Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahimi,
DALLAS, TX- June 23rd, 2017. It's the official launch date for Halal Comfort Food: The New Muslim’s Guide to Going Halal. Download a free eBook of our cookbook here. Eid Mubarak to you and yours! May Allah accept from you and from us, ameen.
The direct link to the book is https://www.amazon.com/Halal-Comfort-Food-Muslims-Guide-ebook/dp/B072S4RC19
– If you live in a country or zone where the title is not available, please change your address to a USA address and your country to USA. Then, you can download the story. When you are done, you can change your address back to your actual address.
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The DKP Team
DALLAS, Tx- June 2017, DJARABI KITABS PUBLISHING is honored to release former 2014's eBook version of Halal Comfort Food: The New Muslim's Guide to Going Halal by M.K. Johnston in print. Masha'Allah.
"...following a halal diet seems pretty simple when you look at the guidelines in the Quran. But due to the way foods are processed in modern times, those few simple guidelines can become much more complex when put into practice. To further complicate things, there are a multitude of differing opinions on what is and isn’t halal, depending on what school of thought you belong to. Being a revert to Islam, and not having been raised in a particular school of thought and taught to think and act Islamically, one can feel pretty torn hearing and reading so many different opinions on what is and is not the correct way to eat/dress/think/pray/etc!" says M.K.Johnston.
About 116 pages, in Halal Comfort Food: The New Muslim's Guide to Going Halal, you will find a wide variety of halal recipes, including old favorites from American cuisine with halal make-overs, plus some “new” favorites to add to your repertoire from the Muslim world.
Some of the recipes you will find include:
*Halal Breakfast Sausage
*Lasagna with Halal Italian Sausage
*Baked Mac & Cheese
*Biscuits & Gravy
*Red Beans & Rice
*Halal Marshmallow Treats
*Chocolate Chip Cookies
*and much, much more!
Check out Mindy in the video link below with artist Rashidah Mendez:
Video Link: https://youtu.be/UZkNCu3Q_yE
About M.K. Johnston:
M.K. Johnston is an American-born revert to Islam. She has a B.A. in Studies in Women and Gender from the University of Virginia. Although her career path has led her in many directions: from working as a prison guard, to counseling survivors of domestic abuse, to working with special needs children, to becoming a seller on eBay; M.K. has always had a deep and abiding love for two things: cooking and writing. After spending most of her spare time on one or the other interest, she eventually realized that she should combine her two loves and simply write about cooking. M.K. is the author of Halal Comfort Food: The New Muslim’s Guide to Going Halal, and is currently testing out new recipes for her next cookbook. M.K. lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, who are generally pretty happy to test out her culinary creations for her, and never seem to mind giving their honest opinions about them.
Coloring has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and foster creativity. Theresa Corbin's upcoming improved coloring book does just that. It also a great dawah effort. Duas requested so that we get it out to you by Eid.
Founder & President of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
NEW YORK – With the month of Ramadan quickly approaching, Muslims around the world prepare for a month of spiritual cleansing and self-reflection. The month offers opportunities to reinvigorate one’s relationship with the creator, bolster faith, and interact with family, friends, and community.
In addition to spiritual inspiration and communal unity, Ramadan is a time when Muslim kitchens buzz with preparing essential suhoor (pre-fast) and iftar (break-fast) meals.
Many cooks responsible for feeding fasting Muslims revel in the blessings that come with their efforts and decide on traditional meals as wells as search for new ones to that will satisfy.
In anticipation of Ramadan, author Mindy Johnston graciously shared recipes from her cookbook Halal Comfort Food: The New Muslim’s Guide to Going Halal, soon to be released in print by Djarabi Kitabs Publishing.
Johnston is a revert motivated by challenges she experienced when trying to at halal meals after her conversion to Islam.
According to a Pew Research study, 23 per cent of American Muslims converted to the faith. In addition to learning a new way of worship, converts must also adjust many of their eating habits, and find alternatives can be daunting.
Johnston’s book offers some assistance in making a faith-inspired culinary transition.
Johnston’s recipes include a new take on a suhoor staple, an Italian delight for iftar and a scrumptious dessert.
Ful Medames (Rebooted!)
Ful Medames is a delicious and flavorful spread made of fava beans that is commonly eaten for breakfast in Egypt. Serve with warm pita bread.
- 2 cans small fava beans
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 Tbs tahini
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Extra olive oil, diced tomato, and diced onion for garnish
Place the fava beans, with liquid into a medium sized sauce pan. Cover the pan and place on the stove over medium heat until the beans are heated through. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, cumin, salt, pepper flakes, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
Drain the beans, and pour the dressing into the pan. Mash the beans and dressing together with a potato masher. Alternately you may also process the beans in a food processer for a smoother consistency.
Once mashed, spoon the mixture into a medium sized serving bowl and smooth out the top. Using the back of a spoon, create a ridge around the sides of the beans, then create a shallow well in the center. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top, then garnish with the diced tomato and onion. If desired, you may add additional garnishes such as chopped fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of sumac or smoked paprika.
Lasagna with Homemade Italian Sausage
Homemade Italian sausage, freshly made sauce and lots of ooey, gooey cheese…what could be better? If you’re in a rush though, feel free to substitute the sauce with a commercially available jarred sauce.
- 1 pound halal ground lamb or ground beef
- 1 ½ tsp dried anise
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ – ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- 3 Tbsp. ice water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- Dash nutmeg
- 1 lb lasagna noodles, prepared according to the directions on the package
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Nonstick spray
To prepare the sausage, add all of the spices into a medium-sized bowl and mix together with the ice water. Add in the ground lamb or beef and mix with your hands for 2-3 minutes to ensure that all of the seasoning is fully incorporated into the meat.
It is best to make this as far in advance as possible to allow the flavor to develop. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for an hour or two, or even overnight if possible. You can also make the sausage well in advance and freeze it for up to 3 months.
To prepare the sauce, brown the sausage in a large pot, then drain off the grease. Add 2 Tbs olive oil to the pot and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for about 3-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute longer. Add in the whole tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands, and the tomato sauce. Stir in the Italian seasoning, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
To prepare the filling, thoroughly mix together the cottage cheese, ricotta, eggs, salt, Italian seasoning and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
To prepare the lasagna, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a deep 9”x13” pan with nonstick spray. Spread ¼ of the sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan. Layer ¼ of the lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread another ¼ of the sauce over the noodles. Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread all of the filling evenly over the noodles, then top with another layer of noodles. Spread ¼ of the sauce over the noodles. Top with the remaining noodles. Top the noodles with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the top. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit over the top of the dish and spay one side with nonstick spray. Place the foil, sprayed side down, over the dish and secure (this will help prevent the cheese from sticking when removed). Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour, removing the foil during the last 15 minutes to allow the cheese to brown.
This traditional sweet is quick and easy to whip up as the perfect ending to any iftar. It is an especially good accompaniment to hot tea or coffee.
- 1 ½ cups semolina
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
- 1/3 cup raw or blanched almonds
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 Tbs rose water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8” square baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the semolina, flour, coconut, sugar, baking soda, and melted butter until the butter is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture resembles damp sand. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla. You will be left with a very thick batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and press the mixture down with your hands. Using a damp knife, cut the mixture into serving-size squares. Press an almond into the top of each piece. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until browned.
While the basbousa is baking, prepare the syrup: Mix together all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove the basbousa from the oven and re-cut the slices. Immediately pour the hot syrup evenly over the top of the cake. Place on a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Originally appeared at AboutIslam here.
Author: Sahar Abdulaziz
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Fiction,
Content/Theme(s): Socio-Political Thriller
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
Content warning: Race discussions, Islamophobia, and xenophobia
In a socially and politically divided country after the presidential election, activist and American Muslim Nour Ibrahim prepares to deliver a speech at an anti-hate rally condemning the surge of attacks against people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else deemed different or disposable. As her inbox overflows with racist, xenophobic threats, she struggles to remain focused, refusing to give in to the fear. Concerns for her safety during the speech mount as one ruthless stalker escalates his terror campaign. Bitter and blinded by hate, he’s not satisfied with merely keeping Nour from speaking out: he threatens to silence her for good.
Stressed by the impending rally, a stabbing pain in her gut, and an Internet psycho who has her in his crosshairs, Nour begins to wonder—which one will kill her first?
Will be available on Amazon and Fofky’s Online Book Café
When two people marry each other, it is usually expected to last a life time and as a couple they work together in the good and the bad to prosper this relationship. However not every marriage lasts forever and many times couple part ways. Marriage and divorce are two realities of life. In Muslim communities across the globe, the issue of divorce is quite a stigma and cause of human rights abuses.
In particularly, Muslim women seeking divorce and Khulla (separation) from their spouses face a combination of both societal prejudice and legal issues. Islam teaches Muslims to not opt the way of divorce and work to rebuild the relation between husband and wife. But let me make it clear that Islam doesn’t expect Muslims to put up with any form of violence and abuse within marriages. For this, you should stay tuned for part two of this collab by my fantastic coauthor Papatia.
Subsequently, according to Islamic teachings, the rights for marriage and divorce are the same for both Muslim men and women alike. And in this feature, I will highlight how Islamic communities discriminate and abuse married Muslim women on matters of divorce.
Trend Number 1 is where the infamous and so-called triple talaq or instant divorce threat is quite a commonality among Muslim communities. This blatant misuse of power by which “I divorce thee” is the trump card Muslim men resort to break off marriages instantaneously. Where this trend takes place? It is commonly observed in the different countries of South and East Asia and practiced among British communities of South Asians origins. What happens during triple divorce? When wives do not comply Muslim husbands get rid of them instantly, such women have no claim to alimony though they can collect a small payment for three months after divorce. It is important to let you in on the fact that such sort of triple talaq is not sanctioned in the Quran and Hadith. But men will be men and continue to distort religion to their purpose.
The mere fact is that in almost every Muslim culture, women who are wives and mothers are “self-sacrificing figures, always ready to tolerate their husbands’ mistakes, which can amount to infidelity at times.” And in such societies, men and in-laws are quite okay with getting rid of wives by instant divorce through phone, registered letter and in recent years, via Facebook, skype, whatsapp and yahoo messenger. So easy to be born as a Muslim penis and act like a jerk about it, sighs!
Today, the menace of instant divorce has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh but widespread practice continues. Whereas in India and Sri Lanka, this practice is allowed as these State protect religious laws governing Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities’. South Asian feminists and gender advocates continue to fight for abolishing this discriminatory practice. And many women are fed up with what they say is an archaic and patriarchal rule that too often leaves them destitute.
Trend Number 2 is where married women are discriminated against seeking dissolution of their marriage from abusive husbands and in-laws. Most of the times, the girls’ parents out rightly reject helping the married daughters using patriarchal traditions and religion based pressures. Muslim women who have run away from abusive marriages get disowned and killed in many Islamic countries. Any given time, a woman request for arbitration on divorce, these societies see red.
In Pakistan, we cannot forget the killing of Saima Sarwar in broad day light for running away from a bad marriage and seeking divorce to remarry. Her case is cited here, and serves as a chilling reminder that Islamic countries continue to practice anti women traditions and discriminatory laws that hinder Muslim women from getting a divorce.
It is “extremely difficult” for a woman to ask for her right to divorce, not only because Pakistan is “a male-oriented and male-dominated society,” but also because the woman is “psychologically debarred from having access” to the laws governing her right to divorce. But in the case of divorce through khula, the main difficulty would be the attack on her moral character that would come under a cross-examining lawyer’s questions.
For instance, Ameera wanted a divorce because her husband had married again without seeking her consent.
He was also regularly watching porn and then raping her.
He had also given Ameera sexually transmitted infections.
When she contacted the Shariah Council for a divorce, they pressured Ameera into mediation, which she did not want. When she visited the Sharia Council, she was asked very personal questions about her sex life by clerics.
Despite her testimony of rape, Ameera was told that polygamy was allowed and the cleric said, ‘Be patient, you have lasted 22 years, why do you want a divorce now?’
This was the extent of her harrowing mediation.
Finally, Ameera went to another Shariah Council without any help from her family and obtained her divorce.
Trend Number 3 is where Muslim communities discriminate and alienate divorced women and their children, in particularly shaming and name calling brave women who opted out of a bad marriage. Such strong women are viewed with much disdain and mistreated in various ways; their children also pay the price of being told that their mother was in the wrong and assassinate her character.
Women are often blamed for the marriage breakdown and are made to feel guilty for wanting a divorce. Such attitudes have been documented by Moroccan filmmaker, Karima Zoubir whose film “Camera/Women” showcases many harsh stories of separated and divorced women battling the societal stigma. One woman notes, that to be a divorced woman is analogous to prostitute in Moroccan culture while other remarks on the irony that for many women in Islamic Moroccan culture, the wedding is the climax, but they both cynically recognize that the wedding was the beginning of their troubles.
“Very often, Muslims behave in ways very far and contrary to Islamic teachings, during divorce matters. My father never came back to see our face after my parents got divorced, it’s because am a girl. He kept my brother because had no use of a daughter. I live each day with this humiliation and observe how people take shots at my mother,” says Najla*. No amount of pressure and cajoling worked on Najla’s mother because she refused to be mistreated and abused by her husband. In her case, her mother recognized her rights better and being a laureate in commerce with a stable job have ensured that today mother and daughter to lead their lives away from domination and abuse.
Najla muses, on the days when she suffered peer pressure and taunts at school and among friends. Because after all a woman divorces she and her children become public property on which any one can take cheap shots. She refuses to hide in a corner with her head down just because her mother is a divorcee and is the first person to retaliate on people commenting against her hard-working mother.
It’s time that as an Ummah we correct these wrong doings and practices that have nothing to do with Islam and work on improving as Islamic societies where both men and women can enjoy equal rights as sanctioned by Allah The Most Merciful.
Stay tuned for part ii coming soon by my very cooperative and gifted coauthor whom I cannot thank enough for working with me for writing on these crucial issues, JazakAllah Khair!
If we pay close attention to the media of many Muslim dominated countries, we will notice a very disturbing trend. In fact we will see women battered in films; fiction or not. We will also see the femme spectrum being degraded to sex trafficking, used like cheap property and worse, called very degrading names. This is a huge blow to women’s self-esteem. Many start to internalize this constant sentiment toward them as normal. And it’s disappointing. What’s more outraging is the fact that Muslim parents in those dominated Muslim countries will not pause and think, “Wait a minute, we need to censor or monitor this type of behavior in films because it might negatively pave the way our young children, especially young boys look at women.”
The irony is that these same people and parents would click the TV off the minute they catch a hint of romance being displayed in the media. It’s in these moments unfortunately that their haram radar goes up and their parenting mode kicks in. Why not act the same way when the media depicts women in a bad light? Why not do the same thing when the media portrays a woman as trashy because of her choice of clothing and love?
In a film that portrays the rough life and neighborhood of immigrants in London, one scripted dialogue stayed with me. I was very ambivalent about the words uttered which are, ‘A woman that leaves her husband is a bad woman. When she leaves her child behind, she is a bad mother.’
Seriously? Forget about her happiness, she should suck it up in other words. Forget that she is overwhelmed by raising a sick challenging or healthy child alone while being in a marriage. Alhamdullilah for my blessings. I ask God to help me raise a stellar man insha’Allah amiin. But let’s say that I was in a bad marriage and that I was surrounded by narrow-minded people who will not change and are poisoning my son against me no matter what I teach him. Sorry, I would leave your butt behind too. Only Allah really guides people in the end. If he’s meant to find his way and become a better person after I did my part in trying to raise him, insha’Allah he will stay on siratal mustaqim and put women on a pedestal. If he doesn’t become a man who has true taqwa and respect women, then that’s his fate.
Truly, a Muslim woman should be able to divorce when it’s in her rights to do so and when Islamic teaching favors her choice after a rough ride. She should also be taken seriously when her husband no longer wants her. Divorcing wives on a pure whim via social media or even by simply uttering ‘Talaq 3 x’ shows lack of manners and tact. It’s just tacky people. You’re better than that.
To continue, divorcees are people too and the Prophet peace be upon him married several women who were either widowed or divorced. So why are his followers who claim being good Muslims stigmatize this minority of women? Why are these women considered damage goods? Why are they being so marginalized? Oh I have a theory. See, society in general is obsessed with women’s hymens where virgins are only taken seriously. Even a great majority of women themselves have internalized this belief and now think that if their daughters, sisters, mothers, etc. aren’t virgins, they are loose women who can’t be trusted. All this undeserving fuss for a membrane which doesn’t honestly define the character of any women. So what you were the first to be there? You will quickly loose interest and go marry another virgin to try to feel ‘something’. Why chase the ghost of houris in this life? Because that is all this unfair treatment of women stems from.
Many reasonable men will tell you that it’s actually less stress and drama to get with a woman who is not a virgin because of the discomfort and emotional breakdown virgins face they don’t want to deal with.
Now, what have we heard about divorce in Islam from the ummah? If you ask an average Muslim, they will quickly tell you that ‘It’s forbidden and the throne of Allah shakes when there is a divorce.’ As the controversial person that I’m *always* let me say that if you look for a reliable Islamic source that supports these statements, you won’t find it. Apparently, it’s fabricated. While marriage is half the deen, it’s not written anywhere in Islam that marriage is ‘til death do us part.’ This is not Islam. The stories of Barirah and Mughith are examples that our Rasool (sallahu aleihi wassalam) didn’t force anyone to force in marriages they didn’t want to be in. He even said that the best of men are those who are best to their wives. Why not follow these examples?
“And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself. And do not take the verses of Allah in jest. And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Knowing of all things.” Quran (2:231)
Having said all that, by experience, and in my opinion, the only reason you would perhaps avoid a divorced person is because of the way they can do things. They tend to have more wisdom than non-married people. And this can become a source of quarrels if both parties don’t sit and talk things through from the get-go. For instance, ‘If I say certain things out of experience in our future marriage, know that it comes from a good place. If you feel like I crossed a line by warning you of something, let me know and I will apologize or back down’ kind of talk. In addition, a divorced person in a new marriage should refrain from saying, ‘I told you so’ when the other party didn’t anticipate the outcome of something. Even though as a divorced person, you’ve been there and done that, let the new married learn from his or her own mistakes because you learned from yours on your own in past marriage(s).
Now, let’s address the issue of domestic violence as mentioned in the Quran. Surah 38 verse 44 states a clear example of Prophet Ayyub who out of anger swore he will correct his wife because she had crossed him. So that he doesn’t lose face, this is what Allah ordered him, “[And finally We told him:] “Now take in thy hand a small bunch of grass, and strike therewith, and thou wilt not break thine oath!” for, verily, We found him full of patience in adversity: how excellent a servant [of Ours], who, behold, would always turn unto Us!”
This was meant to be just a light tap toward his wife and by the same token be taken seriously when he actually didn’t really mean his words of anger after his recovery. Islam is against violence and let us go by a tafsir of this following verse which had been interpreted other ways in the ummah.
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” Quran (4:34)
According to Women In The Quran by Asma Lamrabet, adribuhunna ‘beat them’ or ‘strike them’ comes from a word ‘daraba’. This root daraba has a wide range of meaning in the Quran ranging from cover, give, walk, accompany, turn away from, leave, change, etc. And if we for instance, exchange ‘strike them’ or ‘beat them’ with ‘turn away from them’ or ‘leave them’, we get something revolutionary that supports the non-violent treatment we all know Islam has preached all along but which has been distorted by many. Rasool (sallahu aleihi wassalam) had even left his wives for a period of a month give and take a few days, after they had gravely angered him. He preferred to stay away from them instead of striking them like many interprets of this verse claim should be done to discipline women. Let us all ponder on the aforementioned verses from here.
To end, I’m immensely grateful to my co-author Saadia Haq for working with me on this important collaboration. Jazakh’Allah khair! May we all benefit from it in this life and the next, ameen.
Part I’s references:
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would love to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2017
She was known to visit new slaves that arrived from the mother land. Always dressed modestly, she visited the unfortunate souls in the wee hours of the night. For that, she was rumored to be a future spirit who traveled between the realms to find great stories; unsung tales.
She always had a ledger, an ink bottle and a bright blue quill. "Do you want to be known?" she always asked them. The slaves always replied, "Yes!" delighted at the idea that their stories would be told to the world.
"Fair enough, I just need your name and we're done."
They were always amazed that is all it required. She didn't need to hear their stories. Their names and just observing them carefully told her all she needed to know about them.
"What is your name?" one cunning slave had asked once to her surprise. While many wondered, they never dare asked. They were afraid of the aura she emanated. She was different.
"I'm the Name Thief," she had replied eerily and with too much poise; an unreadable grin lodged on the corner of her brown face.
©Papatia Feauxzar 2017
“One of the Vice Presidents is quite infatuated with you,” the server said close to her ear.
“I’m not interested. I’m married,” the ebony girl replied with a haughty air, whipping her pony tail about.
The server girl sighed and went up the stairs to relay the message again.
During that time, the ebony girl cocked her head around to pinpoint Yacüb but he was nowhere to be seen. They had just finished a game challenge climbing vertical ropes at her company summer picnic.
The last team building exercise consisted of a vertical cargo had floored her. It wasn’t the normal cargo with several square knots trapping the limbs and feet of its users like loose chains. This one looked more like two vertical ladders facing each other leading to a booth where food awaited the climbers as a reward. The thing was very shaky and quite dangerous in her opinion. She quit climbing at the 60% mark letting Yacüb continue on his own to fetch her food. She had decided she would give the challenge another go after she was properly quenched.
Since she couldn’t tell Yacüb she had landed an admirer of the pestering kind, she resorted to tell the girls around her table where she was winding down around fresh drinks, savories, and sweet desserts.
“Maybe I should go up there to be firm once and for all. Plus, it will me give an idea of who he is. I mean I met several people today and he could one of two but I’m not quite sure,” Nellie said.
“Girl! What for?!” One of her friend cut in. “It could be a trap. Don’t go up there alone or you might never come back unscathed.”
“You’re right. It’s better to stay away from the lion’s den,” Nellie inferred.
“Damn right gazelle. Stay put if you know what’s best for you,” another one said, sipping on her drink while twisting the corners of her mouth and rolling her hazel eyes. At her grimaces, all the girls laughed at the sassiness.
Nellie’s laugh disappeared on her lips when the soft familiar voice of the server breathed on her neck again with these words: “He said that you either come on your own accord or he will have to use force. Your pick.” Nellie could ‘see’ the grin in the voice of the server after her words combined with the burning stare she chose not to meet.
“Girl, he is dedicated into seeing you into great chains tonight…” the server said knowingly.
While the idea of BDSM sparked a sudden unplace-able interest in her, Nellie knew what she had to do; leave ASAP! Where is dog gone Yacüb when you need him? At the thought, dread immediately descended upon Nellie. Had that sadist taken care of her hubby so he could have his way with her?
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
Eve was excited to share her work no matter how novice it was with the Writers Circle she had recently been inducted as a member of and she looked forward to great feedback and not belittling snobbish comments. The Circle was composed of writers, editors, and many other pen ghazis. Thus, she felt like she would gain from the experience of such colleagues.
Her first chapter meeting started and old and new business was opened, discussed, and/or tabled. When it came time to announce the recent achievements of the Circle, many writers were either still polishing their work-in-progress, trying to find ways to sell more books or trying to find a traditional publisher in order to be taken seriously.
On the verge of chapter closing, since the President didn't mention her work like she hoped, Eve made a motion to share her work. She was immediately shut down with dirty looks and haughty snorts. She sunk in her chair enraged, crossing both her arms on her chest while pouting.
The words "I move to adjourn the meeting" by a member were fading away from her hearing and all Eve was hearing was, "We aren't talking about your rubbish self-published stuff. That's not writing. It's typing. Get in line sister! We were here first."
Many un-lady like curses run through her head that she wanted to utter but she vowed to leave the group and never return. "I don't need the negativity, I can bloom in a much better environment," she said to herself and left the meeting head high and optimistic. Tomorrow is not guaranteed but I have already left my mark alhamdullilah. It will benefit the needy insha'Allah.
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
"Smashville: We Live in Two Different Worlds," Malika Panier recorded in her Grimmoir and started narrating the strange events she had grown accustomed to that occurred in the last four days. Before sleeping, she called her two daughters Annie and Rocsee. Then she called her beloved niece, Margeaux Panier. The newest shahada in their Grimm clan and The Cursed Bride.
72 hours prior, she had been called on a crime scene as a consultant. When she entered the musical hall of fame, there was a wooden sculpture of what looked like a country music singer on stage in the act of trying to smash a guitar. At first, she wanted to compliment the artist who sculpted the thing but she refrained from doing so because of her faith and because she knew better than think that this was a normal occurrence.
She had flown to Tennessee on the first flight available and started doing some research for any unusual activities and police reports in the area as soon as the pilot gave the green light to use electronic devices. All her employers had told her was that it had something to do with expensive music guitars. Malika surveyed several police reports in the area of Tennessee during her flight until she came across one peculiar report mentioning a case of burl hunters trespassing in a holy and protected private estate's arboretum. The poachers took a huge chunk of a locust tree but left the rest of the tree alone. The owners were indignant. Her instinct told her to flag the report and she did.
"This is highly sacrilegious," the owners had said when she got to interview them. The tree had some religious and spiritual meaning to them. Further detective researches revealed that the poachers were in the business of luring wanna-be musicians by guarantying them a performance of a lifetime if they bought their guitars.
"The singer had a hell of the crowd," I tell ya. An attendee of the concert had told Malika. "Then, when he finished, he started smashing his guitar on the podium with no success. Then, he 'woodified!' Crazy right?! I got out of there before the government erased my memory because that's what they do when you see a UFO!" The country woman told Malika sure of herself while squinting her eyes suspiciously. Malika was kinda of a FBI agent.
The old woman had been the only person who had been willing to talk. All of the other attendees had refused or said they didn't remember what they had actually seen. That was on day 2 after her arrival.
On day 3, the most banal thing happened. As she was examining the sculptured country singer in the hall of fame, the singer came back to life, winked at Malika, and then simply vanished just before Malika's eyes.
"I'll be damned," Malika said, shaking her head.
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
The White Elephant is a must read for anyone contemplating the idea of marriage or anyone going through a divorce. As the Love and Relationship Editor for Hayati Magazine, I try to counsel married and non-married folks on the institution of marriage. These tips usually stem from personal experience and/or the realities on the ground I have witnessed. So after reading The White Elephant, I can say that the author Aishah Adams did a great job at compiling things a Muslimah seeking marriage needs to be aware of when it comes to marriage and things she needs to look out for when she is dealing with divorce or marriage.
Adams has been through a challenging marriage before, so her advices are warranted. She is very experienced in the matter. Allah (subhanahu wa ta ala) usually tries us so that we can learn something from the tests. The author has and is now sharing her experience with others so that they don’t make mistakes too. She is also a Marriage and Personal development Coach at the Siddiqah Institute. In her own words, she ‘is passionate about helping more Muslim women have fulfilling marriages.’
To go back to the review, The White Elephant is divided into three parts. Part one is about ‘Before you step in’. This part includes three chapters that will help you make decisions as you consider marriage; the research you have to do, the compatibility issues you need to inquire on, and the compromise and not discounting or lowering your standards part you need to consider.
Part two is titled ‘And They Lived Happily Ever After’ and it’s far from the Disney or Hollywood Rom-Com happy ending we usually think of. This part deals with what happens when the wedding celebrations are over and reality sets in. This is the part when we realize that marriage is not a walk in the park or a picnic. It requires maintenance and sabr.
The last part is called ‘When the chips are down’. This is where divorcees and people facing abuse in their marriages can find solace and tips if they need guidance.
Adams also makes it clear that sex and intimacy are an integral part of a marriage. They shouldn’t be discounted or overlooked as they play a huge role in the happiness of a couple. Something, I allude to clockwise.
To continue, the epilogue of the book is composed of real life stories, interview style. Out of the four stories, one stood out to me the most. It was the one of Umm Bilal, mother of two kids. I really loved reading her answers. Read to find out what she said!
In conclusion here, The White Elephant launches on September 23rd and you can attend the FREE online book launch if you hurry. Click here. Contact the author through the Siddiqah Institute website to know where you can purchase your copy if you can’t get your copy on Amazon here.
Jazakh’Allahu khair for reading,
Papatia Feauxzar (Author of BLOOM)
Part I, Written by Saadia Haq of The Human Lens
When I first heard of this, I was like numb for seconds until my good friend from Sindhi community proceeded to narrate how young women in her family are married off to Holy Quran under the tradition “Haq E Bakshish.” Pakistani women aren’t new to cruelty whether it comes in guide of religion or tradition but this manner of creating Muslim nuns is totally unIslamic and inhuman. Do realize that what I was told is supposedly a taboo topic but one that has recently been creating controversy within the country.
This conversation came full circle years later, as I flew to Multan also called “The City of Saints” for investigating honor crime stories. Here I met Shaista Bukhari, a young widow that runs a regional women rights organization. While we were chatting on her work on honor crimes, Shaista spoke of her blood cousin that was married to the Quran and on spot I decided to record this case study.
Shaista’s young female cousin was barely 19-year-old victim of this tradition because the elders wanted to deprive her share in family property. Shaista said, “It’s like a normal wedding, with feasts and festivities, minus the groom. The woman is dressed up as a bride and guests are invited, for the day. The family announces that their daughter is very pious and marrying her to the Quran will bring more blessings to the family. Then the bride in front of everyone present is asked to dedicate herself to memorizing the Holy Quran and places her hand on Holy Quran while taking the oath that she’s married to it until her death.
This woman is obviously pressurized to undergo such a custom. She is forcefully made to stay in a sort of hijab where she is locked indoors, act pious and morally well and nothing that could be against Islamic teachings.” Further more I asked what happens in future to the women that were married in this way and Shaista minced no words in stating, “The victim can never dress in bright-colored clothes or leave the house, she stays indoors and cannot attend family events. At the most she is allowed to do the ‘Hajj’ (pilgrimage) with a brother or blood relative.
I have seen with my eyes, how such woman becomes psychologically ill, you see these type of weddings are done at an early age of sixteen to eighteen, as soon as the girl comes of marriageable age. Since they are so young they start believing in what the elders say that it is sinful to even to talk to anyone outside the family and other ridiculous ideas.”
Such notions that are conjured up in name of religion aren’t new, this reminds of the expression “Bride of Christ” or the phenomena of married to the Church. Violence against women is not confined to poor and illiterate families only as this bizarre trend’s noted among the rich and feudal Syed families who claim direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad. It was first devised to deny women their rights of inheritance and out of fear of property being passed on to outsiders through the daughters or sisters i.e. their spouses or children. Also, like many other ethnicities in Pakistan Syed families are often reluctant to allow women to marry into non-Syed families, in a kind of caste system that sees non Syed families as being lower in status.
It is important to note that two things play an important role in keeping this custom alive, acceptance of such attitudes and feudalism for perpetuating belief systems having no validity in Islam. In part two, my co-author Papatia Feuxzar will bring forward Quran and Islamic Hadith references that highlight how Islam is not sanctioning such type of marriages and nunnery in an Islamic society.
There is no consensus in the opinions of historians that differ over the roots of this phenomenon but we note that it’s quite a prevalent practice going on behind “closed doors” in secrecy and impunity. Independent sources state that annually, some 10,000 girls are married to the Quran in Pakistan but since the victims are kept in house-confinement beyond any social interaction they cannot report or voice the injustice. The Holy Women as they are called are married with Holy Quran and therefore cannot have a normal relationship with a man or marry.
Moreover, local men fear being cursed if they have a relationship with a woman who is married to the Quran. In 2011, the topic made sensation as a young couple held a press conference, asking for state protection because the young girl being forced to marry the Holy Book, had fled with a boy of her choice and gotten married in the court. They were receiving many death threats and the family was urging the boy to return the girl. There are no updates as what was the fate of this couple since then.
Former President Pervez Musharaf has time and again spoken strongly against this phenomenon within Pakistani society and argued for proper laws for penalizing the custom which deprives women of their basic human rights. But there are other parliamentarians that openly support this autocracy, some whose own sisters are victims of this crime and kept hidden from public eye. Previously I have written on my blog on the topic, if you missed it go here.
Pakistan has made progress in women friendly laws in recent decade and under the most latest legislation, the Haq Bakshish tradition is punishable by a seven-year prison sentence, but very few cases get reported due to fear posed by influential feudal power structures. But never-the-less, Pakistani law has already criminalized haq bakshish with a seven-year prison sentence and fine for its offenders. Addtionally, the advisory religious body Council of Islamic Ideology ( CII) has outlawed the heinous practice of marrying women to the Quran, declaring it unIslamic. It stated that Muslim men and women are obliged to order their lives, individually and collectively, in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.
From a human rights frame-work, here we are speaking of two violations – one is forced marriages and secondly inheritance deprivation that adversely affect women’s situation. Due to the inability to reach out to victims of this crime, very few stories actually get reported in the media. However some positive developments are observed; Pakistani film-maker Syed Noor’s Punjabi movie “Mehndi Waley Hath” (hands with henna) that showed how a family forced their daughter to marry the Quran to get away with her share of financial assets left in her father’s will. The film did extremely well at the local box and was also nominated for 16 awards, for highlighting this sensitive social issue.
Another instance, in 2001, when Pakistani novelist Qasira Shahraz wrote “The Holy Woman” where its heroine Shahzadi Ibadat becomes the sole heiress in advent of her brother’s death. Her fate is to sustain the family’s wealth and thus a Holy Woman is created to be married off to Quran by her father – the feudal lord. The author has brilliantly captured the importance of Pakistani traditions and the realistic view of how men always have an upper hand. Islamic fairness is intertwined in the female character’s life and the fact that Islam actually liberates women which otherwise fell prey to such outdated customs.
While researching the story I spoke with many people whom were not aware of the gravity of Quran marriage menace in our society. But despite the lack of knowledge, most communities including men and women fiercely oppose this practice.
In Pakistan, the matters of property, inheritance and asset management are usually under men’s control. And the widespread patriarchal customs do not allow a possibility for women to exerting their inheritance rights as a daughter or wife. A vast majority of Pakistani women do not have any say when it comes to their inheritance rights and here we have this horrible custom taking place where families under the guise of religion are marrying their girls to the Holy Quran. Greed and male domination are two major forces that make such families justify their crimes.
But such marriages have no value in the eyes of Allah and the religion of Islam. Both Quran and Islamic institution of marriage have given Muslim women the rights in inheritance and the rights to marry but greedy relatives and family members see that family’s wealth stays in the hands of men. In Pakistan, we renew our pledge to continue raising our voice on violence against women and abolishing of archaic customs such as Haq e Bakshish that deprive women of their rights and destroy it. #Not in the name of any religion, please.
Part two on Islamic perspective on this by Papatia Feuxzar, coming soon!
Part II Written by Papatia Feauxzar of Hayati Magazine
You learn something new every day. The practice of “Haq E Bakshish” was new to me, and I had to check with my relatives, the elders, to see if they had heard of it before. And they hadn’t. There is no other way to say it; the practice of marrying women to the Quran Karim or other objects is UNISLAMIC! The scriptures are clear about what’s expected of us in this life; five before five.
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”— Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wassalam. (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
How can a woman married to an object, a tree, a small boy, an old man, or the Quran Karim for that matter by greedy and patriarch men take advantage of these given? She can’t! That’s cruelty. I’m not saying that memorizing the holy Book is a torture but agreeing to dedicate one’s life or your child’s life to only one aspect of the deen is just bunkers! It’s not healthy and it’s definitely not a balanced way of life. A thing Islam preaches about. Excesses are not Islamic. The right balance in all things is what’s demanded of the mu’min.
What do these folklore followers seek to accomplish? They want the assets of the family to stay within the greedy hands of the family heads so that the victims don’t seek their dutiful and rightful shares out of the overall inheritance. The cases from Saadia’s part show us that this inhumane practice is going on and therefore collectively we are raising our voice against this heinous practice.
Oh yea, let’s see what the scripture say about the politics of inheritance. The default source is:
“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two-thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one-third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” (Surah 4 Verse 11)
Let me remind those who don’t know that this not the ultimate rule when dividing inheritances. This verse came down for a very specific instance and all cases aren’t the same. They have been many historical cases where a female earned the same if not more than her male counterpart; thirty documented cases to be exact. (Women in the Qur’an, Pg. 149 & Salah ad-Din Sultan) They could have been many more we don’t know about.
So why do many people not mention those instances when dealing inheritance? Go figure but I have a few possibilities in mind. They might know that the woman they are marrying off to non-human things is a worth a lot of money or assets. By that I mean, she is entitled to more than half a share of a male. Therefore, to avoid disbursing these assets to her, the rightful owner, they nip it at the bud and deny her happiness because she could marry an outsider who could consequentially oversee her fortune and cut them off.
AmI speculating? Maybe. But think about it. Why deny a woman her rightful inheritance besides wanting to control the source of the fortune and trying to keep blood lines pure? Please ponder on it.
Now, let’s talk about blood lines I mentioned just above. I tell you, there is nothing more absurd than that. If we call ourselves Muslims, we believe that we are all descendants of Adam and Awa (aleihi salam). We also believe that an Arab is not superior than a non-Arab and vice-versa. Finally, we believe that a black is not superior than a white and vice versa.
With that being said, why try to UNISLAMICALLY keep marital bonds between families of the same lineage to preserve a specific bloodline when we are all brothers and sisters when you think about it. It makes no sense to me.
I’m waiting for the day where someone will say, “I’m a descendant of Adam and Eve (aleihi salam) and you are too. We’re special MARTIANAllah, istikhara looks good, SUPERhanallah! Let’s have nikah!”
It will be equally funny to me if someone came out and said, “I’m a descendant of the first humans; Adam and Eve (aleihi salam). You’re Martian? MartianAllah, but I only marry terrestrial. Sorry.”
On a more serious note, I urge you to report these illegal and clandestine marriages because you will be asked about that on judgement day. Do not be an accomplice by letting your relative be married this way. It’s against Islam. Please speak up! Why? It’s cultural baggage. It’s not the real Islam.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would love to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
1- "When the flamboyant blooms, the White withers."
2- "The sheep hang out together but they do not have the same price."
3- "When myopic become visionaries, mute are heard."
4- "Pineapples are small, large, and sweet. In other words, all girls are mature."
5- "If you do not know the town, you will marry the witch."
6- "The little black ant can get into a man's home, but that man can not go to her home!"
7- "When the rain pours on chili peppers, it does not diminish its virility."
8- "What God has written, a witch doctor can not erase."
9- "No trees bore fruits without having first flowers."
10- "People do not like people but they love people's money."
11- "The lazy man is jealous of the one who works and succeeds."
1- "Quand le flamboyant fleurit, le Blanc dépérit."
2- "Les moutons se promenent ensemble mais n'ont pas le meme prix."
3- "Quand les myopes deviennent visionnaires, les muets se font entendre."
4- "Les Ananas, sont petits, sont gros, sont sucrés, autrement dit il n'y a pas de petite fille."
5- "Si tu ne connais pas le village, tu y épouses la sorcière."
6- "La petite fourmi noire peut entrer chez l’homme, mais cet homme ne peut entrer chez elle!"
7- "Si la pluie frappe le piment,sa virulence n'en diminue pas."
8- "Ce que Dieu a ecrit, marabout peut pas effacer."
9- "Aucun arbre n'a donné des fruits sans avoir eu d'abord des fleurs."
10- "Les gens n'aiment pas les gens mais ils aiment l'argent des gens."
11- "Le paresseux jalouse l'homme qui travaille et réussit."
Sources: http://www.unproverbe.com/ and http://www.proverbes-francais.fr/proverbes-ivoiriens/ .
By popular demand on my Instagram page, I drafted the recipe for this savory spinach pie also known as Börek.
- 1 pack of phylo dough
- 12 oz of chopped spinach
- 1/4 of 12 oz bell pepper
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
Other things you need:
- 1 baking pan of 9 inch
- a pizza pan or a flat surface
- a brush
Mix all the ingredients and stir fry them with a little water until they become translucent. Let the mixture cool down.
Now prepare your workstation.
Spread the sheets and brush them with oil. Some will be broken but it's ok. You can work with them by applying oil on them to make them stick together. Noone will know in the finish product that some of the pastry sheets were mismatched *wink* .
Roll and brush with more olive oil if needed. At first, put your roll on the side of the pan. As your rolls increase, you can center them and they won't unfold. Do the same for the rest of the sheets.
When done, brush the top of sheets with some olive oil and bake it at 300 degrees for 45 mins to an hour. Every oven is different so keep that in mind.
Voilà! Bon appetit! :)
In French, they say ‘L’habit ne fait pas le moine’. It means, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’. If you translate it literally, you get ‘Your clothing doesn’t make you a monk’. I like this version better because it’s befitting to this post.
Team Muhammad (Dalilah and Ibtihaj) won medals for the Unites States of America at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. You will think that these two athletes will be celebrated the same way because they are triple minorities; Black, Muslim, and Women who performed outstandingly for their country despite some of their fellow compatriots that treat them like second class citizens.
However, the trend we see is many Muslim communities favoring one athlete over the other because of hijab. Why is that? Many patriarchs love to impose their views of hijab on women. Women have to be ideal Muslimahs, totally perfect, when they aren’t even ideal, tolerant, perfect, and understanding toward the female gender. I wear hijab thoroughly and it doesn’t stop men from hitting on me. It comes down to taqwa and self-control.
I followed the Olympics and I’m not going to lie. At one point, I wondered if any running athlete (Muslim or not) had to wear panties and the likes to run. I just felt naked for them. It had nothing to do with religion I assure you. My husband who is more a ‘by the book’ person interjected, “It’s all about aerodynamics. The less clothes you wear, the faster and better you can perform.”
To be honest, I was surprised by his answer and he had made a very good point. I’m well-versed in Physics and I know the force any weight can have on movements. It’s very material and it makes a difference. Having said that, I commend the Muslim women who competed covered and did their best.
To continue, aerodynamics is thus a main reason why many athletes almost perform naked. It has nothing to do with their beliefs. They probably don’t enjoy being watched for less than a minute by anybody in the whole wide world. And I noticed that most of them wore long sleeves and sweat pants before running. At least, I saw Dalilah in her sweatpants and matching long sleeve sweatshirt just before the final for the 400 meter hurdles.
Nowadays, depending on where a Muslim woman lives in the world, she can be a target. I actually want to say that she is a target at all times by men who take upon themselves to judge her, to be God, to intimidate her, and teach her ‘a lesson’.
That lesson can be sexual harassment in public, rape, honor killing if she’s uncovered and doesn’t live in the West. If she lives in the West, she’s targeted and called offensive names. She’s even banned to wear her religious clothes in these so-called free and democratic countries. Women just can't win on either side of the world.
A friend of my friend was pushed into wearing hijab because she sat in a taxi where the driver upon looking at her shorts started to jerk off right in front of her! Come on! Have some self-control and lower your damn gazes. It’s very simple. Our freedom stops where others’ freedom start. Why do women have to be arbitrarily called fitna when there is already chaos outside created by the enemies of Islam? Men also have hijab and they can be fitna for women as well. It's a two-way street.
What do we need to do?
- Stand together whether a member of the ummah chooses not to wear the hijab. Why? It makes us stronger from the inside out and nobody can harm us. It’s not our right to assess anyone’s faith. It’s not our job either. Let’s work on ourselves instead. We all have our demons and secrets we need to work on.
If we don’t stand up for each other, what happens?
- Our differences are used as ammunitions against us. Plain and simple.
No one has the right to question Dalilah’s choice of clothing. That’s between her and her Lord. She could be his dear Habib and we wouldn’t even know it. Oh, I know she is his friend because she won Gold! Congratulations to her and her parents for raising a fine young woman who is breaking stereotypes and records. May you continue to prosper!
In conclusion here, not covering or wearing hijab doesn’t make Dalilah Muhammad less Muslim. For all I know, she identifies herself with being Muslim. So, she’s Muslim like Ibtihaj. She’s Muslim like me, and she’s Muslim like you if you are. And she’s Muslim like any other patriarch Muslim out there.
I was in need of a capsule wardrobe because since the baby came to our lives, most of my drawers and closet space have been filled with his clothes instead. And when I looked at my clothes, I wondered if a Muslimah could make it work. I mean who doesn’t love a collection of hijabs? Or abayas? The hubby has always been a minimalist and for as long as I remember masha’Allah. So, he has no issues like me.
I, on the other hand had to find a solution to my accumulated junk. I had given away a lot of clothes but still, many were folded in bins because they somehow held a sentimental value to me. I used to have a ton of shoes. I got rid of the majority of them and kept about two flat shoes, one pair of sneakers, two trainers (red and black), three boots for winter, and two pair of heels (a wedge style and a low heel pump for formal meetings). If I feel the need to buy a new shoe, I give one away.
I really wanted to reduce my wardrobe that I barely wear to small a amount I can fit in one large suitcase. Though I’m was not sure if would go with 20 (Into-Mind), 33 or 37 items (Un-Fancy) for each season, I certainly tried. When I was undergrad, my closet was too full too and my cousin advised me to store the clothes I don’t wear so that I had more space in my closet. Her advice helped. So, when it was Summer, the clothes for the other tree seasons were ‘binned’ away. The only problem with that was that I always forgot the clothes packed away until there was a drastic change in the weather. I mean we’re in Texas after all.
Her method is not really different from the capsule wardrobe. The advantage with it is that you won’t have to shop for more clothes because you already have a department store in-house! *Laughs*
To go back to capsule wardrobe, below is the list of 33 items by Project333 that I based myself on to come up with my recent wardrobe :
Project 333 Papatia’s Capsule
1 Sunglasses 1 Sunglasses
1 Purse 1 Purse
1 Laptop/Camera Bag 1 Laptop and its bag
2 Dresses 4 Dresses + 1 Black Abaya
2 Skirts 6 Skirts
1 Jeans 1 Skirt in Jean
2 Shorts/Capri 2 Shorts/Capri
1 Dress pants 1 Dress pants
2 Light Sweaters 1 Light Sweater (1 Islamic cardigan)
2 Blazers 2 Blazers
2 Tanks 5 Blouses
1 Button Down Shirt 4 Button Down Shirts
5 Shirts 4 Long sleeves T-Shirts
1 Sweatshirt 1 Sweatshirt
4 Shoes 2 Shoes (1 trainer, 1 flat for the season)
1 Trench Coat 1 Trench Coat
2 Bracelets 1 Pearl bracelet and 1 Black watch
1 Necklace 1 Necklace and The Wedding Ring
1 Scarf 7 Hijabs
33 Total Items 45 Total Items
45 Items! Whoot Whoot! I tried right?! * Wink* Anyways, I am not the only Muslimah whose done the experiment to some extent. Check out this Muslimah’s capsulewardrobe http://goo.gl/Ruk0ng . Tips http://goo.gl/iXI9FT from Melanie at Haute Hijab are also things to consider. Finally, Aquila Style has some great ways http://goo.gl/7Y5rcv and Joshua Becker with this article http://goo.gl/npR8ry can to help too. Check them out if you’re considering the capsule wardrobe too.
Now, don’t use the capsule wardrobe movement to start buying more unnecessary things. The purpose of this is to become minimalist and still look good. A thing Islam has always encouraged. I’m sure a Muslimah can make the capsule movement work and I have alhamdullilah. It just depends on how much we care about what other think about us mix-matching/wearing the same clothes on the regular basis. Islam also doesn’t see a problem with us owning beautiful things, it just warns us to keep our feet on the ground and to remember our purpose here; passing this life’s test for a blissful akhirat.
“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.”~Gandhi
While some people might frown on my use of non-Muslim material, the sunnah dictates that we can take the truth from anybody even Shaytan. We just need to be careful. To continue with Ghandi, he was believed to have less than ten personal things according to this article http://goo.gl/L5fQii .
Now I need to set a reminder in my phone so that at the end of the summer I can go through the binned clothes to select fall and winter clothes. This is definitely a good way to wear clothes you haven’t worn in a while or even clothes you forgot you had! If I live to see the next seasons, I have my eyes set on a few items I have not worn in a while because I work from home now and every day is like pajamas day until it’s the weekend when we actually go out as a family…
I would love to read your thoughts on the capsule wardrobe. Please, comment away.
Original Posted at Hayati Magazine.
Part I, Written By Saadia Haq Of The Human Lens
Women were the first pioneers of Islam – without whom the history of this Muslim Ummah wouldn’t be what it is today. For if they weren’t there; the Muslim men would not have been able to achieve the feats they did and Muslim societies would have no examples, no role models to follow. What I am going to tell you about the role of women in Islam in the next ten minutes or so is going to change your opinion of the most misinterpreted religion Islam or at least I aspire to.
When Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) started receiving his first revelation from Angel Gabriel or as we say; Jibril, among his first believers were various women. In-fact the first person to accept Islam through Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was a woman – his first wife Khadijah ale salam also known as “Mother of the Believers.” She accepted the faith and supported the Messenger of Allah SWT in the earliest period of trials and persecution he faced.
Being the wife of Muhammad was one of the many aspects of Khadijah ale salam – for she was a well established and powerful businesswoman. In her we find the ultimate and perfect example of a strong Muslim woman with an equally powerful career. She wasn’t afraid to pursue her interests in business, capitalize upon excellent opportunities, and invest her wealth in the worthy cause she and her husband believed in. Following her, amongst the other first believers in Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa salam) and his message were women of his own household; his daughters Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah. All these women are worthy of particular mention in their own right for their participation in laying the stones for a newly born Islamic society.
I am proud to be part of an Islamic Ummah full of powerful women and through them I can set right those who argue Islam is anti-women and doesn’t believe in equality like the western world does. In part ii, coming soon, my co-author will digress particularly on various aspects and roles of women within the Islamic societies with specific references from the Quran and Sunnah. For now, today I will take you on a virtual journey with me to meet several young Muslim personalities in other words, woman of power.
Islam’s First Female Muslim Teacher – the illustrious Al Shifa whose real name Shifa bint Abdullah bin Abd Shams bin Khalaf bin Shadad al-Qurashiyah al-Adawiyah was literate and skilled in medicine during the Jihalah times. Al Shifa holds a strong presence in early Muslim history, she embraced Islam before the Hijrah, by boldly taking the pledge or Bayah to the Messenger, declaring loyalty to him before witnesses at a time, when it was most dangerous thing to do. She migrated from Makkah to Medina where she sought Prophet’s blessing to make use of her skills for the betterment of the new Muslim society. She approached the Prophet and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I used to do preventative medicine for antbites during Jahiliyyah, and I want to demonstrate it for you.”
He said, “Demonstrate it.” Al-Shifa reports, “So I demonstrated it for him, and he said “Why don’t you teach this one [indicating Hafsah] the preventative medicine against ant bites, just as you taught her how to write? And the mother of the believers Hafsah Bint Umar ale salam learned with her new teacher Al Shifa. At the personal request of the Prophet, Al Shifa continued to practice her medicinal work, healing Muslims community of sicknesses and teaching preventive medication. Along with this she continued teaching Muslim women how to read and write thus earning the position of first female teacher in Islam.
The Prophet’s wisdom is encouraging a capable woman such as Al Shifa brought fruits beyond imagination. Along with her medicine and teaching, Al Shifa attended mosque to become a great scholar in her own right. She impressed Caliph Umar who appointed her as a market controller in Medina, point to be noted is in 7th century Islamic society started off with women’s active role in public spheres women. Following her success, Caliph Umar replicated the same in Mecca where he appointed another woman; Samra bint Nuhayk. In contrast to the perceived ideas of Islamic world, such moves show that there were women shopkeepers and women shoppers in early Islamic society. For if the market place been largely a man’s place, these women would face challenges in their duties as controller yet neither Al-Shifa nor Samra’ encountered such difficulties. Later on Al Shifa was appointed as the head of health and safety in Basra and she continued to serve the Islamic society till her last days.
The next treasure of Islam is a special female hero of Islam whom I completely adore and look up to. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab. A true warrior, personal bodyguard and women right advocate who is one of the few female companions of Prophet that physically fought in battle in the defense of Messenger of Allah (SWT). After taking the pledge to become Muslim, this mighty woman took place in numerous major events including The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Battle of Uhud, Battle of Hunayn, Battle of Khaybar, and Battle of Yamamah.
The Quran records, when the Battle of Uhud turned into defeat due to Muslims disobeying the command of Muhammad, Nusaybah went forward with her sword unsheathed and her bow in her hand, to join the small group who were standing firm with the Prophet, acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the non-believers. In her praise, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad said, “Wherever I turned, left or right, on the Day of Uhud — I saw her fighting for me.” Near the end she was inflicted with 13 wounds but didn’t run away from the battle ground rightfully so earning herself the title of “The Shield of Muhammad at Uhud.”
Her courage on the battle ground doesn’t yet define Nusaybah bint Ka’ab for she was a loving wife and strong mother. She fought actively as an advocate for Muslim women, once she asked the Messenger of Allah SWT as why the Quran only mentioned men and not women? Soon thereafter, Ayat 35 of Surah Al’Ahzab was revealed.
Her actions further teach Muslim women to learn self-defense skills as opposed to waiting for any rescue from some knight in shining armor. They also show the inherent core of Islam that doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. Her valuable services to Islam received praise and were rewarded by Allah SWT and his Messenger alike.
In times, when women were considered inferior, Nusaybah R.A’s active participation in community treaties and battles show that Islam encourages both women and men to play their roles for a just Islamic society. Yet, today’s Muslim communities and countries are plagued with many discriminatory traditions against women; don’t you feel its time for us sisters to take some lessons from our own true hero the possessor of ambition, courage, loyalty and empowerment. Say yes to Muslimah power and just bring out your Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, now.
Women of Islam. What can I tell you about these strong pillars who were and are the cornerstone of faith and divine grace. For a start, they are indeed a multitude and start at the very beginning with Eve (Awa aleihi salam) our first mother who if you read the transliteration of the Quran wasn’t accused of leading Adam (aleihi salam) to doom. It was their unanimous decision to listen to the whispers. But this is where the blaming game was inferred. Women aren’t evil temptresses. Both men and women have the ability to seduce and tempt! To prove this, the holy verses say :
“But Satan caused them BOTH to stumble therein, and thus brought about the loss of their erstwhile state. And so We said: “Down with you, [and be henceforth] enemies unto one another; and on earth you shall have your abode and your livelihood for a while.” (Quran 2 :36)
They repented and Allah made them vicegerents of earth. They ruled it peacefully until their time was up. Now speaking of peace, Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) comes to mind. She is considered a valiant governor and a democratic Queen. We know her story from surah 27 of the Quran. King Solomon sent messengers her way to announce the message of Islam (Submitting to One God). As the diplomatic ruler that she was, she consulted her advisers first.
“She said, “O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.” ” (Quran 27: 32)
“They said, “We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command.” ” (Quran 27: 33)
The advisers implied that they were ready to fight off the Prophet of Allah because they had the means of their politics but she was wise not to go that route.
Since the final decision rested upon her, Bilqis decided to test King Solomon with a gift from Dunya. She wanted to know if he was after this materialistic world or if his cause was truly above that. Long story short, Bilqis (Barakissa in certain languages) and Solomon saw eye to eye and got married. In fact, Solomon was quite infatuated with her!
The hadith “Never will succeed such a nation as lets their affairs carried out by a woman.” was uttered in a very specific and isolated case about a treacherous nation (Neo-Persian Empire) whose tyrant ruler died and his daughter took over doing the same thing he was doing. The success of Balqis, the former idol worshiper, who converted to Islam after the presence of Allah was made evident to her goes against the fact that this hadith was meant as a general rule of thumb like many religious clerics and some Muslim men make it sound like. Who do you think counselled great kings and men behind closed doors when no one was/is at ear shots? Women of great morals of course! In my opinion, if a nation doesn’t do well because its ruler is a woman it’s probably because the men surrounding her don’t have her back, give her the evil eye, or perhaps undermine her authority because they can’t seem to get acquainted with the idea that a woman is above them. Plain and simple. Idiosyncrasy when a woman gives birth to you…
To continue with another Muslim woman, how about Mary (Maryam aleihi salam) mother of Jesus (Issa alehi salam) ? She was a spiritual woman whose mother (Hanna) prayed that she only become a servant of Allah in a time where only boys were allowed to become monks. Her name actually means just that too. She was so close to Allah that her name is mentioned in the Quran masha’Allah and the law changed because of her and she entered in the service of Allah when she reached the age. Even back then, gender disparities were present. The other great women of Islam aren’t mentioned in the Quran by name but their stories are still known by His might.
Hanna, mother of Maryam aleihi salam was also very religious. She made immeasurable prayers to have a pious boy devoted to the service of Allah. But Allah had a plan and gave her a girl instead to make groundbreaking changes in regard to gender discrimination! So always pray for your children and the sake of the ummah as it is Allah only that guides people and fix all our affairs!
“[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Quran 2: 35)”
“But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” (Quran 2: 36)”. See, women are just as capable of doing what men do and the real Islam doesn’t preach discrimination between the sexes.
Feeling like many of the early verses revealed always addressed men or were perhaps vague for her, Umm Salama (aka Hind bint Abi Umayya) spoke up about her concern to her husband Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. Then the same day by Zhur prayer, Surah 33 verse 35 was revealed. How special would you feel when a verse is addressed to you just because you spoke up? I bet fabulous will be the word! So speak up about what bothers you and bring about a change! Surah 3 Verse 195 was also revealed under the same circumstances of brave women demanding inclusion and recognition for their tireless efforts in spreading the message of Islam under the harsh times the Ummah faced at the time.
And in the time of Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam, there were such ‘things’ called mubayiat (the involvement of women in politics) and shura (consultation between the head and the constituents of the community). Women participated in many events in the communities notably the bayat annisa. Umm Umarah aka Nusayba bin’t Ka’b mentioned in part I was actually in one of the stages of the bayat al-Aqaba. She was what you call a true warrior never falling short of her duty and allegiance to protect the Prophet Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. She lived the life of a bodyguard for him.
With all that being said and as you might suspect, anything related to women evolving has to be stopped, reduced, hidden, and diminished by closed-minded people. Many women entered Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam because non-believing Arabs at the time didn’t treat women well. Here is a religion that put women on a pedestal, what do you think I would do in those times? I would join to and surah 60 verse 12 was revealed to protect these enlighted and chosen women to siratal mustaqeem. However, this women’s revolution was cut short when our beloved Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam died and many of his successors went retrograde. Women were pushed back to the sidelines and dismissed from social and political involvement. A women revolution is on its way and nothing will stop it because it was written long ago.
In conclusion here, without women society will collapse. Without men, it’ll collapse too. So give us credit where it is due and see us not as handicapped and invaluable.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. This is a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. We will be pleased to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
Outside of New York Laguardia Airport was sunny. It felt hot and noisy with the cars claxoning à tue-tête or the police personnel monitoring the airport traffic while their cars’ sirens were on full blast. The summer heat was almost unbearable but she had made sure to wear breathable material on this trip. The heat was somewhat worse than Texas because of all the tall buildings. The air simply didn’t circulate in her opinion. The heat had whipped her face as soon as she had stepped foot outside the sliding glass doors with such a vigor that Femta sighed and rolled her eyes. She kept a blasphemous comment she wanted to utter to herself and quickly marched to get to her stop. Some passengers brushed passed Femta and their body odors seeped into her nostrils. She crinkled up her nose and pushed the baby stroller faster to get to the passenger pick up station and forget the unpleasant smells. Scowling at the cacophony on display, she prayed the baby slept through it all. Her Tonton, uncle, was supposed to be waiting for her but she knew he wasn’t going to be there on time because she could count on African Time to be her demise. Femta would be lucky if Tonton Kaboré was only an hour late. The first time he had picked up her from the same airport was when she had arrived from Burkina Faso 13 years ago with a student visa and he was three hours fashionably late. Femta Compaoré stood at the gate pickup for American Airlines reminiscing as her eyes volleyed between the baby peacefully sleeping in the stroller, cars and buses going and up and down the lanes, and the airport valley parking boy or security man who reminded her of an old Kenyan crush. Whatever his job description was, she didn’t know. What was apparent was an uniform, a stand, and a walkie talkie that he sported. What a journey, she silently thought when he reminded her of the Kenyan. Thirteen years after her friends back home had started calling her L’Américaine, here she was a totally different person. And with a baby; a single parent I might add. Femta’s conscience piped in. She winced and tried to gather and re-direct her train of thoughts when she heard a voice a little too close to her and her personal space.
“Can I help you sister catch a ride?” The valley parking boy or security man had sneaked up on her and asked as she was lost in her thoughts. He had startled her but she acted like he hadn’t. Femta peered at her wrist watch just partly visible under her long sleeve shirt as an embarrassed smile tugged at her full lips. It was almost 2 p.m. and combining her sunnah prayers was imminent. Recollecting her thoughts quickly, she replied, “No thank you. My uncle will be here soon.” She whispered the ‘God willing part’ and turned her head around to discourage him to continue talking to her. She thought about going back inside the airport to find a quiet corner to pray but she could miss her uncle arrival. So she unpocketed her smartphone from her maxi skirt and was about to dial his number when the young man interrupted her again. “Where are you from sister?”
Dude, I don’t want to talk to you. I thought my body language was clear enough, she mentally said to herself snappily, rolling her hazel eyes. Before formulating an answer, she studied him carefully for a little while. Femta squinted while twisting the corner her mouth. His curly locks didn’t escape her. His doe eyes too. Somalian for sure. Hum, maybe Ethiopian. Oh dear God, I’m checking him out. She vibrantly shook her head horrified and said nicely, “Take a wild guess.” The words that suddenly flew out of her mouth surprised her, so she put her shades on. ‘Uncover something shady’ Curly Locks, she thought with a grin as she pressed call on her phone. Then she pressed the device on her scarf-covered right ear.
The phone ringed and ringed. Just when she was about to leave a message to Tonton Kaboré, Curly Locks said, “Nigeria”.
Femta scowled at him, instructed him to be quiet with the movement of one index finger, and left a voicemail in French to her Tonton. “Assalamu aleikum Tonton. C’est Femta. Je suis arriver à New York. Je t’attends au gate mais je dois prier. Je serais rapide. Fais mois signe quand t’arrives. Masalam.” She hung up after these words but she knew it was a stretch if her uncle was going to be there when she returned from praying. Wishful thinking, she mused. Why she had to come all the way to New York to renew a freaking passport for her son because of his paternal heritage in The Ivory Coast or drive to Washington for hew own passport irritated her to no limits. Why couldn’t it be easy like going to the post office? Bitter realities of being an immigrant indeed, she mentally added.
Curly Locks’ voice pulled her out of her momentary reverie.
“So it’s not Nigeria but you’re definitely from French West Africa. You have the West Africa facial traits,” he added, smiling knowingly. She despised his debonair manners right away and replied, “Good for you for figuring out a piece of the puzzle. Good bye.”
“I’m Uthman. Can I please have your name beautiful sister?” he continued, flirting with Femta. “I know you just met me but I want your number.” The pop culture reference wasn’t lost on her. She grinned and calmed herself down. What was the big deal? No harm could be done, she thought. He wasn’t going to see her again anyways. She wouldn’t allow it. No more Africans. No more men of any race. Period. The last relationship had scorched her for life and left her with a baby! Her secular aunt, Tantie Geneviève had jokingly said once, ‘All men have the same dad and the same mom.’ Femta inferred her secular aunt was right even though she actually didn’t believe in the story of Adam and Eve. Tantie Geneviève just believed all men regardless of race behaved the same way and Femta couldn’t agree more.
“Ousmane,” she said French like and continued, “I’m Femta. It sounds like the soda Fanta. I can’t give you my number. Now, how do you know I’m not married? Anyways, take care.” And she swiftly turned her heels around and went back inside the airport, behind the sliding doors, pushing the stroller faster before Curly Locks could barge in and impose himself on her again with more unwanted questions. A part of her sank and she didn’t know why but she carried on with her backpack secured on her back and her handbag nestled on her left shoulder.
“Femtastic,” she thought she heard him yell as she quickly got away. Her father loved unique names and sometimes her name attracted great feminism debates while other times it just created confusion. And today, she simply couldn’t place where the needle of the scale pointed with her muddled internal feelings and this over friendly Curly Locks guy. When she came back from praying Zhur and Asr, she stopped dead in her tracks just outside the sliding doors at the sight of her uncle and ‘The Ottoman’ chuckling like old buddies.
Ugh! Now What?! She let out under her breath and made a beeline towards them with her luggage and baby in tow. Mission: ‘Arrested Development’ of this clear and budding friendship.
To be continued …
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
~Picture: African Violets~
6 Broken Hearts is a multi-generational romance drama. It's befitting to say that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree or history usually repeats itself and from experience parents tend to have a short memory. As I read this intriguing novel, I kept asking myself what's the catch for this seemingly perfect plot? And I got my answers and I shed some tears mainly because I saw myself a little in the struggles of Juwayriya aka Jules Rouby, her family, and the tough decisions she had to make for the summary goes as this:
"Jules Rouby, as she is affectionately known; has her whole world turned upside down when secrets from her past threaten to affect her future. As she grows into a woman and finds love, her past forces her to choose between a husband and a father. This epic tale is riddled with immense heartache, love, death and the unconditional love of maternal bonds."
Furthermore, I believe anybody that has a person like Nawwaal in their lives is blessed. I know people like her and they come rare like one in a million. 6 Broken Hearts is also a testament that what we do to our parents if often done to us by our children and unless one party decides to forgive, forget, and leave it to Allah, the painful cycle continues. Some plots twists took me down rough, bitter, and happy tidbits of memory lane. I liked the story even though it made me sad a bit.
My rating: 4/5
Thank you for reading,