Re-veiled

It was hard to put up much of a fight, the fear factor had crept through all her friends and family that it was no longer a question of support to keep it on, but rather confidence to take it off. With a trip planned to a town that may have hardly ever seen any Muslims, let alone a hijabi, it would be too alien; even dangerous. Stories of attacks on veiled women hit her covered ear begging to uncover it, although none confirmed, the rumours spread like wild fire in her silky “piece of cloth”. And there it was, a decade or more of abiding to its modesty was reduced to no more than a piece of cloth. A fatwa was ready, to comfort her that it was nothing wrong, but an imminent threat to life would surely allow some change. ” You’re not giving up” they said, “it’s just temporary”.

And sure enough she remained as modest as ever, maxi skirts, long sleeves, just a brunette blending in. Her tie to prayer was stronger than ever, a coincided correlation mistaken for causation, an ambassador to Islam in a distant foreign land. But something didn’t feel right. Each time she covered from the cold or rain she felt a longing to her old self, her identity, her modesty complete. She questioned her choice day in, day out, but then was reminded, ” it’s just temporary “.

She can’t really remember why she passed those airport border gates without, something about her ID photo or what not, but there she was back home, unveiled still. The threat had long gone thousands of miles away, the fatwa no longer in anyway valid; but this was her new status quo. Praises and compliments on her new found “chic” hinted to a beauty that had long been hidden, as it should. “You look younger!” they said, giving up on the very promise they had once given. Yet what she dreaded was an inquisitive “why?” Whether or not judgemental, she had no intention to justify this fault, she had no reason to share the doubt. In a Muslim majority country, it seemed her old scarf was stranger than ever, confined to grandmas in her social class. Her free will to once wear it seemed far from free today, burdened by guilt, held back by a mid age peer pressure. One would think guilt would pave the way to repent, but in tides so strong she felt almost too embarrassed to return. “You don’t want to give up again” they said, “it’s just temporary, till you’re stronger”.

This time, her travels took her far more east, to a country she had hardly ever knew. An Arab Muslim community so rooted traditions, that the headdress was a dress code of national pride. She hated being mistaken for a non-Muslim sometimes, and wasn’t willing to conform to their norm of that so called slick hijab. It wasn’t real hijab, with a black cloth sliding off their silky night-sky locks, it seemed there was more showing than covered. ” It’s just temporary ” they said, explaining their uniform of revealed veils, “we take it off abroad”. It reassured that little voice inside her, how her niyyah must be in place before the veil would come to place. She even had her bag full of scarves, just in case. It only seemed she was moving further far from who she once was, she prayed and prayed for guidance.

She waited for a sign, a little push forward, she knew it took both will and grace to go through this step. Her struggles were shadowed with doubts and dilemmas, she wanted to do it right this time round, to wear it out of obedience to the One and Only Creator, not to her vanity nor to their fashion. She asked for a helping hand, a support system, for far few can take the journey alone; after all, she had to counter what “they said” with a league of her own. She prayed for the Prophetic metaphor, a musk holder.

And then it was, her Godsend gift of a friend. It was only then, she knew for the first time in forever what a true friend is really meant to be. It just happened to be that her new found friend was blessed to be a hijabi, true and through. Yet she never felt judged, they never really talked about it per se, she just truly caught the breeze of that musk, and the friendship grew to a much higher blessing from above, a sisterhood for His sake SWT. She put it on, never to forsake it again, inshaAllah

“No matter how far deep you hit the dark ocean bed, you may reemerge with pearls” – Ibn Al Qayyim.

This is to all the forgotten heroes and heroines who rise from their falls with Allah’s grace, in whichever good deeds hidden or shown, may we all ever be guided through the darkness into the light

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Making Memories

I know sharing is caring, but in a fast paced little life of mine; I’m lucky enough to find time for tea (actually I don’t drink tea, make that cocoa). I wish I can write more, on the pressing matters that can be, on the misadventures that I sometimes see, a bit serious and comedy; but for now just busy… busy making memories. ☺

Parental Guidance

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Being an avid animation fan, I find
myself tuning in from my seat height as an adult down through my toddler’s eyes. Cartoons are not automatically okay to plant your child in front of the screen with full consent; PG is not just a suggestion, your guidance is needed.

Provided the most family friendly movie, there remains some themes and ideas that as a parent you may choose to highlight or talk about. It’s such a great way to bond with them on those favourite characters given your approval, and fair enough to take time and discuss what might be underlying through that 90 minute feature. It’s your responsibility to try and make it fun and safe.

Even with U rated cartoons,  there could be some crude humour that they don’t have to pick up. Subliminal messages sent range from body image to obsessing over the franchise merchandise, so it’s not really over after the movie. Though girls are very much more empowered than they were in the first ever Disney’s Snow White, there are mixed messages on dress codes that are hindering your hijab advice at a very young age.

As a Muslim, it remains a challenge to find representation in animation; so trying to keep up with the glitz and glamour of those Disney and Dreamworks heroes with real life narratives of our Islamic role models is proving ever so difficult.  Not just on screen, but also on page, despite having a growing base of brilliant Islamic books for the younger ones, tweens can be a target audience worth reaching for.

Of course there are other parents who would rather put a ban on the screen altogether which I totally respect; but as far as a balance may be possible, I hope to be able to watch responsibly and find alternative animations that tell our stories too. I wish to get him more off the passive production and into the  creative world of reading allowing his imagination to bloom and blossom. Finally, I pray may Allah guide us to inspire a generation happily ever after.

10 Tips to Brighten your Day ISA

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We all know that “woke up on the wrong side of bed” feeling all too well. Maybe
it’s stress, a series of unfortunate events or just pure mood swings that take a toll on our day. Yet most of the time given the right outlook to life, we can make a turn around with “tawakol” at heart and asking Allah for the strength and guidance to see the yellow flowers when the sky is grey.

Here are some tips and habits:

1. Start with Fajr and Athkar: the chance to catch the dawn of day with spirits high will keep Shaytan away. Also the early bird gets the worm, or in this case; “barakah”.
2. Have a hearty breakfast: not necessarily calorific, but hearty as in try to take the time to join the family table for the first meal and first smiles before your 9 to 5 or school runs.
3. Use your ” inside voice”: this tip is for you mummies freaking out over those all too-relaxed time oblivious kids, because really yelling won’t get them going. When trying keep up to schedule for school just try to work out what really saves time (like prepacked backpacks from the night before) rather than stressing out over the little stuff. Watch how that Japanese got her kid ready to go in 5 mins, it’s mind blowing!
4. Smile: research suggests that even if it’s a forced grin, your brain responds to the face muscles eventually and actually releases endorphins, so turn that frown upside down 🙂
5. Learn something new: unlike dogs, we’re never really too old to learn new tricks. Be it an online course on whatever sparks your interest or fits your passion, try Lynda.com or Cousera. You may even join a baking class.
6. Your daily dose of Quran: believe in how the Holy book reconnects you with His words SWT and how your heart is softened and worries are lifted with His will inshaAllah
7. Keep in touch with friends: and I don’t mean browsing Facebook aimlessly… Get in touch on a personal level, whether out for a cuppa or in for a call. And no backbiting 😛
8. Chocolate: instant endorphins 😀
9. Fresh air: a walk in the park or a city by the sea, and even if it’s rainy just keep your umbrella at hand. The exercise, the beauty of nature….Subhan Allah
10. Astaghfirullah for the past, Alhamdulillah for the present,InshaAllah for the future ❤

My First Blogiversary

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It’s been a year since I first started this message of miscellanea; and it’s been blissful mashaAllah alhamdulillah. Though I’ve been in and out quite a lot;  I don’t think I’ve given my writing justice. With many thoughts jumbled more so I had withheld inside, not knowing if they’re worth a read or interesting or fit with my template… but that’s just the thing; today I choose to fit no template, to be me, to be free, to pour my heart into positivity. I hope to be committed to a weekly update; engaging much more with you; my faithful few followers as I wish to be worthy of your reading time.

I hope you’ll enjoy this new look and feel to PinkPerla, to more blessed years to come inshaAllah.

Surah Al-Kahf سورة الكهف

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

Translation: Keep yourself patiently with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And do not let your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is always neglected.

Mummy Milestones

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There are moments…
1- When you’re watching your favourite cartoon but he thinks it’s scary, and you train him to ‘conquer his fears’, suddenly he’d rather hug its toy than you!
2- When you’re joining him in his first daaays of nursery,staying with him in class like an oversized toddler, bored to bits with wasting your precious time.
3- When you’re waiting at the nursery door eavesdropping at his heartbreaking cries, too busy absent minded to do anything with your new found time.
4- When you’re going out on a fine sunny day in the park, but rush back home after a tantrum over pebbles… Yes… pebbles!
5- When you’re not quite sure if he’s picking up your reading, then as soon as you pick up the Quran he says Ameeeeen.
6- When you’re excused during your (ehm) off days, and he voluntarily hands your prayer dress “Sally Mama” … embarrassing
7- When you’re complaining about how naughty he’s been and he comes up with open arms “Huuuug”
8- When you’re cheering and clapping with genuine excitement for a single success of “potty please Mama” knowing that it’s not a triumph yet, an “accident” is just around the corner, around 2 o’clock.
9- When you’re out in the shops and he decides to nap in the stroller, you’re almost shushing everyone in sight. Sleep tight.
10- When you’re sorting out your priorities to his likes and dislikes, but still selfishly silly fighting with a two year old over the last cookie.

Just as there are baby breakthroughs, there are your very own mummy milestones when you’re tried and tested, learning more than you teach and practising more than you preach… With all their ups and downs you wouldn’t and shouldn’t trade them for the world.

“رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا”

“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”