10 Best Days

Growing up I didn’t know much about the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.  I knew about Hajj and that was about it.  Later on in my life I found out about the importance of fasting on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah. Recently I found out the importance of the 10 days.  I have included some notes taken from ‘I got it covered’ and IslamQA (link provided) and have also included a 10 minute lecture on the virtues of the 10 days.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha.” He was asked: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” [Al-Daarimi, 1/357]

Thus, the ten days are better than all other days of the year, therefore, whoever is not able to go to Hajj should use this blessed time to complete even more righteous deeds than usual. These can include anything such as giving charity, honouring one’s parents, upholding the ties of kinship, and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. Fasting and remembrance are particularly recommended:
1. Fasting Nine days, especially on the Day of ‘Arafah
It is Sunnah for the Muslim to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, because fasting is one of the best of deeds. In a hadith qudsi, Allah says: “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari, 1805] The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Prophet used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the day of Ashura, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays.” [Abu Dawood, 2/462] The ten days of Dhul-Hijjah include Yawm al-`Arafah (the Day of `Arafah), on which Allah perfected His Religion. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting the day of `Arafah expiates the sins of two years: the past one and the coming one.  Fasting on the day of Ashura expiates the sins of the past year.” [Muslim]
2. Remembrance
It is Sunnah to recite remembrances known as the takbeer, tahmeed, tahleel, and tasbeeh during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, saying these words out loud in the mosques, homes, streets and every place in which it is permissible to remember Allah.
Takbeer: Allahu akbar (God is most great)
Tahmeed: Al-hamdu Lillah (All praises be to God)
Tahleel: Laa ilaha ill-Allah (There is no god but Allah)
Tasbeeh: Subhaan-Allah (Glory be to God),
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained how, “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.” [Ahmad, 7/224]
Here is a detailed explanation on the virtues of the 10 days


Please watch this short video by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi


A Morning with Modern Mary


Abeer and I had the opportunity to visit Seema Sahin’s Boutique in Tysons Corner a few weeks ago, we were excited to talk with Seema to see how she manages her modesty clothing line as well as her family life with two young kids. While we chatted we got a chance to try some of her custom designs. Pictures and interview below:


BB: How did the idea of  Modern Mary come about?

SS: Giving women the chance to express themselves while being true to their identity. Finding modest fashionable designs in mainstream clothing stores is not only limited, but can pose a challenge for many women. It can be challenging finding styles that express their cultural heritage, American identity, and at the same time being true to their faith. I wanted to create a hassle free shopping experience for these women, offering them a fashionable alternative that already fits with the guidelines of their faith. What motivates me is trying to reconcile these three forces and translate them into my design.  Creating modest designs is one thing, but there is a certain flair to my designs that makes it stand out and appealing.


BB: How did you take the initial leap from an online based business to having a  boutique?

Modern Mary’s Boutique in Tyson’s Corner, VA

SS: I wanted women to have a fun and comfortable shopping experience. The only way was to bring the designs to them. I knew that an online store was not enough, which is why I decided to open up a boutique. The Boutique offers our customers an exclusive shopping experience without compromise to privacy and comfort. Modern Mary’s boutique is a first of its kind, catering to the Muslim market. Modern Mary’s boutique opened its doors to the public December 2010 outside of DC in the Northern Virginia area. Modern Mary’s full collection can be viewed at the boutique by appointment only. Custom evening and bridal wear available. We offer complimentary fittings when creating a custom design.

The designer of Modern Mary, Seema with her model


BB: Any advice for Muslim entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting their own business?

SS: When starting a business, it’s more than just pursuing a passion. Yes, you have to be passionate about what you are doing, but you also have to be persistent, willing to learn, and ready to play various roles. I can’t run a business by just designing- I had to learn to be a manager, bookkeeper, marketer, etc. Most importantly put yourself out there. It’s all about networking… network, network, and network! Let everyone know who you are and what you andyour business is about. There are many groups that you can join or attend (both Muslim based professional groups and non-Muslim professional groups). Take advantage of those networking opportunities because you never know what relationships you will create that would benefit your business or company.


BB: how do you manage it all, your family, household chores, family obligations? 

Orange layered tunic, $59

SS: It’s an everyday challenge! Being able to balance the role of being a mother, a wife, a designer, and an entrepreneur is not easy, and I’m still working to achieve that balance. Alhamdulillah, my passion for designing is what keeps me going. It’s a combination of time-management, organization, communication, and accommodation. Time management- balancing my time with the family and my business; Organization- otherwise nothing will get done! Communication- scheduling with my husband, or family members to watch the kids when I have an event, or need to be at the boutique; Accommodation- life happens, and need to accept that not everything will go according to plan—I have my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, but here I am pursuing a career in fashion design. Thankfully I have a great support network I can turn to when seeking help with taking care of the kids and other family obligations.


BB: Can you share your first runway experience with us? How did it feel seeing your clothes on the runway?

SS: My first major runway show was at DC Fashion Week Fall 2011. My designs were featured in their International Couture Collections show. Seeing my designs going down the runway and hearing applauds from the audience, not only was it amazing but a surreal moment. Being able to transform an idea into a vision, it’s truly rewarding. Fashion shows bring your designs to life. I hope to continue to watch my designs going down the runway.

Modern Mary Custom Dress, $128

 Like what you see? Check out Modern Mary’s designs:













Its a Wrap!

Have you guy started shopping for Eid gifts?  Some of us may even be thinking of how to wrap gifts. I recently discovered a new found hobby, gift wrapping. I think it is quite possibly one of the most thoughtful things you can do for a person. It can be the smallest of gifts, but with just the right wrapping it can make all the difference.
It can be fairly inexpensive (or not!) depending on where you go and what you do. So although I am quite new at this hobby, I figure I share with you whatever I know, in hopes of you sharing whatever you know!

1. Dollar Store: This is the best place for every gift wrapping material. Whether it be boxes, bows, gift wrap or baskets, this is the most cost effective place to get all that!
2. Target: Some of the best wrapping paper can be found in those dollar bins at Target. For one dollar you get a thick roll of wrapping paper. Every time I have gone I was able to find different and cute designs.
3.  A.C Moore/Michaels: This is the ultimate place, it is like the gift wrapping capital. It is indeed a gift wrapper’s dream come true. Although this place can get a bit pricey, but for the bigger or more expensive items you can use a 40% or 50% coupon. You can either print it online or get it off of your coupons iPhone app! They also have savings bins that contain really great items on sale, so be sure to check there frequently.
4. Home: GO GREEN!! If you look around, you’ll notice that a lot of times you have most of the gift wrapping items right under your nose. I’ve used old boxes, gift tissue, ribbons and newspapers!
5. Homegoods/Marshals: If you need fancy dishes or plates for handing out baked goods, this is an excellent shop for beautiful dishes for low prices.

Here are a few ideas, some are my own while others are well…others!

1. Cellophane is my number one must have. In the picture below is a ijab and bracelet wrapped in cellophane. I wrapped the hijab around a cardboard (a Kleenix cardboard to be exact!) then placed the bracelet on top with very little tape, used a golden ribbon and voila!
2. Pink Polka Dots: Normally when I use a colorful patterned wrapping paper, I put a plain color gift tissue on top. I feel like it really highlights the gift wrap. I decided to wrap the clothes in the box, and the shoes in the cellophane. If you have a few different items for your gift, then it may be a good idea to take one of the items and use it as an accessory topper for the gift! I used the sandals as a topper, I wrapped a cardboard in the gift wrap and then taped the sandals on. The gift was for a toddler so I decided to use foam letters (purchased from A.C Moore) to spell out her name.
3. Tissues can sometimes serve as good wrapping, for this spiderman gift, I tried to set the theme in red and blue. I used two sheets of red tissue, and decided to spell out the name using blue tissue. I would not recommend using tissue because it is extremely delicate and difficult to cut. Construction paper or cardstock would be a much better choice. Live and learn!
4. Fake flowers: The design on this tissue was too nice to be stuffed in a bag, so once again I used it as a gift wrap. I had a fake flower plant and decided to take the red flower out of it to use as a bow!
5. Old greeting cards serve as an excellent material in gift wrapping. I used an old Eid card for this gift. I decided to cut out the masjid and use it as a topper. I didn’t have white wrapping paper, so I just used the back side of another wrapping paper. White wrapping paper gives you a whole field to work with, you can use any color ribbon, topper, and in this case an old greeting card!
6. Baskets are a lot of fun to wrap. The picture is not too clear, but in this small basket I put a big jar of Yankee Candle and two Bath and Body Works’ hand soaps. I made sure all three things were a similar shade of blue. I used blue shredded paper as a filling, and wrapped the cellophane in a ice blue ribbon!
Here are pictures of other ideas…
I love how they used newspapers a a gift wrap and complimented it with a nice ribbon. Its ‘green’ and looks fabulous! Go Green!
This is my favorite, I love the plain white gift wrap with the lilac velvet ribbon, looks very elegant!
Newspapers strike again! This time they used newspaper to spell out the name, and paste it onto a plain wrapping paper, brilliant!
This gift was wrapped with plain white wrapping but then topped with fresh flowers. Simple yet beautiful!

idea: www.thegiftedblog.com

I have used the Gifted Blog as a source of inspiration. It was quite flattering when one of my gifts got posted on that blog.  The blog offers a variety of ideas and tutorials.


Something to wrap about….

What Woman Really Want…

Ramadan is half way through, thought we’d help you find some great gift ideas.Here is our Eid 2012 Gift Guide for the Women in your life

The Trendy Gift

Peep toe Sandals, $89


Studded Bangle, $32.90


Michael Kors leather watch,$225



The Colorful Gift

Green purse with shiny gold details, $19.80


Stone Ring, $65

Stone Ring

Colorblocked Apron, $32


The Pampering Gift

Luxurious Hand Cream Set, $30

Hand Cream

Aveda Spa service, Prices vary


The Beauty Gift

MAC lipstick set, $39.50

Lipstick Set

Salvatore Ferragamo perfume, $98


Benefit makeup set, $45

Makeup Set

The Thoughtful Gift

A subscription to a magazine is always appreciated


Haute Hijab-Bora Bora Scarf $35


Reminiscing Ramadan

When I was younger and lived with my family Ramadan was so much fun, now that I have my own family I hope that I can also make Ramadan memories with my kids. My mom made Ramadan an incredibly happy month for us. She was the glue that held the family and our Ramadan traditions together, she would spare no detail when it came to both  the sehri and iftaar table spread and much to her dismay would even tolerate our cravings for  french fries, doughnuts, Mcflurries, and other things over her freshly cooked food.

The mornings were the hardest (still are) My sisters and I would wake up to find my mom fully awake and frying shami kababs and eggs. There were always fresh parathas but  we much preferred eating cereal or even a frozen waffle. Mom would be chirping along enjoying her breakfast while my sisters and our dad would be eating like zombies. Somehow no matter how early we would wake up we would always be running late on our sehri, Dad would be updating us on the time  and would give us a 5 minute and a 2 minute warning. The 5-minute warning went something like this:

The 5-minute warning:

Dad: 5 minutes left, where’s the water?

Mom: oh no I haven’t even finished my food.  Kids drink lots of water

Kids: ok mom

The 2-minute warning:

Dad: okay lets go, only 2 minutes left

Mom: okay let me drink my water

Dad: there’s very little time left

Mom: I have to drink my really large glass of water no matter what

Kids: Mom were going to brush our teeth

Mom: drink all of your water before you go!

Mom: OK stop drinking your water and go brush your teeth we have no time left!!

 After the 2-minute warning:

Mom: still finishing her water

Dad: thats it, your fast is not valid! its past time!

Mom: Nothings going to happen, im okay, just about done

There was a lot of water gulping and pushing as my sisters and I  made it to the bathroom to brush our teeth and make wudu. After Fajr we would be fully awake but would still attempt in vain to snuggle back in our beds to get a few minutes of sleep before waking up for school. The day would pass in school activites and when we would come back home, we would rest  for a  bit until iftaar time. Is it bad if food is the thing that keep coming to mind, when I think back on spending Ramadan with my family? The warm samosas, the tangy cholay (chickpeas), and the cold dahi baray (yogurt dumplings). What’s funny is that at that time none of those things were a big deal. Around iftaar time I would start hovering around the kitchen and would help prepare the Rooh Afzah while filling my mom in on what happened at school that day.

During Ramadan we would go to many iftaari’s and frequently visit  the Mosque, this was fun for me because I would get to catch up with all my friends. As the days of Ramadan progressed we would start thinking about Eid. Eid was HUGE, I mean there was nothing better than Eid, and its funny because on the actual Eid Day we didn’t do much but there was so much anticipation that half the fun was preparing for Eid. Eid preparations for us consisted of two things our annual Eid party and our eid outfits.

The Eid party was something we really enjoyed and it seemed like everyone in the community would be there! My mom would make a slew of different traditional Eid foods and then ask all three of her daughters to make either a dessert or an appetizer, I would be the slacker when it came to cooking and would rather clean than cook and I somehow got away with it. Our eid clothes were of the utmost importance to us. We would either save a shalwar kameez outfit from the ones our family in Karachi would send us, or we would make our own! Our mother would make it a project and take us to JoAnn’s to pick out the fabric we liked, then the buttons, etc. She would guide us and then eventually we would lose interest or would get bogged down with school work and she would finish them up for us. After the shalwar kameez was ready we would  pick out shoes and jewelry to complete our outfits.

One of my favorite memories is on eid morning  when our mom would wake us up and she would look at our mehndi and comment on how great the color came out, she would be wearing her Eid Shalwar, an oversized t-shirt and bangles. She would always change into her kurta at the very end so that the ironing doesn’t get ruined. Once we were all in the car we would all recite the Eid Tasbih which is one of my most favorite things to do. After Eid Prayers we would start hugging everyone around us with a 3 embrace rule – while saying  Eid Mubarak all three of those times!

We would seek out our mom and she would be so happy to see us in our full eid outfits. After that we would meet all of the aunties in our community, who would be genuinely pleased to see us looking our best. I would hang out with my friends and we would be inseparable, Aleya, Kiren, Tahirah these were a few of my friends that I grew up with and we would make our way around the Mosque meeting our families and other community members. Our family was among the last ones to leave the Mosque because my dad would always help to count the Fitra money that the Mosque had collected.

We would then go to my friend Kiren’s house for an Eid breakfast, from there on, we would hop from house to house and eat all kinds of food. My friends and I would always try to stay together or plan out the day to see whose house we would meet up at next. It wasn’t that we were ever doing something very special but I remember having a blast. One of the uncles that we knew would be standing at the door with a stack of bills.  As children entered in the house he would give them a dollar. At about 5:00 after a full day of party hopping, we would make the long trek from Jacksonville  back to Orange Park and would immediately start preparing for the big dinner at our place.

We would do a Bollywood style outfit change and get ready to start hugging and greeting our guests with the traditional three time Eid Mubarak! Over the years we’ve had many different versions of Eid, but with the same pattern I described above, as we got older and my friends started driving we began going out in the evenings and meeting up our friends to get ice cream or go to a movie. One year Eid coincided with the release of the animated movie” The Last Messenger”  and the entire community was found at the movies.

Ramadan and Eid have definitely changed maybe because I’m older and I have my own family now,  but one thing is for certain that at the start of every Ramadan I become nostalgic for the Ramadan I spent as a child. I reminice about the days when I would go to the  Islamic Center of Northeast Florida and recognize every single person at the Mosque, of the times when our Dad would lead us in prayers and when I would wake up to my Mom’s excited exclamation of, “Eid Mubarak, today is Eid!”


Decor de Islamica

Ramadan Mubarak! May we all make the most of this blessed and joyous month insha’Allah!  The feeling is shared amongst Muslims all around the world. However, for children who are not fasting, the Ramadan feeling may not be as strong.  Therefore, it is up to us to create that atmosphere for them.

It is up to us to instill that joy and excitement as Ramadan approaches. Aside from acts of ibadah and preparing iftar, another way to get the children involved is decorating the house for Ramadan and Eid.

A tradition that was started at my parents house was to put up lights on windows, doors, and even fireplaces. I hope to continue that tradition with Eesa.

I’ve included pictures of other decorating ideas.  Some of which are crafting ideas with kids, while others are decorations you can purchase.

1. Ramadan Mobile:  You can purchase the wood ring from a craft store (i.e Michaels) and use  yarn/construction paper to cut out the letters and hang them from the ring.



2. Garland: Use card stock or construction paper to make this nice garland



3.  Balloons: This picture led me to another idea, we can blow up 30 balloons and write out a good deed on a small piece of paper to put inside the balloon.  Every day pop/cut the balloon and try to implement the good deed written on the piece of paper. (i.e help put the dishes away, memorize an ayah etc.)


4.  Sadaqah Box: Help your children make a charity box.  You can use shoe boxes, tissue boxes or anything at all. You can decorate it with stickers, glitter or drawings.  It will be a fun way to encourage kids to donate.

My nephew Hasan made this, could be used through out the year!


5.  Paper stars & moons: that is a simple yet fun idea.  Cut up stars and moons, and use yarn to hang them up!



6. Paper Lanters: The caption contains the link on how to make these cute paper lanterns.



The following ideas/pictures are decorations you can purchase.

1. Ranoon offers wonderful decor, such as table toppers and crescent lights



2. ModernEid carries delightful and decent priced decorations.  They even have cupcake toppers and candy bar wrappers.





3. Noorart carries a wide variety of party supplies for Iftars and Eid parties.  They carry balloons, banners, plates, napkin and more!



5. Eid Creations: They have really neat looking plates and napkins!





I know there are a ton of more ideas out there, please feel free to share ideas and pictures, and we’ll post it on Biscuits & Banarsi!


Something to rejoice about….