Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Islamic Life interview

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am the mother of 3 Muslim children, wife to an Egyptian Muslim. I have been a SAHM for 11 years, and have been sewing off and on just as long. When my girls started learning how to pray, I asked many women from the Masjid and my husband's family about getting hijabs for the girls to practice with and kept hitting brick walls. My mother and sister in law helped us track down little girl hijabs to buy, but it wasn't an easily found item because most mothers just make them for their daughters. In countries and families where you grow up practicing Islam, its just something you know how to make.

I went to my Halaka one Friday night and was venting about this problem and a dear friend offered to bring me some outfits for the girls from overseas. When she returned, she brought me beautiful outfits, trimmed in lace and ribbon. They were so dainty and girly and pristine that my ladies didn't want to use them. They were afraid of ruining something so special.

I thought, if I am struggling so hard with this hurdle, I know I am not the only one! I want to be supportive of my daughters and teach them the proper way to pray, but why is it soo hard to find the support I need? I saw the need for prayer outfits for little girls who love colorful, fun and soft clothing.

Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Aside from being a wife, mother and the creative vision behind My Islamic Life, I am a teacher, a daughter, a good friend and sister. I love to read and cook, watch movies, spend time with my family and be present in my daily life.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Growing up Christian in America, I took for granted that I could find inspirational and devotional gifts and trinkets everywhere. In just about any store you go to, you could find some little something with a cross or Christian saying on it to remind yourself of your belief, or gift to someone who was having a bad day. I have started making Islamic themed jewelry to fill this void. I use English letters, and I stamp phrases and words on silver, brass and copper shapes, making necklaces and, Insha’Allah, bracelets. I have also been creating pendants, bracelets and earrings from Islamic and Middle Eastern themed clay beads.

In addition to sewing and crafting prayer outfits for little ladies, I make one and two piece prayer outfits for adults. I spoke to many women who were mending their one piece outfits in desperation because they could no longer buy them overseas. I take the time to make the outfit the way it should me made and in the fabric and colors specifically requested.

How do you promote your work?
I rely heavily on word of mouth and repeat customers on my shop site. I have a blog where I address issues that come up as the non Muslim partner and parent of a Muslim family. I also have a fan page on Facebook, and a Twitter Feed. I am trying to explore other ways of getting my name out there as a resource to American Muslims, parents of Muslim children and reverts to Islam. Primarily my customer base has been people who know me in person, who I see on a daily basis.

In the future I’d like to be helpful to more women like me. I would like to make a difference so that someone else’s journey might be a little easier. I would like to continue being a source of support and comfort to my daughters so that they grow up strong and confidant in who they are and what they believe.

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