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Great Women in Islam

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On March 19th & 20th 2016, I had the opportunity to attend an Al-Kauthar course taught by Sheikh Daood Butt called The Forgotten Jewels, Great Women of Islam.

The course could not have come at a better time. I was feeling a dip in my imaan (faith), which I’m sure some of you can relate to. Those periods of time that you get really busy and start to feel disconnected, purposeless, and yearn for some light. This course was my light, alhumdulillah.

Here are a few sprinkles of light from my notes:

  1. As a Muslim you should be a great example for society. This includes, among other things, adab. Adab refers to Islamic etiquette: refinement, good manners, morals, decorum, decency, and humanness.
  1. Allah does not like the person who others are scared to come and talk to. There is a hadith of the Prophet SAW narrated from Aisha RA where she described how the Prophet SAW was nicer to the evil person than the liked person. Don’t be that “scary” person or “evil” person. And be kind to those who are evil to you and act with adab. It’s tough, I know, but we have to try.
  1. Sheikh Daood discussed a particular story that stuck with me. He talked about a man from our community who had recently retired from his 9-5 job. This man decided that instead of staying home for retirement, he would go to the masjid from 9-5 instead and attempt to memorize the quran (at his old age). Subhanallah, he memorized the quran in 11 months! He is now 82. This man is a member of our Salam Shop community and lives in Mississauga.

    This story really motivated me to use my time wisely and never underestimate Allah’s power to help us learn – Rabbi Zidni Ilma (Oh Allah, increase me in knowledge.

  1. Hold female Muslims up to higher ideals. It’s not just about our hijab styles and makeup. It’s what’s inside. Let’s all set our standards higher and stop judging everyone based on their appearance. There’s so much more women do and they should be recognized for it…instead of focusing on their outward beauty.
  1. Those who worship their desires, end up worshipping themselves. Food for thought! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of materialism – the newest iPhone, branded clothing, fancy cars, etc…All of which are ok, as long as you’re not worshipping them. And as long as they don’t define who you are.
  1. Don’t let your mind stop you from reaching your goals and use your strengths to achieve what you want. Get over your fears, because Allah creates those fears for a reason – and He can remove them as well
  1. Accept what Allah has given you and don’t put that much pressure on yourself. It’s so important to accept that everything that happens in this life is only by the will of Allah. So, be content with what you’ve been given and accept your life and all the ups and downs it comes with.

We wrapped up the course by listing amazing Muslim women of our time:

It’s been over a month since I attended the course, and since that time I have decided to continue sharing my learnings. I started a networking event series for women called #SociaLight, which acts as a meaningful venue for people to share their light with one another and make meaningful connections. We had our inaugural event this past Saturday, and it was an illuminating event. To hear more about our future events, subscribe to our mailing list at salamshop.ca.

I hope this blog inspires you to share YOUR light with your community.

“What’s beautiful is that you have been chosen by Allah to have imaan (faith)”

 

Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World

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Did you know that many of the most important scientific discoveries of modern civilization came out of Muslim society?

From hospitals to pharmacies, architecture to maps, and coffee to cameras, the advancements in health, geography and science are endless. My interest for this topic came about when I picked up a copy of 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization by National Geographic.

As an engineer, I’ve always been fascinated by scientific innovation so this book was really my cup of tea! As I devoured the enriching pages of this book, I couldn’t help but think about activities that would make learning this topic even more fun! Hence, we introduced the Salam Shop March Break Discovery Camp – a 3 day camp program for girls, focused on Islamic advancements in 3 key areas: health, geography, and science.

I wanted to combine my love for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and my passion for empowering girls and women into a program that would be awesome and educational. Thus, the program is open for girls only to ensure maximum participation and a comfortable / confidence building environment.

So, what’s included? Well for starts, I’ll be the instructor and I have over 8 years of teaching experience in a camp setting for kids. We’re limiting camp registration to ensure each child gets individual attention (only 10 spots available!). We are also including an Islamic ayah of the day and a Hadith of the day to renew our intentions and set the purpose for our activities (and life!). Each day will include 2 discovery activities related to the topic of the day (health, geography, or science) and to keep both our right and left brain active, we’ll also have a creative activity each day. Kids will have a half hour lunch + R&R break where we’ll be zen-doodling, colouring, or doing yoga.

Overall, it’s going to be an enriching 3 days and I am SO excited to get started! One of the benefits of being the camp instructor is I get to do ALL of the activities…woot woot!

We are now taking registrations for girls between the ages of 8 to 11 so you can sign up here: bit.ly/SalamCamp

If you have a child who may be interested in volunteering at the camp, please send an email with header “March Break Volunteer” to salam@salamshop.ca

20 Questions with the Founder of Salam Shop

I was feeling overwhelmed about my scheduled blog post for this week. I had written a simple description: “Review of Year 1 at Salam Shop”. I don’t know how I had imagined that I could simply review a whole year / 12 months / several events / so many amazing customers / etc. in a single blog post, let alone several blog posts. So, I changed my mind and we’re now doing an entrepreneur style “20 Questions With”. The questions are straight from this article with Randi Zuckerberg by Entrepreneur (she’s Mark Zuckerberg’s sister). I hope it gives you some more insight into who I am and what I do (besides drink tea in pretty cups)! Enjoy!

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1. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an astronaut at one point (Roberta Bondar was a huge inspiration).
After that phase, I wanted to be the President. Then my Baba told me Canada doesn’t have a President, so I wanted to be the Prime Minister.

2. What was your first business idea and what did you do with it?

In grade 4 my friend, Natalie, and I created these little embroidered dolls with toothpicks (here are several on pinterest so you can see how cute they were). We sold them to friends and teachers and family for a few bucks each. I wasn’t allowed to keep the money so we donated it to a charity at school.

3. What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

I wish I knew that not everyone has your best interest in mind and that you really do have to be constantly looking out for yourself and your business. It’s also important to make it clear to separate business and friendship.

4. What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had? 

I learned how to NOT treat people and to NOT micromanage. I also learned that those “worst bosses” actually had a really tough job and I didn’t give them enough credit for what they did. So, if you’re reading this: thank you for putting up with me!

5. What is the strangest marketing experiment you ever did?

Years ago I started a modest clothing business without actually owning any product. It was an experiment to see how the market would react to certain styles of clothing and if it was a need. I actually photographed pieces that I owned with “models” (my friends) and posted them on a facebook page. When tons of people showed interest, I started collecting feedback and data points and then ordered product based on that.

6. What’s your best hiring tip/secret?

If your personalities mesh and they take direction and feedback well, they’re golden! If they make a mean cup of chai or coffee they are hired (just kidding).

7. How do you use social media?

Haha! I use it religiously?! Social media has taken Salam Shop all over the world! I use it for everything and anything – but mostly to connect with our customers and potential customers. I like to give a glimpse of what the shop “feels” like for those who can’t come in person and I like to make them feel like they’re part of our story…because they are. I recently started using snapchat (@mysalamshop1) and that is mostly for shop tours, my office rants and random things that happen in my life.

8. What do you admire most about your mom or dad?

Mom – her ability to be there for every single one of her kids whenever we need her and her strength (both emotional & physical – she can lift!)
Baba – his ability to make a life for his family in Canada as an immigrant and never rely on anyone financially. He taught me how to stand up on my own two feet and how to be smart with money.

9. What’s your favorite book?

My pink rainbow quran and my mini translation quran – they go with me pretty much everywhere. There’s a story in the quran for every hardship and dilemma one faces, you just have to look for it.

10. What did you learn from your biggest failure?

I learned how important it is to have failure in your life – it’s the only way you can grow and it’s the only way you can be real with yourself. The first time you fail is really difficult. Now I encounter failures regularly and bounce back from it quickly. We don’t call them failures at Salam Shop. We call them “learning experiences”. This makes me laugh because we have so many “learning experiences” :)

11. How do you find inspiration?

I love meeting motivated people and people with passion!
Besides that, I love watching Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan videos on You Tube, as well as Shaykh Omar Suleiman and other teachers.

12. What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?

Best: This happened at RIS this past December when we were setting up our booth and things were crazy. Someone reminded me, “Verily with hardship comes ease”. It was an a-ha moment where I immediately relaxed – Allah swt does not test you with anything you cannot handle.

Worst: This is actually hard to think of, mostly because I don’t hold on to things that bother me and bad advice bothers me. I’ve had a lot of people advise me to go back into engineering, which I find hilarious. Any advice that involves NOT following your passion would be bad advice to me.

13. What’s your productivity secret?

Wake up for Tahajjud + Fajr and while everyone else goes to sleep, stay up and get some work done! You can nap later, but the barakah in those morning hours is unmatched.

14. How do you cope with nerves before public speaking?

I love public speaking so I don’t really get nervous, but I guess I would look at cute pics of my niece and nephews.

15. What’s your favorite quote?

“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”
“I respond to the call of the calller when he calls upon me”
“Hold firmly to the rope of Allah”
…so many!!

16. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who don’t respect others time. People who use scare tactics in business. People who are arrogant. People who think they know everything. Crumbs on the kitchen counter.

17. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Madinah <3 I also love Turkey but have never had enough time there. Is it lame if I say California? I love California so much.

18. What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime thus far?

I don’t want to sound lame and say the iPhone so I will say modern healthcare.

19. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Living or dead? If living, I would love to have dinner with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan / Shaykh Omar Suleiman / Yasmin Mogahed / Richard Branson / Justin Trudeau / Maria Forleo..maybe just one big round table :)

If dead – Prophet Muhammad SAW / Khadija RA (omg imagine the business tips)

20. What was your favorite class in university?

We had a transformational leadership class during the MBA program at Ivey. It was an elective class that took us through case studies of various leaders and it was also an introspective look at our own leadership style and what kind of leader we wanted to be. There was one session where it was a “near death experience” and it was kind of like hypnosis where we all lay down and imagined being on our death bed. The tears were real and the feelings were insane – that class changed my life.

My Umrah Journal

Salam Shop at the Kabah

Subhanallah, I had the opportunity to start my 2016 with a trip to the holy lands of Makkah & Madinah for Umrah. It was a stressful time to go – just days after #RIS2015 (which, was oh-so tiring and oh-so much work but alhumdulillah, thanks to your support it was oh-so succesful!) BUT when Allah swt calls, you respond. Alhumdulillah.

Off I went to the blessed lands and started off my 2016 on a spiritual foot. I wanted to share one particular story from my “umrah journal”, which is not actually my physical umrah journal (although I have one) but the special memories from my trip. There were many special memories. This is but one.

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This story begins in Madinah (my most favorite place in the entire world, particularly inside Masjid Nabawi). I was reading my pink leather rainbow quran while sitting on my pink prayer mat. If you’ve been for Umrah, you know there are Umrah groups from all over the world. I happened to be sitting beside a Malaysian group of women, all matching in their prayer hijabs and skirts.

My pink rainbow quran from Salam Shop at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

My pink rainbow quran from Salam Shop at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

The lady beside me kept glancing at my quran and I could see her friends also glancing over and presumably chatting about its awesomeness. Finally, the lovely lady beside me, who I later learned was called Fitrana, asked me where I was from. I said Canada and then asked her where she was from. She wouldn’t believe me and said “I think you’re from here” (ie: Saudi). I chuckled and said yah / um / no / never (just kidding..I just said no).

My umrah backpack and all my ibadah goodies.

My umrah backpack and all my ibadah goodies.

She said “I love your pink quran and pink everything!”. I thanked her and continued reading quran. I was pretty focused and sometimes I find these conversations can get lengthy. I know, sounds so mean, but if you’ve been for Hajj or Umrah you know that sometimes the where are you from / are you married / do you have kids “convos” can go on and on. There’s something to be said of being kind to others (of course!) but I really needed to get some good hours of ibadah in!

Anyways, the story continues with Fitrana trying to sneakily take a pic of me…I saw her…looked at her…and we started laughing. Then she ASKED if she could take a photo of me. I said sure / why not! Then immediately asked for a selfie with her (LOL). She said “beautiful girl from Canada” and it melted my heart. I actually wiped a few tears when she wasn’t looking. Partially because I actually looked so darn ugly that day but mostly because of her kindness. Here I was, in my own world, reading my quran and unaware of my surroundings and unaware of my blessings. Of Canada. Of my ability to obtain a quran in pink leather and bring it all the way to Madinah while sitting on my pink prayer mat.

My new Malaysian friend, Fitrana, and I, at Masjid Nabawi in Madinah, Saudi Arabia

My new Malaysian friend, Fitrana, and I, at Masjid Nabawi in Madinah, Saudi Arabia

How blessed am I. Subhanallah!

Long story short, when Fitrana got up to leave, I gave her my pink rainbow quran. Those of you who know me (or follow me on Instagram) know that I LOVE my quran. Like love. It sits on my bedside table and I take it with me everywhere. You may have seen me at ISNA during taraweeh in a corner reading it. It’s like my security blanket of sorts.

But when I met Fitrana, I knew immediately I was going to give it to her. Why? Because my sister in law, Sahar bhabi, told me something a few years ago when I was prepping for Hajj that has stuck with me since. That Allah swt rewards you more when you give away something you LOVE. The more you love it, the more you will be rewarded for giving it away. So Fitrana was actually doing me a HUGE favor by accepting this little gift from me.

Fitrana gifted me back her sparkly prayer mat (she clearly new my style from a 10 minute encounter), which I will cherish. She taught me to be grateful for everything I have and something even more important – to not attach my love to objects. Of course I loved my Quran, but I can get another one (luckily I work at the coolest shop in town that carries them), but even if I couldn’t get another one, the love it brought was from Allah swt and He is always with me.

I wanted to share this story so that I could inspire you for 2016.

When you meet your “Fitrana” at the grocery store, at your child’s hockey game, or at the masjid, be giving and willing to part with something you love for Allah swt’s mercy and blessings.

I pray you and your family are blessed with a trip for Hajj or Umrah soon, inshallah. Ameen.

The inside of the domes near the Rawdah. It is floored with green carpet, which are a "piece of heaven".

The inside of the domes near the Rawdah. It is floored with green carpet, which is a “piece of heaven”. Alhumdulillah I was able to pray a few nafl.

Being jostled at the entrance to the Rawdah. My expression showcases the emotion. Why can't everyone just be nice and calm and organized. Yeesh.

Being jostled at the entrance to the Rawdah. My expression showcases the emotion. Why can’t everyone just be nice and calm and organized. Yeesh.

 

Upon completion of umrah. Subhanallah!

Upon completion of umrah. Subhanallah!

 

Dalphies Bridal Lounge at Salam Shop

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It was Coco Chanel who said: “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”. That really stayed with me. Not just because I’m obsessed with everything and anything related to fashion, but because I always felt fashion was more than just pieces of fabric or accessory you wear. It’s a statement you make about yourself in the world, to the world, to yourself!

When I originally came up with the idea of Dalphies, it was meant to serve a niche audience of women who were looking for authentic, quality designer apparel without having to travel thousands of miles.  The root word of Dalphies comes from Delphanium – it’s a flower. Dalphies symbolizes growth and beauty. Beauty inside and out! We’re more than just an online boutique.  We’re a place where the every day women can empower herself, whether she’s looking for that perfect dress giving her access to a world of fashion and ease without ever breaking a sweat!

I remember when I was getting married – worrying about so many things at one time. From receiving my outfits on time to making sure it was customized it in the right colour or even trying to figure out what the latest trends in fashion at that time were, it was all just exhausting!  Dalphies is about bridging that gap between the “Oh my goodness how am I going to do this all” moment to the “Ok, I got this under control!”

Since our launch we’ve received customers from all around the world. It’s been incredible to watch people receive Dalphies in such a satisfactory way, knowing that we can give them the best quality delivered right to their door. So we thought, wouldn’t it be great to launch an event where our customers would be able to either view, purchase or even place an order on our 2015/2016 Apparel and Accessories collection? And our answer was that it wouldn’t be great….it would AWESOME!!

So we teamed up with Salam Shop to give you Dalphies Bridal Lounge Pop Up Event! A rare opportunity to view, purchase and order our fabulous collection of apparel and accessories. We even made the event extra special by offering brides-to-be with special access to our Dalphies Bridal Consultants. By booking an appointment with one of us, you will receive access to a complimentary bridal makeup trial including some special swag and Dalphies bridal package!

So if you’re located in the GTA come visit us on October 24th between 12pm-6pm at Salam Shop. If you’re a bride, email us at bridal@dalphies.com to schedule an appointment with us! 

Till then, remember to Shop, Inspire, and Dream ☺

Sara Rangooni is the founder of Dalphies and believes in growth and beauty. Her online boutique is a place where women have access to a world of fashion with ease. 

 

Investing in Our Community through Nisa Homes

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We are excited to announce our Community Investment Project with Nisa Homes! Alhumdulillah, we are now in a position to respond to the needs of our local community and are undertaking this investment project as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. In the next year, you’ll see opportunities to help us invest in our community through Nisa Homes through in-shop events, in-kind donations, and more. 

The following blog is by Zena Chaudhry of Nisa Homes, and describes some of the work the organization does for women in our community. 

Homelessness. Poverty. Food insecurity. Domestic violence. These are just a few of the issues I deal with on a daily basis as a House Operator for Nisa Homes. Being situated in the Greater Toronto Area means that I see women and children from every ethnicity and every corner of the globe.

When I joined Nisa Homes in April, I could never imagine that this many Muslim women and children could be left without shelter or food. I’ve worked with women who have been physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically abused and have had their children witness these acts of violence. I’ve also worked with refugee women and children who do not have a cent to their name and have escaped violence in Syria and Iraq. These women have left everything and everyone they know and have moved to a country where they are given little to no support.

I was born and raised in the GTA and I could never have imagined the hardships that women and children in my own community face. Coming from a middle-class, Muslim, South Asian family, I was blessed with a roof over my head and food on my plate. My parents sheltered us from the aspect of worrying about finances, paying bills, worrying about where our next meal was coming from, or being exposed to many of the difficulties others face. It was always a foreign concept framed as “we have to help the poor and less fortunate because we’re blessed with a comfortable life.” We rarely explored why that single mother needed assistance every month to buy food for her four children, or why that father was on welfare, or why that family of ten lived in a two-bedroom apartment. When I began volunteering with various organizations and then became a House Operator, I realized how much poverty we could eliminate if we worked together and removed the stigma around welfare and homelessness in our community.

I also realized that the women that came to Nisa Homes weren’t raised on the streets. They weren’t from “broken homes” and they didn’t make bad decisions that caused them to end up in this situation. They were often from regular middle-class families like my own – but when things turned south, everything fell apart because they were never taught how to plan for a rainy day; how to handle finances, bills, debt, housing and employment insecurity.

Now that I’m part of Nisa Homes I look forward to removing the stigma around these issues. I will be at the Salam Shop Paint Night this Friday to answer questions you may have about our organization, the issues in our community, and how we can work together to educate our community about homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, and domestic violence.

The Number One Thing I Do for Self-Care

Zen Clean Photo Sudduf House

Note: Zen Clean is offering a 25% discount to all of my lovely readers with the discount code: SALAMSHOP. It expires October 10th, so act fast!

If I could use one word to describe my life, it would definitely be “blessed”.

If I could use two words, the second one would be “busy”.

As a wife, entrepreneur, aunt of four and community activist, time is a scarce resource. I think I do an OK job at balancing everything, but there are definitely times when some loose ends are left untied.

Despite this, I’m a firm believer in the importance of self-care. A lot of us, especially us ladies, are ready to invest heavily in things that make other people happy (as we should).

But at the same time, our bodies and mental health have rights. You can only give so much until the vessel is empty, so I make sure to re-energize with something just-for-me regularly.

Recently, my friend and entrepreneur Assya Moustaqim treated me to an extra-special treat: a home cleaning. She’s just launched her new cleaning business Zen Clean, and was giving away a few cleanings to get feedback on the Zen Clean experience.

My feedback? LOVED it.

First of all, it was awesome being able to book, pay and schedule for my cleaning all online. No phone tag with cleaners. The whole thing took me a cool 60 seconds.

Second of all, the peace of mind Zen Clean provides is phenomenal. Zen Clean’s cleaners are all vetted, insured and bonded, so I felt completely safe having them in my home. I even fell asleep during the cleaning! Zen Clean also guarantees that you will be 100% happy with your cleaning, or else they’ll send someone back and fix things up for free.

I’d never had my home cleaned before (at least ever since I stopped living with my Mom) and I didn’t know what I was missing. My husband and I clean our home, but you can’t compare the results to that of a professional cleaner. Every detail was sparkling, even the baseboards. My home is now so much easier to maintain.

Would I use Zen Clean again? YES! Zen Clean was one of the best decisions in self-care I’ve made in a while.

Interested? Zen Clean is offering a fabulous 25% discount to all of my readers with the code SALAMSHOP. It expires Oct. 10th, so enjoy soon! Check them out here: getzenclean.com

Decorating for Eid

Subhanallah, Eid-ul-Adha is just days away! I always feel like Eid-ul-Adha creeps up so unexpectedly – there’s no month of fasting to prepare like with Eid-ul-Fitr but as soon as Dhul Hijjah starts, it’s a race against time to up our Ibadah and get our Eid prep done.

This Eid is also my husband and I’s one year “Hajj-erversary”. Last year we were blessed with the invitation for Hajj and were in the holy city of Mecca gaining Allah swt’s utmost blessings. Oh, how I long to return one day inshallah and pray you are all given the opportunity to fulfill this pillar of Islam. Ameen!

So, I wanted to make this Eid really special. Let’s ignore the fact that the my hubby will be working on Eid and then on call that night. Yes. Let’s ignore that.

I wanted to create a look that reminded me of Hajj and the beautiful Kabah. Lucky for me, the brand new collection from Embellish Occasions for Eid-ul-Adha is all black and gold! Score! I also integrated a beautiful custom art piece that was made by Anam K Art – a kabah rendition on wood with gold foil and beaded accents. Yes, it’s as beautiful as it sounds, mashallah. What a delight when I found it in my office as a special gift. I love our brands – so much genuine goodness in these artists and entrepreneurs, alhumdulillah!

In the following photos I’ll show you the pieces I used and how I set it up! Now all I need is to invite some friends and have an Eid party – do you want to come?

These velvet Happy Eid bags are so luxurious. You can give them as gifts with candy or treats inside. I think they're too pretty to give away...so I used them in my decor!!

These velvet Happy Eid bags are so luxurious. You can give them as gifts with candy or treats inside. I think they’re too pretty to give away…so I used them in my decor!!

I stuffed the velvet bags with a piece of paper towel and displayed them on a vintage plate I had with a gold border to go with my gold theme.

I stuffed the velvet bags with a piece of paper towel and displayed them on a vintage plate I had with a gold border to go with my gold theme.

I love candlelight but didn't want to set the house on fire so I picked up these mini LED candles at the dollar store (2 in a pack) and used my mini creme brulée pot as a candle holder since it was black and matched the theme.

I love candlelight but didn’t want to set the house on fire so I picked up these mini LED candles at the dollar store (2 in a pack) and used my mini creme brulée pot as a candle holder since it was black and matched the theme.

Voila! Instant candle holder!

Voila! Instant candle holder!

Although I really wanted to purchase a new Eid sign, I couldn't justify it since I had this awesome custom sign made for me a few years back. The cream with gold sign is super elegant and this piece is one of a kind, made by the Craft Souk!

Although I really wanted to purchase a new Eid sign, I couldn’t justify it since I had this awesome custom sign made for me a few years back. The cream with gold sign is super elegant and this piece is one of a kind, made by the Craft Souk!

And the final piece - a glitter gold Eid Mubarak sign for my door! I want to put this outside on the day before Eid so when we have guests they can feel welcome! We have this piece in silver as well to fit any decor. It's made on a piece of foam and super versatile so it can be used in a variety of ways.

And the final piece – a glitter gold Eid Mubarak sign for my door! I want to put this outside on the day before Eid so when we have guests they can feel welcome! We have this piece in silver as well to fit any decor. It’s made on a piece of foam and super versatile so it can be used in a variety of ways.

And the final look with everything altogether!

The final look! I purchased the lights from the new Eid collection from Embellish Occasions and strung them to my blinds.  I put the kabah custom piece in the center of the display and put everything on top of two gold drum tables that I borrowed from the shop. These were originally purchased from Target in Canada.

The final look! I purchased the lights from the new Eid collection from Embellish Occasions and strung them to my blinds.
I put the kabah custom piece in the center of the display and put everything on top of two gold drum tables that I borrowed from the shop. These were originally purchased from Target in Canada.

I used a black glitter table runner to add some more sparkle to the tabletop.

I used a black glitter table runner to add some more sparkle to the tabletop.

The beautiful paper behind the Kabah is a piece of wrapping paper from Modern Eid! I thought it made the perfect backdrop to the scene. Don't you just love the sparkle from the lights?!

The beautiful paper behind the Kabah is a piece of wrapping paper from Modern Eid! I thought it made the perfect backdrop to the scene. Don’t you just love the sparkle from the lights?!

Show us your eid decor! Tag #mysalamshop and #eiddecor2015 so we can see what you’ve set up! EID UL ADHA MUBARAK TO ALL! Please keep the Salam Shop team in your duas.

How to Prepare for Hajj 2015

My husband and I at the Kaabah in Mecca during Hajj 2014.

My husband and I at the Kaabah in Mecca during Hajj 2014.

Hajj. The most blessed / meaningful / wonderful trip of your life. 

I was blessed with an invitation to Hajj last year and subhanallah I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. One whole year has gone by and I cannot tell you the feeling in my heart of not being there this year. I feel chills as my fingers type these words.

Hajj. The experience that will change your life, forever.

The view from the Fairmont. Subhanallah!

The view from the Fairmont. Subhanallah!

I didn’t have the chance to blog about my Hajj experience when I returned last year because I was too busy opening up this cute little shop called Salam Shop 😉 Have you heard of it?

Alhumdulillah, there was so much barakah in all of my moments after Hajj, today included. I hope that never goes away. Oh how I miss you Madinah .. I left my heart there. May Allah swt bring me back there soon inshallah (ameen).

Don’t fret – just because I didn’t blog about it doesn’t mean I can’t point you in the right direction. My go-to person for Hajj preparation was my sister-in-law Sahar from Chai with Sahar. She spent hours with me talking about her experiences, teaching me how to write duas, and she also lent me the best chiffon abayas that were lightweight and totally bright so I wasn’t lost amongst all the other black and white wearers at the harem. Score!

I can honestly say that Sahar bhabi has a special place in my heart since my Hajj preparation time. She’s such a giving person and so genuine … and now that we have a Hajj connection, I’m never letting her go. She made my hajj preparation a breeze. Love you girlie!!

But first, this is where you should START your prep. And it’s also what Sahar bhabi recommended as the first step in hajj preparation and alhumdulillah it was very helpful:

HAJJ COACH dot COM

You can get through the entire set of videos over a day or two. Take notes! Then when you read the next section here, you can add to your notes.

Need a new hajj notebook? We have super cute ones at the shop!

Knowing all of that, I point you to Sahar’s three part blog series about hajj preparation.

Part 1: A billion (or so) Hajj Tips & Tricks

  • packing list
  • general preparation

Part 2: A billion (or so) Hajj Tips & Tricks

  • doing good deeds
  • the winning tawaf stance
  • making a comprehensive dua list

Part 3: A billion (or so) Hajj Tips & Tricks

  • shopping / tips to keep you focused
  • getting to know your shuyukh
  • how to not get sick

And…if that’s not enough Hajj preparation for you (because, if you’re like me, you need to feel 120% prepared / regardless of the fact that everything changes when you get there!) here’s another take on Hajj preparation from our friend Seher Haque at Simply In Control. Isn’t it slightly creepy / awesome that both our Hajj prep stars are named Seher/Sahar! Umm…yah. It’s an awesome name. (Side note: my sister’s name is also Sehr…wow…)

A note from Seher Haque:

Assalamu Alaikum! I was blessed to be able to go for Hajj last year and it was my first time going to Mecca for Hajj – I had been for Umrah before. I found it difficult knowing exactly what I’d need on my 2-3 week trip, so, after coming back, I compiled a 3 part series about what to pack for Hajj in hopes of making it easier for other pilgrims. This list is very comprehensive. I hope you are able to benefit from it inshaAllah! May Allah SWT accept your hajj and please remember me in your duas!

Part 1: The Basics

Part 2: What to Pack

Part 3: Healthcare & Religious Items

My Hajj experience was closer to Sahar bhabi’s as we went with a similar Hajj group, in that they provided a lot of the same things (backpacks, ihrams, prayer mats, etc), but the tips from Seher may apply to you if you are going with a group that’s a little different! One things for sure, no matter what group you go with: you must pack PATIENCE (a customer just came in and quoted this so I’m totally stealing her quote – Naureen, I hope you read this!). As soon as you get to Pearson (or whatever airport you are flying out of) you will encounter test upon test.

My test? My cell phone broke hours before our flight. Luckily my hubby got me some sort of replacement before we left but how likely is that to happen … right?! It was a TEST!

As I say goodbye to all of you readers reading this post, I wish but one thing – that you make sincere dua for me, my family, and my little shop. May we always stay straight and steadfast on our journey here on earth, free from illness, and always in His service. May we be among those of jannah, with you, and your family. Ameen.

Please share this with your friends & family going for hajj and comment below if you found it helpful or know of any other blogs/tips that would help the pilgrims.

xoxo

Sudduf

 

Creative Muslim Women – Toronto Meetup

The artistic result of the Toronto Creative Muslim Women meetup

The artistic result of the Toronto Creative Muslim Women meetup

I had the pleasure of attending the first ever #creativemuslimwomen meetup in Toronto today at Studio 89. Creative Muslim Women (CMW) is a supportive community of female Muslims that participate in inspirational works – entrepreneurship, blogging, designing, painting, etc and meet together (usually online) to share the accomplishments, trials and tribulations of being a creative. This means sharing new project and product ideas, successes, challenges, and sometimes just venting about life.

The Toronto Chapter of Creative Muslim Women met in person for the first time to network and create together. Sidra Syed of Sidra’s Art Boutique hosted the event and started the afternoon off with intros of course! Obviously I was taking notes on all the awesome women I was finally getting a chance to meet in person. Obviously everyone thought I was a huge nerd. Obviously they are now all going to share this post 😉

  • Sidra Syed from Sidra Art Boutique
    • economist / mommy / artist
  • Ana Moaz from Ryerson’s Retail Management Program
    • became interested in entrepreneurship while working at Salam Shop (aw yeaaah!)
  • Anam Khan from Anam K Art
    • artist and soon to be student (again!)
  • Asmaa from Ruqaya’s bookshelf
    • social worker / parenting aficionado
  • Naeema Farooqi from The Link Canada
    • academic / entrepreneur / all around awesome
  • Naira Ahmed from Studio Noon
    • graphic designer for brands like Haya Boutique and The Link Canada
  • Sobia Hussain (with Sadaf & Maryam) from The Olive Tree Soap Co
    • artisanal soap maker extraordinaire
  • Farheen Khan from The Craft Souk
    • author / designer / business owner
  • Sonja Lang from Toki Pona
    • invented a language. yes. a language.
  • Hafsa Taher from Hafsa Creates
    • maker / connector / designer / entrepreneur
  • Naseeba Khader
    • illustrator / mum / going for Hajj mashallah!!
  • Assya MB from Green High Five
    • article about 200 days of buying nothing went viral
  • Omaira from Black Board White Chalk
    • educator / thinker / writer
  • Sameera Ali 
    • digital media specialist
  • Me / Sudduf Wyne from Salam Shop
    • creative director / small business consultant

We then got introduced to a fun game of “organize the art supplies”. It was a super cute game that involved a bag full of art supplies that had to be separated and bagged into individual ziploc baggies by type. The catch: do it in the fastest time to be reigned the organizing queens and winners of a prize!!

Here are some of the results:

  1. 27.23 seconds / Hafsa Taher (Hafsa Creates) & Farheen Khan (The Craft Souk)
    1. Nobody wanted to compete against the above two powerhouses. I, however, have seen Farheen’s craft room, and had my doubts. I love you Farheen :)
  2. 25.40 seconds / Ana Moaz (Retail Management Specialist) & Anam Khan (Anam K Art)
    1. Ana is super competitive. I knew she would do AWESOME! You go girl!
  3. 30.08 seconds / Sudduf Wyne (Salam Shop) & Naeema Farooqi (The Link Canada)
    1. We chatted about life and times while sorting. Leave us alone.
  4. 21.23 seconds / Sobia Hussain (Olive Tree Soap Co) & daughter Maryam
    1. Um wow. Just. Wow!
  5. 26 seconds / Assya MB (Green High Five) & Sameera (Digital Media Specialist)
    1. It’s hard to beat a mother daughter team in group (4)
  6. 31.12 seconds / Naira Ahmed (Studio Noon) & Asma Hussein (Ruqaya’s Bookshelf)
    1. Naeema and I were unbelievably happy that we were not in last place. Thanks Naira and Asma for that 😉

Thus, Sobia and Maryam were crowned the organizing queens and won some fab prizes including a handmade chevron necklace by Sidra Art Boutique and some mini canvases from Anam K art.

Finally, it was time to CREATE. We emptied our backpacks, totes, and purses with our art supplies and got messy. Studio 89 was such a great location to create. It was open and airy and the natural light was amazing. Hafsa Taher did some stamp tutorials with a few folks, Anam Khan had canvas painting going on with some others, and Farheen Khan hoarded the good markers and created her own “personal space” as she called it, of solitude and independent creative time. Once again, I love you Farheen.

The rest of us dabbled in watercolor paintings (me included) and henna art (Sidra leading the pack) and set out to create our masterpieces.

Using my metallic watercolour paint palette for the first time. So much fun!

Using my metallic watercolour paint palette for the first time. So much fun!

How. Freaking. Relaxing.

Like when was the last time I sat down and painted. Ok, wait, I did last night at paint night at Salam Shop with Anam. But before that…ok well then it was the previous time at paint night with Anam. BUT ANYWAYS, this was still very relaxing and liberating and all around awesome.

The afternoon ended with lots of selfies, hugs, and a group photo.
The next meetup will be in the fall, inshallah, and I can’t wait!

I love me a good selfie moment!

I love me a good selfie moment!

For more information about Creative Muslim Women, check out their website HERE or their instagram HERE. Photo Credits: Sidra Syed, Hafsa Taher.

The whole group hanging out at Studio 89

The whole group hanging out at Studio 89

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