Papatia Feauxzar is an American author, barista, and publisher of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son.
When I first came across her publishing site a few years ago, the first part of the name, ‘Djarabi,’ stood out to me because I knew what it meant. It means ‘love’ in my language (Mandenka/Mandinga/Dioula/Bamana). I was quite surprised because I didn’t often come across people from my ethnic background active in the online Muslim entrepreneur world for whatever reason.
My curiosity of her led me to follow her and find out more about her. I’m glad I did and today, it is my pleasure to interview sister Papatia Feauxzar.
Assalaam ‘alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh Sister. Welcome to Working Muslimahs and thank you very much for being here.
Wa aleikum salam waramatulahi wabarakatuhu my dear sister from the motherland! Masha’Allah. Allah is the best of planners. Alhamdullilah!
I am very excited to interview you today! To begin, tell us a little about yourself.
Aww, thank you! I’m happy to be here, alhamdullilah. A little about me…I’m getting close to being 40 years old, and I’m enjoying starting having grey hair as the sunnah says it’s a sign of wisdom alhamdullilah. I’m a constant work-in-progress who likes to try her hands at anything. I find it more fulfilling when my two hands accomplish things. It makes me proud and glow inside out. Masha’Allah alhamdullilah.
You have an interesting name, which I’m sure is a pen name. What made you choose a pen name and where did you find inspiration for it?
Oh, my pen name is interesting. I chose it because I’m an introvert; privacy and safety reasons. Anyway, there are simply too many layers to the name, and I will try to explain without confusing you, haha. I have always liked daisies. When I married into a Turkish family, they started calling me Papatya. I asked why? They said that my smile was as bright as a daisy flower. I was like, “Wow! Thank you. I actually like daisies.” So, when I decided to write, I tweaked the name a bit to Papatia.
I do respond to both spellings of the name. I also respond to Fofky; a derivative of my real last name which stuck when I was in high school. My former classmates called me this way to this day. Today, it’s the name I use for my second business alhamdullilah. Now, the pen last name is just a combination of my maiden name and my married name. And since I speak French because of political history of my birth country, I decided to give my pen name a French punch. “Fo” Fofkys became “Feaux.” And “Zar” is just a syllable in my married name. I hope this explains it. Smiles
Now that’s what you call being creative! You are an accountant, writer, publisher, wife, mother, blogger, and a homeschooler. Phew! What a mouth full! How do you balance all these roles and remain sane?
It’s hard! But alhamdullilah ala kulli haal. I have a planner and each minute of my day is carefully allocated to a task alhamdullilah. However, they will be days where I’m utterly burn out, and I will do nothing but relax and pray.
You are a former accountant in the corporate world, what made you decide to work from home instead and what steps did you take to make it a reality?
The birth of my son, my in-laws’ cultural lifestyle (women don’t work in this culture), my growing tiredness while multitasking all these roles you mention I do (lol), and the Islamophobic climate (I was the only Black Muslimah in the whole buiding) all played some roles in me quitting corporate America. Before I quit, I had made sure that I saved enough money and that I had a backup plan to remain an independent Muslim woman. That backup plan was my publishing house I started in 2013. I had built the platform until I was ready to quit in 2016.
There’s so much about you to talk about. So let me just ask, what inspired you to become a writer and a publisher?
Writing and authoring books have always been something I had a penchant for since my teenage years. I wrote back then. Most of my works are destroyed but Allah put the right people along the way and I seized the opportunity to make my dreams come true. On a side note, my African family comes from a cast of scholars and learners. So, I’m just following in their footsteps. My paternal grandfather owned a merdrassa and my late father was a Doctor in Psychology and Sociology alhamdullilah. He did his graduate studies in Paris and returned to teach University students in Ivory Coast.
With all your entrepreneurial roles kept in mind, what is the biggest vision/goal you hope to accomplish?
My goal is to help make Muslim works more seen. It pains me every time I read or think of the story of Bayt al Hikma. Knowledge is life. May Allah facilitate, aameen.
Ameen. What challenges did you face when you started your entrepreneur journey?
Too many subhanallah. You can always count on shaytan to throw you curveballs. While Allah tests us along the way, you learn from all of these calamities. The main challenge though was to make sure I’m never at the mercy of people I hire to work for me. I try to do everything myself or know how to do these things so I can be independent.
How do you stay focused despite all the distractions and what motivates you?
I simply make dua that Allah gets shaytan away from me. If you don’t, he will help you waste your time.
How do you maintain a balance between work and personal life?
I set boundaries. My play time is my play time. My work time is strictly my work time.
As a Muslim woman, how does Islam impact your entrepreneurship?
Quite a lot actually. Allah is ar-Razzaq. My success is only by Him. He is an-Nasir. He is the one who sets my rizq, sends help, supporters, followers, buyers, you name it. I don’t discount His tremendous help. I am immensely grateful for all of his help and tests. You can’t become complacent or lose focus of the ultimate test with all your worldly accomplishments; this life test.
When are you most productive and how do you manage your time?
Early in the morning after tahajjud and/or fajr. I go to sleep early so I can wake up early to pray when the apartment is quiet. After that, I start studying or working online. I give myself thirty minutes or so for fajr and dhikr. Then, I start the day officially with more work, studying, homeschooling, etc.
How do you deal with ‘bad days’ and ‘negative thoughts’?
Again dua. I strive not to let negative thoughts, bad moments in a day or malice flourish in my heart or mind. Astagfirullah. What’s the purpose of doing such things? Sinning. A thing I try to stay away for my own sake in the next life.
As a Muslim woman in today’s society, do you find it challenging to achieve personal and work goals?
Not at all. If I write them down and make dua about them, I’m confident that al-Fattah will help me achieve these goals if they are beneficial for me.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far as an entrepreneur?
Be frugal. Don’t waste anything. Don’t make impulse purchases, look for better prices before buying anything. Reward people Allah sent to help you well. Don’t be a pushover. Let people see and know your strength. If you don’t do these, they will deliberately pick fights with you out of spite and jealousy.
What advice would you give to other Muslimah entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Know that the evil eye is real and always be prepared spiritually (know the 99 names of Allah) to fight off shaytan off your affairs. Because sooner or later, it will happen. Also make dua that you don’t fall prey to jealousy. Because we’re humans, make dua that Allah removes such a thing from your heart the moment you recognize it. Do it quickly for your own sake. Aameen.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere and anywhere. Inspiration is all around us alhamdullilah. That said, I usually find it when I unplug and rest.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It’s an honor to be on your platform. Thank you so much for the invite. Allahumma barik! May Allah make your platform a great success for the benefit of this life and the next, aameen. May He put barakat and increase your rizq in it, too. Allahumma aameen.
Ameen! And same to you my dear sister. Where can you be reached?
@djarabikpub on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
@fofkys on Facebook and Instagram. @fofky_s on Twitter.
Thank you very much for your time. Assalaam ‘alaikum.
Thank you to you as well! Wa aleikum salam waramatulahi wabarakatuhu.
I recently picked a local magazine geared at parents in Dallas and an article by Christa Melnyk Hines caught my eye. She is a journalist and the author of Confidentiality Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life. She lists eleven characteristics of Happy Moms and I agreed with all of them. I will paraphrase them here and show how they relate to my Islamic personal life, at least since the birth of my son. Alhamdullilah.
Lean on Community
Most of my work is done online and I lean on the support the online community of a couple social media platforms provide me. In her article, she points out that bonding with friends boosts a woman’s level of oxytocin; the stress reducing hormone in the body. In addition, I’m making an effort to also lean on off-line community; a very challenging thing to do for an introvert. Duas requested!
Commit to Healthy Living
I sleep early, I wake up early, and I make time for self-care by pampering myself regularly with homemade cosmetic materials. This helps me stay energetic, boosts my self-confidence and self-image. I’m happier and definitely more patient these days. Alhamdullilah.
I went through an integrative nutrition health coaching program a couple years ago with Zeeshan Shah, IIN, of Eat.Drink.Pure whom I interviewed, and she strongly suggest to women and children to look at their Circle of Life from the School of Nutrition’s diagram below. A personal balance in all of these areas helps one have a more fulfilling life. I can attest to that at least since I pay more attention to them these days.
Take Time for Personal Pursuits
I try not to stay stagnant in my acquisition of knowledge. I have a Master’s Degree in Accounting but I’m still going to school (Islamic and Secular) because I’m a student of life and that’s my personal pursuit; iqra. So, find your personal pursuits that have been shorthanded or sidelined and revive/reclaim them to be and stay happy in your life. Closure gives peace of mind.
Life is hectic but on weekends, I enjoy my time relaxing while making brunch. Why? Because I see it as a time to bond with my Creator, my family, my soul, relax and enjoy food bliss. Good food has a highly spiritual aspect. So, see cooking and nourishing yourself as a soothing and mediating moment not as a chore. As a matter of fact, this is my time of worship with only positive thoughts and continuous dhikr. We were created to worship in all our actions and cooking is one worshipping act I greatly enjoy. Masha’Allah alhmdullilah. Now, there is nothing wrong with a man cooking for you too *wink*.
Laugh. Family Life Can be Funny
Life with a toddler is funny indeed! My son says a ton of hilarious things because at his age he takes things literally. While these Mommy Fails Moments make me consider how to approach the homeschooling process next, they help me loosen up and enjoy life as it is. Other suggestions include a satire, pictures and videos of good times with friends and family, and comedy films. Life is short, laughing moments are memories you can use to lift your spirits when darkness wants to pounce on you or pounces on you. That’s life. Sometimes you will be dragged to darkness without your consent, but will you make an effort to rise above it or conquer that dark moment and restore your happiness? I pray you answer, “Yes.”
Follow a Spiritual Practice
This is a no brainer for Muslims. Allah said in surah 13, verse 28, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” Hines says here, “Studies find that people who lean an inner belief are happier.” Making time to intentionally seek a sense of peace leads to a happier being. Meditating or silent reflection, journaling, or attending inspiring religious services are all part of this seeking sense of inside peace. Inspiring khutbas and halaqas qualify here.
Hines suggests writing down three things that one is thankful for daily including even all the smallest moments. She also cites a research done at Eastern Washington University here. “We have found that grateful individuals tend to be happy individuals and that grateful thinking improves mood,” said the researchers. I personally write down more than three things ranging from tiny to big, down daily because Allah says in surah 14 verse 7, “If you’re grateful, I will give you more.” Alhamdullilah.
Get a Groove On
In this section, Hines suggest music which I won’t be suggesting unless it’s a nasheed *laughs.* Anyway, I listen to the Quran daily while working online because it relaxes me and helps me stay focused. It also helps me fight low spirits and stress. As a result, I always stay productive and on top of things. Alhamdullilah.
This part is major to me because I’m prone to anxiety if I don’t set boundaries about who is and is not allowed in my life. If you’re too nice or too polite to tell people to back off a bit, you open the door for people to abuse you again and again, verbally and emotionally. DON’T DO THIS. Be firm. It’s an Islamic duty because it shows how steadfast you are when faced with very tough decisions.
Access Good Childcare
I homeschool my son but when I need to pop in the office or any other place where having him in tow would hold me in contempt, I put him in a fun and reliable place to avoid the contempt and distraction he will bring me. Otherwise, him and I go everywhere on a daily basis. Then, I pray to Allah-al Waliyy and al-Wakil to watch and protect him in my absence. Finally, I go do my business with iman, tawwakkul, and peace of mind. This is important when you don’t have any family member who can help or is close by. So, search for one place now that will come in handy in emergency situations. If family members complain, ask them if they will fill the spot for you. It’s your Islamic right to have a nanny. Do what is in your best interest and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not up to them. It’s up to you to decide your happiness.
Everyone has their own rizq, family rules, etc. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t know or see the full picture. If their happiness or successes bother you, lower your gaze and stay grateful for what you have been blessed with. “And We have made some of you as a trial for others: will you have patience?” It’s a test and our reactions go for or against our book of deeds. Be careful in retaliating in ways that will be charged against your book of deeds. Practice self-control, inspire people, don’t trigger their anxieties, make dua for them, be happy with your life and trust that there is enough sun for everyone. Allah is the best of Planners, and He will make you shine too insha’Allah if it’s good for you in this life and the next.
I hope this list is beneficial to you with the personal and Islamic touch. Ramadan Mubarak! May Allah accept, aameen.
Text Source: Dallas Parent May 2019
Picture Source: CNN
The world of sports is largely dominated by men, more often female sportspersons and women athletes face many challenges that hinder their progress and participation in the world of sports. In the context of Islamic societies, we observe that the prevalence of strict gender roles in Muslim communities limit women’s participation in sports on both personal and professional level.
Most Muslims will agree that our societies are lagging behind due to lack of awareness and religious misinterpretations that prevent or disapprove Muslim women participation in any kind of sportive activities. There are places in the Muslim world, where clerics and religious leadership promotes Islam does not support its women to take up sports as per modesty and veiling ideals. My prolific co-author Papatia Feauxzar shall debunk the religious teachings on this matter in part II, so we ask you to stay tuned!
Muslim women have to face not only religious and cultural restriction barriers in Islamic countries, but general living conditions, legal prohibitions and lack of opportunities end up creating a non conducive environment – with little exceptions that allow or aid in women’s empowerment and inclusion in sports arena.
The lack of effective investment in field of sports and physical activities is seen across many Islamic countries – poor funding and state negligence also plays its role in creating barriers for its citizens.
In few places and situations, the conflict between culture and women’s active role in sports gets challenged especially by Muslim girls and women. For example, in Pakistan we saw the interesting case of Maria Toorpakay Wazir, the country’s top female squash player.
Growing up in a strict tribal Islamic Pashtun community which disapproved of girls playing sport, she had her parents backing to explore her sports dreams but during local competitions she was forced to dress as a boy. Once it was exposed that Maria was indeed a girl, she and her family endured the wrath of Taliban and death threats. In Pakistan, she has received wide-spread attention and also State awards, but the overall circumstances forced her to relocate to Canada where she is pursuing her professional career and a female athlete change maker.
In other societies where tribalism is still practiced and thriving, parents view girls as “financial burdens” and girls are married off in early teenage years to get rid of this unwanted cargo.
In African context, traditions and norms of masculinity play a role in the perception that sports is for men only. The inclusion of women sportspersons in the public sphere is further marred by little interest and severe lack of funding in promoting women sports.
In recent years, there have been some significant endeavors that are launched as a response to tackle the issue of “modesty” and the matter of having right clothes that can allow females from participating in sports.
In the United States, which hosts large community of global Muslims, activist Fatimah Hussein came up with the clothes range that celebrates diversity, inclusion and empowerment of female athletes through Modest Activewear for Muslim Women.
In-fact, the issue of sex segregation and modesty form the basis of excessive cultural baggage in Muslim communities when it comes to participating in sports.
Within Muslim women themselves there is a lot of diversity and difference in articulating Islamic teachings when it comes to physical and recreational activities.
There are examples across the Islamic world where we observe that while some Muslim women might engage in mixed sport events, others do not perceive this as appropriate. There is prevalence of both kind of examples; groups of Muslim women observing the set dress codes consist of covering hair and wearing modest clothing, while others simply do not.
Despite the odds, put in their place many female athletes have become change agents and role models for newer generations by competing not only locally but also international competitions like Olympics and other sports events.
“Look at this impressive list of Muslim athletes – Tunisian foil fencer, Inès Boubakri, Afghan sprinter Robina Muqimyar, Iranian Taekwondo athelete Kimiya Alizadeh Zonouzi, South African cricker Shabnim Ismail, Egyptian volleyball player Doaa Elghobashy, Indian tennis player Sania Mirza, Bengali- British booxer Ruqsana Begum and many others.”
On the international scale, Muslim women athletes have to face the extra the brunt of culturally imperialistic and prevalent orientalist attitudes within the western societies.
During global sports events, we see a one track media narrative busy in discussing “what Muslim athletes wear” as opposed to their sportive performances.
At the end of the day, the most important issue is to ensure that all groups and individuals are catered for as far as possible and that they are consulted and respected in their choices without the guise of “religion forbids, haram and so on conditions and mentality.”
Part II, Written By Papatia Feauxzar
Islam has an egalitarian treatment when it addresses men and women. The quranic verses attest that both genders can do what the other gender does, yet the man is not like the woman. Look at that. We have the same abilities, we’re different but we aren’t contradictory. Subhanallah, only the Creator can make such a thing possible.
To continue, in the story of Maryam (aleihi salam), we see that her Mother wished for a pious heir (a son to be precise) who will devote himself to the Creator of the Worlds for the rest of his life. However, Allah made a plot twist and gave her a baby girl; someone who will have a period and will thus become unpure monthly. Can you imagine the level of distraught Hannah, a steadfast believer, felt at the discovery of the sex of her child in such a restricting society back then?
Regardless, Allah opened the door and Maryam (aleihi salam) was accepted as a student at the temple to worship her Lord like her Mom had wished. This is a clear example that women can do what men do. There are countless other examples.
Now, when shameless cultural Muslims start discussing women’s clothes as inappropriate in sports, gatekeeping or even sexually harass female athletes, they forget that the only sport where men’s clothes are a bit “Islamic” to my knowledge is baseball. The pants are somewhat loose and go below the knees; that’s part of men hijab by the way.
However, what do we see in the whole wide world of the ummah?
We see soccer fanatics among others wear soccer shorts or football fanatics wear tights just to name a few sports. These shorts don’t even begin to cover their knees. And the tights leave very little to the imagination. Why do men get an exception to the rule of hijab and women can’t? We will be judged based on intention you know. If your intention of wearing tight clothes is based on aerodynamics, I’m sure that’s excusable. But if it’s not, well that’s your scroll of deeds.
To go back to the double standard I was discussing, do these men think that women don’t have eyes like them and can’t appreciate a hunk or a piece of meat when they see it? Do they think women can’t treat them with as much doggy (horny) attitude like they do women? Finally, do they think we can’t undress them with our eyes if we want to? We can if you didn’t know. We just choose not to be that vapid. So, it’s vapid when you don’t lower your gaze towards us and remember that women know how and prefer to control their urges.
In jannah, a man’s wife, “will have 70 sets of clothing upon her, but all will be delicate and weightless to the degree of transparency.” Allahu akbar.
Unless Allah blesses us with the formula to make such an outfit for Muslim women who are athletes and don the hijab, the shameless cultural Muslims will have to make an exception for women as well and let them be. Aerodynamics or not, give them a break and lower your gaze.
Now, cultural barriers don’t only impede women in sports, they also help discriminate against other women in sports. For instance, during the Rio 2016 Olympics, I wrote an article on the preferential treatment the ummah showed and still shows Ibtihaj Muhammad versus Dalilah Muhammad. Both won gold but the fact that one was covered won it over the other. I get it, it’s hard to not judge but we must resist the urge to do so.
To this day, you will see that from non-Muslims to Muslims, everyone mostly focuses on the hijab when it’s convenient for them and their marketing techniques. My thing is this; if you wear hijab to empower yourself as it should do because you don’t want imbeciles (human and djinn) gawking at will at your body; a sacred temple, alhamdullilah. If you don’t wear it due to your non-readiness status or emotional abuse you’ve endured, that’s understandable.
However, if you’re Muslim and you wear the hijab to build a following and you look down upon it later on because your ego is at play or you feel diminished by it, may Allah guide you, aameen.
Above all, sports for Muslim women is not forbidden like the following hadith relays.
According to Sunan Abi Dawud, Ai’sha (radiallahu anha) said, “I competed with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) in running and overtook him. Later, when I had put on some weight, I once again competed with him, but this time he overtook me and said, “We’re even now.”
This account should make us ponder. This was a time when there were no inside gyms or fitness establishments. People exercised where it found them or felt like it. Let’s do better. Allahu alim.
“The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff” is a copyrighted collaborative feature series highlighting issues of and within the global Muslim communities. A joint initiative by two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feauxzar and Saadia Haq. We appreciate your support and feedback, do write us here or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyrights @2015 – 2019.
Bio: Saadia Haq is not your regular Pakistani girl with masters degree in Business Administration and other certifications. An antidote to gender disparities, feminist and human rights journalist that runs The Humans Lens blog!
Bio: Papatia Feauxzar is an American author of West African descent, an online magazine editor and the unwavering force behind the blog Between Sisters, SVP! and the creator of Fofky’s; an Online Book and Coffee/Tea Shop.
Original Source : The Human Lens .
Picture Source : Mic and Bustle Digital Group.
Interviewer: Papatia Feauxzar at Fofky’s
Interviewee: Umm Afraz Muhammed
Here With You– An Interview with the Author
Umm Afraz has authored several short books on self-help but today she is at our bookstore to discuss her debut novel Here With You so she can give us some insights on her unique novel masha’Allah. Assalamu aleikum Umm Afraz, welcome to Fofky’s.
Q1 – Can you please give us some insights on the title of your book? Like why Here With You versus something more mothers-in-law related? It’s a romance story so I have some theories but I would love to hear from the mastermind herself.
A1 – Wa alaykumussalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh Papatia. Jazakillahu khayran for having me on your blog . It is truly an honor <3. Okay, so I wanted to have a title that had an emotional connection – not only for the characters, but also for the audience. The phrase “here with you” could be understood in a romantic, platonic, parental love, or spiritual sense. It all depends on the context with which it is used.
Q2 – I liked how you portrayed the mother-in-law; she is not a bad person but there was discrepancy between her firm devotion in worship and her application of Islamic or courtesy sunnah manners towards her daughter-in-law. It portrays that many people with whom we don’t agree aren’t necessarily evil but simply imperfect Muslims. I found it relatable and realistic. Did you find emotionally easy or hard to pen her character based on your experience in marriage or scenarios you’ve witnessed in real life from people around you?
A2 – You are bang on! That was exactly how I wanted to portray Fatima. She is just like everyone else – trying to practice Islam whilst struggling with her humanly flaws – an imperfect Muslim. I think that is why she was fairly easy to characterize. She is someone we could all relate to.
Q3 – Aunties everywhere are inappropriate and especially during nikahrelated events where their intimacy innuendos are often raunchy. Have you ever witnessed them to relent? Now, it’s safe to say that sometimes they relay valuable info to the bride to take to the bedroom at times. And poor brides like Salma are usually left to their verbal claws. Do you think such customs should stop or do you think Aunties should carry on because it makes nikahrelated events fun?
A3 – You know, when you think back, it seems funny. But when you are in that spot, undergoing that experience or even when you are in the environment listening to the comments and innuendos, it gets uncomfortable. I believe there should be a balance in joking. It is possible to make a joke while maintaining the dignity of the couple. And if there is any information to be given, it should be done in private. Wa Allahu Alam.
Q4 – Financial security, which is necessary as Islam is about the middle path, pushes many of our parents to steer us towards STEM fields. It has advantages and Disadvantages. Faisal was conflicted with such decisions made for him by his parents. I believe in getting a degree that will support your true passion later. But do you think that one can live off unpredictable art revenues without getting a formal education which can be a safety net?
A5 – We were raised to believe only STEM fields generate income, and arts/humanities field don’t produce as much. I agree a formal education would give the CV a boost, but I also believe that with the way the modern-world is proceeding, as long as you have the passion and you invest your time and efforts in it by continuous learning, and practicing what you are good at, you will earn enough. After all, rizq comes from Allah, and what is meant for you will never leave you unless Allah Wills it. In the end, it is all about practicing yourself and trusting Allah. What are your thoughts?
Papatia Feauxzar : I agree. At the end of the day, it’s about rizq. Masha’Allah.
Q5 – Do you have any questions for me about your book?
A5 – I would love to know what you thought about the story, the writing style, and any critical feedback that you have. Also, what is one scene that you felt closely connected to, and why?
Papatia Feauxzar : The writing style fits the genre of this book; smooth, sensual and emotional. If you had written an adventure book or sci-fi book like this, it wouldn’t have worked because these genres require fast-paced storytelling to keep the reader excited and tuned-in.
Now, I only found very few things (subjective by the way) to be unsatisfied about. For instance, I felt tremendously teased with the sultry romance of Faisal and Salma. I loved them both and the way he stood up for her when it came to his mother meddling. That was very relatable, alhamdullilah. That’s all.
Papatia Feauxzar : Umm Afraz, thank you for being with us.
Umm Afraz : Thank you Fofky’s! Much love, and God Bless <3!
Papatia Feauxzar : Aameen, likewise! Check out a review and a reading of Here With You below, thanks!
Salma, a new bride who is happily married to her husband, moves into her in-laws’ house as part of their South Indian culture. A new life, a new beginning, and a new family in a new country. Staying in a place far away from her loved ones, with no one to rely on but her husband, she undergoes the realities of life living under the same roof as her mother-in-law. How will she cope with the lifestyle changes and the daily challenges? Will her dreams of having a good relationship with her mother-in-law come true? Or will she discover the dreaded monster-in-law?
Fatima wants to be a good mother-in-law to Salma and yearns for a good relationship with her. Life and time throw opportunities her way to prove herself. Would she take the right decisions and keep her best foot forward? Or would she succumb to her ego and cultural stereotypes?
This book is about the emotional tug-of-war between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law. Sandwiched between the two most important women of his life is Faisal, the son of one and husband of the other.
The story revolves around the lives of these three characters and the relationships they share with each other as they learn to stick together despite the ups and downs they face as a joint family.
Review: Salma is a such a sweetheart and a good mannered Muslimah masha’Allah. You will fall in love with her way to face adversity if your faith is a balm to your spirits or if your faith soothes your fiery nature when it’s appropriate. Her mother-in-law is also a steadfast woman albeit her other flaws. Their relationship was a very relatable one and not the worst when it comes to daughter-in-law and mother-in-law drama but still it’s a very challenging one. I loved the story the minute I read a snippet of it several years ago and I’m happy to see the author’s brilliant complete penned work. Salma’s husband, Faisal, is another relatable character masha’Allah. In his plight, you will realize that Allah is the best of planners and that to make omelets, you have to break eggs.
My favorite passage as usual dealt with finance and affirmed my point of views. “We may have seemed to live a luxurious life, but rarely do people understand that the struggles we experienced were the same as that of any other middle-class family. I found it unfair that just because we lived in a posh area, we were expected to live a posh life. Relatives back home were unwilling to comprehend the fact that foreign-residents like us suffered financial issues too. It was as if money rained upon us and we were expected to distribute it to every Ahmad, Muhammed, and Abdullah they recommended. And if we refused to support them financially, relations are severed, regardless of the ties of kinship that Islam asks us to uphold sincerely. Over the years, I’ve learnt that the world runs on money, and rarely on love.”
I agree, many people think that financially secured individuals also don’t have money issues. And when financially secured individuals can’t lend them money or refuse to be unnecessarily hustled, resentment ensues as if they are entitled to these bounties they sought. As Muslims, we need to stop making plans on other people’s assets or even Allah’s bounties. We need to accept what people give freely and let go of expectations and master the notion of rizq. Nothing belong to us, even ourselves, we don’t belong to ourselves.
The novel also delves into cultural and real Islam. That was refreshing alhamdullilah. In all, Afraz’s writing is very smooth, subtle, lovely and most of all soulful and soul searching. The pace was also to my liking. I finished the book in less than a day.
I definitely recommend this book to halal romance lovers and readers of Muslim women’s contemporary fiction. Bravo!
Here With You‘s Reading by Umm Afraz Muhammed
Direct YouTube link : https://youtu.be/BuNsb2ROx4w
EBook available on Amazon here.
Paperback available on Pothi here.
Original Source: Fofky’s Blog .
The Tower -- An Interview with the Author
Shereen Malherbe’s second contemporary novel The Tower debuts this April 2019, and we’re excited to pick the author’s brain with the following interview. So let’s get to it insha’Allah.
Q1- Shereen, have you ever been to Syria and did you have to interview actual Syrians for this novel?
A1 - I haven’t ever been to Syria, but I did interview a range of people for the book. Especially refugees and migrants with experience of London like their expectations versus the reality. Interviewing helped me with my major plot points and I think that is the beauty of research. Often life is more interesting, and in this case, it was more harrowing, than fiction.
Q2 - I liked the plot of The Tower and the writing masha’Allah. It’s a very smooth novel that fits a night when you want your mind to unwind and lull a bit. So while you write this genre of books, what other types (genres) of books do you like reading?
A2 - Thank you. I think studying English Literature and making sure you read widely contributes to how smoothly you write. Dissecting books is an important part of creating your own! I have heard that what you read always contributes more to how you write, even subconsciously and I would go further to say it isn’t just what you read, it is everything you experience. And that experience can come through books. Personally, I enjoy reading different types of fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction and the classics.
Q3- The Tower was a bit of stranger than fiction occurrence; the attacks on Muslims in their places of worship or their residences is a reality. The greed and politics that let this happen was also exposed in your book. Do you think this will be an eye-opening experience for readers?
A3 - I hope that in some way, all reading experiences are eye opening in some ways. My editor and I discussed the way reality happened and was mirrored in a scene in my novel. I had drafted the idea over a year ago and I did debate excluding it. However, I am glad we didn’t. Often, when communities pick up on a certain environment, like in this case rising islamophobia, the consequences are often predictable and that is exactly what happened in The Tower.
Politics have played a part in this and therefore I wanted to reflect that. Although this is fiction, I believe it is important to reflect how communities are feeling and I wanted to bring some empathy, humanity and hope in an increasingly hostile world.
Q4 - Your Palestinian heritage merges with Syrian heritage in this book. Do you have any Syrian roots?
A4 - I don’t myself, but I am aware of refugees from Palestine to Syria, made refugees again after the war. In that way my heritage shares perspectives with this view of movement and shifting homelands which I wanted to explore throughout the book. I think most of us are capable of shared empathy despite where we are from and the global refugee crisis is affecting millions so we are all part of it in some way.
That is the beauty of fiction; it doesn’t matter where you are from, we all have shared experiences.
Q5 - What else do you want your readers to take away from The Tower?
A5 - It’s hard to really expect certain responses from readers so as a writer, I believe the finished novel belongs to the readers now. So, I don’t like to say what I expect readers to take from it because it will mean different things to different people. However, if I had to say something, I would hope that it offers, even in a small way, a different, positive perspective of how we can all contribute something good to the world.
Shereen, thank you for being with us.
Readers, please check out the review below of The Tower.
The Tower published by Beacon Books is the second contemporary women’s fiction novel written by Shereen Malherbe; a British Palestinian writer based in both the UK and the United Arab Emirates. Shereen Malherbe is also a writer for Muslimah Media Watch, a forum for critiquing the images of Muslim women in the media and pop culture.
Reem is a Syrian refugee who has arrived in London, trying to discover the whereabouts of her 10-year old brother, Adar. Obsessed with history and consumed by her fragmented memories of home, Reem is also hiding secrets she hopes will never be revealed. After being placed in a tower block, she befriends Leah; a single mother who has been forced to leave her expensive South Kensington townhouse. Their unlikely friendship supports them as they attempt to find their place in a relentless, heaving city, and come to terms with the homes they left behind. Both bold and timely, The Tower shows how Reem and Leah’s lives change and intersect in the wake of individual and communal tragedy, as well as in their struggle to adapt to a rapidly shifting society.
In The Tower, Malherbe explores fictionalized real events and realities such as the Grenfell tower incident, the remnants of the war in the Middle East and women's mental health like she did in her first novel Jasmine Falling .
Reem finds herself triggered by the apparition of her detractor out of nowhere. Secretly battling a possible gestation, domestic and emotional abuse, she can't help but chase her brother's ghost in London.
Reem also faces both hardship and ease while trying to communicate in English, while looking and finding a job and while carrying herself around because while some strangers might be kind to you, some won't. And a Muslim woman wearing hijab is always targeted for some nonsense.
Thus, meeting Leah and the welcoming ummah in Reem's new UK apartment building— the tower—and neighborhood brings her comfort until tragedies/blessings in disguise rip the little struggling pieces of her life she had left.
In the narrative of Leah, Malherbe lightly touches on the positive privilege this character brings to society and the self-discovery journey Leah treads. Leah finally finds her call and Reem gets a happy ending with a decent chap.
We can definitely say that Malherbe's great narrative skills of the setting bring us to the scene, making The Tower a moving tale. The book shows that when stricken with deep love rejection, tremendous loss of family members, etc. human nature shows its resiliency by making an effort to survive the darkness.
Find it on Amazon here.
Original Source : Fofky’s Blog .
Muslim women continue to unveil their true identities to the unbeknownst outside world which concluded what they are is simply oppressed and staid.
Here are three poignant anthologies that work to dispel the prejudice, show the Muslim woman’s pride, reclaim the Muslim woman’s narrative and reassert the Muslim woman’s voice in the process. Read your sisters’ words, be inspired and validated.
1. The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write
From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the Muslim Woman.
Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster flounder while being repeatedly cast as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honor killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo. From Algiers to Brighton, these stories transcend time and place revealing just how varied the search for belonging can be.
Triska Hamid’s short poem “London” is justifiable selfish. The reader realizes that while she may not call herself an English woman, she rightfully associates with being British. She loves London.
Fadia Faqir’s story “Under the Cypress” deals with bigotry, the circle of life and compassion among other things including magical realism.
In Amina Jama’s poem “Home, to a Man,” we relate to the advices and behaviors of moms and aunties. Immigrants will relate to the poem “The Things I Would Tell You” by Hibaq Osman. In all, this anthology is an eclectic writing style, testimony and non-monolithic sampling of the Muslim women of this era.
2. Riding the Samoosa Express: Personal Narratives of Marriage and Beyond
Riding the Samoosa Express is a metaphor to refer to the process of courtship, love, marriage, and beyond. It’s a well written tale sampling the diversity and the different faces the Indian Muslim women contributors experienced.
These personal narratives range from very funny tales like Farhana Ismail’s father’s izzat (honor) demands and Somayya Hansrod’s mishaps in the kitchen, to soul searching and self-actualization stories such as the ones of Yasmin Denat and many other anonymous and non-anonymous contributors. A very thought provocative compilation, Riding the Samoosa Express tell us that what may be true for one Muslim woman is not necessarily true or the norm for another Muslim woman.
Each Muslim woman has a different life and a different culture. So, some of these stories mirror the lives of other Muslim women around the globe while many don’t. Many of the stories spoke to me. For instance, I felt the struggles of Zaheera Jina when she wished to be “Only Oomi” to her son while battling a PhD career in Mathematics.
Another story that spoke to me is the one of Nabeela Patel because of her open mind and religious tolerance of other faiths. I enjoyed her critical thinking and the way she ended her piece, “First, I need to blossom into a flower from a bud and settle into my own life. In this big, bad world I don’t know where I’ll end up, or who I will be, but I need to find that out first. I need to fathom the complex me, settle into my skin and breathe…”
3. Saffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women
Saffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women is an anthology of writing that draws on the lived realities of Muslim women.
Food and cooking, hardship and conflict, intimacy, baby-making, children, living with in-laws and self-esteem are some of the experiences unpacked in this collection of poignant personal narratives. This collection will remind and reassure that, although life brings with it many challenges, you as a woman are never alone in what you go through – many women share your experience.
Truly, in this anthology you will definitely realize that women all around you walk similar journeys with you. The testimonies are cryptic at times for the sake of privacy and revealing at other times for the sake of cautionary advice.
In all, all the stories complement one another. If you feel like one story left you thirsty, another will give you the closure you need. You will see an equal amount of beware-of-narcissistic-spouses and praise-able Muslim husbands like in “Khidmat in the Kitchen” by Aneesa Bodiat-Sujee.
There is also a healthy and classy dose of intimacy like in “Sublime Strawberries” by N. Moola. That’s essay 39 by the way, you have to read this sultry and cryptic romantic tale! From dealing with in-laws with diplomacy to infertility struggles, the WHOLE book rang true to me and here are some of the quotes I had to jot down:
Don’t let cooking takeover your life and don’t let the kitchen enslave you.” — Somayya Hansrod
This is a promise I made to myself before getting married. And I’m a good cook and a foodie.
“Food forces us to be present and connected in our marriages.” — Gouwa Gabier
In “Saffron,” Sumayya Mehtar said that, “… no marriage is all smooth sailing.” And I agree, you will simply realize that food has the power of mending relationships and helping you as a couple get passed the storm.
“Every newly married woman naively thinks that they are the first victim, history repeats itself with no solutions and deep sadness with no cures.” — Yumna Samaria
This is exactly where you see that other women work the journey with you and you aren’t alone. Reading the book will make you feel better and enjoy this group therapy it provides.
And of course my favorite, “Being a Muslim woman involves a perfect blend of saffron, rituals and philosophies.” —Dr. Zaheera Jina
Definitely! Without routines like daily plans, rituals like duas and dhikr, flavors like spices & teas and philosophies like inspirational quotes; I would be an unproductive mess and fit the stereotype about the Muslim woman as being a closed-minded individual.
There are many more passages in the book I found inspirational, and I hope you come to say the same too. These women hail from Africa, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Their common denominator is Islam and that alone makes their struggles and their wins relatable, and their book a must-read.
book reviewBook RecommendationsIslamic literatureMuslim authorsgreat marriage adviceBook SuggestionsThe Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women WriteSaffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim WomenRiding the Samoosa Express: Personal Narratives of Marriage and Beyond
Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها born Khadijah bint Khuwalid was a modest, noble woman, business savvy female, single mother who became the first companion of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. A woman who received salams from al-Khaliq is engrossing and intriguing, at least to me. In a restricting society that had a poor view of women in general, she rose above all these society setbacks because she was loyal and a steadfast believer. Indeed, Allah ﷻ is with the sabarareen. She رضي الله عنها was also the only woman who gave the Prophet ﷺ children. While he ﷺ was married to her, he didn’t have any other wives. It’s only after she رضي الله عنها passed away that he ﷺ took other wives.
There are so many lessons from her life we can take inspiration from.
An inspiration for the business aspiring or savvy muslimah
Today, if we just search Instagram and Etsy, we will see many muslimah home businesses thriving masha’Allah. Many have taken inspiration on this Mother of the Ummah. We must thank her, the first Mother of Believers for paving the way. Islam was the first movement to give women their rights and equal status to men but nowadays, the ummah is largely and unfortunately dominated by patriarchal societies which work day and night to clip the wings of Muslim women around the world. Why is that? They fear strong and independent women. In addition, many women have also been the enemies of women by failing their sons and raising entitled little brats who think women are their doormats. Furthermore, these women have also opposed (and still oppose) the success of working women and most of all, they shame them. May Allah help us raise exceptional men who will change the change quo. Aameen. May women also stop sabotaging their own gender, allahumma aameen. In the story, of Khadijah al-Kubra (radiallahu anhu), we can also learn to manage money better and not commit ishrafno matter what. I say this because I’m a business owner and my rizq was taken away and then given back alhamdullilah because I had not been frugal on every enterprise. Paying approximately $80 or exorbitant prices on the black market for the needy was indeed a noble gesture but it’s still waste. This waste bankrupted her and without trying to sully her memory, I believe it’s a subtle sign for us small business homemakers to reflect upon and not make the mistakes of our predecessors. We are all sinners after all and no Beloved of Allah is above that. May Allah forgive her and always be please with her رضي الله عنها . Aameen.
An inspiration for the struggling single mother
The world doesn’t change, only norms do. In her رضي الله عنها time, single mothers were a catch masha’Allah. How did we get to shun them away in our current society? Shaytan perhaps is at play here so that these women become desperate and try to marry non-Muslims men or worse become indecent by starting dating and seeing men outside the holy matrimony of marriage. If men with their fixation of marrying only virgins or any other women who can serve their immigration or carnal needs strove to be model themselves after the beautiful example the Prophet ﷺ when it came to how to be an ideal Muslim man, they would contribute greatly to the social welfare that is the institution of marriage, they would do their part.
An inspiration for the educated
She was the first lady imam. And if you are a mother, you have been an imam at least to your children. And many of these men children become and have become world leading and inspiring imams since the final message was revealed subhanallah. Muslim women have been the spiritual leaders for many centuries masha’Allah alhamdullilah. Allah has made women to be subtle like the moon when it’s appropriate and to be fiery as the sun when it’s appropriate. Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها was one very subtle educated woman because she learned directly from him ﷺ the religion she believed in even before she married him ﷺ . Perhaps some of her teachings flushed through her children, Fatima رضي الله عنها to be more precise. Allahu alim. Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها didn’t flaunt her knowledge to anyone nor did she flaunt or showoff her belongings for everyone to see and know. She kept it classy. If Allah had willed it, we would have learned many hadiths from her because she was married to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for several years but He ﷻ blessed her in many other ways He didn’t blessed the other wives with; the first one being sending her special salams masha’Allah subhanallah.
An inspiration in Muslim marriages
She رضي الله عنها catered to the needs of the Prophet ﷺ like a wife and a mother would. That said, he ﷺwasn’t just anyone. Many men who wish for a wife like her رضي الله عنها need to show that they, in turn, deserve a wife of that stature. Nonetheless, she gives many women a lot of marriage goals to achieve without becoming a doormat to lousy, entitled, and abusive husbands. A rich woman like her رضي الله عنها managed to keep her naf in check to serve a man less rich than her رضي الله عنها . Khadijah al-Kubra
رضي الله عنها believed in the Prophet ﷺ with such a vigor that none of us could even match in this life. Many of us see men as deadbeats or losers.
An inspiration to the limitless
Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها didn’t put any limits on herself; whether it be in numbers like age or backward societies thinking that believed women to be less than equal to men or cattle and so forth. She رضي الله عنها was older than of the Prophet ﷺ and she still proposed. She had a flair for good business transactions such as the heed of the stranger not to hesitate to marry a righteous man called Ahmad for the benefit of the akhiret; a lucrative business transaction indeed if you ask me when it comes to endless bliss. She had always been a woman with a keen sense of success. Masha’Allah. Many people beat around the bush when opportunities come knocking instead of opening the door to take the blessing. Allah doesn’t burden a soul with more than he can handle!
An inspiration to decent women
Many men wanted to marry Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها after she became a widow. She rose about her carnal needs and said no to them. She decided to give her all to raise her children. Besides, she didn’t think any of these men were fit men to wed. And because she didn’t compromise or settle for lousy and mediocre suitors, she was blessed with the best man to walk the earth masha’Allah alhamdullilah.
An inspiration for the righteous philanthropist
Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها gave her riches for the sake of Allah without thinking it would bankrupt her. She spent without reserve to advance the religion. How many of us can do that today without “our generosity” getting into our heads or our nafs getting in the way? How many of us are willing to sacrifice this much and leave our children without a will? Her daughter Fatima رضي الله عنها had one of the toughest life recorded in the history of the ummah. Subhanallah.
An inspiration for the hidden figures
“Behind a great man, there is always a great woman,” the saying goes. People are forgetting their manners by not saying thank you. While not working for a “thank you” is better, people have become rude. If you can’t thank people, you haven’t thanked Allah. He ﷺ was always grateful that Khadijah al-Kubra رضي الله عنها believed and supported Him ﷺ. You help people today, they think they have arrived. They deny the favors their Lord bestowed upon them via other humans. Don’t twist my words and say I’m associating humans to Allah. But wait, it’s their scroll of deeds, and they should fill it with whatever they wish. Also, everybody and their mothers, excuse my language, today is “a public figure” on social media. We hate being eclipsed by the success of others. We envy people without making duato ask Allah to remove that jealousy from our hearts. We disregard the notion of rizq. Everywhere there is fitna and people only faking it until they make it with their number of followers without realizing that it borders on shirk if we really think about it. The only Evident yet Hidden is Allah and many of us seem to forget it. We appoint ourselves lofty titles knowing full well that we are only fooling ourselves. Man as vicegerent has taken too many liberties, astaghfrirullah. Allahu alim. We seem to forget that if we make Allah ﷻ the true spotlight, He will always shine the light upon us, and we will naturally prosper by His ﷻ will insha’Allah. We should strive to give dawah, live a good life with the proceeds by always putting the spotlight on al-Khaliq via our works and without trying to make everything about ourselves. That’s called narcissism.
Above all, if as women and men we feel like we are business oriented, we must be entrepreneur leaders who pay their workers well, individuals with a remarkable business flair when it comes to this life and the next without crossing the greed line. We must remain loyal, steadfast in faith, trendsetters and most of all, dependable. For fifteen years and more, the Prophet ﷺ depended on her رضي الله عنها and she depended on him and his teachings to secure a safe akhiret. Masha’Allah.
Online Editor at Hayati Magazine
Collab Part I: By Saadia Haq
Education is crucial for human development and no one can deny its importance in today’s times. The realm of education not only helps communities to realise their full citizenship in a democratic set up but also acts as a root source for their evolution as free human beings capable of making informed choices.
Sadly Muslim countries lag behind due to the negligence and religious notions attached with attaining the so called westernised secular base education. Muslim women particularly suffer under the complex societal standards under the guide of religious teachings. In current times, millions of Muslim students receive some or almost all of their formal education inside madrasas or religious schools. Typically these informal institutions provide young Muslims with the religious foundation in Qur’anic recitation and Islamic values that supersedes the needs of modern times. Lack of state attention and widespread poverty forces large number of Muslim students to make do with the religious based education.
Though there is nothing wrong with going to a madrasa but if we talk about the Muslim girl child education, families consider that their daughters ‘only’ require the Madarasa based education and have the strangest of notions that Muslim women do not need any other education.
As a Muslim feminist who fights daily on the importance of modern education for children and youth I get frustrated with the backward thinking of my own community. So when sister Papatia Feauxzar floated the idea to write on this topic, it felt like a heaven sent opportunity to raise our collective voices for the betterment of the Muslim women rights.
The need for power and control over Muslim women continues with misinterpretations of Islam and its teachings. So when volunteers like ourselves speak out we are berated for spreading anti Islamic agenda and disrespecting the male dominated religious leadership. This cultural norm of speaking over our heads, by that I mean Muslim girls and women heads helps maintain male dominance on most aspects of lives especially education.
Frankly, we see little use in serving the ‘deen’ by agreeing to community leadership and family elders mindsets set against secular and formal education for the Muslim girl child. I cannot emphasise enough the need for us to understand and address the existing religious bullying and manipulation. I am fully aware that we have to protect the most vulnerable in our community and moreover we are losing talented and vibrant sections of our community whose role is particularly important for our future and progress.
I also need to voice that Muslim women, both those born inside the faith and converts as well as little children suffer the most from this annoying “stop disrespecting scholars” argument. There is no denying the wide spread violence against women in Islamic countries, particularly situations like married women forced to stay in abusive marriages, youth oppressed to quietly accept parental abuse under the guise of “reverencing the wombs that bore you” and any interest towards formal education and learning being labelled as the “imitation of the kuffaar” nonsense.
In case of Muslim women converts and my on-going conversations with many I have observed how they have felt let down due by the very faith they choose to embrace due to their abusive experiences. They are also perplexed right so as how violence against women is in many ways condoned and supported by the Muslim communities.
Attitudes On Girl Child Education Among Muslim Communities
There are many issues that act as obstacles in way of girls and women education in the Muslim world. I come from Pakistan, where the Taliban had shot a teenager going to her school and today I feel proud of fellow citizen Malala Yousafzai for heading the world wide debate on Muslim girls education.
There are many unknown Malalas and other stories in our communities. Families due to poverty feel that spending on girls education is useless because after-all they have to grow up and get married. Muslim parents think that they wont get any lucrative benefit by educating their girls.
Community religious leadership also spins the wheel that if girls get educated they will become disobedient and westernised, refuse to do house work and accept decisions made by elders for their future.
Secondly, the frustrating notions of honour in the bodies of Muslim girls and women makes them responsible to maintain family dignity and respect so any idea of education might make them become influenced by boys.
This is interlinked with the fact that the religious schools maintain segregation and deemed as safer environment for girls; parents willingly will send their girls that are at longer distances in their misguided belief on women safety and chastity maintenance. Don’t get me started on the child abuse issue inside the madrasas, that one is for anther time.
Ideas such as Islam emphasises religious or Deeni Taleem for women, therefore worldy education has always to be avoided. Child marriage is also another virus that halts girls getting education in our community.
Young girls are forced to learn household work rather than going to school because they are to be married at young ages and parents worry that if their daughter gets a good educated, they wont be able to find a groom for her. Muslim parents of boys are shamelessly open that they require young bride and have a tendency to refuse educated girls as prospective daughter in laws.
All in all such a recipe for maximum disaster has forced Muslim women to be kept behind the shadows of religion and priesthood. Unfortunately, many Muslims are caught in a sort of time warp, ridiculously some are cherishing the desire to lead lives some fourteen hundred years backward in time whereas others are going about promoting distorted visions of Islam in the quest to maintain power and control.
With passing time, thousands of Muslim women in Asia, Europe, Africa and other places have challenged these notions because we understand what our community, our parents and teachers are telling has little to do with Islam and more to do with shame culture. There is a wave of bad-ass Muslim feminists across the globe that have studied Islam and began using the scripture as a mechanism to get back the rights to education.
We have already come out of the shadows and this change is happening right here, right now sending clear message that we the Muslim women know our rights and can debate our freedom of choices.
Collab Part II: By Papatia Feauxzar
In part I, my co-author spoke to length about the miseducation of the Muslim woman when education has always been an Islamic right for both men and women. Any subject that is mainly taught in secular schools these days have deep roots in the Muslim world. The faith element has simply been ripped out of it like it has been done with Rumi’s poetry. And guess what, it became popular; it’s bittersweet.
Now, if you don’t believe me let me cite the names of such Muslim scholars who have shaped the world as we know it.
Al-Shifa bint Abdullah was a doctor and a teacher during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wassalam). She presented ruqayah to Rasool (sallallahu aleihi wassalam). and sought his permission to continue to practice it after she accepted Islam. She was educated and during the time of the Calif Umar (radiallahu anhu), she was in charge of the finances of the Islamic state.
Mariam Al-Ijiliya also known as Mariam Al-Astrolabi was a chief astrolabe from a reputable family of engineer and Muslim scientists.
Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a rich Muslim merchant created the first University in the whole wild world.
Last and not least, Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi whose name has been used to coin the word algorithm made unprecedented contributions to mathematics, geography, astronomy and cartography. His works even extend to algebra and trigonometry.
Among many Muslim men, these exceptional women cited above weren’t denied education as we commonly see today. If you see that men fear educated women, it’s because they know that an educated woman is not a fool and will not accept a lousy and abusive husband. If a man is confident that he depicts the qualities of a Muslim man like the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) he won’t opposed education because he has nothing to fear. People demand more if their plight is not to the standard. People only demand change when they believe that they have been oppressed or when they believed they are receiving less than par in equal treatment.
This is Muslim Legacy. This is Islamic Legacy. So why is this knowledge kept away from many Muslim girls and women in this world that is sadly dominated by patriarchs? It boils down to insecurity and control.
In order to continue to make my point, I will explain what spiritual abuse is. All the issues mentioned by Saadia Haq in part I are simply and plainly examples of spiritual abuse and I will explain why.
Spiritual abuse is the act of using coercion techniques whether veiled or covert to gain control of someone. In other words, the abuser gets away with murder by manipulating the intended target. Spiritually abusive leaders use a number of ways to achieve such a result.
First, you will notice that they have a misleading view of respect. They demand total allegiance and loyalty. For them, women must never raise their voices at their husbands. Women must always respect their husbands otherwise, they will go to hell. They brainwash women’s minds daily with that nonsense. They use religion for their own hidden agendas to control women. Now, when a woman runs away from such a marriage, can you blame her? Of course we can’t, she wasn’t taught the real and merciful Islam. She was only given a one-sided view of the faith. One day, Caliph Umar (radiallahu anhu) received a visit from a man. He found the caliph arguing with his wife so he decided to leave. The caliph (radiallahu anhu) stopped and inquired why the visitor was leaving. The visitor replied something along the lines of, “I came here to ask advice on how to treat my wife, and I come here to see that you can’t even control yours.” The caliph (radiallahu anhu) also replied with something similar to this, “She cleans up after me and does all the work around the house. Why shouldn’t I put up with her arguments?”
See, many Muslim men think that Muslim women need to be silent at all times. They think that women should have no backbones and should be only doormats. Here is a clear example that women are allowed to speak their mind and that respect is earned and not granted because you’re from the privileged gender!
Spiritual abusers are also obsessed with madhabs. If you don’t follow their particular madhab or sheikhs, you have been led astray. They LOOOOVE TO BE EXCLUSIVE. If your friends and people you know are not in that circle, drop them. They will make you lose your special exclusivity.
Spiritual abusive leaders or Muslim spouse will threaten and shame you, too. If they don’t call you a bad mother, you’re a bad woman. If you are not those, you are most likely a really bad Muslim. In many cases, you’re all that; a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad Muslim. And if you challenge their fatwas and their skewed aqeedah, you have become really bad and will burn in hell. They declare you a kafir!
Another thing you will notice with spiritual abusers is that they are narcissistic. The world revolves around them. They talk smack about you openly and covertly. If you want to defend yourself, they will turn anyone who will listen against you. They love dependence and fear independent and strong minded people. They hate thinkers who will challenge their views and pick flaws in their views and ideas. They are also greedy; ISIS for instance. If your brand of Islam is not right, you must be corrupt, do as I say but not what I’m doing. They fear abandonment. Why fear abandonment if you truly believe? A true believer knows only to rely on Allah alone that’s why.
‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series highlighting issues of and within the global Muslim communities. A joint initiative by two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. We appreciate your support and feedback, do write us here or drop an email at email@example.com. Copyrights @2015 – 2019.
Bio: Papatia Feauxzar is an American author of West African descent and an accountant by profession. She is the force behind two blogs, Between Sisters, SVP! or A Ducktrinor Mom!
Bio: Saadia Haq holds a Masters in Business Administration, is a human rights journalist and trainer and fiery feminist of this blog!
My Muslim Mums in Business series focus’s on inspirational Muslim women, who are balancing the art of motherhood along with running businesses.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I go under the pen name of Papatia Feauxzar; a name that embodies my Ivorian and Turkish heritage. I’m now a naturalized American citizen alhamdullilah. Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s are my home businesses. They both compliment each other; one being a publishing house and the other being a bookstore alhamdullilah. The goal is help make quality Muslim contributions seen and curate our Islamic History and contribution to the world.
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?
Many things did. Islamophobia was one aspect of it and I wanted to homeschool my son. I also wanted to witness all his firsts. Nobody in particular inspired me; Allah did. I decided to make the change I wanted to see when I saw many Muslim writers complain about the erasure and lack of support they faced. Finally, I have always wanted to be a writer and a female scholar. So, I’m doing my part to see these dreams to come life insha’Allah.
Is your family supportive of you being a working mother?
Yes, they are now. It was with a lot of conflict and keeping my grounds though. Alhamdullilah ala kulli haal.
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
My main challenge is to force myself to enjoy my personal time and my family. One should always cherish one’s family first and before everything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I’m glad I didn’t learn that the hard way or lived to regret not giving them the attention they deserve. Keeping my stress levels low too are also a challenge but with dua, I manage to obtain sakinah of mind, body, and soul through constant dhikr and listening to the Quran.
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business? You have a number of businesses/projects running together. Does it all sometimes become a bit overwhelming trying to manage them all.
A typical day starts after tahajud. Often times, it’s hard for me to sleep until after fajr prayer when I pray it. But on days I don’t pray tahajud, the day starts after fajr. I look at my list of things to do and start planning mentally. I get my son and my husband out of the way by attending to their needs. Then, I start cooking, cleaning, checking emails while listening to the Quran. By noon, I’m usually done with my chores and to-do list of things set for the day. I do all this while interacting with my son and checking on him periodically as he plays or teach him a couple things here and there. I also teach him new words, manners, I hug him, I kiss him or I scold him nicely if he is being naughty. Then, we pray and get ready to go outside so he can get another kind of interaction; children’s play. I do dhikr while he plays with other children. I’m more productive with my remembrance of Allah when he plays. I understood that children’s play actually is a blessing on Moms to help them relax. So, I take fully advantage of my child’s plays. We both benefit from this activity alhamdullilah. While we are out, I also run errands, mail packages, etc. When we return, he eats and naps, and I pray. I get dinner ready and when the hubby gets home, I get to perform some self-care and/or complete more things on my to-do list alhamdullilah. All this seems overwhelming at times but I calm down and do one thing at a time while supplicating and before I know it, I have had a productive day alhamdullilah.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?
Cons: It’s more than a full-time job. It can be stressful just thinking about it.
Pros: It’s rewarding and you realize that there is ease with hardship. I witness so much by raising my son myself. I have become a little more grateful for any small to big blessings bestowed upon me and us. I have learned not to take anything for granted.
On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
Filling my book of deeds with good deeds always keeps me motivated. I try not to loose sight of Jannah al-Firdaus. I’m not saying all this to come off holier than anyone or calmer than anyone. I say this because it has taken me a lot of practice and a lot of patience to reach this level of self-motivation. Having said that, bad moments in a day happen, and I try not to capitalize on them. I let them go and refocus on positivity alhamdullilah.
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
I would like it to be seen as an accredited House of Wisdom type of historic contribution insha’Allah.
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
Children are the joy in the journey. Children are the comfort to the stress you will face as a working mom. Embrace the challenge. Working moms can do it and Allah didn’t burden us. He knew we can handle the load with true dedication to a well-balanced lifestyle. Let’s be Khadijah al-Kubra radiallahu anhu; business-savvy woman in a tough and restricting society, modest, knowledgeable, respected, mother of believers, garment to a spouse, and all the great things she is known to have done or been insha’Allah. Age was just a number.
JazakAllah Khair to sister Papatia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! You can connect with her further at: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s
If you are a Muslim mum with a business and would like to feature then drop me a message in sha Allah.
After the honeymoon phase passes, it’s hard at times to stay the hopeless romantics in a marriage. Some couples discover there are asexual. Other become obsessed with intimacy and many don’t even bother with it. It has become a chore for them they can do without. And it’s very common to see husbands and wives become ‘roommates’ to one another compared to love-struck individuals who once couldn’t keep their hands off each other. So how do you keep the romance, spark and intimacy from dying? Check out our “couple’s tips.”
1. Stay More of a Mystery
Men are visual but they differ in what they want. Some men love women who expose themselves but quickly get disinterested in what they once found pleasing to their sight. Other men who are more the momma boys types are used to see a motherly figure in their places of comfort; homes. So, when they come home to a wife wearing skimpy clothes, it turns them off. They want something to be left to the imagination. Find out what type of man your spouse is and strike the right balance between being coquettish and an enticing mystery.
2. Set Boundaries
A healthy relationship needs boundaries to continue growing. For instance, my husband knows not to impede my career choices. I also know what makes him upset or could destroy our love for one another or marriage. So, we stay clear of these topics for the sake of half of our deen. We practice self-control and try not to change each other. We work on improving our individual persons instead.
Get in the habit to look good for yourself and not only for the husband. Your energy and light will shine through you if you pamper yourself for your own sake. This will definitely keep your spouse interested in you and you will have the upper hand in your romantic games. You’re the gatekeeper after all. You can choose to say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
Part I Written by Saadia Haq
The theme for this collab is much closer to heart as it voices the issues focusing on the Muslim women’s role and participation in religious institutions and specifically in mosques. Like in most Islamic states, we note that mosques are part of a daily lives of practicing Muslims however we note that across Asia and Africa the majority of mosques activities are men-led and women presence and participation are not encouraged.
In many Muslim countries, prevailing attitudes are a norm where societies are operating on the mere notion that “there’s no place for women at the local mosque.” As a Muslim feminist encountering these mentalities are not only outraging but also speak volumes on the misinterpretation of Islamic teachings. Our cultures and traditions continue to dictate men and women segregated roles and most annoyingly deny women their rightful place within the religion’s central institutions as in case of: mosques.
On the whole large scores of Muslim women pray at homes and are hardly encouraged to go in mosques though the population density is in majority Muslim countries and mosques are given high preference thus, they are built in almost every street.
Alone Indonesia has the largest number of mosques approx eight hundred thousand, then India comes second with approximately 3 hundred thousand, then comes Bangladesh with 2.5 hundred thousand, Pakistan with 1.8 hundred thousand mosques.
In my own country, Pakistan we have minimum three to five mosques in any given small neighborhood. But they are male dominated and women prayers are quite a no-no. I really don’t think any other Muslim nation is obsessed with construction of mosques as are Pakistanis, but given the patriarchal mindset they like to keep mosques doors closed on women. Of course it also speaks volumes on how men hold tightly on the reigns of almost all decisions on behalf of women that are considered objects and gulps, without rationality and sentiments.
Like a majority of Pakistani women, I never went to a mosque for the Eid namaz. I always heard that men go to mosques while women are supposed to pray indoors and at home. Growing up in such an environment, I was always struck by the fact that we culturally, do not think about traditions; we just follow them. More than often, we don’t even know why we are doing a certain thing for instance take the issue of career women and entrepreneurs. So called clerics harp on and on inside mosques teaching men that women need to stay indoors and only do household work and child bearing as per Islam.
There is nothing Islamic in pushing male dominant agendas in the name of religion particularly when Islam’s first business personality was Hazrat Khadija (radi allahu anhu) the wife of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) a successful successful entrepreneur 1400 years ago, setting the bench mark as a role model for women of all centuries.
Muslim women are faced with a lot of hostility in spearheading bussiness and economic ventures that further aggravates their social exclusion mainly due to different interpretations of religion. For countering such complex issues, Muslim states need to address the issue of women’s protection in the workplaces and public life.
With passing time, we have observed that within South Asia and other east Asian countries, a small but increasing number of women have started going to mosques. But over all mosques are not equipped to handle women prayers. As we know for predictable reasons; for one, not many mosques have proper arrangements and nor the will to build women’s wings inside the structure.
Though most mosques in question do not forbid women from coming, they simply do not allot a women’s section, and thus there is no space for women to pray. The women by default are forced into a difficult scenario where they are forced to accept the exclusion. Until mindsets do not change for the better, and organizers of mosques show more willingness we will lag behind.
We should return to our rich history to draw the lessons since Islam came as a religion, it has always protected the rights of women in all ways possible and education was made compulsory for both men and women. Islamic teachings support the Muslim women economic empowerment and political participation but in name of misguided culture and traditions we continue to struggle.
Part II Written by Papatia Feauxzar
Our beloved Prophet (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) said, “If the wife of any one of you seeks permission to go to the Mosque, he may not prevent her.” (Sahih Muslim)
Look for any authentic source that states that women are FORBIDDEN to go to mosques and you won’t find ANY. So why do we women go along with this treatment from these patriarchal Muslim communities? It’s because of the community pressure; the mental conditioning we have been subjected to. Let’s try to break that string that keep the elephants (us) in the room rooted in not leaving the spot we have been planted at; praying at home especially on Eid.
I grew up going to the mosques on special occasions like Eid or Layla-tul Qadr. I saw my grandmothers walk to the mosques daily for EVERY prayer in their humble and clean garments.
That was until I married into another culture. In this culture, women do not pray with the male congregation. They have been conditioned to think that their praying spot is at home and that if they want to pray in the mosque, they have to do it when the main prayers are not in session.
If those are the limits, you might as well pray at home because you are not welcomed for the fard prayers. I mean what’s the point then to go there for just nafila prayers? They have an exception for salat time finding you outside. Under these circumstances, you can go pray to the nearest mosque while you are travelling, carrying or minding your business. And they will tell you to AVOID the jamaat (the men crowd) prayer at all costs.
So imagine my shock and surprise when you are told, “Women pray at home. Allah didn’t ask women to mandatorily attend Eid prayer.” That didn’t sit well with me. I asked my mom and she explained that praying at home has more baraqat for a woman. And I found ahadith supporting that. Of course, patriarchal societies leave that part or the explanation out of their marching orders. More baraqat or not, isn’t fair to leave the choice to pray in or outside the home to women themselves? We have free will. Why are they so concerned with women’s well-being in the after-life when they are often lousy spouses?
Didn’t Rasool (sallallahu aleihi wassalam)also say, “…the best of you are those who are best to their women.”(At-Tirmidhi) How many ideal Muslim husbands do you know? Anyway…
If the mosque is being transformed into a catwalk or a fashion establishment, then that’s another discussion, WOMEN need to address themselves. Exception made for the Messenger of Allah. And the following statement from Aisha (radi allahu anhu) one of mother of the believers came about that.
“If the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) was alive to see what women are doing now (in A’isha’s time), he would surely have prevented them from attending the prayers in the Mosque just as the women of Banu Isra’il were prevented.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Now, if you as a man think that a woman is causing you fitna because of her looks, you have been given a simple command by your Lord; Lower Your (damn) Gaze! Apologies, I paraphrased a bit with ‘damn.’ But seriously, beautiful women crossed the path of people of the stature of Rasool (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) with his companions often staring and he ordered them to lower their gaze. He didn’t fault the women. So, please understand that most women don’t dress up for you fools. They dress for their Lord, to celebrate. If you are a woman and you pamper yourself up all to attract losers, compete with other women, show off, check yourself because you’re bordering on the behavior of the the women of Banu Isra’il. Your total devotion is to your lord. Beautify yourself more for Allah (subhanahu wa ta ala) than the creation. If the hubby loves what he sees, masha’Allah alhamdullilah too.
Above all, the issue of women allowed in mosques, praying in mosques, having equal space in mosques will not be resolved until women take matter into their own hands. Muslim women in communities, seek the women in your communities who have authentic Islamic knowledge, financial freedom, socio-political power, any kind of power and gravitate toward them. Gather with them and start a movement. When chauvinists and misogynistic community leaders come to your strong platforms to ask for your money to support the community or the mosques, state your demands. Don’t let them ignore women issues any longer.
When they start to:
Make equal space for you in your local mosques
Give you your Islamic rights as a woman
Start treating you like a human being and not like a walking fitna
And make etc. etc. changes in your favor
You may assess if they are worth your financial donation or any other help sought from you.
Dropping mic… Allahu alim.
‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series highlighting serious issues of and within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feauxzar 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 – 2018.
Bio: Papatia Feauxzar is an accountant. She blogs at Between Sisters, SVP! or A Ducktrinor Mom.
Bio: Saadia Haq is a human rights journalist and feminist trainer, plus the mayhem force behind this blog!
As Ramadan draws to an end, British Author Misbah Akhtar shares with us how divorce and abandonment of a father affects emotional development in children.
The Uninvited Friends of Divorce
Divorce is said to be one of the hardest things to go through. It affects the whole family; both close and extended. And children are undoubtedly hit the hardest. From having two parents they share a home with, they suddenly go to living with one. The uncertainty of what happens next scares them. Children need stability and yet they are now thrown into the black void of the unknown. The heartbreak is imaginable, perhaps even akin to the death of a loved one. How then would rejection of a parent’s love by way of abandonment affect a child?
My Personal Experience
My children were young when I became a single mother. I greatly underestimated the impact the divorce would have on them. Sure, I knew they would be upset by not living with their father. At first, they seemed very ok. Of course, this could have been because after we moved back to the UK from Dubai they thought they were still on a holiday for a while. The exuberance of being reunited with my parents who they were close to may have acted as a temporary balm. The lack of crying and screaming for their father I thought meant they had adjusted extremely well. Unfortunately the pain of loss went deeper than I could imagine. Years later, we are slowly coming to terms with the impact of that loss. Had I known sooner, so much heartache could have been avoided.
The Remnants of Absent Parents in the Ummah
There is a trend that is sadly becoming prevalent within our Muslim society: absentee fathers. Their father left them to stay on in Dubai and later moved and married in Hong Kong. I could never understand what could possibly mean so much to anyone that they would abandon their own children and only visit twice a year. No phone calls, no emails, no letters. They had no father for 50 weeks of the year. And when they did see him, he was aloof and distant.
My heart broke over and over when they searched for him during school plays; when they told me other children were making father’s day cards and asked what they ought to do. My son entering puberty was particularly hard. I tried the best I could to research and answer questions, but I could tell he longed for someone who could validate him by actually understanding what he was going through. I couldn’t give him that. I could never replace his father.
I have watched my daughter change from a bubbly and lively young girl to a withdrawn teenager who dislikes showing her vulnerability. She pushes people away and tests their boundaries to see if they too, will abandon her. She told me she doesn’t want to ever get married and does not have a high opinion of men. I initially put all of this down to just hormones and puberty until one night she broke down in tears, my daughter who is fearless and hates to show her sensitive side; and told me she missed her father. “He left me, because he doesn’t love me,” she sobbed. The pain never went away, instead it made her insecure and resentful. I had no words; no amount of words could change that her doesn’t make an effort. I tried telling her it wasn’t about her that he has to find his own path and that of course he loves her, but truthfully, my words sounded hollow and stuck in my throat. I couldn’t convince her, I couldn’t convince myself.
Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, co-author of the new study in Personality and Social Psychology Review conducted research into the effect that parental rejection and acceptance has on shaping children’s personalities. His findings showed that a father’s love contributes as much – and sometimes more – to a child’s development as does a mother’s love.
In other words, abandonment of the father can be detrimental to a child’s emotional upbringing. Upon delving deeper into his research he also consequently found that rejection activates the same part of the brain as physical pain does, indicating the seriousness of abandonment. “Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years,” Ronher said.
Furthermore, Rohner found that children that feel rejected by their parents are more likely to suffer from anxiety and insecurities, they behave more aggressively and with more hostility towards others.
Abandonment and rejection has a lingering effect which overlaps into adulthood. This in turn makes it harder for these individuals to form trusting and secure relationships with their spouses.
Rohner’s study is based upon 36 worldwide studies featuring 10,000 participants. Participants completed surveys about their parents’ degree of acceptance or rejection during their childhood. They also answered questions about their personality dispositions.
Fatherly love and involvement is crucial for a child. When compared to a mother’s love, over 500 studies found that the influence of a father’s rejection can be much greater than that of a mother.
Fathers need to be encouraged and motivated to be more active in their children’s lives in a nurturing capacity. The loss of a father has deep psychological implications upon children even if they seem to be “ok” at face value. This concept needs to be recognized and addressed in order for our children to develop into mentally healthy and confident adults. It takes two people to create a child, it takes two therefore, to raise them.
Bio: Misbah Akhtar is a mental health and social issues blogger, author and single mother of 4. She is the founder of Single Muslim Mums and Editor – in -Chief of Mumspiration. Her children's book Ramadan Without Daddy which tackles the concept of divorce from a Muslim child’s perspective, is available to buy through Amazon and Djarabi Kitabs Publishing.
1. A. Khaleque, R. P. Rohner. Transnational Relations Between Perceived Parental Acceptance and Personality Dispositions of Children and Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2011; 16 (2): 103 DOI: 10.1177/1088868311418986
Originally appeared at Hayati Magazine.
Bringing up past arguments during a disagreement is not unhealthy. We have to understand why this occurs; the underlying issues and not the specifics brought up during the current argument. If your spouse always accuses you of a certain behavior, it doesn’t mean that your spouse is unforgiving or won’t get passed your shortcomings. What your spouse’s accusations actually show is the lack of security your actions have caused your partner to endure and lash out. Perhaps your spouse is complaining because you don’t show enough compassion, jumps to conclusions, don’t show any sign of vulnerability, and the list goes on and on. Naturally, humans marry because they beseech a strong sense of security whether it be by love, social status, faith or financially. So check out a list of things you shouldn’t do when the past is rethatched in your marital fights.
1. Don’t argue the accusations
When your spouse grossly starts throwing up accusations heated out of boiling emotions, stay calm and listen to what your spouse isn’t saying. For instance, your spouse said, “You never take me out to eat or don’t kiss me anymore.” You perhaps immediately thought, “That’s not true, I kissed you goodbye this morning and just last week we ate out.” What your partner perhaps truly meant was, “You aren’t romantic anymore. Your moves are more robotic and out of habit rather than having thoughts and meaning like during our honeymoon phase for instance.” Sure some facts will be utterly misstated but that’s what emotions make people do, exaggerate things.
2. Listen and Ponder
Just for a moment, take the time to listen and understand why your partner feels the way they feel. Be patient even it kills you inside to gaze into their mind and see the way they see the full picture. It’s rewarding when your partners allow themselves to be vulnerable with you. You must understand that they let you gaze deep into their souls and revealed really personal and intimate thoughts to you that you should value. Why? Because they have totally unveiled themselves to you without reserve and you should be grateful. I mean on a daily basis, we have no idea what our spouses think unless they speak their mind. A free ride into your spouse’s mind is a rare trip one should never pass on! If you act accordingly upon such a generous offer, they will trust you more. They will also come to rely on you a little more and stop bringing up the past because you would have both grown and understood why you had disagreed in the past and strive to avoid making the same mistakes that caused these arguments going forward.
3. Don’t Be a Sore Looser
Yes, it felt like pulling teeth to not argue and let your spouse whine on and on and on. Congratulations for being the bigger person and actually listening and making concessions to be better even if you both need work. Also say it. Yes, say it that you understood where your spouse’s insecurities stemmed from and why your spouse kept bringing old issues up. In short, the real issue wasn’t properly discussed and resolved. Now, don’t hold a grudge after your therapy session is over because you felt bamboozled or compelled to listen to your half when you had no room to argue your stance. You will have your time to be heard. You can do it after your spouse is done talking by requesting the floor the same way you yielded it without interrupting.
Above all, bringing up past arguments if we really listen to the complaints fosters the beginning of a new era of peace and understanding in a marriage. If you believe your spouse is guilty of always bringing up old arguments, try to be emotionally intelligent with your partner like we suggested in this article and tune out the old details brought up which are truly a distraction. Let us know in the comments what happened when you changed your attitude. Good luck!
Bio : Papatia Feauxzar is an American author, publisher, and barista of Ivorian descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son. You can visit her websites www.djarabikitabs.com and www.fofkys.com .
Originally posted at Bella Naija.
“If you pray to Allah so that Shaytan doesn’t get between you and your spouse and he still does. Be sure to know that he will get between you and your friends regardless.”— Papatia Feauxar Abdul al-Mutakkabir wa al-Haseeb
Body odor (BO) is something any human being has to deal with. Some deal with it better than others. As a result they smell pleasant compared to those who struggle with it or don’t even care about their unpleasant odors. Having been in so many places in life, I must say that a great number of covered Muslim women let themselves go. That and the hadith about a woman that wears perfume outside where other men can smell it cause many women to walk around with unacceptable BO.
When I visited Turkey, I was appalled by the number of covered Muslim women who walked around with rotten teeth and strong BO. Mind you, many of these women dressed very nicely and carried around expensive designer accessories (scarves, bags, shoes, etc.) To not generalize all these women, I asked around about people in my birth country since I have not been there for a while and answers varied.
One person said the great majority of people that she has seen don’t wear deodorants. Another one said, it depends of certain areas. Some mid-income places to high income places usually have people with decent personal hygiene. Testimonials also confirmed that some poor people didn’t always smell bad like we would expect.
This confirms what my father always said. He used to say even if you’re poor, the minimum you could do is to be a clean and neat person with a clean home. He could say that because he had been both very poor and financially stable in his life.
To continue, in Turkey, while many covered women didn’t smell pleasant, I came across a small number of covered Muslim women who actually smelled very nice. I also noticed that secular women (Muslim women who don’t cover) took better care of themselves compared to covered Muslim women in general. They were also a few exceptions about the secular women; some didn’t smell nice at all.
So if you struggle with BO, what can you do to smell pleasant in and outside your home?
1. Take long showers
If you rush to take showers, you will notice that in less than twelve hours, your body odor will start to reveal itself. So, when it’s shower time, relax and enjoy this simple act of pampering. Scrub yourself really good. I mean really, really, really good especially under the armpits with lots of soap and a solid shower sponge.
Another area you should scrub well is your genitalia. Armpits and genitalia are the two main parts of the human body that release strong body odors. Back in College, my Anatomy and Physiology teacher used to say that humans wear so much perfume and deodorants that sometimes their body odors is not noticeable. That’s why dogs often smell crotches because they can distinguish people that way.
On a funny note, if you have been around children long enough, you will notice that they do that too. I’m not sure if they do that because they want to distinguish us or because they are just imitating us when we try to smell them to determine if they did number 1 or number 2. Go figure…
To end here, if you scrub your armpits and genitalia really good daily, you will notice that between showers, you still smell great!
2. Use a mixture of deodorants
What do we know about pharmaceutical – cosmetics companies and the like? They all give you reduced dosages of what is supposed to cure you or work for you. Why? So that you keep buying their stuff while you’re getting nowhere.
Personally, I use an organic lavender deodorant plus an another affordable powder scent anti-perspirant as soon as I get out of the shower. I do it right away because the deodorants go in my clean skin and coat the area for 24 hours or more before I get the chance to sweat. After that, I’m positive that the treated area (which is shaved) is on lock down.
3. Wear breathable material
Polyester and sweat is a mixture of smell that should be punishable by law because it’s aggressive to the senses! So please stick with cotton.
4. Scented Lotion
Occasionally, use a pea size amount of great scenting body lotion to cream your body. Please don’t use the cheap stuff at these known bra shops or chain candle stores at the mall. They smell horrible after a couple hours. If you need some recommendations, leave a comment. There are a few exceptions to these stores I like *wink* .
I hope this article is beneficial to you or to a person that you know. Sharing is caring! #conquerBO
Check out also our Muslim Cosmetics here.
Thank you for reading,
NEW ILLUSTRATED SHORT POETRY COLLECTION IS AN EMPOWERING PIECE OF ART
Unveiled is a riveting poetry collection with a short essay on the author's journey to wearing hijab.
DALLAS, TX - November 26th, 2017. DJARABI KITABS PUBLISHING has officially released Unveiled a short poetry collection by Rumki Chowdhury. The eBook version is free on Djarabi Kitabs' e-Store. All proceeds from the eBook and the paperback will go to charity.
The author shared her noble reasons and motivations for penning her first poetry collection in a tense climate of Saving Muslimah Syndrome (SMS).
"Debate surrounding the veil/headscarf/hijab has become so prominent that even the European Union has given employers the right to implement a policy, barring religious symbols. This so-called attempt on assimilation is really an annihilation of personal identity. I am a hijabi and I should have the right to create and develop my own, personal identity. The hijab gives me wings so that I can fly!
I aim to contribute to the termination of the misconception of the hijab. My goal is to show hijab as a symbol of freedom rather than the commonly, misunderstood notion of it being a symbol of imprisonment. "Because of this thing on my head," I am, indeed, free! I have decided to write for purpose rather than profit as all proceeds will go to the charity that gives "voice to the voiceless," Restless Beings." — Rumki.C
Unveiled has received a myriad of praises from respected sources.
"A richly, imaginative lyrical anthology, which is unapologetic in its prose. And will leave every Hijabi energised for the future! ...This collection is a profound meditation on the tempestuous and unpredictable relationship Muslim woman have with Hijab."— Fatima Shah, SISTERS Magazine.
"Rumki describes the thoughts of a veiled woman in the form of delicate and well-formulated poems, while portraying the daily struggle of a hijabi in the western society. A beautiful, educational anthology, serious in its message with hints of humor. This has to be read by everyone!" — Shama Vafaipour, Svenska Hijabis (Swedish Hijabis)
"A diverse, yet integrated collection of poetry, each told in a very fun and exciting way. Rumki elegantly encapsulates the ideology of wearing the hijab told in a quirky and empathetic manner! She offers food for the mind, body and soul." — Rima Rouf, BBC TV/Digital Media Producer
"Chowdhury writes about the hijab from her own perspective, as a symbol of choice and empowerment, as opposed to than one of oppression; her writing provides an authentic voice, which is extremely necessary when it comes to the discussion of such topis; we are in desperate need of having more genuine, witty, and sincere female Muslim voices like hers to be at the forefront of our discourse." — Sadia Ahmed, Sincerely Sadia
"There are several lines that hit me like “WOW” and if I could I’d quote every single line on here but you’d have to purchase it to see for yourself (support the community, thanks x)."— Su'ad, The Millennial Muslim
"Rumki uses poetry and illustrations for readers to easily capture the daily struggles of veiled women while offering words of inspiration to be proud of who you are. I was left empowered and I couldn't help but smile throughout reading it." Kaity Assaf, Opinions Editor, Rutgers Observer Newspaper.
"Unveiled is a unique expression of what Muslim Women Struggle with on a daily basis. Having to embrace the hijab in the modern society that we live today. Rumki Explores the spiritual and worldly connections alike. What are your identities as a Muslim woman wearing the Hijab in this day and life as there are different levels of hijab. Does any of those make you less of a Muslim and the struggles of being veiled as well as being unveiled. Any Muslim woman would enjoy the collection of poems as well as the good feeling factor of all proceeds going to charity, Mashallah." — Musart Ellaahi, Motivational Speaker/TV-Host, THE LIVE SHOW UK
Join DJARABI KITABS PUBLISHING on Facebook @djarabikpub for the official launch of Unveiled on November 26th, 2017.
About the author:
Rumki has a Masters in English Literature from Queen Mary University of London and a Bachelors in English Writing from William Paterson University of New Jersey. She is now a licensed English teacher in Stockholm, Sweden. You can learn more at www.rumki.com .
Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
PO BOX 703733
Dallas, TX 75370
Links to read the interviews, reviews, and enter the giveaways below.
Day 1 : From World's Kitchen . Click here.
Day 2: Foodeva Marsay. Click here.
Day 3: Ayamstuffed. Read here.
Day 4: Step Inside My Bag. Read here.
Day 5: The Big Sweet Tooth. Click here.
Special Mention :
- Nusaybah's Musings' Review.
- Yummy Food's Review.
- Hayati Magazine's Interview.
- AboutIslam's Ramadan Article.
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
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The DKP Team