by: alexandra yun
Let me start off by saying that I don’t look like the stereotypical Asian. People can typically tell that I am mixed, but thanks in part to my half-Cuban side, my ethnic features are not noticeable enough for people to know that I am half-Korean. I need to include this disclaimer before I continue because although being white-passing sometimes allows me to have different experiences from other ethnic minorities, the hurt I feel is the same.
This past March was tough for me. Completely and utterly tough as I witnessed so many accounts of young and elderly Asians being targeted, discriminated against, abused, and even killed because of their ethnicity. The rise of Asian hate crime in America has jumped to nearly 150% in 2020. We all witnessed the rise of this at the beginning of the pandemic when President Trump had called COVID-19 the “China virus”, spewing discriminatory and hateful language toward the Asian community. This, of course, incited others to also explicitly express their hatred towards this group of people. Since, things just continue to spiral out of control with people physically assaulting Asians, even killing some.
I’ve had friends check up on me to make sure that my family and I are safe, and though while that touched my heart, it is disheartening to know that they even needed to reach out for such a reason. Similarly, I have personally texted several of my Asian friends to make sure that they are okay and safe. Even Asian acquaintances that I had only joked around with and never had serious conversations with, I made sure to check on them to make sure they were safe. The most disheartening call for me was the call I had to make to my Korean grandparents. I insisted that they should not go out as often, initially, because of the pandemic, but now because of the increase in hate crime towards people who look like them. I even pleaded with them to not speak Korean as much when they are out and about. It was hurtful for me to ask this of them. Given that this is their native language, it is their primary way of communicating with one another. And while I don’t speak much Korean, I do try my best to say certain words to them so they can better understand me. How do I tell them that they can’t speak their language because they could be targeted for a hate crime? Why should I even be doing so?
By: Alexandra yun
Women are making up the future. But we’re focusing on the Muslim women who are letting their voices be heard and setting a new precedent for the next generations to follow, grow and expand. It’s all about breaking the boundaries and these five women are doing just that. Some may be more well known, but we wanted to highlight women who were making the difference.
Let’s walk through some of the trailblazing Muslimahs making up our world today.
1. Asma Elbadawi
Asma Elbadawi was born in Sudan but raised in the United Kingdom. Growing up, her love for basketball grew, but she faced many hardships and setbacks; one of them being her wearing a headscarf. She fought much criticism about wearing it on the court, but she was able to focus on her goal of getting the International Federation of Basketball (FIBA) rule overturned. She continues to fight the battles on and off the court with the use of poetry and spoken words as seen on her Youtube channel here.
2. Zehra Abukar
Zehra Abukar was crowned the winner of the Miss Muslimahs USA pageant in 2020. Representing the state of Maine, she was born in Turkey but moved to the states in 2014. Entering into the competition wasn’t something she ever expected herself to do, but through winning, she has found a way to use her voice to empower and uplift other Muslim women out there.
3. Amani Al Khatahtbeh
Continuing with winners from the Miss Muslimahs USA pageant, we would be remiss to not talk about the woman who started it all: Amani Al Khatahtbeh. She started the beauty pageant as a way to celebrate Muslim women and have them feel beautiful without feeling the need to sacrifice their morals and religion. The standard beauty competition in America usually has a bikini round, which is something some Muslim women would not be comfortable with as it contradicts their beliefs. Not only was this a chance to celebrate these beautiful Muslim women, but also to show off their achievements and accomplishments around the globe. For more information, you can check out their website here
By: Zaghra Savahl
Have you embraced Islam but unsure of where to start when it comes to learning more? Or maybe you’ve practiced the Deen your whole life and want to increase your knowledge? Or are you a non-Muslim genuinely interested in learning more about Islamic Beliefs?
For those that were raised Muslim, the foundation of Islam often gets taught from a very young age. It is common to find that children learn about Islam and its teachings even before they start school. For those who found Islam later in their life, particularly during adulthood, the knowledge and practice can be intimidating and overwhelming. Embarking on a journey of Islamic studies can be daunting, but with the right guidance, it will be the most rewarding experience of your life.
Here are a few guidelines to help you get started and to keep on track.
By: Zaghra savahl
When fashion model Halima Aden announced in November 2020 that she quit runway modelling, her reasons gave rise to some important discussions about Faith and the Fashion industry. The first Hijabi supermodel stated that many of the tasks that were required of her during her fashion career were incompatible with her Islamic Faith.
At what point have you compromised too much of your Faith and what should you do when you`ve reached that crossroad?
The Fashion Industry is a global economic powerhouse with a variety of career pathways that include marketing, promotion, design, sales and many more. In Islam, many of these pathways are acceptable if they do not contradict any Islamic principles. There are also many areas in Fashion that are strictly prohibited as they involve doing work that is haram. It is for this reason that many Muslims have found themselves on a precipice when it comes to their Faith and knowing when to walk away when they feel they are compromising their values.
Go back to the beginning. Who are you aiming to please?
Throughout Islamic history, there are many examples of Muslim women who owned businesses and thrived in their careers. The most famous example is that of Khadija (RA) – the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is well-known that she was a successful businesswoman. Islamic principles are all about balance and moderation.
Therefore, pursuing a career while being steadfast in your Faith is possible, providing it does not tilt to the extreme where certain aspects of your Faith become compromised. Muslims believe that if you do everything for the sake of Allah (SWT), the rest will take care of itself, including working towards a career you are passionate about. If you start and sustain your career with the intention of pleasing Allah (SWT) and you continue to place your Faith first and everything else secondary, the decisions you make will become clearer.
By: Zaghra savahl and gina klaff
The Qur'an, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through the Angel Jibreel (AS), serves as a gift to humanity – a source of guidance, healing, cure, and infinite blessings. Together with the Hadith and Sunnah (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)), Muslims reflect upon its meaning and wisdom to attain a fulfilling life and prepare for the Hereafter.
“(Here is) a Book which We have sent down Unto thee, full of blessings, That they may meditate On its Signs, and that Men of understanding may Receive admonition.” (Chapter 38 Ayah 29)
The Holy Qur'an
The revelation of the Qur'an took place in stages, spanning over approximately 23 years and coinciding with various incidents. These incidents provide context to the Ayahs (verses) as it was revealed. These Ayahs are the direct words of Allah (SWT) that has remained unaltered since its revelation. In its sacredness, these Ayahs provide holistic benefits to those that not only recite, but also contemplate its meaning.
The Qur'an contains 114 Surahs (chapters), each divided into Ayahs. Muslims cite the revelation of the Qur'an, that first occurred during the month of Ramadan, as the most important miracle in Islam. It serves as proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) who Muslims believe was the greatest human to walk the earth. They follow his Sunnah (ways and practices) to achieve piety and closeness to Allah (SWT). In this way, the Qur'an can only be fully understood together with the Hadith and the Sunnah.
Although the Qur'an was first revealed orally, it was only later that the Qur'an was compiled through scribing and memorization as a means of preservation.
The first revelation of the Qur'an was the first Five Ayahs of Sural Al-Alaq (Chapter 96):
“1.Proclaim ! (or Read !) in the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created--
By: Zaghra Savahl and Gina Klaff
Your clothes form part of representing who you are. It serves as a powerful expression of individualism that creates an impression on everyone you meet. Therefore, knowing and understanding your Personal Style is important. However, this is not always easy, and in most cases, finding your Personal Style and what works best for you is an ongoing journey. The type of clothes you liked last year may not be the same you like this year, and that’s perfectly ok. The most important thing is to wear clothes that you’re comfortable in and make you feel good about yourself. Knowing your Personal Style and being able to put outfits together that best represent you can be an enormous confidence booster!
Think about celebrities or characters from movies and TV shows that you like
Are there any outfits that your favorite celebrity or TV character wore that you like? Is there a specific historical era that you love, and do you like the clothes from that era? Considering these questions can be a good starting place to figure out what sort of styles catch your eye. You can look online if you want to find an exact or similar piece that someone wore, or you can look for clothes that are reminiscent of the outfits your favorite character wears. There are lots of social media pages, especially on Instagram, that document the clothing that celebrities and characters wear, and some even include details on where to find specific pieces.
Try on clothes
There's an old saying that goes “the Pen is mightier than the sword”. What does this mean? Is there any relevance to this saying today? It is widely understood that this proverb relates to the power and influence of writing being more consequential than conflict or violence. With the devastating effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the destruction of wars and ongoing political tension and animosity, how do “mere words” have power over these realities?
Because of the pandemic, it’s difficult for many of us to speak to one another, especially for work. Many people have turned to emails and messaging apps to complete projects and share information. This is especially relevant in the working world because being able to write well is a skill that many employers still value, even if a position is not related to writing or editing. Employers want to make sure that the people working for them are going to properly represent their company, especially online.
Initially created for the purpose of social networking, social media has become one of the most popular platforms to push political agendas. A Tweet or Facebook post of “mere words” has been the catalyst for social upheaval in many instances. Used for both good and bad, it is no doubt that words on social media have power over many realities.
By: Gina Klaff
It's been more than a year since the Coronavirus was first identified and went on to become a global pandemic. Through the dark times, there has also been light in the form of many that have come together to strive for cure and healing. Many have asked Allah (SWT) through his infinite mercy to grant the sick Shifa. What does this word mean and what is its connection to illness.
“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe; to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss
Surah Al-Isra' Verse 82
The word Shifa translates directly to healing or cure. While there are Ayahs (verses) that contain the word Shifa (as in the example above), in essence, the entire Qur`an is a source of physical and spiritual healing for those who ponder upon its meaning. In Islam, we believe that all good and bad comes from Allah (SWT) for different reasons. When Allah (SWT) grants Shifa to people, it comes in different forms, some of which, as humans, we don`t understand. What we do know is that if it brings us closer to Allah (SWT) and brings out the good in us, then whether it was something we liked or disliked, it was in the form of a blessing.
By: Zaghra Savahl
What is it about journaling that has caused it to stand the test of time? What benefits does it provide? For anyone that's ever seen the movies The Notebook or Bridget Jones` Diary, you will know how integral journaling is to those stories. Much like real-life, journaling provides stability to centre your emotions, your psyche, and ultimately your sense of self.
The year 2020 has been tumultuous – to say the least – and 2021 just cranked up the turmoil. Many people have been practicing social distancing due to the pandemic, and they have found themselves in isolation, which can get lonely…very lonely. Adding on to the weight of the world's problems, being too much in your own thoughts for extended periods of time can have a negative effect on your health and your overall well being. It's safe to say that an outlet is needed. For many years, an outlet that has been highly recommended is journaling. Journaling is the practice of recording your thoughts, often in the form of a notebook, which has many benefits. This tool and practice is not only needed, but it is essential.
“By the time I got to junior high, I started to have emotional drama with hormones and puberty so that’s when it became a catharsis for me. I got a clear sense that I wanted to pour my heart out, have that emotional outlet and find emotional balance. I learned very quickly that I could soothe myself with my writing by telling myself my deepest secrets, concerns, and fears, and then give myself comfort
-Mark Matousek interview with Kathleen Adams, Journal to the self, 2014
With the daily pressures of life and the stress that it brings, journaling can be that source of comfort that you need, through both the highs and the lows. Let's take a look at how it can be of benefit to you.
By: Michelle Cabanas
Deciding how to dress when you're having a meeting or class virtually can definitely be a trip - Do I dress up? Do I dress super casual? Do I just not cover at all and hope I don't have to turn my camera on?
For those of you who do need to have your cameras on, now that it's winter time, you're probably trying to figure out how you can look elegant and modest while staying warm and comfy this winter season. The great part of being virtual though is that your shayla (hijab) will be the most that other attendees can see.
To help your decision on which hijab to wear, we've compiled a list of our top 5.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.