Are You Scared of Me?

Self, Thoughts

I am a Muslim and I have dreams and aspirations just like you.

Shortly after I was born in Missouri, my parents moved us frequently during my childhood till my dad could get a stable engineering job and till we found the perfect “home” that met all our needs. New Jersey was wonderful. I grew up there with the few cousins I have in America and I immensely crave that sense of family and homeliness.

New Jersey was too cold and pneumonia every winter wasn’t something I looked forward to every year. On the day of my 8th birthday, we hopped into our Denim Blue Mica Toyota Sienna to drive to Texas, where my dad found his ideal job. Houston is my home now and I wouldn’t want to have been raised anywhere else. I am taken aback by the beauty of this city, it’s cultural diversity, and friendly Texans who ride horses to school (don’t tell me you fell for that).

Since I was a child, I always knew I would do something artistic in life. My dream has always been to go into the film industry and it still is. Now that I started wearing a headscarf two weeks ago, I am putting acting on the hold, but I can always direct films. For now, I am focusing on becoming a journalist. It’s not going to be easy at all but this is a choice I made for myself. Not going to lie, I question my decision more frequently than I should. But I know that this scarf only makes me unique and stronger.

Maybe I am one step behind in my career. However hard others have to persevere to break into the journalism industry, I have to try twice as hard just to convince people I am capable before they even consider looking at the resume I so carefully put together. That doesn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams. I am going to strive just so I can put an end to this discrimination and make life easier for headscarf-wearing women all over the country.


This one article of clothing changes everyone’s perception of me and I don’t understand why. I am still the same quirky, funny (at least I think I am), creative, ambitious and generous person I was two weeks ago when no one even assumed I am Muslim at first glance. Come on, I am that girl who cries when she sees an animal in pain.

My parents are somewhat lenient in these kinds of things and I am so grateful for them. Not once have they pressured me into doing something I don’t want, so don’t tell me I am oppressed. What is oppression? Merriam Webster defines oppression as “the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control.” The only people oppressing me are those people denying me jobs in a career I know I am skilled in. It sure as hell isn’t my religion.

And for those people who randomly shout “Allahu Akbar” at the Muslims they see, does anyone actually know what it means? It means “Allah (our name for the same God Christians believe is Jesus’s Father, just through the preachings of their own religion) is greatest.”Atheists and people of other religions, you do you. I still respect and love you as humans.

Just because stereotypically, terrorists scream this phrase before murdering innocent people like us (because they psychotically think that’s what God wants them to do) doesn’t mean “Allahu Akbar” is a bad phrase that you say to insult Muslims. You can kill someone saying “Potatoes.” Does that make potatoes bad? No. I still love my french fries. And you know what? God is awesome. So Allahu Akbar. I wish peace for every one of you and I hope all of you are given all the happiness you can ask for.


Do I still scare you?

How about now?

Please share this on your social media. Change must start now. Let’s end this struggle together.


Self, Thoughts

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered a Holy month by Muslims across the globe. Muslims endure a month of daily fasting in order to honor the first time the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), according to Islamic belief. This month lasts 29–30 days based on the sightings of the crescent moon.

This year, Ramadan begins on June 6 and lasts until July 5. We celebrate the end of Ramadan with the religious holiday Eid al-Fitr (or just Eid).

What exactly is fasting?


Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is a basic framework of the Muslim life. Fasting is fardh, or mandatory, for all adult Muslims except those who are elderly, ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, or on their period.

240713113311--Bristol Muslim community invite city people to Open Iftar on Saturday

The daily fast is done from dawn until sunset and involves giving up all food, drink (yes, even water), smoking, and having sexual relations. We usually wake up early in the morning before sunrise for suhoor, the morning meal, and break our fast with dates and water sharp at sunset, called iftar. Basically, we just have an extra early and filling breakfast, skip lunch and snacks, and have a normal dinner. Don’t worry, you can still have your midnight ice cream runs.



All you do is fast?

In this month, Muslims pray extra, read significantly more Quran, refrain from sinning and give up bad habits like backbiting, fighting, gossiping, lying, and insulting others which may nullify the fast. These bad habits also include wasting time, such as binge watching Netflix (I am guilty as charged), excessive internet browsing, when we can be putting that time to good use like ibadah (acts of worshipping God), spending time with friends and family, engaging in a hobby, or work.


Since we give up so much during this month, it gives us a great sense of self-control. You can’t always get what you want in life, and that is the reality. Our extreme diet in Ramadan helps us learn to not overeat later on, taking us one step closer to leading a healthy and fit lifestyle.

We believe that during this month, the gates of Hell are closed with Satan chained up. This means that all the sins you commit are based on what your ego and subconscious force you to do, and the devil plays no role . This helps us assess what problems we have that we need to work on.

Muslim  women

Muslim woman reflecting as she gazes at the sky


The idea is that if we give up our bad habits during this month, it is easier to continue this in our normal life after Ramadan ends. After all, it takes 21 days to break a habit, and Ramadan gives you 29.

Why do we do all this?

The fasting, extra prayer, and zakat are meant to purify the body and spirit and bring the
believers closer to God. It just shows how much we are willing to give up for God, andbadh allows us to see what it feels like to be poor (only the food and hard work part). All of this is done with good intent, and hopefully it will help us find out what character or personality issues we have, how to improve them, and help us become more productive and optimistic humans.


To my fellow Muslims:

May Allah make is easy for us to build on our characters, spend our time productively, achieve our goals, and fast. May Allah bless all the Muslims across the globe, forgive our sins and strengthen our imaan. Ameen!

5 Tips to Succeed This Ramadan

1. Wake up to have suhoor. It’s a Sunnah and empty stomach= grumpy muslim. You need all your strength for maximum ibadah.
2. Plan your Ramadan days (and life) around salah times, not the other way round!

3. Block at least on hour for Quran each day and one hour for dhikr.

4.Choose 3 important tasks you want to achieve the next day.
5. The most powerful times to make dua are in the last-third of the night and just before Maghrib. The key is to be sincere in your prayers and have trust in Allah that your wishes will come true.


Around the World and Under the Stars

Photography, Self

Joy. Ecstasy. Happiness. Glee. What is this delicate emotion that several words have been coined to describe? Happiness is a not just a state of mind, but a way of life.

“I don’t fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”

Louise L. Hay

Happiness comes hand in hand with not only appreciating the little things, but also trying different things. Take out 15 minutes from your day and just take a stroll outside your home or go for a relaxing drive. Go somewhere you haven’t been before, like a community event or a festival. Involving yourself can really make you perceive beauty in a different light. I did it and I will be forever grateful.

Recently, I came across an advertisement for the Magical Winter Lights festival in Houston, Texas. I googled it and with one look at their promotional video, I was astonished. Apparently it is the largest lantern festival in the nation. I HAD TO GO.


The festival consisted of grandeur lantern displays of famous landmarks, with a section for each continent (except Antarctica, obviously). It has been a dream of mine to travel the world someday. Someday. Seeing the lantern monuments illuminated in the night sky under the constellations was absolutely enthralling.Photographs and words don’t do justice to the beauty of it all. For those of you who want to go, it is open till January 10, 2016 so hurry! Check out some shots I took and see for yourselves: 



This slideshow requires JavaScript.