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Jun 24, 2011 - guest blogs    5 Comments

Hijab Organizing Tips (special guest blog)

A big jazaks to Zarina for this awesome guest blog post!!! I definitely learned a lot!! *off to color code my Hijabs ;)

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Hijab Organizing Tips

 
by Zarina

Life was simple when I first started wearing hijab.  I had three— 2 black and 1 white (which I seldom wore!).  I kept them folded neatly at the top of my dresser, and once a week, when I did my laundry, I tossed them in the basket to get washed, and then quickly returned them to their throne atop my dresser.

However, as time went on, I began to accumulate more. . . gifts from returning hajjis, souvenirs from my own hajj, convention bazaar finds ect.,  my collection has grown exponentially. As a result, I no longer store my hijabs at the top of my dresser, over the years my organizational methods have evolved.  When my collection hovered around 10, I linked shower curtain rings together and then threaded my hijabs through the rings.  When my collection grew to 20, I delegated a dresser drawer to my hijab collection, and haphazardly threw them in to the drawers.  Around 35, I started having trouble fitting all my hijabs into my dresser drawer. So, I purchased a pair of plastic drawers, I sorted the hijabs by color and just threw them into their respective drawer.

This method continued, about 2 years ago, when I sent my husband upstairs to retrieve a “dressy” black hijab (we were late for a party).  I instructed him to look in the top right hand drawer because that is where all of my grey/black hijabs lived. He came back in due time, and we were off to our party; but that night I came home to this on the floor of my closet:

I was FURIOUS at my husband for making that mess.  I may have shed some tears, but in the end I came to realize that sorting by color doesn’t really make for an organized collection.  It was still really hard to find the exact hijab I wanted, and I often times didn’t wear the one that matched perfectly because I was too lazy to iron it.

So I started to ask around, many of my friends were hijabi, a lot of them had sisters, moms and relatives that were also hijabi.  Surely, someone had some magic method to organize hijabs.  But as I asked around, I came to realization, that most people followed my method.  The plastic drawers, sorted by color, stuffed drawers, wrinkly messy hijabs that must be ironed.  All of us at some point had folded our hijabs neatly, and stack them in drawers, but within a few months the collection just became messy again.

After thinking about my hijab dilemma for a few days, I decided to try my hand at organizing hijabs again.  This time I’d fold them, but I was determined to keep them neat, and organized forever.   While, I can’t say for sure how long my method will last, I do know that I have been able to maintain it for the past 2 years, and it’s really pretty simple.

Four Simple Steps to an Organized Hijab Collection

 
Step 1: Make a mess.

Have you ever heard of the saying “from chaos comes order”?  When it comes to cleaning things and organizing things, and for my hijabs—chaos definitely helped bring about order. The very first thing I did was dump all of my hijabs onto my closet floor. From there— I studied my collection.  This may seem ludicrous, but you have to decide for yourself what the best way to organize your collection is.  I chose color, this method is pretty self explanatory. However, you may find that you only wear one or two hijabs regularly—in which case you may choose to organize by occasion (work, home, parties, masjid).  Another way to organize your hijab is by season, leaving heavier hijabs in the winter drawer, and lighter linen-y hijabs in the summer drawer.  I am a very visual person, so it helped me to look at all of my hijabs to choose an organizational method, you might be able to do this step in your head.

Step 2: Folding your Hijabs.

Unless you’re extremely particular when it comes to hijabs, it is likely you have several different shapes and sized hijabs. A huge part of staying organized is to have them all folded to about the same size and shape. If you fold them to be all different sizes, it’s really easy to look over a hijab once they are put away.  Consistency is key here, and you may need to resort to folding in thirds or fourths, to get your folded product down to the right size for your space.   Folding triangular shaped hijabs can be a little tricky, you can fold the two ends into the back corner of the hijab to create a square, and then fold from there.  It will be handy to keep a fold along the long portion of your folded hijab (see picture below).  Also, be sure to fold so that any tassles/strings/decoration get tucked inside.

Step 3: Choose an apparatus.

The most important step in this process is choosing where you will be storing your hijabs.  You know that I use plastic drawers, but you need to take three important factors into consideration when you’re making that decision.

  1. Space: Where are you planning on storing your hijabs?  Look around your space, do you have drawers that are being unused in your dresser?  If you’re choosing a closet, then you can probably get away with plastic drawers, but if you’re planning on keeping it in your room, you may want to “invest” in a set of drawers that look more like furniture.  Keep in mind that you’ll be wearing hijab for the rest of your life (insha Allah), so try to avoid choices that you’ll want to change in a few years (think neon colored drawers!!).   You can also use a shelf with baskets.
  2. Drawers/dividers: If you’re going to buy a set of drawers, try and pick one with drawers that are just a touch larger than the size you fold your hijabs.  If you’re going to use an existing space to store your hijabs, create dividers just a little wider than the size of your folded hijabs.  Dividers can be purchased, or you can make them yourself.
  3. Growth: Make sure to account for future growth in your collection by having extra drawers, or extra space in drawers.  This is especially important if you’re choosing a set of drawers that looks more like furniture, because it might be difficult to find a set that matches well in a few years.

Step 4: Putting them Away.

This is the easiest and probably the most exciting part of organizing.  Hopefully while you were folding in Step 2 you kept your scarves separated in the way you want to store them.  I like to stack my hijabs and then flip them right into the drawers.  When I stack I make sure to have all of the folded edge along one side.  The key to this method is setting your hijabs so the fold faces up towards the top of the drawer.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Try and alternate materials.  I try and place a cottony hijab between every 5 or 6 silky ones.  The cotton is a bit stiffer, so it helps keep the other hijabs in place when you’ve taken one out for the day.
  • Be careful removing hijabs out of a tightly packed space.  If need be slide a hand in, and create a little space for you to easily remove the scarf you need.
  • The first time I did this I had a separate pile for purple hijabs and a separate one for blue, and separate pile for red.  When I started putting things away I realized that I didn’t have enough hijabs for any of those drawers to be full. I ended up splitting the purple pile among the blue and the red pile.  I like my drawers to be tightly packed, because it keeps the scarves nice and neat.
  • If you find yourself with a loosely packed drawer, you can combine piles, or use a drawer divider to keep your scarves firmly packed.
  • Stick a dryer sheet in the back or the bottom of each drawer to keep your hijabs smelling fresh.

 
So that’s it! This method isn’t foolproof, you have to keep make sure you put your hijabs away after you wear them; if you don’t keep up with this, you’ll find yourself back at square one.

Jul 2, 2010 - guest blogs    3 Comments

Saving Money for Muslims (special guest blog)

Jazaks to sister Aysha for this awesome blog in these difficult economic times. Allah is the Best of Providers, but we should definitely be doing our part too :-)
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Assalamu aliekum

I’m Aysha. I am very excited to have the opportunity to guest blog for Jannah. I’m going to talk to you about a topic I personally love sharing: saving money. Who doesn’t like to save money? Since we are on a blog right now about the road to jannah, I figured why not see what the Qur’an has to say about saving money or not being wasteful.

“But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayaateen (devils), and the Shaytaan (Devil-Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord” [al-Israa’ 17:26-27]

So let’s talk about ways to not be wasteful and save money:

1. Free entertainment. There are many ways to have fun for free. My personal favorite is free movies. Over the past year I have watched tons of movies for free. A few nights ago I got to see Knight and day for free. Best of all, I got a chance to see the movies before they were out in theaters. Now some might want to know how this is possible. This is how; many movie companies do free screenings for movies so that they can get people hyped about the movie. If I like the movie, I will most likely tell my friends about it who will actually pay to go watch it.

Well where do you find these free screening tickets?

There are many sites that provide free tickets. My favorite is www.filmmetro.com . There are also other ways to find free screenings, including visiting sites like www.slickdeals.net or www.fatwallet.com . Why pay for movies when you can go with friends for free?

2. There is no shame in couponing. Now I’m not saying start a coupon notebook and spend hours of your life trying to figure out what you can save on. I am however saying that most stores send coupons in the mail. Don’t go to the store without it. Some stores that always have coupons are Macys, New York and company, JCP, express, etc… If you do forget that you have a coupon or you get one in the mail as soon as you get home, you can always go back for a price adjustment later.

3. If there is a reward program at your favorite stores, sign up, you have nothing to lose. A lot of companies are starting these reward programs where you earn points for coupons or money off. These companies include New York and company, Sears, Ulta, Sephora, JCP etc… If you are going to make a purchase from the store, might as well earn points. When you sign up for these programs they usually send really good coupons and most will give you a free gift on your birthday.

4. There is such a thing as free. If someone tells you otherwise, tell them to check out my blog. http://amoorasfrugallife.blogspot.com Many companies are willing to give away sample sizes of things. There are many things that also have the little tag that says “try me free”. These are for mail-in rebates but none the less, it’s still free.

5. Whenever possible, eat for free. IHOP just had this free meal coupon going around on facebook. You just have to like IHOP on facebook and you get the coupon, how easy is that? You don’t always have to say you like a company to eat for free. There is free slurpee day on 7/11 of every year. There is free pancake day at IHOP, national donut day where places like krispy kreme, dunkin donuts and other places offer free donuts. Let’s be honest, most of us are on facebook. Just let facebook update you on free food items you can get.

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6. Name your own price. Now we know a lot of the aunties and uncles love to bargain when it comes to buying things. Although we can’t bargain in a lot of stores in the U.S., we can bargain when it comes to traveling. www.priceline.com allows you to name your own price when it comes to plane tickets and hotel stays. It is easy to sign up and very easy to name your own price. You tell them how much you want to pay, and what area you would like to stay in for your hotel accommodations and that’s it. You will know fairly instantly if someone accepts your price or not. If they don’t accept your price then just try again. Be reasonable in the price you want to pay. I have stayed at many 4-star hotels and paid only $50 a night. You can specify your location based on the street you want be on or landmarks surrounding the area. The same goes with the name your own price plane ticket.

7. Opt for buying books online as opposed to the first store you walk into. This is for both people in college/university as well as those who buy books for leisure. The easiest thing to do is a Google search. I will sometimes do a search for the book I want to buy on Google and I will see what the sites are offering the book for. Once a find a site that is offering a good deal, I’ll buy it. If you don’t feel like doing that, just pick a site you like and stick with it. My favorite site is www.half.com I find all the good deals there and they take the lowest commission if you choose to sell books in the future.

8. Great shopping days. Remember there are days that just have amazing deals. January is the best for winter clothing shopping. As soon as Christmas is over, the sales are the best. They are starting to get rid of winter clothing to get ready for the spring selection. If you are brave, black Friday usually has amazing sales. As soon as any holidays are over, there are major clearance sales. Tax free day is also great if you are going to buy expensive items.

9. Clearance racks are your best friend. Now that you know when the best days to shop and you also know the days that have the largest selection on the clearance rack. After holidays and during the change of season there is always clothing on the racks. Yes these items are that seasons clothing but so what? There is most likely going to be items on that rack that you can use later. Example: leggings. Most hijabis at one point will wear a skirt. I wear leggings under my skirts. Also, long sleeve shirts (body shirts) are excellent for hijabis and never go out of style (as long as you get the plain ones).

10. Being wasteful also means throwing away stuff that is useable or recyclable. If you have clothing you don’t want, donate them to goodwill or even to a charity. There are always groups that are collecting clothing for moments like hurricanes, etc. Also, if you have old furniture you don’t want, offer it on sites like craigslist or www.freecycle.org . You’ll be surprised to know there are plenty who could really use that item you were going to throw away. There are also other hobbyists that enjoy refinish old and unusable furniture. Even if it is broken, there is a chance someone might use it. Trust me, even those worn out shoes you were about to throw away, Nike can recycle them and reuse them to help others out. Check it out: http://www.nikereuseashoe.com

11. Lastly, remember to give charity. After all the money you will be saving remember Allah. Allah says “Ma naqasa malon min sadaqa” which means “your wealth due to donations/donating.”

I’m sure I haven’t told you anything new but inshallah we will be able to continue to stay away from being wasteful. W’salaam!

Sr. Aysha

Amoora’s Frugal Life

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Jun 25, 2010 - guest blogs    7 Comments

The Role of Women in Saudi Society (special guest post)

I thought I would post this very interesting article from a friend’s secret blog :) He’s an American Muslim who recently changed careers and moved overseas (unfortunately for him without his wife) to Saudi Arabia in order to teach English. I found his perspective on women there very interesting. We could also apply this to Muslim society in the US where seclusion and separation can go to ridiculous extremes (even in our Mosques/Mosque boards).

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The Role of Women in Saudi Society
by Bro. S.


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I’m finally writing this. Let me preface this with the obvious fact that I’m biased. Having grown up in America, that is the culture I learned from birth. I’ve tried to be as objective as I can be, however.
All too often, when people in America think about Saudi’s, they think about women, dressed all in black, with only a slit where their eyes show. Well, for the most part, that aspect is true. Saudi women do tend to dress in abayas. Abayas are black over-wraps which button in front, allowing a woman to wear basically whatever she wants underneath, and still look like she’s wearing a dress. They’re loose, flowing, and usually silk. This is complimented with the hijab, the Islamic headscarf. Almost all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence emphasize the use of the headscarf. Most, but not all, Saudi women also use the niqab. This is a face covering of some sort, ranging from total concealment, including the eyes, to simply covering most of the face, and leaving a strip or gaps for the eyes.
Where does this dress come from? Well, there are some sections of the Qur’an that advise both sexes to be modest, and for women to cover their hair. The idea behind all of this is to reduce sexual desire, to focus on the person as opposed to their dress or their body, and to remember Allah (God) in all things.
There’s certainly, in my opinion, some justice to those ideas, as you can walk in any shopping mall in the USA and see young ladies showing enough skin to have given housewives of the 1940′s and 1950′s heart attacks. Blatant sexuality is prevalent in American culture, from advertising, television, movies, and pornography. But, is it necessary to adopt the abaya and niqab? Is it necessary to wear a burqa, which is even more concealing and restrictive for movement, as women in Afghanistan were required to under the rule of the Taliban?
There’s a huge debate among ‘modern’ and ‘conservative’ Muslims about what constitutes modesty in dress, and whether modesty in dress is accompanied by a corresponding modesty in behavior. Recently, a very important shaik (wise man/sometimes a religious leader often written in English as sheik) in Egypt told a woman at university there to take off her niqab, as it was purely based in culture and had nothing to do with Islam. There was a big uproar in response. Such things are obviously not said here in Saudi, the heartland of conservative Islam.
Here, the abaya and niqab are facts of everyday life for a woman, with even girls as young as eight or nine wearing abayas, and teens commonly wearing niqab.
Women are not allowed to drive here, ride bicycles, or generally be in places where they are alone with men they are not related to. That means they cannot work in the same areas of a building with men, in fact businesses where women work, are usually all female. It means they have their own banks, own entrances to mosques, and that there are family sections in restaurants. Of course, practical reality forces strange situations, where women will be in the back of a taxi, when the driver is obviously unrelated. Other strangeness are the family sections at large malls, where its basically the same as it would be in the US, just there’s a small barrier around this section. Just as noisy and communal as the single section, though. The oddest thing is that since most women don’t work, most tailors and lingerie salesmen are men, forcing women to be closely examined personally by men who they are not related to. In Jeddah and in one mall in Riyadh, it is possible to go to womens only floors of the mall, which specialize in clothing and undergarments, preventing this problem. Still, here in Khobar, it’s the norm. Theoretically, all of this is to protect women and their modesty.
It certainly does that, but at what cost? What does Saudi society lose?
In the Western workforce, women participate in all sorts of roles. In fact, some roles are commonly filled by women, over men. Why? Some people argue it has to do with the ability of women to “multi-task” better than men. I’ve heard references to medical studies that say women have more connections between their right and left brains, and this is what allows them to process faster than men do.
I think Saudi culture loses out on that ability of women. The males I’ve seen in secretarial or administrative roles tend to be far worse at them than examples I’ve seen in the West. I typically prefer female managers, as well, because of their skill at consensus building, as opposed to direct rule.
I think there’s another loss as well. Without women, men tend to be more aggressive, more confrontational, and cruder.
Here at the Institute, the teachers room can sometimes seem like a high school locker room instead. Conversations just devolve, conflict can be abrupt and open, and there’s a lot of political maneuvering.
To paraphrase my friend Kevin who once put it like this, “Women are the glue that keeps society together.” I have to agree. Women keep men from being crass, from being focused on competition to the exclusion of all else. As a man, I have to say that women remind us of what is better in life, and that there is more to everything than banging our chests.
There’s a deeper, greater problem that results from the seclusion of women in Saudi society. If you’re under 18 and not accompanied by a parent, stop reading now.
Saudi men do not get exposed to women, at all, other than their mothers and their sisters. They don’t spend time with them, understand them, or appreciate how wonderfully different they are. Saudi men spend their formative years around other men. Saudi men typically don’t get married until their late 20′s, because there is an expectation of being able to provide for the wife, to have a job and career, and more importantly, a dowry. In Islam, when a man wants to marry a woman, he must offer her a dowry. This money is hers in perpetuity, he is not allowed to touch it or use it, and even if she is divorced, this is still hers. In the past, it might be camels, or sheep, or land. These days, it’s rings, jewelery, cars, and money. From discussions with my students, Saudi dowry’s range have a starting base of 40k SR, in order not to appear poor. That’s 10k USD, cash.
They tend to marry younger women, usually 18-22. Beauty is prized, and the marriage is approved by both families.
Anyway, the result of all this is a hidden problem of homosexuality. It’s very commonplace, to the extent that our desks at the Institute have carved hearts, or comments bemoaning “How could you leave me, ‘Khalid’.” I’ve had some very obviously gay students. Other teachers have told me of conversations they’ve had with students, where they make statements like this. “Oh, I’m not gay, but my boyfriend is.”
The stigma of being homosexual apparently only attaches itself to the recipient of homosexual intercourse, not to both parties.
Outsiders, particularly Westerners or Filipino men, are also aggressively sought after for homosexual encounters. This past summer, Ian was walking to work one day, and a Saudi man drove up in his car, and offered him a ride. After declining, the man asked if they could go for coffee, and after that was declined by Ian, flat out offered sex. I had an encounter myself with a man who pulled up and offered me a ride. Having hopped in many different cars since I’ve been here, there was a clear difference in attitude between this man and the many others. I declined, and after enough refusals, he drove on. He didn’t come out and say anything directly, but I was pretty sure what was going on.
Here in Khobar, Bahrain is only 30 minutes away. There, Saudi men supposedly go and hire prostitutes of both sexes, and I’ve been told there is a growing problem with AIDS here. Of course, all these problems are blamed on Western culture, and outsiders. That said, every Westerner who comes into Saudi has to undergo a full blood analysis, not once, but twice. So, if AIDS is being spread, who is spreading it?
Saudi culture loses by separating its women so entirely from men. It loses half its workforce, which then must be made up by men from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, etc. It loses the brains of potential women scientists, managers, engineers, and doctors. I think, however, that the biggest cost will come from the sub-culture of teen homosexuality. While trying to preserve Islamic values, Saudi Arabia is creating a situation which simultaneously erodes it.


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