Tuesday, January 29, 2013

People who insult the Prophet Mohammed and Islam in general: would you mock also historian Edward Gibbon, Napolean Bonaparte and Mahatma Gandhi? Are they too brainwashed by Islam? Or did they simply educate themselves...

I honestly don't understand people who call women who choose to become Muslims with no influence from cultures outside their own "brain-washed" as if to do so means they have gone insane or have no capacity to think for themselves.

This always illustrates to me the ignorance of history demonstrated by the person who labels someone who has chosen Islam as their religion as "brain-washed" "stupid" or a "sadist/masochist upon womenkind". 

The same people usually fear Islam, as if it is a danger to democracy, is a danger to peace and kindness. These same people usually admire Mahatma Gandhi or Napolean Bonaparte ect... without knowing what historians and indeed historical figures themselves believe[ed] about Islam and what the Prophet Mohammed [peace and blessings be upon him] actually did with his life.

I know alot of people were shocked when Michael H. Hart - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ranked the Prophet Mohammed [peace and blessings be upon him] at the top of the list of the 100 most influential persons in history. Many were angered. Mr. Hart himself wrote: "My choice of Muhummad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level."

One of the most influential British historians of all time Edward Gibbon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (and certainly someone not-a-Muslim but with an authority to speak on history [he's the one that wrote "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"]) wrote in his "HISTORY OF THE SARACEN EMPIRES" [London, 1870, p.54] about Islam that its appeal is simple: "The intellectual image of the divinity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honor of the Prophet has never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living principles have restrained the gratitude within the bounds of reason and religion."

Another non-Muslim scholar George Bernard Shaw - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia who was most concerned about social issues like class privelage, government, religion, healthcare and education said the following about Islam in "The Genuine Islam" Vol 1. [No. 8, 1936]:
1. "I have always held the religion of Muhammed in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make it appeal at every age.
2. "I have studied Muhammed- the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the savior of Humanity."
3. "I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving all its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness."
4. "I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammed that is would be accpetable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today."
5. "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England or Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam."

That's what most Europeans who want to ban hijab and Islam seem to fear I guess, not understanding the state of rule of Islam which Sir. George Bernard Shaw envisioned.

 Napoleon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (coming out of the ideals of the French revolution, freedom, brotherhood, and equality) seemed to  have the same vision of what was meant by Islamic principles: "I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of [the] Qu'ran which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness." [Napolean Bonaparte, Cherfil's "Bonaparte et Islam", Paris 1914].
Now, if you would happen to be one of those people who find Napolean to be a figure who was too war-like for his opinion to be admirable, then maybe what pacifist Gandhi - Biography of Mahatma Gandhi  believed and said about Islam and the Prophet Mohammed would be more valuable: "I wanted to know the best of one who hold's today's undisputed influence over the hearts of millions of mankind... I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the meticulous regard for assurance, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission..." ["Young India"]
Historian Thomas Carlyle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia in his work "Heroes and Heroworship" states about the ideas behind the prophethood in Islam:
1. "Muhammed (pbuh) was nothing more than a human being. But he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the submission ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to ideal and upright living based on the commands of God."
2. "Historically speaking, none of these legends [in Carlyle's paper] achieved even a fraction of that Muhammed (pbuh) accomplished. And all his striving was for the sole purpose of uniting mankind for the worship of One God on the codes of moral excellence."
3. "Muhummed (peace be upon him) accomplished so much in such diverse fields of human thought and behaviour in the fullest blaze of human history."
4. "Every detail of his private life and public utterances has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved till today."
Professor J. Masserman of the USA Psychiatric Asssociation has written: "People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second, and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belond in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Muhammed, who combined all three functions".
And surprisingly, for those of you you think Islam suppresses women, this is what women's right activist Annie Besant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia had to say about Islam and its last Prophet: "Muhammed (pbuh) was a teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father- all in ome... No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life- but it was only for the selfless personality of the Muhammed (pbuh) to achieve such incredible perfections."
I think only those who have no desire to know history, or who simply wish to live at the status quo and never aspire to anything more noble, can retain the thought that no one of full mental capacity or of any great intellegence or moral character could aspire or wish to become a Muslim, or achieve what Islam sets out for mankind to achieve.
Please forgive me if any of my posts have strayed from those things. I am a deeply flawed human being, may Allah guide me to cleaner and wiser soul, ameen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

INSPIRATION BOARD: work the unexpected

Abaya from Roselle | Facebook .


Abaya by Arabesque - Sheilas and Abayas with a French Touch.

INSPIRATION BOARD: if I were a fashion editor I would wear...

Abaya from Roselle | Facebook .

INSPIRATION BOARD: from my own closet, what I wear out with friends for an average day in Muscat

Abaya from https://www.facebook.com/HanayenGroup .

INSPIRATION BOARD: an abaya to rock the boardroom

Abaya from HesseH Abaya Haute Couture - About | Facebook.

INSPIRATION BOARD: what I'd wear to shop Tiffany's

Abaya from HesseH Abaya Haute Couture - About | Facebook.

JUMA THOUGHTS: On marrying a Sheikh, either an oil Sheikh or a Shaykh Shaykh

As stated previously, I haven't had time recently to write any of my own Islamic-based research posts. And it being Friday  and me promising myself and you, dear blog followers, that I would be organized in running this blog from now on, thought I would share a few articles of note with my sisters.

I read a great article recently, posted by a sister I was privileged to have met while living back in Canada, and the author who I also admire greatly, and shared it with a friend. She [my friend] asked what the article was about. I said, about girls who want to marry Sheikhs.
"A Saudi oil-Sheikh?" she asked me. We know alot of articles have been written on the subject of girls chasing GCC passports in hopes of getting the latest fashions, a cute sports car, ect... and having a maid and nothing much to do. The reality of being married to Saudis and Emiratis is usually alot different, and my two favourite articles on these already discussed to the point of ridiculousness are linked here for you to enjoy:
2.) Marrying a Saudi http://www.blueabaya.blogspot.com/2013/01/saudi-arabia-from-rags-to-riches.html
"No, about marrying a Shaykh, Shaykh. Like, the Imam," I explained to my friend.

So here is the beginning of the article:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mum, I Wanna Marry A Shaykh!

Originally published in SISTERS Magazine.

UmmZainab Vanker reveals the reality of being married to Shaykh and explains why it might not be for everyone. 

Growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in a culturally conservative, semi-practising Muslim home, I never imagined or even hoped to marry a Shaykh, Aalim, Hafidh or Moulana. Back then, only those girls who were from strong, practising Muslim families, whose fathers or other relatives were involved in da’wah or were madrasah teachers, ever considered the people of knowledge as potential spouses.

Alhamdulillah, today we are witnessing a reawakening of Islam in our communities, especially amongst the sisters. With this, however, has arisen a phenomenon which I had not come across previously. Let’s call it – The Wannabe Shaykh’s Wife Syndrome (WSWS)!
Many sisters, both young and older, fantasise about marrying a shaykh and living the Islamic dream. What’s wrong with this, you ask? The answer is, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it at all! It is a noble path to want to follow, as long as you are aware of the “job description,” and what the reality of such a life entails.

Unfortunately, today it has become a fad of sorts – a way of becoming “known” for whom you’re married to, or “gaining respect” because of who your husband is. There’s also the completely unrealistic idea that marrying a shaykh is tantamount to marrying the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or one of the Sahabah, thinking that such a man will follow their examples in making time to teach their wives and families first before teaching others. Too many sisters have the naïve dream that these brothers will start imparting their Islamic knowledge to them from day one of their marriage!

Dearest sisters, this is not the reality of life as a shaykh’s wife – especially the wife of one who does what he does seeking payment and reward from Allah swt alone. Such a man sees that he has a great responsibility for the knowledge that Allah swt has given him, and that it is his duty to spread Allah’s word, no matter how difficult that path may be...
To read the rest of the article follow this link by clicking on it: http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com/2013/01/mum-i-wanna-marry-shaykh.html

Muscat Fashion Week 2013 Day 1: credits Nawal Al Hooti, DAS, and Zhor Rais

DAS abayas not shown on the runway, Arabic calligraphy on sleeves reads "love"
Please note, all photos, unless otherwise credited, are my own.

Muscat Fashion week opened with the collection of Omani designer Nawal Al-Hooti [who has just opened her boutique in the Galleria of the Royal Opera House]. The pieces began with Omani-influenced touches on non-traditional separates, such as Omani embroidery on the hem of a skirt or tunic top......to local embroidery on the legs of a simple pair of leggings. Since Omani and Emirati girls have always traditionally tended to wear leggings under their jalbaiyias/caftans the leggings below were one of my personal favourite looks from the collection:
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Also featured, beyond Omani handiwork, were textiles associated with Oman, as apparent in the tunic-top below ...and Omani silver touches on the belting.
Honestly, as an Omani girl per say, I was a bit disappointed that I did not see any actual regional dress, just the influences of such in the overall collection. If anything could have made up for that fact, it was Nawal's jalabiyia/caftan in muted silvers and golds, and shades of vivid green and a poignant baby-blue:
Photo taken from Mademoiselle Shosho
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Photo taken from Mademoiselle Shosho
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
The floor-length Arabic styles had a very soft flow to them as the models rushed past, their hair brilliant in coiled coifs.
Photo taken from Mademoiselle Shosho
 I still love Nawal and loved the red dress she herself wore to MFW13 [and was surprised to see how much she resembles one of my SILs---Aalia, I bet you can guess which one;)] but wanted more Omani traditional dress on the runway.
Between shows we saw a presentation of gold jewelry by Jawahir I believe? I don't know. The girls where I was sitting were distracted by the wadi dog up on the hill where the Muscat Fashion week lights were spotted that was running back and forth chasing the lights, as well as the fruit bats, also confounded by the show's lights. The bats were winging above, as models swooped past below with wings just as black... but a touch more glamorous. I don't like bats myself, but could always do with a pair of wings;).
Photo taken from http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muscat-Fashion-Week/103505283101327
The next collection up was DAS. ***I also had the opportunity to see the collection up-close at the Opera Galleria***.
The opening outfit was mercury-fluid in the DAS trademark cut, which was represented in fabrics as varied as silk chiffon...to green metallic brocade.
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
 My 2nd favourite look from the DAS collection was the pearl studded number in the signature DAS cut. The green brocade, I don't know how anyone could wear that, having held the scratchy sample in my own hands. The silk chiffon version on the other hand though---it's colour was between yellow and mandarin orange, which I found to be quite zesty compared to alot of the other pieces in the collection that night put me to sleep, was soft and succulent perfection.
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Shurooq al Haremi for Mademoiselle Shosho
Source unknown.
Arabic calligraphy via embroidery was featured very artistically in the collection. I thought it was most lovely when paired with lilac inserts. I could definitely see myself wearing the above-featured mauve skirt and blouse paired piece. I loved the detailing when I saw it up close.
 The show-stopper piece [above] bore all the trademarks [except a capelet] of the current DAS collection: waterfall cut, Arabic calligraphy embroidery, and small beads spaced evenly through-out the design. As I continued to watch the show, I grew bored because I was waiting for the abayas. DAS is all about the abayas.
 Thankfully, my boredom [I have a very short attention-span] was momentarily alleviated when a modest gown with a beaded and embroidered capelet trounced down the catwalk. You could tell the model, too, was as invigorated from wearing it, as I was from seeing it, because of the delightful lipstick red shade of the garment. Miss Model swept the stage in crimson blushing slashes. I will repeat. I was delighted. More so, when I had a chance to examine the detailing of the capelet up close:
 Finally, the abayas arrived, and then they abounded, surrounded, and were so fast and so many I couldn't get a single good shot. I will blame the models, instead of my inability to change the settings on my camera or hold it still.
Shoulder detailing is a big trend in abayas in general. Nothing new there, but the fabric inserts along the sides of this particular piece give it its DAS character.
 The asymmetrical layering and fabulous handwork marked this DAS abaya [above pictured] to be a crowd favourite.
Collage and photo directly above it by Shurooq al Haremi for  Mademoiselle Shosho
 Similarly, the side pleated drape from the waist of an abaya embroidered and beaded in the same manner wowed the majorly abaya-clad crowd. It was my favourite abaya.
Designing new drapes and cuts is what the DAS brand relies on more than finishing touches, which has allowed them to be a leader in the designer abaya business, but a velvet bow at the waist never hurt anyone.
Lace inserted panels and smocking has been big in terms of abaya trends in general, but DAS had a lovely lace capelet style abaya that I personally found charming and fully in line with the rest of their collection, in terms of the collection being well thought-out as a whole. It also was a good transition piece from their last collection modeled by the Angelina Jolie look-alike;).
Pleating at the bottom hem of an abaya featuring black Moroccan-style embroidery on top, is very in line with current abaya trends in general as well.
 Some very classic designs along with a few technically difficult cuts made to appear simple.
Photo taken from http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muscat-Fashion-Week/103505283101327
Of all the collections I was interested in, this one's designer [at the Opera Galleria] was sitting alone, seemingly bored and playing with her phone, but I did not approach her. I was too shy. What a loser, I know;).

The last designer for opening night was Morocco's Zhor Rais. I had the chance to interview her daughter at Muscat's Opera galleria about the construction and textiles for the garments. None of that mattered during the actual show of course, when a series of fairy-tale worthy Moroccan dejellaba and takchita [otherwise known as caftans] streamed down the Riyam park runway, serenaded by nigh mystical and haunting traditional music that I had to resist swaying back and forth to. It was my favorite show.
 Caftans of the utmost simplicity in snowy white, and the occasional winter fabric opened the show.
 Mauve, succulent but tart citron hues, and darker shades of green seemed to be part and par for all of the collections that evening.
My favourite piece of the Zhor Rais collection happened to be a timeless little 'sea-foam' coloured number though, that being just a personal matter of taste [I didn't buy it though, since its price tag was 1,000.000 OMR, which is a little over 3,000.00 USD]:
 From sweet white innocence the caftans featured evolved quickly to extravagance in thick teal and yellow velvet, brocades hand-woven in Morocco, and through silk chiffons and satins sourced from Europe.
The yellow velvet dress pictured below was the crowd favourite after the finale's show-stopper:
The rich tones of the velvet seemed so suitable to the near chilled air [at least, for any of us locals] of Riyam that night. Maybe that's why red capelets, or velvet were so bewitching?
Honestly, almost any Moroccan caftan seduces me so I can't be a good critic, but the collection (and it's soundtrack) did convince me that I have to visit that country later on this year. I need a chance to escape, where it is ok to wear a red cape. Also, any Zhor Rais piece takes anywhere from around 2-3 months to complete, and every design is only made once. So I am thinking, if you are craving individuality, a trip to the Casablanca [I believe] workshop of this particular designer might be in order?
Beyond the high impact of the red cape [I personally wasn't a fan of the fabric when examined up close] against the white of the dress, the detailing on the takchita is exquisite if you are to witness it in person. Apparently there is just one old man left in Morocco who still makes the all the traditional fastenings in the traditional way [how true that is I have no idea] and I love how the piece came with a pair of princess-perfect slippers.
 As for this being the first Muscat Fashion Week I have personally attended, I have to say that I really enjoyed myself. I think I enjoyed even more the opportunity to see the workmanship that goes into the clothes up close, and speak to the designers about their methods, inspiration(s), and aspirations for their respective brands. I don't know about my readers, but I have been perfectly content about life in Muscat, since the first fashion week was announced;). I intend to follow the event every year, even if I am unable to attend the runway shows myself. I love the recognition it gets for our young Omani designers, and I love how it shines the spotlight on Arabic region fashions and trends.
 Please stay tuned for my thoughts on the collections of Dibaj, Endemage, Jizdaani, and Mauzan, as seen at Muscat Fashion Week. To end this post, the Zhor Rais finale through my eyes: