Daughter of Diaspora

Daughter of Diaspora

Salam! This weeks post is a feature from my good friend Mona Hagmagids blog, https://daughterofdiaspora.com.

Mona is a Sudanese and Afro-American woman from Northern Virginia, who is studying at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a love for poetry and Islam, and is an amazing spoken word artist. I am honored to share this piece on my site and I hope you like it as much as I did!

It seems that there is an ideal Muslim “woman”, particularly in my generation of non-black American Muslim men. She is funny (but will never take up too much attention at a party), flirtatious (but still a virgin), wanted by other men (but a maximum of no more than three previous boyfriends, and she must still be a virgin), pretty (but not curvy lest she be immodest!), smart (but not the kind of smart that will raise her hand in class or challenge a man in a board meeting, that’s not smarts that recklessness!), and a good balance of religiously and modernity (shops at Haute Hijab and Forever 21, watches Game of Thrones but also subscribes to Bayyinah TV), and involved in something or two beyond herself (perhaps a charity organization where she helps to plan events but never gets near the microphone, never the leader, never threatening).

She is the perfect Muslim girl, who will make a perfect girlfriend and then, if she stays in demand (keeps up her figure and stays on trend) and doesn’t draw outside the lines (God forbid she excel beyond him in school or make more money or begin to change herself in anyway), will, and can end up as his wife. He will marry her, she will make room in her life to have his kids and post pictures with them on Instagram and it will all be a beautiful story after that. We will comment and congratulate and nothing will be any different than yesterday.

Of course, this stereotype is crude, insulting, and above all, desperately shallow. But it seems, more or less, accurate for a significant number of Muslim guys.

And so, there is a lot of anxiety when it comes to thinking about marriage and men for a woman who does not fit that mold. There is added stress upon girls that might be able to jam the parts of themselves into such a narrow ideal that they do so at the expense of themselves, their personalities, and at times, their own values.

There is strangeness in Muslim dating culture, a strong undercurrent of old and weathered ideals cloaked in new age synonyms for Housewife and Obedient and Just-Like-Mama. It seems that no matter how many Muslim men of my generation put “woke” (whatever that means) in their twitter bios and repost Linda Sarsour on Facebook and put Colin Kapernick as their profile photos, they still perpetuate toxic ideas about womanhood and marriage and relationships which value superficial, inconsequential, and ultimately useless aspects of a person’s social persona as the threshold for who is worth bringing home to Ammi.

Our Islamic tradition is one that exalts and honors strong women. Strong in their deen, their dignity, and their self-worth. A strong woman does not always have to be loud, but her strength is observable, felt, and noticed. And boys, these boys, our boys, run from women who they know are their equals and will remind them of it every day. Our boys choose comfort and ego and social status over growth over home over depth.

This community has raised a generation of boys. Real Question: where are the men?

girls in the hills

girls in the hills

The perfect fall outfit.

This outfit could be worn to an event, dinner with friends, or on a fun day trip. It can easily be dressed up with jewelry or dressed down with a simpler makeup look. I love these pop-of-color shoes, the flowy dress, and the classy look the shirt underneath gives.

I found this dress at Target and the undershirt and shoes at Marshalls!

 

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ophelia

ophelia

When I first saw this dress, I was at Target with my headphones in listening to the song Ophelia by the Lumineers. I knew I had to have this piece. Dresses like this are absolutely lovely because they are divine – beautiful but also modest. All of these photos are raw and unedited.

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Mondays Blues / Confidence

Thought I’d write this and share a little something from me to the world about confidence.

At one point in our lives, every single person feels self-conscious. 90% of the time, we feel this way because of our outside appearances, whether it be how we look, dress, or what car we drive. Our society has created very materialistic expectations, and not being able to keep up can sometimes really get us in a funk. BUT….. the truth is we are so so so much more than how we look, dress, or how much is in our bank accounts – and we all know it!

The best way to becoming more confident is to change our habits and behavior. A good personality will ALWAYS shine through. You are what you do, not what you say or what you look like. Here is my take on what confidence, and ways to achieve what you want in life!

The definition of confidence to me is being able to radiate and flourish in ways I didn’t think possible. It means trusting my self, and patting myself on the back regardless if I’m wrong. It means smiling at strangers and being filled with gratitude.

I’m not fully where I want to be, but I have goals. Working on oneself is one of the hardest things because we to come to terms with the awful things about ourselves. It scary, but very fulfilling. In the changing world, the only person we will ever have is ourselves, so might as well be happy with the person that you are!

here are my steps:

  1. Figure out who YOU want to be. Ask yourself questions like what qualities do you like in other people that you wish you had in your self? What are your flaws? Who are your role models? What are your beliefs? What do you like to do in your free time? What makes you angry? Question everything about yourself. Not in an “I suck why am I like this” type of way, but in a genuine “who am I” type of way.  This will take time, but thinking about these questions will help you realize more about your day-to-day life.
  2. Write it down. Write down everything from step one. Then write down who your mentors are, and why you look up to them. Write down the highest standard possible that you have for yourself. Write about what you want your future to look like. Even the simple things like, “I hope that one day I’ll drive a _________”. Write what characteristics you want your future spouse to have. Write what qualities you find amazing in your friends.
  3. Flip the page and write what qualities you see in other people that you don’t like. For example, you could say “I hate how ______ handles a situation”.  This will teach you so much about yourself.
  4. Write about your past, and how you’ve changed. We have all changed. If you are the same person you were a year ago something is wrong. Write about the positive changes you’ve made, and be proud. Recognize the negative ones, but have the mindset that you want to correct them.
  5. Remember that who you are today, isn’t who you will be tomorrow, and it isn’t who you were yesterday. Writing everything down, or even just taking time to think about these things will make you much more conscious. The next time you are put in an iffy situation, these lists will help you.
  6. Learn from what you wrote, and try to grow. Find people who you want to be like and shadow them. Don’t become them, but take the best from them. Tell them what you like about them. Show your gratitude to the people in your life, because a  will not only make their day, they will respect you more.

A personal example for me is that I always expect to be treated the way I treat others, and when someone doesn’t reciprocate I get offended. I find that sometimes people take advantage of me. I used to be really naive towards it, but as I grow I realize more and more what’s happening. Learning that not everyone is like me has probably been one of the hardest things. I’m a giving person, but the more I give the more people take without return. A quality that I thought was good about myself, turned out to be hurting me. Trying to find the balance between both is a new journey.

No matter what, we will never be able to change the way we look. Coming to terms with our outside flaws is sadly a life long struggle for many people. Becoming confident doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual and slow process. What I’ve learned on this journey of self-discovery of mine is that the only thing we have control over in life is really just how we act. Our actions define us, the words we use represent us, and how we handle different situations will establish our credibility.

 

 

 

WORK HARD & BE KIND

WORK HARD & BE KIND

BACK TO SCHOOL!

Salam!
This post is going to be everything school! From study tips, the perfect study playlist, the perfect outfit, and the perfect duaa, I have got you covered!

real talk:

The first thing I’d like to remind everyone that motivation always has to be refreshed and renewed. I read somewhere once that motivation was like a shower. We take showers, but we get dirty, and so we have to take them again. That’s how motivation is – we buy new stationary, or hear a inspirational story and we feel energized and ready. But the responsibilities pile up, and the precedence we give schoolwork stops, and can eventually cause a unhealthy cycle. A tip of mine would be to follow a study Instagram or blog. This will give you daily, or weekly inspiration and hopefully motivate you!

Something that I’ve been trying to learn, and a tip I have is that sometimes we really need to get real with ourselves. There will be times that you feel the stress and build up of school on you, or the list of tasks growing but nothing getting completed. The BIGGEST tip that I can give is that self-discipline (when it comes to studying) will never be obtained in the future, it will ONLY be obtained now.

tips:

For this post, I tried to collect some of the best tips out there and I genuinely pray that anyone reading this has a year of success and opportunity.

here is a google docs that I found full of study tips!

here are some study tips that I picked out from Pinterest! I think these are the best ones, but I will link my Pinterest down below.

  • Study less, but study better. How well you study is NOT determined by how long you study. Five hours of studying while being on your phone, isn’t studying, its five hours of being on your phone. If you are distracted, your studying will be vague and broad, and you will be wasting your time. The most important things are to prioritize, set realistic timelines, and to try to reduce all distractions when studying. A good way to do this is by making detailed to-do lists, or keeping a planner.

Studying English:

  • Don’t read everything, but read as much as you can. Being able to fully understand what you read, rather than reading and having a broad understanding is way better. When you are reading for a class, ask yourself the questions, it will keep you engaged in what you read, and will give you a greater understanding.

Studying Math/Science:

  • Practice everyday! Do a little everyday. There is no need to overwhelm yourself, just practice practice practice. Make a cheat sheet, do all the steps in a problem, study the small concepts – it will help makes the entire corse easier.

 PLAYLIST

This a study playlistsI found on Spotify that I find myself listening too:

The one I created:

Outfit

For this post, I was styled by my friend Haneen Muhyeddin. She picked this outfit out for me, and I absolutely loved it! I am a true believer that if you go to school looking good, you will feel good, and that will result in you doing better in class. This outfit is perfect for school because it is simple, cute, and modest. It is comfortable, but the tatreez top gives the outfit a little extra personality, and makes it my own.

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IMG_0263.JPG    Photos taken by Sarah Muhyeddin

DUAA

Last but not least, you can’t study without Duaa. Here are some duaa links below:

I hope this post inspires you all to work hard, study strong, and overall motivate you to make this school year a success!

It’s finally Eid! After thirty days of tirelessly fasting Ramadan has come to an end. Eid is always a bittersweet moment, the bliss of not hearing “not even water?” again, but the sadness of knowing we will have to wait another year to witness this month over.

This Ramadan I definitely learned a lot! Not necessarily about Islam, but about myself (see previous post).

I wanted to share three things that I hope to remind myself for the next year, and I hope they will help you too. 🙂

1. “My life is a struggle between my need for acceptance, my fear of rejection, and a desire to not care at all.” This is a quote that I read, and it resonates with me a lot. Something that is hard on anyone is when people hate you because of certain things that you love about yourself. One thing that I pride myself with is that I know a lot of people, and I’m an easy person to have a conversation with. Hearing things like “she’s too out there” is something that really hurts me! It is not easy to let what others say about you not bother you. For me, what I hope to take away from this month is just accepting that no matter what, people will always disagree or hate, even on the things that we love about ourselves. It’s important for me that I recognize my strengths as a person, and use them to thrive.

2. The second thing I hope to take away from Ramadan this year is being content with my own self. Loneliness is something that I think everyone struggles with. What I’ve learned from good friends of mine is that the most important thing in love is to not waste our precious time waiting on someone who may never show up. I aspire to be the girl who goes to the movies alone and has a lovely time with herself, and even though it will take so much time to get there, when I finally achieve this self-love I know it will be great!

There is a poem from the book Milk and Honey that I really love,

“I do not want to have you

To fill the empty parts of me

I want to be full on my own

I want to be complete

I could light a whole city

And then

I want to have you

Cause the two of us combines

Could set it on fire”

I read this poem almost two years ago when I bought this book, and only really realized the meaning of it this ramadan.

3. The last thing that I will talk about in this post is that IT’S OKAY TO CUT TIES! “You’re so nice” used to be something that I took as a compliment. It still is, just depending on the context. Sadly, being nice and people taking advantage sometimes goes hand in hand. What happens in a toxic friendship is that one person is not as invested as the other. I just left a really toxic friendship, and even though the person is great, us together as friends wasn’t great. It takes courage to leave, because it means cutting out a large part of our lives. If a friend tries to control you, or makes you feel bad about yourself, they are NOT your friend. Allah tells us how important our friends are, and even though we sometimes try to fight out, our friends really do shape who we are. In one of my first posts I talked about how you should always try and stand with the smartest person in the room, and try to be their friend. Why? Because you are bound to learn something from the smartest person in the room. All relationships are investments, and when you look at the world like that it really changes your point of view.

I hope all of our fasts, duas, and good deeds were accepted this month. I leave you with one last thing, and it something I tell myself everyday. If Allah is the most merciful, most forgiving, who am I as his creation not to forgive?