our dress, our character and the modesty that starts from within first. So many girls get wrapped up in covering their hair, they forget to be nice or compassionate. Also many girls who think about wearing the hijab become nervous that they can't, or they have to live up to some unachievable idea of what hijab is or entitles. No one is perfect, by far, but any step we can take towards that perfection is a step in the right direction. Don’t wear it because of make up or friends or vain images of not being beautiful anymore. Wear it because it males you happy, wear it because Allah has requested us to. Everything else will come in time.

I am so excited to be able to bring these interviews to you. I have another two great interviews lined up that that I'm sure will just add onto the inspiration train I am on and In Sha Allah more will come. A bit of exciting local inspiration as well. I thank all of you, that have taken the time out to do this with me in your busy schedules, May the Almighty reward all your efforts to help me and in turn inspire others and spread the Deen!

Much Love!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Hijab Tutorial 1

Hi Everyone! So after much deliberation and possible self doubt, I have finally put up my first Hijab tutorial. It has probably been done by many, though I must admit that I did figure it out myself.

It has taken me literally months to finally build up the courage to do one. Picture tutorials has also seemed like the way to go for me, since I seem to be camera shy in the video department! I was just not sure how to get it out there until Minimal Exposure put up a Tutorial on her blog. She helped tremendously by making me realise it could simply be done as a blog post.

Big ups to Fashion Breed who also put up a great turban tutorial recently on her blog via youtube. I do have a youtube channel that I started way back when and even filmed my first video tutorial after being asked numerous times to do so. I have even been stopped a few times while out shopping and also when I have been out with the kids in the park. It finally hit me that maybe I must do a tutorial after that one time when I was out shopping and was literally stopped by a few fellow shoppers asking how I did my scarf. I ended up trying to demonstrate while they all watched. The video I made after that, is still on my phone today, and my kids have a fun time watching and imitating me! Yikes!!

There are so many amazing people out there doing turban and hijab tutorials that I don't also want to be repeating what's already been done. And since seeing that so many people have been requesting and even knocking on my door asking me to style their hijab, it seems easier to maybe do a few tutorials now and then. I also don't want to let people down, which I may have been doing in trying to build the courage to put a video up. Anyway enough chit chat.

Place scarf on head while having one side longer than the other
Tie securely at the back of head
Take shorter the side and it can eather be spread over the head or twisted
Tuck in or use a pin to secure down
Take the longer side and wrap around loosely
Tuck in dangling piece. A pin can be placed on top to secure
Or you can leave it dangling for a loose effect. Another way is to not place the longer part over the head but wrap around the neck and secure with a pin at the base of the neck!
I hope you enjoy the tutorial Sumaya Seedat, and I hope that it's not too difficult. Any tips in how I could make these better or easier would be appreciated! Much love you guys!


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Attendance | Europa Design Emporium

Hey dolls, so it’s been a jam-packed weekend of fashion extravaganza. Since I could not make it to fashion week Autumn Winter taking place in Johannesburg, it seemed fitting to attend our own, what I would call, Cape Town Muslimah Fashion Week or weeks, as it may seem.

Since I first attended the An Nur’s Fashion show, there has been fashion show, after fashion show, I assume in time for Eid. Some, which I was able to attend, others I could not. This past Saturday, I attended the Khanizeni Travel and Tourz Launch at which Europa Design Emporium did a small Fashion show for their Cape Style segment

It was a very ‘to do’ affair despite it seeming empty. I must admit that I don’t think that the Tourism Company may have advertised it well enough because it was definitely a fashion show that should not have been missed. I feel that the vibe would have been amplified if the attendance was what it should have been.

Despite this, the Europa Design Emporium Team is a wonderful bunch of fun loving, quirky women. They are a group of four sisters including their mom, which decided that working together could produce something wonderful. The team, with each of their individuality adds that special touch to each design. In turn each garment is rendered with a special touch of that individuality.

They strive to create to sophisticated clothing that appeals to the young individual whose lifestyle is both modern, modest and is inspired by a high quality of living. Their brand aims to be creative, inventive, vibrant and full of life. I was asked to turban style for this event and this gave me the opportunity to see the behind the scenes action, and since spending some time with the team I believe there mission statement to be true to its word!

The clothes are sassy and have a wonderful flow to each item, well designed and sewed, modest and definitely fashionable.  Being a team that knows it takes much to start a dream, they feel the need to empower more young designers and therefore at this show they brought along, 16-year-old designer Thameeena Abrahams to showcase a few of her items. I love her dresses with lace detail that has that vintage inspired, Great Gatsby feel to it. She is definitely one to look out for.

 Thameena's Designs

Until the next attendance post, interviews, requested tutorials and possible look posts, keep it you and keep it modest!