Her Name Was Nabra Hassanen #JusticeForNabra

Nabra Hassanen. Don’t forget her name. A 17-year old Muslim girl who was brutally assaulted and murdered. All murders are senseless, but Nabra’s life was taken for no reason other than the fact that she was Muslim. Because she was visibly Muslim in her beautifully draped hijab. This was not about a parking dispute or any other junk excuse the media and police are attempting to label it as. This was an Islamophobic motivated hate crime. This was a terrorist attack.

I get it. A lot of people are too privileged to see, let alone care, about how people in power, public figures, and the media constantly demonize marginalized groups.  I’m sick and tired of having to cater to their ignorance. Why is their ignorance costing us the lives of our brothers and sisters? Why do the lives of white Christians and Catholics seem to get way more airtime and global concern while Muslims are being persecuted right beside them and not even getting the least bit of respect? I am never one to compare tragedies, ever, but this is just feeding into the cycle of systemic injustice and oppression. I saw the outrage and heartbreak of my white coworkers when the Manchester attack happened recently. I saw newspapers stacked at the front desk sympathizing and “standing with” the people of London. Do people even realize the immense horror that just occurred in our own country? I don’t care if my coworkers know who Nabra is. I care about why they have a selective sensitivity and humanity towards only a certain group of people. This is a learned action. The media teaches us how we should think and feel, and this gravely skews our stances on justice and injustice. This was not about a traffic or parking dispute. How many times are the media and the police going to use that same excuse when Muslims are violently murdered in America? Whoever actually believes it had nothing to do with the fact that she was a visibly Muslim woman, really needs to wake up. It’s never about a parking dispute.

I am truly heartbroken. I sobbed upon hearing the news concerning my sister Nabra, who lost her life in this blessed month of Ramadan. Although I never knew her, it feels like I did. Nabra was my sister in Islam. A young Muslimah, a believing 17-year old girl in a world that is so against her. Muslim. Black. Woman. Much like many of my fellow Muslim women, her very existence was a political statement, a defiance against what most people in the West are seemingly “comfortable” with. I keep telling myself that I wish I were with her before she was attacked outside of the masjid. As if I could have done something. I wish I could have saved her. My heart goes out deeply to all of the people suffering in the world and my duas are forever with them, but this, this hits home on entirely other level. The fact that this has happened, let alone in the month of Ramadan, is exceptionally upsetting.

She was one of us. She was probably getting ready for these last few days of Ramadan and making plans for Eid. She had her whole life in front of her. To my fellow Muslim sisters, please be careful and be hyper-aware wherever you are. People have sick, evil, selfish intentions and unfortunately we are the ones who suffer the most from it. Especially my sisters who observe the hijab. I can’t even begin to try to think as awfully as the oppressors and attackers do when they act upon their violent thoughts.

Let’s take the very last few days of this blessed month of Ramadan to sincerely make dua for Nabra and her family. May she be granted Jannah al firdous, and may her family and friends find peace, justice, comfort, and sabr through Allah (SWT). May He replace the trauma of those who were with her that night with tranquility. Let’s also take time to reflect on this world that we live in, the state of this ummah, and the state of our own iman (faith). Keep this ummah in your duas every day, and try your best to renew your intentions and your iman each day, as if it was your last. Allah (SWT) Knows best and is the Most-Merciful.

There are many wonderful donations/charities being set up for Nabra and in her name. If you’d like to help support, here are a few:

https://www.piousprojects.org/campaign?id=394

https://www.launchgood.com/project/for_nabra#/

May Allah (SWT) protect all of my sisters in this world. May He grant us courage and steadfastness in our deen and may He bring peace to this hateful world. Ameen.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. To Him we belong and to Him we return.

Beauty Review: Huda Beauty Rose Gold Eye Shadow Palette

The Huda Beauty Rose Gold Edition Eye Shadow palette. This eye shadow palette has been one of the most widely talked about; hyped up products I’ve seen in a while. I started getting into makeup about four or five years ago, simply for the fun and art of it all. I’ve come across a lot of brands and products over the course of those years. However, I have always been the type to do extensive research on a product to see if I should actually spend money on it. I’m very careful when I spend money on makeup, and make sure I buy products that truly work for me.

Although I don’t wear it on a daily basis, I love eye shadow. I’m very picky when it comes to all makeup, but eye shadow especially. It just has to feel right for me. When I saw that Huda Kattan (aka Huda Beauty) was coming out with a sick looking eye palette, I freaked out. I’ve followed Huda Beauty on Instagram for so long now, and am a huge fan of her liquid lipsticks. It is also always nice to see an Arab-American Muslim woman striving.

Anyways, let’s get into whether or not this palette is approved by me! So, this eye palette comes with eighteen shades – seven of which are a unique foiled/metallic texture. There is one shimmery shade, and the rest of the shadows are beautiful mattes. Many people have given this palette negative reviews because of the difficulty in working with these seven-foiled shadows. It’s extremely important to note that it has been stressed that these unique shades should be applied by using your finger for optimal color and texture pay-off. Because of the horrible reviews I initially read, I was very skeptical upon first trying this product out. I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I applied the shadows onto my eyelid. The matte shades are smooth and blend beautifully and in my experience, the foiled shadows are so fun and not at all difficult for me to work with. You just have to be open to different application methods and personally, I like applying these types of textured shadows with my finger anyway (it gives the most saturated pay off for sure). I use my fingers when I use ColourPop’s Super Shock Eye Shadows as well and I would not have it any other way.

FullSizeRender (18)

In terms of packaging, I love the outer packaging artwork. It’s Huda Beauty’s signature eye look image that is also used on her well-known eyelashes. This palette doesn’t have a mirror attached on the inside, and that doesn’t really bother me personally because I rarely ever use these mirrors to apply my makeup, but I guess it would be nice to have it there just in case. In addition to the packaging, I love the names of each shadow in this palette. I just get excited to see names like ‘Henna’ being used for an eye shadow color – representation in any form is always cool. I also want to add, this palette is pretty much made for desi functions because of its beautiful colors and textures! I would list out my top shades, but I literally love every single one!

I can understand why people have a good amount of criticism for this palette, as the price point is pretty high even compared to some of the most Holy Grail high-end eye shadow palettes on the market. Do I think the pricing could be a little better? Absolutely. I am not about the insane consumerism of the beauty industry, which is why I pick my beauty battles very carefully At the end of the day, it is up to you how you want to spend your money and treat yo’ self.

In my (very strict) book, the Huda Beauty Rose Gold Edition Eye Shadow palette gets a thumbs up!

What are some of your favorite eye shadow palettes? Have you tried this palette yet? What are your thoughts?

Periods & Ramadan: Let’s Talk About It

Periods. Menstruation. The monthly cycle. Such a tabooed subject across the globe. A majority of women from all around the world are taught to hide when they’re on their period. Come Ramadan, and this age old game takes on a new level. You either dread its arrival, or are secretly happy to see it come as it gives you a few days to ‘take a break’ from fasting. Either way, we’ve been taught to mask any indication of it from the men in our lives.

I mean, I don’t think it’s necessary to hold up “I’M ON MY PERIOD” posters all week long or parade around shouting it to everyone you come across, but there needs to be some level of understanding here. Having your period is such a blessing. If you think about it, it really is a beautiful occurrence. It’s a natural event, exclusive to women, that cleanses out the uterus and indicates the chance at the miracle of life. We have the capability to produce life from within us. Can we just ponder at that for a second because wow that’s pretty cool.

We’re never taught to think of our periods in a beautiful way, though. It’s always gross, painful, sickly, impure, unholy, dirty, and the list goes on. We are the bearers of life, yet we have to suffer the most. I’m not talking about the physical pain we often endure during our monthly cycles, but the social and mental burdens we are so heavily weighed down by for no good reason. During the month of Ramadan, many women literally hide the fact that they are menstruating. We wake up for suhoor with our family so that our brothers, dad, husband, or any other male family member is not suspecting (not that many of them even know about periods anyway because they’ve been shielded away from it their whole life). We then proceed to pretend to fast all day long. We eat and drink scarcely, and only if no one can see. We even pretend to break our “fast” at iftar with everyone. I always end up feeling like a traitor inside. We silently suffer alone and in pain. This is not Islam and living like this is not virtuous.

The Quran describes menstruation as “adha,” which translates into “hurt” or “discomfort.” We have to acknowledge our body and it’s needs. If we are hurt we must take care of ourselves. Allah (SWT) has specifically exempted us from fasting during this time so that we may be at ease and not harm our body. So, why are we making it hard on ourselves? It is crucial for us to take care of our body during our monthly cycle. We have to nourish ourselves with food and water – this is not a choice, but rather a necessity. I understand the advice to refrain from eating in front of those who are fasting, out of respect, but that does not entail us to fast alongside them when it is very clear that we should not.

Often times we tend to confuse cultural taboos with religious rulings. This is very dangerous for a multiple of reasons. When it comes to being secretive about our periods, it is not as Islamic as we might think. Period shaming is not of Islam. Menstruation has been one of the most discussed areas in Fiqh. Aisha (RA), one of the most knowledgeable mothers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s wife, shared her knowledge on menstruation and other topics about women in much depth. This is a clear indication that periods are something to not be ashamed or secretive of. Why do we have such an issue with even acknowledging periods then? Our cultures have bred unhealthy mentalities that deem periods to be shameful and unnatural, when in reality, they are the exact opposite.

Even in the sirah (factual stories of the Prophet Muhammad) it is told that the prophet would be emotionally, physically, and spiritually intimate with Aisha while she was menstruating. He would lean on her lap and recite Quran while she was known to be on her period. She would let him know when she was menstruating. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) never shamed Aisha for having her period. He would joke with her and still keep the word of Allah (SWT) near her. There was no disgrace between them. He was understanding and did not ignore the fact that women menstruate. We need to reflect more on how he acknowledged this aspect of life, and implement it in our own lives.

Often times during our periods, we feel as if we are at a loss because we cannot pray salah, fast, or even touch the Quran. This can leave many girls feeling hopeless and disconnected with her faith. It is important to understand that we are not defective because of our menstruation cycles. We are not dirty or impure. We can and still should practice our faith just as much during our period. Nothing can come between you and your sincere devotion to Allah (SWT).

We need to stop implementing these ideas into the minds of our girls, especially the youth. Our periods are special and a blessing. They remind us that we are not only healthy, but we are capable of nurturing life within us. There needs to be a source of education and empowerment of our bodies. We should not have to feel guilty or a burden in any way. If anything, we should see our periods as a gift from Allah (SWT), because that’s exactly what they are. Let’s refuse to surrender any longer to these social constructs that keep us suffering silently in pain. Let’s stand up for and protect this blessing that Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us. Ramadan should not be a burden on anyone. This is a beautiful month where we should find peace, reflection, and renewal in – not worry about how our periods are a “problem.” Your period does not make you any less.

9 Super Foods to Eat During Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak everyone! The blessed month is here! This is such a special time for Muslims as we reflect and become more spiritual by simplifying our lives. Most of us are fasting for about 16+ hours each day of this month. It is so important to take care of your body during Ramadan by nourishing it with proper foods. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to completely ban parathas and chai during Ramadan. Here are some foods that you should try to incorporate during suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and iftar (post-dusk meal)!

1. Avocados

FullSizeRender (18)

Avocados are known to be a “good fat.” Our bodies need the type of fat found in avocados as they not only help our bodies function at an optimal level, but also help us stay full and satisfied throughout a good portion of the day.

2. Dates

FullSizeRender (18)

This one is kind of a given since dates are known to be a sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (SAW). Why are they good for us during fasts, though? Dates are high in anti-oxidants and will help you stay energized. They are also a lower glycemic food so they won’t negatively affect your blood sugar (which is great!).

3. Chia Seeds

FullSizeRender (20)

Chia seeds are high in Omega-3s, fiber, and protein. These are the perfect ingredient to add to any smoothie you make because they are so tiny, but make a significant impact in fueling your body the right way.

4. Smoothies

FullSizeRender (18)

Suhoor smoothies are seriously the best. You can keep them simple by just throwing in a banana, berries (or whatever fruits you have or want), some greens (like baby spinach), and chia seeds. Smoothies are not only delicious, but they nourish your body right and keep you satiated for a longer period of time.

5. Lentils

FullSizeRender (22)

Having lentils for suhoor or iftar is very beneficial. Lentils are high in fiber and they help you stay full and satisfied. If you’re desi, eating lentils (aka daal) is no problem!

6. Hummus

FullSizeRender (18)

Hummus is very high in fiber and very high in protein – which is exactly what you need to help you power through long days. It’s such a versatile food and you can enjoy it many different ways, which makes it even better!

7. Broccoli

FullSizeRender (18)

This vegetable is very high in fiber. Broccoli also helps in cleansing the body during Ramadan so you will definitely feel good physically.

8. Oats

FullSizeRender (18) copy

Another high fiber food is oats. Oats also have nutrients that help you stay energized throughout the day when they are consumed the night before fasting. They are even better if you mix them with your favorite fruits as toppings!

9. Almonds

FullSizeRender (26)

Almonds help you stay full for long periods of time due to their high content of fiber and protein. Almonds are another type of food that can help you stay satisfied for the day to come if you eat them the night before. Not to mention, they’re also such a good and healthy snack!


Remember, Ramadan is a spiritual month, and although we aren’t eating for long periods of time, it really isn’t about food. Don’t deprive yourself of fun foods entirely. It’s all about balance and moderation. There is no way to not feel hungry within 16+ hours of not eating or drinking anything. No matter what you eat in the morning, you will eventually feel hungry. The best way to ignore the hunger pangs is to focus your mind towards Islam and the Quran. Make dua to Allah (SWT) and remember Him always. Insha’Allah we will all have a fulfilled, healthy, and blessed month.

If you have any special foods you like to eat during Ramadan, don’t hesitate to share in the comments!

Neutral Lipsticks for Brown Girls

Neutral colors are always in. You can never go wrong with toned down shades for any occasion. Unfortunately, since we live in a society that caters towards Eurocentric beauty standards on a global scale, it can sometimes feel as if the more nude types of hues look unflattering on people of color. Nude lips are especially tricky because it’s on your face and you can end up looking like a zombie real quick. I know I’ve had my fair share of struggles with finding the right shades for my skin tone. Luckily, after much experience, I’ve been able to decipher the types of undertones and colors that flatter me, and of course I have to share them!

I’m Pakistani and I have a medium/olive skin complexion, but my top neutral liquid lipsticks will for sure work for anyone with a deeper skin tone as well! You can just mix them with a darker lip liner to suit you better!

Note: These are in no particular order, because they’re all great!

1) Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Double Dare 

  • Seriously, this is my ultimate go-to color. I’ve noticed it appears different on every skin tone, and it looks so good on everyone! On me, it’s a subtle warm toned nude with hints of pink. It’s definitely more on the pricier side of the spectrum, but I cannot even count how many times I use this throughout the day (and how many compliments I get every time I wear it). The formula, finish, and staying power are so on point!

2) Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in #13 Marvelous Mauve 

  • I use this liquid lipstick just as much as I use the Kat Von D one. It’s more on the pinky-mauve side. It’s super comfortable to wear and stays on nicely. Such a beautiful color for every day and special occasions.

3) NYX Cosmetics Lip Lingerie in Exotic

  • I’m no makeup expert, but this color reminds me a lot like the Kat Von D one – except at a cheaper price point! I’ve tried other colors from this range by NYX Cosmetics and I found a lot of the other colors washed me out or did not really show up on my lips. This shade, however, is seriously so beautiful and does not make me look lifeless at all! Such a nice, subtle brown, nude shade.

4) Milani Cosmetics Amore Matte Lip Crème in Adore

  • Okay, this liquid lipstick smells like cupcakes so obviously it’s already a winner. Other than the yummy scent, this color and formula is banging! I honestly recommend any shade from this collection, or any other product from Milani. Milani Cosmetics is actually catered towards women of color and is sold at the drugstore – automatic fave.

5) Dose of Colors Matte Liquid Lipstick in Truffle

  • If you’re looking for the perfect light brown nude shade for an olive complexion, look no further! This color is ideal for any occasion and any makeup look you choose to do! It’s so complimentary and acts as the perfect nude for my skin tone (finally).

What are some of your favorite, go-to liquid lipsticks? Share your faves in the comments section below!

“Aren’t You Hot In That?” Is Not A Question

As we approach the warmer months in the Northern Hemisphere, the rising temperatures seem to not only be making people sweat, but also judgmental of what others are wearing. Let me be more specific: these warmer days bring nice vibes, but also truly act as a burden for women.

Growing up I used to wear shirts with short sleeves and even capri pants here and there. As I became older and was more drawn to learning about the meanings behind the teachings in Islam, I made the personal decision to not wear clothes that revealed my arms or legs. It’s funny because out of the twelve months in a year, my modest fashion choices seem to be a real concern for others for about five of those months. As soon as the days start getting to 70°F and up in New York, as a woman, you’re expected to whip out your shorts and knee length dresses. There is nothing wrong with wearing shorts or dresses, but please, don’t try and make me feel like I should be too.

Getting comments such as, “Aren’t you hot in that!?” when I’m wearing a full length cardigan and boyfriend jeans, is extremely unnecessary. Why would you say that to someone anyway? It’s just awkward – how am I supposed to respond? Over the years I’ve noticed that people only relay these types of vapid statements to women and girls. You will never (or rarely) catch anyone saying anything of this nature to a guy. I’ve seen men in full suits when it’s 80°F outside, and absolutely no one questions them about it. It’s fine for them. They don’t need to show their skin. No one expects or has been trained to have entitlement over their bodies or their choices.

“There is nothing wrong with wearing shorts or dresses, but please, don’t try and make me feel like I should be too.”

I’ve thought about this concept a lot. It’s honestly not rocket science to understand. It’s easy to see how women and girls are hyper-sexualized to an insane degree. It starts young and develops and becomes a part of our psyche. The “fashion icons” we idealize and give great importance to in mainstream media, dictate how we perceive women in our everyday lives. We begin to expect all women to look and act a certain way. I will stress this again; there is nothing wrong with women who choose to wear shorts, dresses, or anything else for that matter. There is a real problem however, with how much freedom and agency we have over our own bodies. As soon as people see a woman who is wearing clothes that cover her entire body, it’s as if they see it as an invitation to scrutinize and question her to no end. We don’t have a choice anymore. I don’t want you to look at me. I don’t want you to look at my body. My body is mine, and I choose what to do with it. My personal decisions are mine and I don’t need to provide answers for anyone who really doesn’t know or care about me, but is only asking if I’m “so hot in all those clothes,” because they aren’t used to not seeing a woman’s flesh. You’ve been hypnotized to keep your mind within a tiny box. You primarily see women for their bodies. We are objects to the human eye, no different from automobiles at this point. Regardless of what I wear, I will be objectified and belittled down to what I’m wearing. So, I might as well wear what I want and not be succumbed to the pressure of wearing what will please the people. My purpose is far greater than pleasing people.

This also goes out to all of my sisters who wear the hijab every day. I can’t imagine the incessant nagging they go through during these months (let alone the entire year). This is also for women out there who simply don’t feel comfortable with showing off their body for whatever reason. You do not know what a person is going through or why a person chooses to live their life a certain way. By you exclaiming, “WOW! Aren’t you sweating with all of those clothes on?!” you’re impeding on someone’s personal choice. “Aren’t you hot in that?” is not a question. It is a social indication that if you are a woman who isn’t revealing her body, then you are an “other.” It’s a statement that highlights the ever so present, and undying patriarchal structures that keep us imprisoned in immobile mindsets. ‘Asking’ someone if they’re “hot in that” is not a question at all, but a firm reminder that women are not allowed to be in charge of their own bodies and their own choices.

Leave people the hell alone when it comes to what they wear, it literally does not matter. Why are people so offended by me not showing my skin? Also, newsflash, when it’s 90°F out, everyone is going to be hot. Whether you’re wearing a bikini or a burqa, heat is heat and the sun’s power does not let up just because you’re showing some more skin.

“Why are people so offended by me not showing my skin?”

I wear what I want to wear. I will continue to dress how I want based on my own personal decisions and beliefs. I wear what I want to wear and I do not have to give anyone an explanation about it. Ever.

Is The Subway

I live in New York. Not exactly the part that many imagine in their minds (aka Manhattan), but I live cozily nestled in a suburb on the outskirts of the city. Continue reading “Is The Subway”

Somalia’s Famine Crisis: How We Can Help

Over 20 million people in Somalia and surrounding regions are suffering from starvation. The United Nations has officially declared this to be the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Continue reading “Somalia’s Famine Crisis: How We Can Help”