Thursday, 14 March 2013

Face mask 'Le Naturel'!


Assalam Walaikum

I wanted to share a fantastic recipe for an all natural face mask/scrub!

Although it isn't really an islamic principle, I think that using natural products fits really well within our faith... and since this recipe uses honey, which is Sunnah... so thought you might like it!!

My skin is sensitive so will react to pretty much EVERY face mask/ scrub in the UK shops. The ones that my skin tends to be better with are those with less chemicals and more natural products in. Unfortunately, those are the high end products, with a price that can cause potential lethal harm to your poor purse...

It got me thinking, why spend a fortune on a product made from natural products when I could just use natural products themselves?

And here is the result of my research!

The secret to hydrated skin is to .... DRINK WATER! Lots of it! Before you layer on moisturiser after moisturiser, make sure you 're hydrating your body well !!

I also came up with this recipe, which I just tried on today, and I would not lie to you, my skin is actually glowing!! I'm calling this face scrub 'Le Naturel'

What you will need, you will probably already have in your cupboards:

2 teaspoons of cinnamon,
2 teaspoons of nutmeg
2 teaspoons of tumeric
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1.5 tables spoons of milk
2 table spoons of honey

At the end, your mixture should look like this:


Apply on your skin after having rinced it with warm water.

It may be quite runny until it starts drying.

Leave on your skin for around 5 minutes, give or take, or when it's completely dry. 

Rince with warm water. You will notice the exfoliating effect of the spices!

Dry and apply your usual moisturiser!

TADAH!!!

Let me know how you get on!! It's meant to be really good for fighting acne as well as just giving your skin some glow!

Salam Walaikum!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Favourite Ayat from the Qu'ran

Bismillah, I Rahman I Raheem.

Assalam Walaikum & Hello ladies!

When Joanna and Safira  from Turning Point Academy contacted me a few weeks ago about the open day, and asked me to talk about my favourite part of the Qu’ran I knew immediately which one I would be talking about. I prepared this talk which I am sharing with you now.

“My favourite Ayat is a verse or ayat taken from the chapter- or surat- An Nur, meaning the surat of light.

This Chapter is often source of reflection as it contains guidance on many subject matters, such as modesty, punishment of sins and family laws and rulings.

It’s the 24th Surah in the Qu’ran and it contains 64 ayats.

The general consensus amongst scholars is that this chapter was revealed shortly before the battle of the trenches, in the year 5 AH.

Anyway, my favourite verse from the whole of this chapter and actually from the whole of the Quran is the 35th of the chapter and called Ayat-An-Nur- the light verse.

Here is a link to a Youtube video of the verse

 

 

Bismillah Irahman Iraheem

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.

The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp—

the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a pearly(white) star—

lit from (the oil of) a blessed olive tree,

neither eastern nor western,

whose oil almost glows,

though fire should not touch it.

Light upon light.

Allah guides to His Light whomever He wishes.

Allah presents examples for mankind,

and Allah has knowledge of all things.

 

There are many reasons why this is my favourite verse.

Firstly, I think it evoked an echo of the idea of divinity I grew up believing in. The content and the style of this Ayat seemed familiar to me. Before converting to Islam, I was a Christian, first Catholic then sort of Protestant. But from a very young age, I had faith. A faith in God, which I always visualised as a light.

To a certain extent, it may be due to the history of art I had been accustomed too, which represented God and the Divine as a bright light. But mostly, this was a feeling that I had deep down in my heart, this notion of God as light. He is light. That was what I believed.

In my late teenage years, I started writing my own prayers and sometimes even worship songs for a friend of mine who had a christian band . All of those prayers and songs reffered to being kept into God’s light, being guided to God light …

It was a notion that I really related too.

So, I can remember the exact moment I read this ayat for the first time. It was shortly after my conversion, and I had decided to sit and read the Qu’ran, letting my fingers ‘randomly’ pick a page to read from. I say randomly in inverted comas, because I think most of you know here, that when you have faith, you realise that nothing ever happens at random.

So anyway, I opened the Qu’ran at Surat An Nur and my eyes fell immediately on those words. Let me tell you, I was in absolute awe! It was a moment of illumination for me. For those who were here last week, and who hear Lauren Booth talking about her conversion, she used the expression ‘ sitting in a beam of light’ at the moment she realised the existence of God… Well that was exactly how I felt, I was almost hearing a choir of Angels in my ears and my eyes were  like – open as wide as you can imagine. I can remember gasping and my husband asking if there was something wrong with me, so I read out the chapter to him and he smiled. Alhamdulillah.

It felt to me like I had struck Gold! It felt like all my life, I had had this prayer in my heart which I was trying to put into words, and that it materialised itself before me, written in the Quran thousands of years before I was even born – a prayer that was dear to my heart.

The other thing which I felt was beautiful about this verse was its poetic and allegorical style. It painted a really visual impression of God’s powers, while still admitting that it was nowhere near what we humans could ever compare it too.

It uses the words, star light, blessed olive tree, an oil which glows without any heat, an illuminated glass. It is announced as a parable, we know that we are nowhere near the truth of what Allah’s power  may look like, but with the use of those words, we know it is something of incomparable beauty.

Now, let’s just think about the concept behind the words. The first concept we grasp here is Light.

What would the world be without light?

 Without Light, there would be nothing. Light is the source of life. Day light brings nutrition to the ground we walk on, to the plants we use to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves and build our homes. So what better way to describe God, than by a Light- but brighter and more powerful than any light we will ever know. God created light, and therefore there was a creation, our creation. God is the reason behind creation. God, is life. Shubannahlah

What else does this Ayat evoke? Stars, and star light. Stars, throughout the years, have reflected light to guide us humans, when the sun was set and there was no way to know which way to go.

Our ancestor would look up to the sky, draw maps from the stars which they could see, and therefore were able to carry on with their journeys in the dark.

When all else was darkness, the stars shone to guide them. What do we humans have, when we feel lost and in darkness?

 Faith. That’s right, having God in our hearts can guide us out of any darkness. And Islam in particular has created a map for us to follow. A guide to a better life. Do you know what I’m talking about? The Qu’ran.  Subhannalah

Guidance is exactly what the Qu’ran is all about, and this is so beautifully represented in Surat- An- Nur, the Surat of Guidance.

Alhamdullilah.

Well I hope I haven’t lost you now- no pun intended, this all made sense to me as I was writing my thoughts down.

I’m getting close to the end of my little bit now.

I just wanted to elaborate on one more phrase.

‘ Allah guides to his light whom he wills’

Alhamdulillah, what a blessing to have been chosen and guided into his light. I can’t begin to express my gratitude. Out of all the places I could be, out of all the things one could be doing, good or bad, with all the ignorance which leads so many people away from God, I am here. Sharing and gaining knowledge and peace with some amazing sisters, with my best friend, with my new friends sharing what I love about my faith, Islam.

I feel truly blessed.

 

Assalam Walaikum”

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

More from guardian

http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2013/mar/06/lifting-veil-londons-stylish-hijab


This article is also inspiring !!

Xx

Exhibition

Salam sisters!

The guardian just published this article about the hijab and an exhibition about it for international woman's week!

I hope to be able to attend inshallah!

http://gu.com/p/3e8pn/tw


Flame of faith

Salam!

I have been working hard on a talk for turning point next Friday Inshallah. It is open day and a few of us sisters are talking about the beauty of the Qu'ran.

I will be uploading my notes on here soon as they share some good insight on being a revert.

To give you a sample of it now, I wanted to share a poem I wrote and will be reading Friday Inshallah.

I would love to know what you all think.

It is based on my interpretation of the Ayat An Nur in the Qu'ran.


Flame of Faith
By Fiona  Cross Chowdhury
Like a pearl in it’s shell
My faith grows in Allah’s nacre,
His guidance shapes my heart and soul
 
Into a gem which is called Iman.
 
Like a flower in the sun,
My faith is blooming under Allah’s light,
From a small grey seed to a colourful scented rose,
I would be nothing without his nourishment.
 
Like the most precious jewel I have ever seen,
I have been given a priceless gift,
A gift I will forever treasure,
In a chest made of glass, for all to see, for all to share.
 
Like a star shining in the sky,
Islam has guided me into Allah’s light
I am rich because I have been blessed by knowledge,
I am rich because the oil of a blessed olive tree
Lit a flame in my heart and in my soul.
A flame made of pearl, made of light and made of Gold.
The flame of Faith.
 
I'm attaching a picture of something which always makes me cry a little- of awe more than anything... (source: www.technobuffalo.com)


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hijab on!


Hijab on!

Following the international hijab day, I’ve been really thinking about the hijab and how it is interpreted around the world, and I have noticed it a lot more everywhere, but not in the usually expected places.

The first thing to clarify, is that a hijab is nothing else but a scarf worn around the head. It seems people tend to think it has to be specifically one size or one shape. You can wear any sort of scarf.

Well this is funny, just as I was typing the sentence above, my neighbour came in to ask my husband for help with a blown fuse. I am still wearing my scarf from prayer and so he said

‘ oh I like your… what do you call it? ‘

 I replied ‘Headcarf’

‘Headscarf really? It’s not got another name…?’

‘Yeah, headscarf, hijab, however you want to call it’

Talk about good timing, right?

So anyway, headscarves have increasingly been associated with extremism, oppression and intolerance. So I wanted to make a point with a few pictures.

 

What is your first though when seeing this young lady? Terrorist?



And how about this beautiful soul? A women oppressed by her husband?

 



Humm.. And this woman, surely she is one of those who doesn’t how beautiful it is to be a woman, covering herself like that.



And these three, what are they? Covered in bin bags ?



I mean poor poor women, not educated, not allowed to speak or to even work?



How about this one? Stuck at home all day cooking and cleaning right?



And her?



And her?



I think you are can see my point now.

Covering your head is only ever seen as a sign of oppression and extremism when related to Islam, when women from around the world, throughout history and with different fashions have covered their heads and been giving any grief for it.

There needs to be more tolerance towards those choosing modesty as a fashion. The media must take on that now, enough of showing us skimpy pictures only, most women in the UK don’t want to wear skimpy clothes.

Stop trying to incite young ones to wear underwear in the street, seriously, you have to cater for all tastes if you are part of the media.

Well, I have to go and pray now, but I do hope to see a shift in fashion soon, last year maxi dresses were in fashion, which was great, but let’s hope that ladies who don’t like showing off too much skin can still be represented in fashion and media.  

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Islam & Humour

Salam sisters!

One of the subjects that has been coming up a lot in the media and in life in general is the non-existence of a sense of humour in the muslim community - a fact with which I tend to disagree.

My sense of humour didn't die the day I took my shahada, nor did I give up laughing.
Being able to laugh at yourself and at funny situations is one of the things that makes this life so enjoyable, and Muslims are not exempt from this feeling.

While the current problem lies in non-muslims making fun of subjects which are sacred to us Muslims, and therefore offending many of us, this has made it look like we Muslims have no sense of humour.

This is when a clarification needs to be made. Yes, we can laugh at ourselves. No, we don't take ourselves so seriously that we cannot take a bit of friendly banter. What does offend us, is anything that attacks, discriminates and ridicules those and that which is sacred to us.

It's the very difference between mocking and joking, between laughing at someone and laughing with someone.

Would a Jew appreciate the holocaust being made a joke out of as if it were something justified?

Would a Christian laugh at a joke about Jesus being promiscuous and violent?

Would Hindus laugh at a joke being made about the sacredness of the cow?

Would a black person laugh at a joke making slavery seen as a good thing?

Would any human being laugh at a joke made about their own mother/father?

We all know the answer to those. Then why is it so difficult for the society not to see why it is offensive  to make a joke out of Islam? My personal opinion is what I believe is the reason behind bullying as a whole. The bully is always someone insecure, and to try and make the victim feel inferior to him/her, the bully mocks its victim, it finds sensitive subjects and digs the knife a bit deeper every time.

For the world to start living in harmony with each other and for peace to spread around the world, we all have to stop feeling threatened by what is different to us. We must learn to appreciate cultural and intellectual differences, Inshallah.

I do not stand behind any of the violent retaliation some of our Muslim brothers and sisters have inflicted on the authors of some of the cruel and inappropriate jokes made about our faith and our Prophet (PBUH). Violence and hatred do not go hand in hand with the teaching of Islam, quite the opposite. However, if some thought had been put into the issue before the joke had been made, we wouldn't have had press offices blown up and people injured as a result. Yes, of course there is a freedom of speech- but by definition, freedom ends where another person's begins.

Anyway, I have gone off on one with this article, which was intended to only be about a specific funny video I found on the web about what not to do during prayer time.

It made me laugh as I recognised many of the faults I have done myself or seen others do while praying, and it made me realise that being able to laugh at your own faults is what makes these kind of jokes so funny.

And finally here is a proof that Allah too has a sense of humour



Subhanallah, there is beauty in every creation Allah has put on earth!

Until next time everyone! Inshallah.

Assalam Walaikum!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Islam Channel

Salam walaikum !!
Alhamdullilah- I'm pleased to say I will be contributing to the Islam channel website for the next few months inshallah!
My first article will be about the perception of Female Muslims in Britain and of course I ll be putting a link up once it's running!
Until then, may Allah bless you all :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

An interesting article from the Beeb

As I have been considering to start selling abayas and Islamic fashion items on this blog, I stumbled upon this really interesting article on BBC NEWS earlier...

Jazzing up the abaya

By Stephanie Hancock 
BBC News, Dubai
Hind (left) and Reem Beljafla pose with one of their designs
The Beljafla sisters have come under fire for some of their designs
Few images shout Middle East quite like the abaya - the long, black overgarment worn by millions of women across the Arab world.
The design has remained pretty much unchanged for centuries, but a crop of young new designers in the United Arab Emirates are now giving the traditional dress a modern-day makeover.
Nothing is off limits - designers are experimenting with bold colours, materials like lace and leather, and even add sequins, embroidery and daring slits to jazz up the often-uniform black robe.
Reem and Hind Beljafla began their abaya-design business, DAS Collection, 18 months ago after realising the market for high-end design for Muslim women in Dubai was woefully underserved.
Their abayas are very much haute-couture - everything is custom-made and prices start at $1,000 (£606).
 It [abaya] is not a tent that covers us all - we can still look pretty and elegant and sexy 
Badr al-Budoor, designer
The young sisters say that as long as a woman's form is still covered by the abaya, there is no harm in having a bit of fun with the design.
"It never loses its identity - the target is to cover the woman's body so there is no harm in playing with the fabrics," says 24-year-old Reem.
"We thought why can't we take our abayas and make something to suit the modern girl, but still keep that conservative style."
Big ambitions
The Beljafla sisters have come under fire for some of their pieces, especially ones which are made from transparent fabric, or show off the shoulders.
A piece from Badr Al Budoor's design collection
Badr al-Budoor is now taking her business online. Photo: Abaya Couture
But they insist their more racy designs are only supposed to be worn to ladies-only gatherings such as wedding parties.
They also say that an evening-wear abaya is not supposed to be worn for a trip to the mall during the daytime - much as one wouldn't wear a cocktail dress to the office.
The sisters have big ambitions.
They have already met famous US designers like Vera Wang, and believe the day is not far off that Western models will be seen sashaying down a catwalk in Paris or New York wearing one of their creations.
'Spreading the word'
Badr al-Budoor is another Emirati designer who is having fun transforming the age-old abaya by adding frills, polka dot print and giant bows to give her pieces a princess-like feel.
Interest in her unusual designs is so high that she is taking her business online to target an international audience.
Designer Rabia Z poses with some of her mannequins in a high street collection
Rabia Z now runs a fashion empire
She also hopes that, as she opens up to the overseas market, people might view traditional Islamic dress in a different light.
"The whole point of doing this online is to spread the word on the abaya and show people that it is a fashionable piece that we wear," says Ms Budoor, who recently launched her website AbayaCouture.com.
"It is not a tent that covers us all. We can still look pretty and elegant and sexy - just as covered and as traditional as we need to be."
Ms Budoor does not see a contradiction in creating "sexy" abayas.
"The definition of sexy here in Emirati society is very different to the West," she says.
"Sexy to us means elegant, modest and feminine. It's possible to look attractive without showing any skin at all."
'Modest yet modern'
It is not just Islamic dress that is being transformed.
Emirati designers have also started to take Western-style clothes like T-shirts, skirts and trousers and adapt them for Muslim customers.
 The potential for further growth is massive - it's still untapped, it's a niche market 
Rabia Z, designer
Rabia Z began designing when she started wearing the hijab, or a headscarf, a few years ago while living in the US.
"I realised there was nothing stylish for women like me to wear - something that is conservative but still stylish and fashionable," says Rabia, who is now one of the region's most successful designers.
"It was shocking that no-one seemed to care about us - there was absolutely nothing that catered to the needs of Muslim women."
Rabia started her business eight years ago and now runs a veritable fashion empire catering for everything from haute-couture to high street.
She plays with both fabric and cut to achieve her design mantra of "modern yet modest", and even stitches hijabs into hooded tracksuit tops so that women can exercise in comfort.
But Rabia does not only want to dress Arab women, and is targeting Muslims right across the world, including in the West and further afield.
She already has plans to tap Asian markets like China and Korea, as well as countries closer to home like Iran and Afghanistan.
"The potential for further growth is massive," she says confidently.
"It's still untapped, it's a niche market and the potential is just enormous."

Monday, 21 January 2013

Inspiring lives

Assalam Walaikum !

I don't know where you will be reading this from but as I am writing this, the snow has covered the London pavements with a thick blanket of white & soft fluff!
A child's' heaven! Snowmen, snow fights and snow angels are everywhere!!
While it is beautiful and a sign of God's greatness, SubhanAllah, the snow can be quite daunting for some, and for the elderly in particular.

******
Now, before I go on to talking about the inspiring sister I just met, I would like to invite you to think about the people you know, or you know of, that may live alone or in an isolated area and who could do with a helping hand in the adverse weather. This of course applies any time of the year, in any extreme weather. Call and see if they need any shopping done, check that their heaters (air-cons) are working or maybe just pop in for a chat.
******

So here's my story. For Muslimahs in South West London, there is a social network called SWMuslimah. It is mailing group really, were sisters can mass email information to all sisters in the South West of London.
It's really interesting to hear about conference and talks, things that are for sale, sisters asking for advice etc...

On Saturday night, one of the emails that came through was regarding an elderly revert sister, living very close to me, who was feeling slightly isolated because of the snow, and frightened after one of her neighbours passed away and was only found 2 weeks later.
Another sister had sent the email round to all of us asking if somebody could go and check on her while the weather was bad.

I immediately called the sister and arranged to go and visit her the next day.
I have to say, I was really really excited to go and meet this sister. I love meeting reverts, and I love meeting new people, and I love feeling helpful, but above everything else, I miss my grandparents.
With one of them living in Scotland and the others in France, I rarely get to see them in person and can only count on telephone conversations to check on them. So setting off to visiting this sister, only a year older than my own grandmother, made me feel like I was going to see my own grandma.
What really had got me in the email was the mention that her sons had cut off all ties with her since she had come into the deen. I couldn't even begin to imagine the sadness in her heart...

I was expecting to meet a fragile sister, who would need help with things around her house, but Mashallah, I was surprised to find a high spirited and smiley sister, and a double surprise to realise that I had met her more than once at Turning Point Academy!

My husband and I, (we went together) sat the whole afternoon with her, listening to story after story from her life. It was one of the most uplifting afternoons we'd had in a while.
This sister, despite her illnesses and her age, told us that she still volunteered, from home or in an office for various charities! Can you believe it Mashallah?

I was really inspired and in awe slightly for this sister who against all odds, has kept faith in her heart and a smile on her face, while reaching out to others all along.

As we were about to leave another sister called to say she was in the neighbourhood and was going to pop in.

When I checked on her today, she told me that she'd had an excellent day and that 3 more sisters had come that evening to visit her.

I hope that this story made you smile, Inshallah, and also made you think of one person you could turn too and help this winter!

Salam Walaikum sisters!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Dawah in Islam

Assalam Walaikum sisters!

Since January started, Alhamdulillah, I have managed to keep my 5 a day!
5 prayers that is - not fruit- unfortunately, that still needs improvement.

I cannot believe it to be honest. 9 days in a row of praying 5 times a day, when I used to find it difficult to pray even just once a day, every day!

Subhannallah, it shows what you can achieve when you do things in the name of Allah.

The decision was mine to make, there was no pressure from my peers, from my sisters, from my parents- most definitely not from my parents in my case!- not from my husband or in laws.

No, I decided that this was the step I needed to take to please God.

Faith should be just that, a relationship between the individual and God. I find it really sad that, around the world, and throughout the ages, religion has been imposed on others.
As Muslims, we should learn what Dawah is, but we should also know to leave matters to Allah once we have done what is in our power to invite others into Islam.
Especially true when you talk to new Muslims or non-Muslims. A lot of us westerners do not like to be told what to do or what to believe in.

I believe I can invite people to Islam better by showing a kind and understanding character rather than by trying to endlessly convince them by lecturing them.

That of course is my personal opinion. What do you think sisters? Let me know if you think differently...

Salams