Success in All Aspects of Life


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In today’s world, it is hard to reach a balance and achieve success in the various aspects of life. For instance, a person who is successful at work is likely to be unsuccessful in social life, and vice versa.

Despite all her responsibilities, Raghda El Ebrashi has managed to achieve success in her social life by maintaining a balance between her career and social work.

Life Success

El Ebrashi, 24 years old, is a graduate of the American University in Cairo with a major in business administration. In spite of her young age, she managed to finish her masters in professional development. Now, she is looking forward to complete her PhD in social entrepreneurship.

A professor at the German University in Cairo, El Ebrashi loves her job and believes she has a significant message for her students. She wants them to be aware of the problems of the needy and to play an active role in the society.

Her role as a professor did not deprive her from practicing social work. In this respect, she has made noticeable achievements in charity work.

Achieving Balance

Actually, El Ebrashi was able to achieve balance in almost all aspects of her life. Although part of her time is dedicated to her family and friends, she devoted herself to her job and to Alashanek Ya Balady Association for Sustainable Development, a charity organization of which she is president (the Arabic name stands for “for you, my country”).

“At first, it was difficult to balance between all these aspects, but, by time, things have become easy,” said El Ebrashi. She added that time management is the best way to achieve balance and success in one’s life.

Renewing the intention toward Almighty Allah by intending to do everything for His sake greatly helps to achieve success. Besides, the support and encouragement of El Ebrashi’s family have helped her to continue with enthusiasm: “My family played a significant role in helping me achieve any success in my life; had it not been for them, I wouldn’t have done anything.”

Spiritual Impact

In fact, charity and social work have positively influenced El Ebrashi’s life. “It teaches me how to be more patient,” said El Ebrashi. She has a feeling of satisfaction because of all the blessings bestowed upon her by Almighty Allah, especially after she started to deal with the needy during her visits to them. “I also learned to be responsible and to face any challenges alone,” she said.

In addition, charity work had its role in changing El Ebrashi’s beliefs toward the needy and toward poverty itself. “Before my work through Alashanek Ya Balady, I thought that poverty is just a social problem, but now I think it’s an opportunity for improvement,” she said.

El Ebrashi believes that the needy have the potential to be productive people, just like the case in China. “Poor people can play a significant role in the society, but they lack the opportunity,” said El Ebrashi.

Source :

By Shiam El-Bassiouni, Staff Writer – IslamOnline.net

Difficulties: True Character of the World


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In his well-known book, Al-Hikam (Words of Wisdom), sheikh Ahmad Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari says:

“Do not be surprised when difficulties happen in this worldly abode. It is only revealing its true character and identity.”

If the servant of Allah repents to Him, relies on Him, purifies his intention to Him, reflects on Him, and seizes the time, the light of faith will shine in his heart and his journey will draw closer to Allah. In any case, as Ibn `Ataa had said, “there is no real distance between you and Him so that you embark upon a journey. And the connection between you and Him is not cut so that you seek to mend it”.

Prophet Muhammad mentioned that Allah said:

“My servant continues to draw near to Me with additional work until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will give him, and if he seeks my refuge, I will grant it to him.”( Al-Bukhari) and  “And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim.).

However, it is one of Allah’s consistent and universal laws that when Allah loves someone, He will test him with trials in this world. Allah says:

{Do people think that on their mere claiming, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test?} (Al-`Ankabut 29:2).

A claim of belief has to be put to test. Allah says:

{And most certainly We shall try you all, so that We might mark out those of you who strive hard in Our cause and are patient in adversity: for We shall put to a test the truth of all your assertions.} (Muhammad 47:31)

Trials vary but the expected reaction is the same; patience and piety.

{And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of labor’s fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity} (Al-Baqarah 2:155).

{You shall most certainly be tried in your possessions and in your persons; and indeed you shall hear many hurtful things from those to whom revelation was granted before your time, as well as from those who have come to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God. But if you remain patient in adversity and pious – this, behold, is something to set one’s heart upon} (Aal `Imran 3:186).

Allah announces that this worldly life is worth very little. So, if He deprives a person of this worldly life or part of it and guides him to repentance and bestows on him His mercy and paradise instead, then what a great deal! Therefore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The most severely tested people are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of commitment to God” (Ibn Hibban).

For this reason, if life is full of difficulties and challenges, one should not be surprised or asks why. It is as if Ibn `Ataa is asking us: What is the name of this world? The answer in Arabic is ‘ad-dunya’, which literally means the lower life. Therefore, it is not surprising if bad conditions, unpleasant manners, and fatal consequences reveal themselves, because these things are derived from the very character and nature of this lower worldly life.

Accepting this nature of worldly life helps the servant acquire a basic virtue and cross a very important stop in his journey to Allah. It is patience with tests. Patience is a characteristic that gets the servant into God’s Presence, as mentioned before: (God is with those who are patient in adversity) (Al-Baqarah 2:153). And if we are in Allah’s Presence, then why would we worry?

Patience is of three types, namely, (1) patience in doing good, (2) patience in avoiding evil, and (3) patience with tests. Patience in doing good deeds (1) means that the believer should always be active, without placing hardship on oneself. Allah says:

{God has laid no hardship on you in anything that pertains to religion} (Al-Hajj 22:78).

The Prophet saw an old man walking, supported by his two sons, and asked about him. The people informed him that he had vowed to travel on foot to the Ka`bah. The Prophet said: “Allah is not in need of this old man’s torturing himself,” and ordered him to get a ride to the Ka`bah.(An-Nasaa’i) It is not ‘patience’ to torture oneself or cause it harm.

As for patience in avoiding evil (2), it means that a believer should stay away from committing what God has forbidden. For one example, we read in the Qur’an about Prophet Yusuf/Joseph and one of the tests he was put to.

{And it so happened that she in whose house he was living conceived a passion for him and sought to make him yield himself unto her; and she bolted the doors and said, “Come you unto me!” Joseph answered: “May God preserve me!”} (Yusuf 12:23).

There is a great reward for this type of patience. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says that one of the seven persons whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him is

“A man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces for adultery, but he rejects by saying: I fear God.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

And patience with Allah’s tests (3) is at different levels, all of which bear the meaning of refraining from something. The most basic level of patience with Allah’s tests is to refrain from committing evil acts. Then, a higher level is to refrain from complaining by your tongue. Finally, the highest level of patience is to refrain even from complaining in your heart.

Refraining from committing sins is a condition for purifying one’s heart. Allah says about the hypocrites:

{Indeed, We tested them through suffer­ing, but they did surrender to their Sustainer; and they will never humble them­selves} (Al-Mu’minun 23:76).

When a person faces some problems, then he/she is at a cross-road; either to repent and surrender to Allah, or to fall into sins, which means failing the test.

At a higher level, patience with Allah’s tests requires one to refrain from even complaining about the test. This is called ‘beautiful patience’, as Allah tells us about the story of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him), when he said: {I will only show beautiful patience} (Yusuf 12:18), and {it is only to Allah that I complain of my deep grief and my sorrow} (Yusuf 12:86). Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him) complained only to his Lord and refused to complain to anyone else.

Being patient with Allah’s Decree on the level of the heart is the best type of patience. The believer attains this degree when he/she not only refrains from speaking about the difficulty, but also refrains from agonizing about it in his heart. The soul is always at peace, even at the peak of crisis. The Prophet said:

“Genuine patience is at the first stroke of a calamity” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

If the believer is patient at the face of tests, he/she will advance in the way of Allah.

{Consider the flight of time! Verily, a human is bound to lose himself, unless he be of those who attain to faith, and do good works, and enjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity} (Al-`Asr 103:1-3).

And in any case, adversity does not last forever.

{And, behold, with every hardship comes ease: verily, with every hardship comes ease!} (Al-Inshirah 94:4-5).

How can Muslims be assured that the Qur’an is the Word of God?


women reading quran

  1. Physical incapacity. The prophet was physically incapable to write the Quran. History has him as an unlettered man who could not write anything more than his own name. How could he write a book?
  2. Sincerity. The prophet was morally constrained to tell the truth about the origin of the Quran. He was noted to be so honest and trustworthy that even his enemies called him al-Amin (the trustworthy). Moreover, he suffered persecution, refused offers to compromise, and maintained his message for a period of twenty-three years. Historians of religion have to conclude that he was sincere.
  3. Psychology. The Quran speaks to the prophet, commands him, and even criticizes him. Such contents do not point to the prophet as the self-conscious author. On the other hand, the author declares himself to be the creator of the heavens and the earth.
  4. History. The prophet was incapable of writing the Quran. The Quran details items of history which were not known to the prophet or his contemporaries. And independent studies confirm that the Quran was true in what it said.
  5. Prophecy. The Quran speaks prophetically, detailing what the future holds. Then the future unfolds exactly as foretold. Who could author such a book?
  6. Science. The Quran draws attention to a wide range of physical phenomena in order to teach moral lessons. The statements were not meant to teach science. Yet modern scientists are amazed at the accuracy of these statements. For example, the Quran said things about the growth and development of the human embryo which could not be studied without the use of a microscope. Dr. Keith Moore was professor and chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto. After reviewing the Quranic statements he said: “”I am amazed at the accuracy of these statements which were already made in the 7th century AD.”” Such knowledge in the Quran points to God as its source.
  7. Consistency. The Quran challenges skeptics to find errors in it, which, if found, would disprove its divine claim. But no one has yet been able to point to a real error in it.
  8. Inimitability. A unique feature of the Quran is that no one is able to produce a book that would match its beauty, eloquence and wisdom. The Quran itself challenges humankind to produce even a chapter like it. But no one has been able to do it.
  9. These eight reasons together form a strong cumulative case in favor of the Qurans divine origin. Hence Muslims can be confident that the belief of Islam, which is based on the Quran, is true.

Shabir Ally

Allah’s Knowledge is infinite


One of the Divine Attributes Allah, The Most Exalted, Has is Infinite Knowledge that encompasses everything in the heavens and earth and what is in between them; in the worldly life and the Hereafter. Therefore, among His Divine Names is the All-Knowing. He, the Almighty Says in the Quran (what means):

“Verily, He, only He, is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [Quran 26: 220]

Allah Almighty has called Himself by some other Names which reflect this attribute, such as Al-Khabeer (the All-Aware), which entails that He knows what will be before it happens; Al-Hakeem (the Wise), which entails that He knows the details of things; Ash-Shaheed (the Witness), which entails that He knows what is unseen and what is seen, i.e., that nothing is unknown to Him; and Al-Muhsiy (the Reckoner), which entails that the fact that He knows so much does not distract Him from knowing the tiniest details, such as the light of the day and how strong the wind is, and when the leaves fall. He knows the numbers and the movements of each leaf.

His Knowledge encompasses generalities and minor details:

Some philosophers claim that Allah knows things in general terms, but He does not know minor details. This, no doubt, is a sheer lie. The Knowledge of Allah, Glory is to Him, is comprehensive and all-encompassing, and nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him on earth or in the heavens. He knows every movement on land and in the depths of the sea, and there is no leaf that falls from a tree or a seed that is planted in the ground, or a small plant that cleaves the earth, or dries out or dies, but the Knowledge of Allah encompasses it. Allah Almighty Says (what means):

“…And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.” [Quran 6: 59]

Nothing of the innumerable animals, birds, insects, etc. is hidden from Allah, as stated in the verse (which means):

“And no moving [living] creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit [in the uterus or grave]. All is in a Clear Book [the Preserved Tablet].” [Quran 11: 6]

There is nothing that goes down into the earth, or ascends from the earth to the heavens, but Allah encompasses it with His Infinite Knowledge. Allah Says (what means):

“He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends to it. And He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving.” [Quran 34: 2]

Nothing of man is hidden from Allah, the All-Knowing, whatsoever. Allah’s Knowledge of man is comprehensive, encompassing his apparent and visible actions, but He also knows what is hidden in the depths of his soul, as stated in the verse (which means):

“Say [O Muhammad]: ‘Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it…’” [Quran 3: 29]

And the verse (which means):

“And He is Allah [to be worshipped Alone] in the heavens and on the earth; He Knows what you conceal and what you reveal…” [Quran 6: 3]

All the disasters and tribulations that happen on earth, or happen to the individual, or to his wealth or family, etc., were known to Allah before they happened, He has written them in the Preserved Tablet as He Says (what means):

“No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being — indeed that, for Allah, is easy.” [Quran 57:22]

Allah’s Knowledge encompasses all the minor details of man’s life. He, the All-Knowing Says (what means):

“Neither you [O Muhammad] do any deed nor recite any portion of the Quran, nor you [O mankind] do any deed [good or evil], but We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it…” [Quran 10: 61]

In the Noble Quran, Almighty Allah reports the invaluable advice which Luqmaan (a wise pious man) gave to his son in regards to pure faith in Allah, the Most Exalted. This is in the verse (which means):

“O my son! If it be [anything] equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle [in bringing out that grain], Well-Aware [of its place].” [Quran 3l: 16]

For the Knowledge of Allah, secret and open, small and great, unseen and seen, are all the same, as in the verse (which means):

“Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure.

[He is] (He is the) Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Grand, the Exalted. It is the same [to Him] concerning you whether one conceals [his] speech or one publicizes it and whether one is hidden by night or conspicuous [among others] by day.” [Quran 13: 8-10]

Allah, the Almighty, indeed spoke the truth when He said (what means):

“… And nothing is hidden from your Lord [so much as] the weight of an atom [or small ant] on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is [written] in a Clear Record.” [Quran 10: 61]

Allah’s Knowledge: An excuse not to exert effort?

Some might raise a question like: “If Allah Knows or Decrees certain catastrophes or trials to happen, then why should I strive to avoid them?” Or, “If Allah destined that a given person will live as a disbeliever and later is to be doomed to Hell, why should He punish him?”

The answer to such a misconception is that Allah, the Most Exalted, has endowed man with ability, will and volition, and He has shown him the two ways: that of good and that of evil through His revelations to His Messengers may Allah exalt their mention. So, whoever chooses the way of good, Allah will guide him and grant him success and the opposite is true. Allah Says (what means):

“And (We, i.e. Allah) have shown him the two ways – of good and evil”. [Quran 90:10].

Allah also Says (what means):

“Whosoever desires (through his deeds) the reward of the Hereafter, We give him increase in his reward, and whosoever desires the reward of this world (through his deeds), We give him thereof (what is written for him), and he has no portion in the Hereafter.” [Quran 42:20].

The above mentioned verses clarify that one has the volition and not obliged to do things against his will. For example, no one can deny that man has a volition concerning material affairs such as livelihood: he spares no effort to gain more and more although he knows that his livelihood is predestined.

Another example is that concerning one’s seeking each and every remedy and means of safety to avoid harm.

islamweb.net

History of Islamic Education


Islam has, from its inception, placed a high premium on education and has enjoyed a long and rich intellectual tradition. Knowledge (‘ilm) occupies a significant position within Islam, as evidenced by the more than 800 references to it in Islam’s most revered book, the Qur’an. The importance of education is repeatedly emphasized in the Quran with frequent injunctions, such as

“God will exalt those of you who believe and those who have knowledge to high degrees” (58:11),

“O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge” (20:114),

and

“As God has taught him, so let him write” (2:282).

Such verses provide a forceful stimulus for the Islamic community to strive for education and learning.

The advent of the Quran in the seventh century was quite revolutionary for the predominantly illiterate Arabian society. The starting of Islamic education was Quran Recitation, and the first word was “Iqra” that means “read”. Arab society had enjoyed a rich oral tradition, but the Quran was considered the word of God and needed to be organically interacted with by means of reading and reciting its words. Hence, reading and writing for the purpose of accessing the full blessings of the Quran was an aspiration for most Muslims. Thus, education in Islam unequivocally derived its origins from a symbiotic relationship with religious instruction.

Thus, in this way, Islamic education began. Pious and learned Muslims (mu’ allim or mudarris), dedicated to making the teachings of the Quran more accessible to the Islamic community through islamic school, taught the faithful in what came to be known as the kuttāb (plural, katātīb). The kuttāb could be located in a variety of venues: mosques, private homes, shops, tents, or even out in the open. Historians are uncertain as to when the katātīb were first established, but with the widespread desire of the faithful to study the Quran, katātīb could be found in virtually every part of the Islamic empire by the middle of the eighth century. The kuttāb served a vital social function as the only vehicle for formal public instruction for primary-age children and continued so until Western models of education were introduced in the modern period. Even at present, it has exhibited remarkable durability and continues to be an important means of religious instruction in many Islamic countries.

During the golden age of the Islamic empire (usually defined as a period between the tenth and thirteenth centuries), when western Europe was intellectually backward and stagnant, Islamic scholarship flourished with an impressive openness to the rational sciences, art, and even literature. It was during this period that the Islamic world made most of its contributions to the scientific and artistic world. Ironically, Islamic scholars preserved much of the knowledge of the Greeks that had been prohibited by the Christian world. Other outstanding contributions were made in areas of chemistry, botany, physics, mineralogy, mathematics, and astronomy, as many Muslim thinkers regarded scientific truths as tools for accessing religious truth.

The Arabic language has three terms for education, representing the various dimensions of the educational process as perceived by Islam. The most widely used word for education in a formal sense is ta’līm, from the root ‘alima (to know, to be aware, to perceive, to learn), which is used to denote knowledge being sought or imparted through instruction and teaching. Tarbiyah, from the root raba (to increase, to grow, to rear), implies a state of spiritual and ethical nurturing in accordance with the will of God. Ta’dīb, from the root aduba (to be cultured, refined, well-mannered), suggests a person’s development of sound social behavior. What is meant by sound requires a deeper understanding of the Islamic conception of the human being.

Source : islamiceducationonline.blogspot.com

Improve Yourself


You sit with someone who is twenty years old and notice that he has particular etiquettes, logic and thought. You then sit with him when he is thirty to discover that he is exactly the way he was ten years ago and has not improved at all. Yet, you sit with others and you feel that they are actually taking benefit from their lives. You discover that they improve themselves on a daily basis. In fact, not an hour passes except that they improve either religiously or otherwise. If you wish to ponder upon the different types of people with respect to self-improvement, then think about the following:

There are those who like to watch those satellite television channels that help their general knowledge and intelligence grow. They benefit from other people’s experiences by watching constructive discussions, from which they learn the characteristics of debating and improve their language, understanding, and expertise in debate and persuasion.

Then there are those who cannot miss out on a series about a failed love story, or an emotional play, or a horror film, or films about useless fantasies with no link to reality at all.

Notice the difference between the two after five or ten years.

Which of the two would have improved the most in his skills and ability to fathom information, gain general knowledge, have the power to convince others, or successfully be able to cope with diverse situations? No doubt the first person!You will find the mannerisms of the first person to be completely different.

When he argues, he does so on the basis of legal references, facts and figures,while the second can only quote the words of actors and singers, so much so that one such person once said during a discussion, “Allah says: ‘Strive, my servant, and I shall strive with you!’’

We informed him that this is not a verse from the Qur’an.

His complexion changed and he fell silent. I then thought about the phrase and it occurred to me that it is an Egyptian idiom which was imprinted on his mind after watching a drama series!

Let’s look at it from another angle – that of reading newspapers and magazines. How many people take an interest in reading beneficial news and information that helps them in developing their personality, improves their skills and increases their general knowledge? Yet, how many are those who cannot read except sports and entertainment news? This is true to such an extent that many newspapers compete with each other by increasing the sports and entertainment pages at the cost of other sections. The same can be said about our gatherings and the things in which we spend our time.

Hence, if you would like to be a head instead of a tail, then eagerly try to practice all skills, regardless of what they may be. ‘Abdullah was an energetic person but lacking in certain skills.

One day, he left his home to pray Dhuhr in the mosque. It was his zeal for the prayer and respect for his religion which brought him out to pray. He was walking fast in order to reach the mosque before the Iqamah was given. On his way, he passed by a date-palm tree on top of which there was a man in uniform, working on the tree. ‘Abdullah became surprised and thought, “Who is this man that does not care about the prayer! It is as if he didn’t even hear the Adhan, or doesn’t care about the Iqamah, which is about to go!”

He shouted in anger, “Get down and pray!”

The man responded coldly, “OK, OK…”

He said, again, “Hurry up and pray, you donkey!”

The man screamed, “You called me a donkey?!” He then took a branch of the tree and descended in order to hit him over the head with it! ‘Abdullah hid his face with his headscarf so the man wouldn’t recognize him and went on to the mosque. The man descended from the tree in anger, went to his house, prayed and rested for a while. He then returned to the tree to finish his job.

Then ‘Asr time came and ‘Abdullah went to the mosque again.

On his way he passed by the same tree and noticed the same man working. He decided to change his method altogether and said, ‘As-salamu ‘alaykum! How are you?”

The man replied, “Al-hamdulillah, I am fine!”

He said, “Give me some good news. How are the dates this year?”

The man said, “Al-Hamdulillah.”

‘Abdullah said, “May Allah give you success and provision, make your life easy for you, and not deprive you of the reward for your work!”

The man was overjoyed at hearing this supplication and said “ameen” to the prayer.

‘Abdullah then said, “It seems that you are so preoccupied with work that perhaps you didn’t notice the Adhan for ‘Asr prayer. The Adhan has been called and the Iqamah is about to be given. Perhaps you should get down, relax a little and get ready for prayer. After the prayer you can get on with your work again. May Allah keep you healthy.”

The man said, “Insha Allah… Insha Allah…” and began to descend gently.

He then turned to ‘Abdullah, shook his hand warmly and said, “I would like to thank you for your excellent manners. As for the one who passed by me at Dhuhr time, I wish I could see him and show him who the real donkey is!”

The result…

Your skills of dealing with others determine how they deal with you.

by Dr. Muhammad Adb’ Al Rahman Al- Arifi – (Enjoy Your Life) is from the famous Banu Khalid Tribe in Saudi Arabia (descendents of the Sahabi Khalid bin Walid) graduated from Saudi universities and learn from scholars such as Shaykh Abdullah bin Qu’ud, abd al-Rahman bin Nasir al Barrak and various other scholars.  He  is a prominent figure in the field of Islamic Da’wah and has authored more than twenty published works.

Q and A About Fashion with Wardina


1. What does fashion mean to you?

Something that is now, dictated by the capitalists – mass produced items to basically generate income. Fashion is something that is never static, for the gold post shifts from time to time. It’s something that is subjected by what is ‘popular’. The media then is an influential medium and tool that determines the ‘popularity’ of a fashion item through repeated and constant bombardment of subjective messages via the use of advertisements and through often impactful pictures that entices a person’s emotion when watching or looking at it.

2. Tell me a bit about your journey in fashion.

I was a fashion slave, well, I was a model…beauty means “thin, white, blonde”. I bought whatever that is ‘popular’, I wanted to be seen as ’cool’ and wanted to be in’ with the crowd. .It was almost like I didn’t have a choice BUT to just follow whatever was in the fashion magazines. I didn’t want to b left behind nor did I want to stand out like a sore thumb. Fashion was dictated by those in the fashion industry and at that time, it was basically a copy cat of the fashion trend in the West mainly the Hollywood popular culture. It still is until today. To be ‘modern’ is equivalent to wear what the Hollywood stars wear. :)

The fashion that i was so obsessed about was mainly emphasizing on beauty that was merely physical. I realized that without all the garments i didn’t really have an identity. It was very superficial to me. Take all the accessories and ridiculously expensive bags away… what kind of person am i? I needed the all the fancy stuff and high-end branded goods to have a sense of self worth.

Once i started thinking of it, i started to search for something more than just a physical sense of self worth. I decided to dive into my soul.. i found emptiness, despite the so called ‘physical beauty’ i apparently possess .. however, i didn’t really ‘feel’ beautiful. I had very low self esteem and i had to cover that up with ‘make up’ or attract attention by very ‘revealing’ clothes that i wear. I was respected for my beauty…. nothing else. That scared me. Yet I know im worth more than just my physical beauty. Why did i have to expose myself to get people ‘looking’ or talking about me? That started the journey to really ‘study’ this faith that i was born into yet i took it for granted. A faith that didn’t emphasize on physical beauty but the inner beauty of a person.

3. How do you combine your interest in fashion and your faith?

The Quran mentions 7:26 that the garment of righteousness is the best garment to be adorned. “Righteousness” is a concept that wasn’t given much attention particularly in the fashion world. I believe that my faith forces us to expose a civilized beauty that is distinctive rather than instinctive. A beauty from within that although seem to be covered yet radiates from a person in ways that are unexplainable.

Ironically I felt so much more freedom being ‘covered’ rather than when I ‘exposed’ myself. It was really enlightening, and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of liberation and independence that i have never felt before. I felt so much more in control of myself. In a way I am forcing the other person to judge me by what I have to offer, the person i am on the INSIDE, not out. I feel liberated that I was no longer a fashion slave. I can turn a magazine page without the pressure to buy. “Popular trends” were no longer in my dictionary.

I started to focus on my intellect and talent rather than my cleavage or sexy body. It’s my character that matters, not the garment nor the physical body… Modesty is the key factor in anything i wear, it also transcends in my attitude and thinking. I basically externalized my faith through my physical appearance.

4. What are your challenges in managing both faith and fashion?

Challenge is probably managing other people’s expectations of me, but then again my faith teaches me to worry more about my Creator than what people say. Another challenge is for “me” to understand the essence of why my faith requires me to dress the way I do. Understanding the blessings of doing so, and making an informed decision. This is very important to me. I wouldn’t want to be just a “follower” anymore. I need to make sure that i have a deep understanding of why I’m doing the things i do.

I don’t really encounter much problem…. I believe in the concept of modesty, and I still think I am able to look good and presentable in any occasion despite the fashion of faith I wear. Faith to me is actually very fashionable.

Apparently nowadays faith is gaining popularity. It is also capitalized by many…hence the endless “Muslim”-wear, it is now a huge money making industry. I just make sure I don’t fall in the trap twice. :)

5. How do you manage the challenges in combining the Islamic faith and fashion?

Honestly I don’t find it a problem at all. Initially there were prejudices – Since I was a model and actress, some people say that I’m never going to make it big any more. I’ll die off, because I am no longer a sex symbol. Instead the complete opposite happened. People embraced the different values i decided to uphold, the different concept of beauty i propagated. Just be true to yourself, have good values you’ll be able to live anywhere despite whatever you choose to wear.

With Love

-WARDINA-