Thursday, August 27, 2009

French Muslim woman wearing 'burkini' banned from Paris swimming pool

France’s struggle with Islamic dress has moved into the swimming pool after a 35-year-old woman was banned from bathing in her “burkini”, a head-to-toe swimsuit.

The woman, identified only as Carole, was making her third outing in a burkini to the town pool at Emerainville, on the eastern outskirts of Paris, when the chief lifeguard ordered her to leave.

She was said to be breaking hygiene rules, but her ejection has become the latest episode in a battle between fundamentalist Muslims and a state that has banned head-cover from schools and may curb face-covering in public.

Carole accused the pool officials of illegal discrimination and went straight to the police and the media. “Quite simply, this is segregation,” she said. “I will fight to try to change things. And if I see that the battle is lost, I cannot rule out leaving France.”

The police refused to accept the complaint on the grounds that the lifeguard was just enforcing a rule that applies at all French public pools. Women must wear swimsuits and men must wear brief trunks rather than shorts, which are said to be more likely to harbour bacteria.

Carole, who was born in a traditional French family and converted to Islam at the age of 17, said she bought her attire on holiday in Dubai. The burkini, designed by Aheda Zanetti, a Lebanese-Australian, has become a hit in the Gulf and caused trouble in public pools in Europe and North America.

Despite the allusion to the Afghan burka, the swimsuit leaves the face uncovered. The body is clad in a track-suit-like tunic and coat and the head and neck are covered with a cross between a hijab and a diver’s balaclava helmet.

“I thought that it could enable me to enjoy the pleasure of bathing without uncovering myself, as Islam recommends,” she told Le Parisien newspaper. “I understand that it might shock people, but I am annoyed because I have been told that it is a political matter. I didn’t set out to cause a stir. My only aim was to be able to go swimming with my children.”

The local authorities insisted that no politics were involved. “The lady was almost fully dressed,” Daniel Guillaume, the head of sports facilities for the Seine-et-Marne département, said. “The personnel simply applied the rules that are in effect in all pools in France.” That view was not shared by politicians who want tougher measures to oppose a rise in body-covering by strict Muslim women, and Muslims demanding segregated sessions for men and women at pools and other sports facilities.

“Maybe you can see the woman’s face in this ridiculous swimsuit, but it is obviously a provocation by a militant,” said André Gerin, a Communist MP from the Rhône area. “Going straight to the police station is clear proof that there is a political project behind this outfit. No doubt this is the start of a new problem.”

Mr Gerin heads a 32-member parliamentary inquiry that opened last month to review the possibility of a law to bar Muslim women from wearing the face-covering niqab in public. President Sarkozy stirred fundamentalist anger in June when he sided with the review, saying that such dress was not a symbol of faith, but a sign of women’s subservience and that it had “no place in France”.

The move to legislate drew a violent response from foreign extremists. “Yesterday it was the hijab and today it is the niqab,” said Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. “We will take revenge for the honour of our daughters and sisters against France and against its interests by every means at our disposal.”

France caused a stir in the Muslim world in 2004 with a law barring the hijab headscarf and all other religious dress from state primary and secondary schools.

The measure, which was implemented without protest, is strongly backed by the public, including a substantial number of the six million Muslims in the country.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Muslimah2Muslimah New Shahaadah Interview: Tahirah

In Muslimah2Muslimah's experience of reverts to Islam, we think the transitions of one's thoughts, opinions, and behavior, in fact a whole transformation of one's perspective in life is very interesting.

The negative image presented about Islam since 9-11 here in the states has really given Islam a bad name due to the media as well as people's lack of understanding. The stereotypes about the treatment of women has been rampant in the media for many years with the Taliban and other "extremist" groups. We thought it would be interesting to interview Tahirah, who in the midst of all propaganda has warmly embraced Islam and get her Muslimah's Perspective on Islam...

Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your name?


Muslimah2Muslimah: What made you become interested in Islam?

Tahirah: I was a new patient at a local doctor's office. I noticed that the staff were women in Niqab and Hijab! I was in awe. The office was so peaceful, and the staff was completely friendly, warm, welcoming, and professional. I was at a place in my life where I was feeling isolated, depressed, and without hope. I say this sister's to say that, seeing the staff so proudly dressed in their traditional Muslim attire, immediately made me feel less anxiety about my visit. The actual doctor came to get me in full Burqa......she welcomed me and the first thing she said after reviewing my chart was, "how do you feel about Islam?" We spoke awhile, and she told me the most powerful and life changing information about Allah's love for me. Later in my session, she gave me the Shahaadah witnessed by 3 other nurses, and gave me the name Tahirah. My life was changed forever!

Muslimah2Muslimah: What does your family think about your decision?

Tahirah: My family has been very supportive of me, and see the change in my outlook on life. They support me 100%!

Muslimah2Muslimah: What types of reactions have you gotten from your friends or coworkers?

Tahirah: My company allows for me to work from home, so not many coworkers are aware of my conversion. The ones that I have an interpersonal relationship with, however seem to pass judgement slightly. My true friends love, respect, and applaud my decision.

Muslimah2Muslimah: How has Islam changed your life?

Tahirah: In a variety of ways. The initial feeling I had after my Shahaadah was one of purity and of peace. The feeling I feel every day is that of pride, enlightenment, and fulfillment. I know a peace and love that I never have. I see life and all things in it as a blessing from Allah, and the mercy he shows me everyday. How do you explain having a blind fold on for 38 years, and all of a sudden, the sunlight presented to you? "Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons are the Evil Ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire to dwell therein (forever)." (Qur'an: Translation of the meaning, 2:257

Muslimah2Muslimah: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in Islam?

Tahirah: I would tell them any information, notions, or previous ideals they had about Islam, completely remove from your mind. The best thing to do is utilize your local Mosque for classes and study groups offered to new converts. The Internet has great information and websites for new converts or people interested in the faith as well.

Muslimah2Muslimah: Islamically, women are required to wear a hijab. Others say that you must also cover your face(niqab). What are your thoughts on this?

Tahirah: I love Niqab and feel that the element it provides is one of complete empowerment. Similarly love Hijab, and find it odd that people see it as a sign of oppression as opposed to complete freedom, pride, and empowerment. Inshallah, I would like to eventually wear Niqab.

Muslimah2Muslimah: How did you feel the first time you wore hijab?

Tahirah:Beautiful! A makeover that beautified my inner and outer self.

Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your opinion on the common labels associated with Muslims ("terrorists", "extremists" , etc.)?

Tahirah: Whenever one is uneducated in something, and that same source is in a position of conveying information to the masses, things get distorted. It is unfortunate that society has labeled the entire Islamic way of life as "extremists and terrorists." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your view on the impression that many non-Muslims have that Islam oppresses the women and the women have no voice in their communities?

Tahirah: I am new to Islam, and am getting exposure daily that Muslim women posses so much strength and resolve. There is this bond and sisterhood amongst Muslimahs that is like no other! Now could an oppressed individual be that powerful?

Muslimah2Muslimah: The media tends to give very negative views on women and many non-Muslims base their views solely on this. What was your view on Islam and the treatment of women before you converted to Islam?

Tahirah: Sadly, I was very misinformed and initially had similar views.

Muslimah2Muslimah: Has your view changed in any way?

Tahirah: I am happy to say that Muslimah 2 Muslimah was my first exposure to any kind of Muslimah values and culture directly after my Shahaadah, and I learned first and foremost how prideful and empowered Muslim women feel and are!

Muslimah2Muslimah: How have has Muslimah2Muslimah helped you along your journey to Islam?/ How have you benefited from Muslimah2Muslimah?

Tahirah: Where do I begin? :o) I learned how to properly wear Hijab, new information for newly converted Muslimahs, adorable modern Muslim fashion tips and style, values of the Muslim woman, and Muslim terms. Mashallah, I will continue to learn and embrace my new faith! Al Hamdu Lilah Wa Shukru Lillah

~Insha'allah, everyone... please pray for our new sister Tahirah and welcome her into Islam by leaving her your encouragement and wisdom, insha'allah! We are very pleased with her decision as we know she is as well. Tahirah, may Allah bless you and your family in all of your endeavors and may He grant you Jannatul Firdaus! Ameen!

Asalaamu alaikum
Nadira & Najwa

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Alhamdulilah Ramadan is here!!! For many of you this is your first Ramadan and others are seasoned pros at this point. If this is your first Ramadan you're in for a wonderful experience. When I think of my first Ramadan I remember feeling very peaceful, calm, nervous, anxious, and excited all at once. Mostly because I had only been a Muslimah for a few months and still had a lot to learn but it was amazing time for me. = ) Insha' Allah this post will be informative to the new shahaadahs and a helpful refresher for others.


What does it mean to fast during the month of Ramadan? It means abstaining from the following: food, drink and sexual intercourse. This means no water, candy or gum. We must do more than simply not eat while we are fasting.

"Many a one who fasts obtains nothing from his fasting but thirst, and many a one who prays during the night obtains nothing from his night prayers but wakefulness." (Al-Tirmidhi)

To avoid this we want to mindful of our thoughts, actions, temper and words.
Most importantly because it was prescribed by Allah (s.w.t.) in the Quran

"O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)? [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The month of Ramadan is a blessed month. It is the month in which Allah revealed the Quran as guidance for the whole of mankind. It is the month in which Allah gave the Muslims victory in their first and greatest battle at Badr. It is the month which has Laylat al-Qadr, a night which is better than a thousand months.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the 3rd pillar of Islam and it is a means of learning self-control. Ramadan is a time of intensive worship, reading of the Quran, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.


Fasting in Ramadan is obligatory on all adults who are sane. Sick people, women who are menstruating or post natal bleeding and some travelers in certain conditions are exempt from the fast but must make it up as they are able. They can do this either by feeding the hungry of fasting later on in the year.


The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. We start our day off with suhoor (a pre-fast meal) before dawn and a iftar (post-fast mea) after sunset.

The Islamic lunar calendar, being 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, migrates throughout the seasons. Thus, if Ramadan begins on January 20 one year, next year it will begin on approximately January 9. In this way, the length of the day, and thus the fasting period, varies in length from place to place over the years. Every Muslim, no matter where he or she lives, will see an average Ramadan day of the approximately 13.5 hours.

This year Ramadan began on the 22nd of August.


Worldwide! Muslims around the world are fasting for the month of Ramadan.
During Ramadan the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of the Hell-Fire are closed and the Shayaateen are locked up. (Muslim). There are no excuses to not do what we are supposed to. What ever you naffs are, give them up for the month and insha' Allah everyday after Ramadan as well. Insha' Allah, if you can do it or not do for 30 days you can maintain it for ever.

The rewards for fasting during this month are great, let's not let this opportunity pass us by.
Fasting is a means for one's sins to be forgiven. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: "He who fasts Ramadan, due to iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven." [Bukhaaree, Muslim

May Allah grant us all a successful and blessed Ramadan and may our previous sins be forgiven- ameen

Asalaamu alaikum



Ramadan F.Y.I.

The Intention

Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Whoever does not intend to fast before dawn, there is no fast for him." (Al-Tirmidhi) "Whoever does not intend to fast from the night before, there is no fast for him." (Al-Tirmidhi)

The place of intention is the heart and to utter it verbally is not established from the Prophet (s.a.w.) or his companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Thus one should make intention in ones heart before going to sleep.

The time for beginning and ending the fast.

Eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears(Quran 2:187

ii) The meal that is taken before the fajr is called Suhoor (predawn meal)

We should make sure that we eat and drink something at Suhoor, and that we delay it until just before the adhanof Fajr.

The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (s.a.w.) said "The distinction between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the book is the taking of the pre -dawn meal (Suhoor)" (Muslim)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: " Have Suhoor, for in Suhoor there is blessing (barakah)." ( Al-Bukharee)

It is also guidance of the Prophet (s.a.w. ) to delay the Suhoor meal until just before the true fajr. (note along with no eating or drinking whilst fasting. one can not have sexual intercourse with spouse. kissing and hugging is allowed but if such close contact causes ejaculation then this will break the fast. Also swallowing saliva of some one else invalidates the fast.

3 The time to breaking the fast (Iftar).

This time is as soon as Maghrib Starts (after sun has set). If you are in the Masjid or close by and hear the Athan for Maghrib prayer then it means you can now break your fast.

One should hasten to break the fast because the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "The people will be fine so long as they do not delay iftar." ( Al-Bukharee). He (s.a.w.) also said "My Ummah will not cease to be upon my Sunnah as long as they do not await the stars when breaking the fast" (Ibn Hibban). So as soon as Maghrib begins (i.e. if you are in the Masjid and Athan is said) one should start to break the fast immediately.

Break the fast in the manner described in the hadith narrated by Anas (s.a.w.)may Allah be pleased with him): "The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water." ( Al-Tirmidhi)

Dua said when Breaking the fast



O my Allah, for Thee, I fast, and with the food Thou gives me I break the fast, and I rely on Thee

Hijabi Recessionista Find of the Week: eShakti!

Okay we are totally loving eShakti. Their logo is We Design. You Customize! How perfect is that? They have a wide variety of clothes that we as Muslimahs can wear and still observe hijab. And the designs are very cute and different. They have everything from skirts, shirts, dresses and more. Trust us when we say you will love this site!

Click the link for their website Fabulous eShakti! Prices range from $19.95 and up.

Happy Shopping!!!
Asalaamu alaikum
Nadira & Najwa