Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mixed Audience Fashion Show

Why am I involved?

I do this with mixed feelings. Sometimes, in order to go to step 2, we have to start from step 1. Just as the Islamic Fashion Festival has its challenges, it had soldiered on, creating more awareness about what is modesty in Islam. Designers are constantly reminded on the proper Islamic dressing requirements. Some consistently disregard these rules showing either ignorance or disrespect.

It is our intention to have a fully Islamic fashion and lifestyle platform through Amaed. Only members can make it happen.

Amaed is in its infant stage

Teething problems may take years to outgrow. The main thing is we must carry on, making small improvements here and there, every step of the way. Many members join the organisation to improve their business and networking. That is fine. But they need to join the greater mission, to encourage all to embrace the act of worship of covering modestly.

How do men dress in the past?

Not just women but the men should cover too. Sure they need only cover modestly between the navel to the knees. But we have to look at the situation. Men in the past had to do manual labour, carrying timber, stones and grains. They sweat and some could not afford to soil or damage their clothes daily.

Men who lead normal lives do not walk around wearing only pants or loin cloth. That is common sense. Even in the ancient days, they wore long robes and shorts and dressed modestly. Similarly we encourage men of today to dress modestly too.

Men can dress well too

It would be great if men wore long loose shirts and pants. Those with unsightly bulging bellies should cover themselves modestly instead of tucking in their tight shirts into their equally tight trousers. We are not criticising people or commenting about their figures, but encouraging them to dress a bit more smartly and decently. Women do not like to have to see men dressed in tight clothes just as believing men do not like to see women dressed immodestly.

Some people do not care or are they unaware?

As for guys with great figures, tall and athletic, cover up please. Mr Universe and our swimming champs and footballers who wear tiny underwear in public need to dress a bit more decently.

Parents protect your daughters

Actually it is surreal to see Muslim girls wearing revealing leotards and swimsuits during sports competitions. And the parents are so proud of their daughters appearing in the international media wearing skimpy little costumes. So what if they are world champions? Will the malaikat record how many gold medals they won? Or note down in their book of records what they did. Allah knows best. Just caring for our young sisters, that's all.

Respect Divine Rules

We cannot say we believe in Islam and yet not respect the rules. These are rules from our Creator, not man made. Because these are divine laws, Muslims have to submit to them eventually. Sometimes they disobey when they use their own nafs (vain desires) to decide the way they dress and behave.

If we do not want to cover modestly whilst we are alive, we will still be covered from head to toe in our burial shroud. Do we wait to be covered only when our bodies lie cold and lifeless? May Allah SWT have mercy on us.

Pay the Price

People have the freedom and choice to obey or disobey. However they all know they must pay the price some day, one way or another.

Perhaps they think they will one day change their lives, to begin to live with dignity as Muslims, humble slaves of Allah. But they do not want that one day to be today, or tomorrow, or the next. Not yet anyway.

Shirk to change Allah's laws

Actually these people who disobey are not that bad compared to those who change Allah SWT's laws. When Allah says something is haram or forbidden, these people are quick to claim that it is halal or permissible for Muslims. They will say black is white and white is black.

Who are these people? They are the ignorant or worse, arrogant ones. They do not fear or respect Allah. Disobeying Allah is very different from rejecting Allah's laws. Those who reject openly commit shirk.

Some claim to love Allah but they take their dressing too casually. Friends may give a small hint or reminder. If they are the types who do not take kindly to sisterly advice, no one will dare to remind them any more.

Yet these very people too may fast during the month of Ramadhan and even pray the night prayer with thousands of other devout Muslims. They may pay their zakat and do a lot of charity. Sometimes these acts of faith ends with the month of Ramadhan, Some may revert to their former selves and wait for the next Ramadhan to come the following year.

What Kind of Muslim are We?

So we realise there are so many types and levels of Muslims. Which kind of Muslim are we? We know we are not perfect, I know I am far from it and am still struggling to improve my faith/iman and my will power to obey Allah.

We get what we want

I may not fulfill every form of ibadah but I know I want to improve. Allah knows what is in our hearts and He knows our intention. When we do something that is not for the sake of Allah we may succeed but there may be no blessing in that action.

We get what we asked for, if its dunya we want, that's what we will get. What if we do not get anything for our akhirah? There may even be curses directed at us.

How Nice if its All Women Event Only

Coming back to the fashion show, how I wish it would be a fully Muslimah event. All males will be barred from the dressing room, makeup room and the stage. The helpers, dressers, choreographer, waiters, technicians and managers including security will be female only.

Even the audience should be female. When it becomes a show by women specially for women, much of the fitnah is removed. And no men looking at our models on the catwalk, which I feel increasingly uncomfortable. No men to watch other women who are sharing their tables and no women will have to serve male patrons in the hotel or hall.

A Fashion Show is not just about fashion, glamour and sales

It may not happen overnight but every sincere Muslim would not object to all women events for fashion shows. It is not just merely showing the beauty of Islam through decent Muslim attire. Amaed is the right platform to educate the public and members likewise. Some members know but continue to design tight little dresses as they may sell faster. Some may feel it is not that serious so we can only hope knowledge can help them be strong.

Change Perception

It is also very much about encouraging Muslims to change their perception. Muslims must be aware of their great responsibility to show Islam in a good light. Each and every Muslim has the sacred duty to share the ''beauty and duty " to cover up.

Be Proactive

Let us be proactive. We have a great Amaed Team and they have put in so much time, money and effort to put things together. We hope one day in the near future Amaed will represent true Muslim attire and convey the beauty of covering up modestly on a higher level.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fashion shows are fun and glamorous?

Fun and glamour?

Not exactly. Perhaps only for the audience. For the rest of us backstage and back in the workroom, it is a lot of tedious , repetitive work, checking, reworking, checking, unpicking, fixing ...

Tension Backstage

Yeah, a hundred and one things to do before we can give our friends and audience a splendid show - the many beautiful clothes carefully designed, cut, each stitched and put together to make an outfit - an ensemble.

Too many choices make it difficult

Besides finalising the designs, there will be some changes along the way and in the end the final result will look nothing like the original proposal. That is the fun part. It can be frustrating too - trying to acquire the right fabrics, textures, colours, shades and trimmings.

Remembering the needs of customer

Designing an outfit may look like a piece of cake. Well its not just drawing and doing what we think looks nice and may sell well. The costing is important because the wrong choice of fabrics may increase the final cost and make it unaffordable to the end customer. What is the use of making clothes at a price that customers cannot afford? It has to be balanced, affordable yet beautiful and practical enough to be loved by the wearer.

No time to relax

It is only fun after all the work is done and the show is over. Perhaps then people will relax and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. The fun lies in the challenge of designing and creating something beautiful out of a few pieces of fabric, some thread, beads and ribbons. The joy of seeing the working coming together and suddenly something fabulous is created. The process of creation is a very personal experience.

Always ready for a challenge

Yet designers love their work and the challenges. They would not have it any other way. They may worry, may fret, may moan but they will carry on with the show. Sheer drive and determination keeps them going under stress.

Fighting for time backstage

There is so very little time for the models to change into the next outfit. With just 10 minutes to change, clothes are flying into the air as they grabbed the next outfit. Everyone is frantically trying to adjust the outfit, put on the scarves, shawls, accessories and before its done, she has to go out to face the audience.

Looking Cool

Models are trained to keep their cool. Even if the outfit is not arranged properly she has to look calm and cool. She has to make it work. After all that is what professional models are there for - to help make the garment work even under intense stress and pressure. People did not go to see the women just to admire their beauty. They want to see what the clothes would look like when it is worn by real people. They have to bring the designs to life.

All in good taste, insha Allah

That's why we do not parade mannequins or robots. They will definitely not be the same. Nobody walks like a robot. Muslima fashion models are trained to walk naturally and gently, they do not strut and sway like non believers. They do not sell clothes by abusing their bodies. At least they are not supposed to as Muslims . There is such a thing as self respect and dignity.

Appreciate the efforts of people behind the scene

So as the models parade out in all the finery, let us appreciate the creative spirit of this breed of people called designers. Their work can be beautiful, bold, funny, serious, wacky and sometimes plain weird. Beauty is subjective and everyone just dives in to swim. We can only admire their zest for life and love for creativity.

We also acknowledge the dedication and supportive work carried out by all staff, tailoring , design , research and support personnel. Designers cannot work alone, they need constant support, feed back, in put and constant reminders to keep on track and on time.

Not outrageous or vain

Muslim fashion shows are preferably low key, models are generally not over made up for drama and shock value. All in good taste. The models are chosen for their height and also good etiquette. Punctuality, well mannered, considerate and cooperative. No divas are expected here and we know it is not only the model that sells the clothes. Allah SWT determines our rezeki so we just keep on working and improving ourselves.

A way to encourage women to dress modestly

One of the reasons for holding such shows is to encourage more women to cover modestly. Many of them think they will lose their beauty and be forced to become dull and uninteresting. This is probably because they do not realise that covering modestly is a requirement in Islam and when we submit wholeheartedly to Allah's commands, He will bless us in different ways.

Precious Jewel to be protected or trophy to be exhibited?

Have you ever noticed the nur or glow upon a sister who is covered modestly? Just compare her with someone who is exposing herself for all to see, to sample and to imagine. If you were a man would you like your sister or wife to go around half naked? Do you know that if a woman wears tightly fitted clothes that reveal her figure, even if she is covered from head to toe, she is considered to be part naked? She is showing her body to people who do not have the right to see her in that manner.

Would you want to protect and advise her or be secretly proud to show her off to other man like a trophy? Is she just another possession to be shown off? Are you treating her like your new BMW or new swimming pool?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Cat with no legs?

Sounds weird, doesn't it? Not so if you are a Malaysian. Lately this cat had been in the news and causing quite a stir! I cried when I read the story of how a man found a badly maimed cat by the road. I forgot the details ...

Leg forcibly cut off!! Raw Pain!

Anyway he described his shock when he found a cat bleeding on the ground. Its 2 front legs were cut off! Its really unthinkable that a fellow human being would commit such an extremely cruel act. Certainly no living creature deserves to be treated in such a painful inhumane way.

Anger can make us lose our reasoning

The person who did it was obviously very angry, maybe it was his way of punishing the cat for perhaps stealing his fish. He was perhaps so blinded with rage that all he felt was he needed to teach it a very nasty lesson. Muslims are reminded not to become angry as it is an attribute of shaitan (the devil).

Even a pin prick causes pain

If we nicked our little finger we would be feeling the pain. What more if someone were to cut off its leg at the joint, one leg and then the other. If I were there I could have been moved to jump on him, knife or no knife.

I saw cat on tv

During Eid I watched tv (very rare thing to do, perhaps a few times in a year) in a friend's home. I saw the cat on tv, fully recovered (without the legs of course) but it is a very resilient little thing, moving on its hind legs and trying to do the things other normal cats do. She was named "Hero", signifying how much they admired her courage and determination to survive.

A loving friend and companion

Hero licked the face of her beloved master and rescuer. Her affection was pure and true. It was very touching as he recalled what he had done, without even thinking of the consequences. He wrapped the bleeding creature in his jacket and wanted to rush to a vet. Suddenly he realised he would not have been able to afford to pay the vet. The next best thing to do was to apply emergency treatment on it. He applied lots of minyak gamat (sea cucumber ointment) again and again until the injuries healed.

Wonders of Minyak Gamat

Minyak gamat is known to aid in healing and a wonderful natural cure from Allah's bounties, from under the sea. It is relatively cheap and yet potent and easy to apply. Pharmacies charge people a lot of money for things that Allah has made available to us, if only we make effort to discover the secrets of what is on land and under the oceans. The Chinese buy dried sea cucumber from the medicine shops and boil them slowly for a few hours. usually with chicken, red dates, herbs and roots . It makes a truly delicious soup that rejuvenates and revives any tiredness.

A survivor and a shining example

Hero had to learn how to move and take care of herself painfully. This is a lesson to us all too. If an animal can survive such a trauma and learn how to rehabilitate itself, we humans should emulate this brave spunky little cat. We often have people to help us, encourage us and also some special equipment to help us support ourselves. Yet we sink into dark moods and become angry with the world. These are all tests from Allah to see who is best in patience and behaviour. What can a little cat do without her front legs? Yet she did not give up and wilt away.

Allah Most Merciful

Allah is Most Merciful! This brother who passed by at the fateful moment did not hesitate to help one of Allah's creations. He accepted the responsibility and did his best. His family too supported him and grew to love this cat. His tears flowed as he recollected what had happened.

Sometimes animals behave better than humans

Today Hero is secure, peaceful and loved by all in the family. It has even found fame and respect. Yes, sometimes it is easier to respect an animal than to respect a human being. Al Quran tells us that human beings are capable of being the best of creation and yet equally capable of sinking to the lowest of the low. It is up to us to decide who we want to be.

Strive to be the best person

It is not about riches, about popularity, about fame. We can always strive to be the best person we are capable of, within our own limited abilities. It may not be a comfortable or secure life. There is no such thing as real security in life anyway. Even nations can collapse overnight so we should not feel too secure in our man made castles.

Follow the true and straight path

Be true to ourselves and follow the path that Allah SWT has planned for us. Ihdinas siratal mustaqim... are we going in the right direction? Are we sure we are in the right direction? Do not just follow our friends or depend on people we admire; we need to know our own direction.

May Allah guide us and forgive our sins. Let us strive for a better future, dunia and ahirah, this worldly life and the Hereafter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How we spent our Eidul Adha

Muslims celebrate only 2 days in a year.

Islam is all about time management. We are not encouraged to spend our time on frivolous matters throughout the year. We take a day off to celebrate Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha. The two most important days of the Islamic calendar. Many people however stretch one day into one whole week. There are times we stretch one day into one whole month! Endless socialising and over eating. We all do enjoy eating but the never ending part is really upsetting our health...

Do not overeat!

We are supposed to fill our stomach with only one third food, one third water and the other one third to be left empty for air. Muslim lifestyle is really quite simple, not too many rituals except those prescribed by Allah SWT. Muslims are required to do their best to fulfil their once in a lifetime obligation , the 5th pillar of Islam, - the haj pilgrimage to Mekkah.

For those of us who are unable to join them, for various reasons, perform qurban, sacrificing animals and distributing their meat to the needy. It is not a burden but is yet a sacrifice as we need to part with our saving to fulfil this requirement.

Allah does not wish to burden us

Allah does not wish to burden us. Only those who can manage to pay for their one seventh share of a cow are allowed to do so. Those who cannot afford to make this sacrifice in turn are given the meat as it is the right of the needy to receive help.

After all, Prophet Abraham was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail. Both father and son were loyal to Allah and they humbly accepted the command, submitting to the will of God. At the last moment, Allah substituted Ismail with a ram and they therefore passed a very great test of sacrifice.

Act of Submission

To commemorate this act of submission and to remind ourselves of Allah's Mercy all Muslims try their best to also make a sacrifice during this holy month of haj. The big difference is we are allowed to sacrifice a lamb or one seventh portion of a cow or more, instead of having to sacrifice our children.

How Merciful is Allah. He does not need anything from us and we need everything from Him. How small we are and yet we sometimes walk haughtily upon this earth, forgetting who is the real Master of the Universe.

This Eidul Adha we decided to do something very different.

We decided to go to Seremban, Negri Sembilan to perform solat Eidul Adha with the revert brothers and sisters at the Masjid frequented by many reverts. Seremban is less than an hour away via the highway but since everyone would be using the main roads, we decided to take a drive along the old roads to avoid the usual massive holiday traffic jams.

It took us about half an hour to reach USJ 6 from Ampang. It took a long time because we were stuck in the jam and took a detour, via Duke highway, then to Bandar Utama before hitting NKVE to USJ in Subang. After that we took the KLIA Nilai road. All the effort was worth it as we managed to escape a very tortuous long crawl to Seremban.

Our main intention was to attend solat Eidul Adha (Eid prayers) in the Chinese Masjid (mosque) in Seremban. I met the imam and some of the Macma members there once. Had promised to visit them again. The kuthbah (sermon) was in Mandarin and some Arabic.


Very unique - if only I could understand Mandarin. It would be useful to distribute copies of the translation of the kuthbah. No point in sending the congregation(jemaah) nodding off to dreamland while the iman is speaking in Mandarin. What is the point of a kuthbah when it does not reach the ears and hearts of the jemaah? No doubt there will reward for listening but its better to share the knowledge. Don't you think so?

Chinese Style Masjid

Its really beautiful, with Chinese features and traditional Chinese style interior. The pagoda was a very nice touch. The best feature I loved are the gently swaying willow trees in the garden surrounding the building.

Assalamu alaikum dear friends, I'm back again!

Good to be back!

Been away for a really long time - since Ramadhan. And its already Eidul Adha already! With all the extra work and commitments in Ramadhan I decided to cool it and stayed away from my blog. Sometimes when we are too busy, the creative part of us become frozen in time.

Stale and Stilted Thoughts

Writer's block some may call it. We can still write but it will take more effort and time. And ideas may become stale and not spontaneous. I do not write with drafts and re drafts. Sometimes when the mood hits, my fingers just fly over the keyboard and words begin to form, as fast as the brain can muster the thoughts and feelings.

Feeling good about writing again

Its kind of coming back right now. I did not plan to write anything, just to check whether I needed to respond to any comments from my dear friends and readers. I love you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Thank you.

I need to improve my vocabulary

I do not like to stop when I am on a roll. That of course means I do not use words that I cannot remember how to spell anymore, due to long disuse. And also vague words from memory that I am no longer sure of what they mean exactly. Where's that old dictionary of mine?

I do envy (in a good and loving way) , my dear sister Hajar who writes so delicately and yet so effectively. I love the way she pens her thoughts.
Some of her little phrases inspire and make me want to put in more effort than just churning out my thoughts in a primitive manner.

Looking forward to more writing... soon! I promise.