Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mia Mikhail 2016 Collection

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to be invited as a plus one for my pal, Imelda Harris to a fashion show by Mia Mikhail. It was also the official inauguration on their first offline boutique so we were doubly excited about the event.
Mia Mikhail is a three-sisters collaboration to providing exclusive prayer clothes (which we call telekung in Malay) to women. The have launched three different ranges of telekung for their 2016 collection: the cute and colourful Macarons, practical and ready-to-go Travel Telekung and the premium and exclusive range called Regal.

And here are some photos of the event:

The show started with a dance performance. I am amazed how the organisers were able to transform the boutique as the fashion venue. I do understand that obviously space might be slightly constrained but I do applaud them on their creativity in being able to fit everyone and at the same time have a decent amount of space for the runway as well. 

Macarons collection. Do excuse me for my amateurish photos. I did not want to get in the way of the professional photographers so I choose to stay put in my seat (thank you to the organisers for providing us front row seats). For better quality photos do look them up in their website or instagram page (link is at the bottom of this page). 

The regal collection. I really love how soft the material looks and absolutely adore the colours of this collection. For future shows, (if possible) perhaps the organisers may want to look into improving the lighting in the middle part of the boutique as well.

Us with the models and one of the founders of Mia Mikhail. 

Me and Imelda Harris. Babe, thank you for letting me tag along =).

So what can I say about their 2016 collection? Firstly, I love their Macarons range because the colours are very bold while at the same time, the designs are simple, making Macarons attractive ladies who would like to colour coordinate their wardrobe with their prayer clothes. I feel that with such vibrant colours, the Macarons range would definitely be very suitable for the younger (or young at heart) crowd.
The travel collection is definitely perfect for corporate professionals (and busy mothers) who needs a practical telekung (it comes with its own travel bag) which they can just carry anywhere they go (or even stuff them in their handbags). There's a huge element of convenience as well as practical style.
The regal collection is stunningly beautiful. I love the soft shimmer of satin as well as the sparkly flower embroidery on the telekung. It's definitely perfect as a gift to love ones or even as the prayer clothes for Eid.

I had a great time at their show and am definitely proud of this Malaysian homegrown brand. Looking forward to seeing more of their success in the future. To know more, do visit their website [here] or instagram page [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fashionista's Review: Calligraphy Workshop with KLigraphy

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend not one, but three workshops organised by KLigraphy, one on copperplate calligraphy, another on brush calligraphy and the third on chalk lettering. 
Okay, you may be wondering how did this come about (since I am the least creative person that my friends know of) and other than creative writing (which I love) and photography, I am no artist. I found out about the course online, from the instagram accounts of inezcalligraphy and inksandletters.  Saw a bunch of calligraphy videos and fell in love with calligraphy and decided that I, Fareiny, should learn calligraphy.

And here's my (not so) short photoblog of the workshops:

Day One: Copperplate Calligraphy

This is what greeted me when I came on the first day

A practice pad, a transparent folder to hold the worksheets in place, a cursive alphabet guideline, in two separate jars were Chinese ink and walnut ink, two nibs, a pencil, an oblique holder and a straight holder and finally, of course, my name, nicely written on a place card displayed on a cute little easel. 

Light refreshments were provided by mad_treats. The marshmallow cookies were absolutely delicious (I am still thinking about them until today *drool*).

Hi there! My name is... 

Inez and Jill giving briefings during the workshop. 

We started with a briefing on the tools and basic introduction on copperplate calligraphy and how the whole workshop will be conducted. Our first practice was done with pencil (obviously) as a warm up session. There are upstroke and downstroke techniques, the whys and how to get fine lines and thick lines into our letters. 

We also had some hands on demonstrations by Jill.

The main purpose of these demonstrations is to show us how it's done and what effect should we expect from our writing. 

Not to be left out, Inez also provided us with hands-on calligraphy demonstrations.

Me with Jill (inksandletters) and Inez (inezcalligraphy) at the end of Workshop # 1.

Hope I can write like this one day =). 

Day Two: Brush Watercolour Calligraphy 

For brush calligraphy, we were also provided with the necessary practice pad, worksheets, brush pens, a set of watercolours, fine paintbrush, a water brush pen and of course my name written up nicely in watercolour. 

Briefing on brush calligraphy.

Demonstrations by Jill.

Yummy food by mad_treats. Major love for their lemon tarts.

And these are what I came up with =)

For brush calligraphy, I actually find it to be more difficult than copperplate calligraphy simply because the brush is softer, thus it is more pliant to pressure. I wasn't able to achieve consistency on my upstrokes (they seemed almost similar to my downstrokes). However, I find that the colours made the words more interesting and fun. And it gave me some ideas on making colourful monograms for lil' bub's bedroom.

Chalk Lettering:

Jill and Inez had a lucky draw in the afternoon for two people to attend their chalk lettering session, and I won! Being not so lucky in lucky draws, I actually gave a small shriek of surprise *heh*.

We were given a chalkboard, a set of chalks, and an instruction booklet cum workbook along with a long ruler and pencil as part of our workshop kit. I find chalkboard lettering to be more difficult than the other two simply because there are more styles to think of and as I mentioned earlier, creativity is not my forte. But despite that, chalk lettering is way more fun and expressive. I can imagine doing this with Alexa in the future. 

Among the things that I wrote on my chalkboard. 

My final piece (oh okay, this is actually pretty bad and I assure you that my artwork does not in any way reflect Jill and Inez's talent). 

Okay, so what can I say about my weekend spent with pens, papers and brushes with Jill and Inez? Firstly, I would have to honestly say that it was an eye-opening workshop. There's so much technicality involved in writing and although it seems pretty difficult at first, calligraphy is actually doable for creatively-challenged people like me. Honestly, all three workshops were awesome. I enjoyed my time during the workshop and I find both instructors to be extremely helpful and clear in their instructions. If you are interested in calligraphy, do visit their website, KLigraphy [here] or you can follow their instagram accounts: inezcalligraphy and inksandletters.

If you'd like to follow my journey (and I promise I'll share some of my calligraphy practice sets) feel free to follow me on Facebook [here] and Instagram [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Story Episode 3

Today was a very busy day for me. Not only I had an event at noon with Ustadha Rayhaanah on Empowering Tools for Stress Management (I blogged about it in my earlier post), but I also have another event at 8 pm, The Story Episode 3 by Generasi Bersatu Malaysia. The Story is actually an event which showcases successful individuals and them sharing on what makes them successful. This time the organisers have invited three successful individuals in various fields; Tan Sri Nadzmi Salleh, the Chairman of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad, Datuk Norman Abdul Halim of KRU Studios and Datuk Aznil Haji Nawawi, Malaysia's No 1 Celebrity Host.

Here are some of the things that I managed to pick up from tonight's event:

Tan Sri Nadzmi Salleh shared most of his experiences and successes from his earlier endeavours, one as the Marketing Manager and later CEO of EON (Edaran Otomobil Nasional) and Proton. Among the tips that he shared is that:

1. Turn the problem into opportunities. He shared one instance when he was at EON and they had to figure out how best to sell Proton (EON is Proton's authorised car distributor) when it had some issues with the car boot. The problem was, the car boot is designed to have a certain amount of space for the spare tyre and that space needs to be covered appropriately. They (at EON) called a manufacturer and asked him what would it cost if he were to manufacture a nice car boot tray to cover the spare tyre. The manufacturer quoted them a price. They then made a study asking buyers how much would they pay for the car boot tray. The buyers stated a price which is double the price of the manufacturer. They consigned the manufacturer to make the trays and then sold it to customers (bundled with selling the car of course) at double the price.

2. Know what is the vision and mission of the firm and move towards achieving that mission and vision.

3. Understand quality. It is knowing who the customers are and what are their expectations.

4. Not only to focus on marketing and sales, but also understand the economics of the business. An example which he shared is in the case of Proton, to manufacture one product line, it needs an investment cost of at least 800 million to 1 billion. Thus, when doing marketing, keep in touch with the numbers/ target that the firm needs to sell in order to break even and make a profit. For Proton, the domestic market is not enough for it to recover its costs. Therefore the firm has to sell overseas in order to meet the numbers. They sold the car overseas at a lower price than the domestic market because they needed to be competitive to the overseas market. And they knew that they only needed to sell above the variable cost because fixed costs becomes lower as more cars are being manufactured and sold.

5. Good performance and best practices must be complimented with innovation and ideas. Here he shared an example of Kodak and how the company had to file for bankruptcy simply because it wasn't keeping up with the changing times.

Datuk Norman Abdul Halim shared on his experiences with KRU, how they first started (with a RM2,000 loan given by the recording company) and how they moved to where they are today as KRU Studios doing films, animations and soon to be gaming and virtual reality. Here are among the things that he shared:

1. It's not necessarily the technology but the people. When they were producing their song AWAS, their recording was made under the stairs (at their home) and they actually used egg trays and pasted the trays on the walls and under the stairs and this helped them to record the song and capture the acoustics that they needed for the song.

2. Datuk Norman likes football, so he used a lot of football terms and jargons in his session. Among them is that, in football, everybody has a different role to play. The striker aims for the goal, the defender ensures no one is able to break through to the team's side, the goalkeeper ensures that the goalpost is safe. The same is for a business organisation. The striker would most probably be the sales and marketing department who ensures that sales targets are made while the defender would be those in finance and accounting, ensuring that the business does not go under and stays afloat. The coach would be the CEO and the management team, determining the strategy of the firm and it's direction.

3. When making decisions, be aware of the state of your mood. Usually wrong (or bad) decisions are made when you are angry, sad or even too happy. Calm yourself down before making a decision.

4. You are bound to make mistakes. That doesn't mean that you have to stop. You have to move on past the mistakes. Clean up and minimise the damage.

Datuk Aznil Haji Nawawi or better known as Pak Nil was the last speaker and the most energetic of them all. Here are among the gems that he shared:

1. The stage is never big enough. He shared on his experiences from working at MISC and being on tv commercials, then moving to becoming a news presenter with TV3. After that he moved to being a game show host with Popkuiz and then as the host of Akademi Fantasia and then having his own show Macam-Macam Aznil and later having his own show with Channel E! What you have achieved today is not enough. Go and try to achiever bigger and better things.

2. You only have one chance. Do it right. Grab it and don't let go. When you love your job, you will never let it go. Never ever.

3. You have to do things differently to make people notice you. In that he refers to the way he dresses and wears his clothes (which is always on point and up to the occasion).

4. Nobody else can measure you except for your own self.

5. Work hard for it and own it. An example is that he uses his real name (some performers choose to have a stage name) and with that, there's a lot of responsibility hanging on what you do as you have to make sure you do right by your name (and in his case, by his father's name as well).

What can I say about all three speakers? 

All three speakers, despite coming from different backgrounds, share a lot of similarities. For one, they are very, very passionate in what they do. They know where their passion lies and they focus in the area. So much that work, does not feel like work. They are not afraid to give their all in what they do. They are not afraid to fail. And most importantly, they work hard to ensure that they will be successful. Here, having the confidence in yourself and what you do is very important because a lot of people shy back from being successful simply because they do not have confidence in themselves. As Pak Nil says it best, most Malaysians would not want to sit in the front seat, instead, they prefer to sit at the back.
Another thing is that they know what are their strengths and weaknesses. Instead of lamenting on their weaknesses, they focus on their strength and make it stronger. So strong in fact, that it overcomes whatever weaknesses that they have.
They strive to improve and move forward. Identify what is the trend and focus towards being updated with the upcoming trends. If you make mistakes, do damage control, pick yourself up and move forward.
Lastly, never ever give up.

I've definitely had an inspiring day and I hope I was able to generate inspiration in you too =). To learn more on Generasi Bersatu and the good work that they do, do visit their website [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Empowering Tools for Stress Management

Earlier today I attended a sisters only session by one of my favourite speakers, Ustadha Rayhaanah Omar on Empowering Tools for Stress Management. It was an hour-long session but despite the short time, she had shared a lot of very good points, I felt compelled to share it here with everyone. And here are some of the points which I had managed to write down. Hope it will be as beneficial to everyone of you, as much as it was to me. Happy reading!

Sister Rayhaanah started the session with a guided imagery and visualisation exercise. Although I won't go into the details of the exercise here (I mean seriously, how will you be able to read my writing if I asked you to close your eyes, right?) but she did share on how powerful are the Quranic verses and how clear they are in terms of their description of the plants, animals, our organs, the people of the past and what is to happen in the future. Some verses are so full of details that you can actually imagine with clarity what the Quran is conveying to you. Among the surah in the Quran which we can refer to is Surah Ar-Rahman. 

She also shared a dua'a: 

للّهُـمَّ أَنْـتَ السَّلامُ ، وَمِـنْكَ السَّلام ، تَبارَكْتَ يا ذا الجَـلالِ وَالإِكْـرام
"O Allah, You are As-Salam and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of majesty and honour."
(As-Salam means The One Who is free from all defects and deficiencies.)

Remind yourself, "Allah is enough." And ask yourself, "Am I achieving the pleasure of Allah?" In life, we have choices to make. We have to take risks and we fear losing. There are similarities between risk and rizq. Rizq comes in many different forms, and not merely in financial gains. 

Ask from The One whose treasures never end. Abu Hurairah r.a. narrated that the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. said that: "A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: "If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: "Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your "if" opens the (gate) for Satan."

Sister Rayhaanah also shared 5 dua'a life hacks that we can use in our daily lives: 
1. Begin every task with the name of Allah by saying, 
"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."

2. Sometimes you need to choose between 2 things, say, 
"O Allah, destine good for me and choose for me."

3. When overwhelmed, make this dua'a, 
رَبِّ اِنِّىْ مَغْلُوْبٌ فَانْتَصِرْ
"O' Allah, I am overwhelmed, so help me."

4. Ask for goodness and when something good happens, don't stop from making dua'a. Keep on asking, 
رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ
"My Rabb, surely I am in need of any good that you have given to me."

5. If you want to get rid of a problem in your life, pray two rakaahs and during sujood, supplicate with the dua'a which was recited by Prophet Jonah (or Yunus) and then make the dua'a for Allah to give you a way out to your problem. 
لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

How do we deal with stress? Two ways: (1) by making dua'a, and (2) by praying and asking Allah of what you need. Keep on asking and don't stop. Recite this dua'a:

اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَا أَنْتَ
 "O' Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye, and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You."

When we're stressed, if we are not careful, we can lose our faith. Therefore, we should always reflect back on the concept of tawhid in Islam and affirm our belief in Allah. These dua's are affirmations of the oneness of Allah. When faced with difficulty, know that Allah is with you. 

How can dua'a change from a mindset of stress to calmness?
First, know that it's okay to feel emotions. Emotions are from Allah. However, whether you choose to be enslaved to those emotions, then that is your choice to either be empowered or disempowered by the emotions. 
Secondly, when going through stress, your imaan is the one that suffers. That's why when stressed, people would say, "My imaan is at a low." The heart is such that it flips. Check back with ourselves, are we neglecting our faith? Are we distancing ourself from the Almighty?

So what should we do?
Examine our relationship with Allah. In Surah Taha, it is mentioned that, "And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." (20: 124). When we are stressed and overwhelmed, and we are not feeling joy in what we do, reflect in our relationship with Allah. Ask ourself, "What is the state of my solat/ Quran/ fasting/ charity etc?"

As the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. states, "Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/ happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him." 

Allah purifies you when you feel stressed, pain, overwhelmed or when any sorrow befalls you, as mentioned in this hadith, "No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that."

To conclude, know that we are bound to be tested. We are made to be stretched out of our comfort zone. As difficult as it is, we all do at some point in our life. And realise that everyone is experiencing a test differently than we do. Even Maryam, the mother of Isa, lamented on the test that she was facing as mentioned in the Quran in Surah Maryam, "... She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten." (19: 23)

In times of difficulty, things may not be as they seem, such as the tests which were faced by Prophet Ibrahim and the fire, Prophet Yunus and the whale, Prophet Musa's mother after his birth, Aisyah and the slander and Prophet Yusuf thrown into a well, left to die. Strive for that will benefit you, and seek the help of Allah. Remember that when you breath in, your breath is from Allah and when you breath out, your breath returns to Allah, as is your life in this dunya.

On this note, I'd like to share two reminders which I've set as the home screen and lock screen on my phone: 

I'll put them up in my Facebook page so that you can download and use them if you like.

So those were the points that I've gained from the talk and if I've made any mistakes, do let me know by commenting below this post and I'll make changes where necessary. Thank you to the organisers for making the talk possible and thank you to Sister Rayhaanah for sharing all the gems with us today. All praise be to Allah for making everything possible.

And for those who would like to know more on Ustadha Rayhaanah's work, do visit her website [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Monday, April 11, 2016

Fashionista's Book Review: Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf

I was given the book last year by the SRC (Student's Representative Council) at Inceif for participating as a speaker in the SRC's annual student conference. As I was reading another book at the time (Yasmin Mogahed's Reclaim Your Heart), I kept this book on the shelf and finally had the time to read it late last year.

This book is actually based on a poem which was written by Imam Al-Mawlud entitled Matharat al-Qulub (which I assume means Purification of the Heart, but do correct me if I'm wrong). The book expounds upon the poem by providing explanations, examples, verses from the Quran and Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. and it tries to shed light into what the verses of the poem meant. The topics are all about the heart; it covers all about the diseases of the heart (not physical diseases but emotional ones) and how we can cure ourself of those diseases.

When I first read the book, I was only able to read a page or two at a time simply because the subject matter is very heavy and I needed time to recover from reading (and absorb what is being said). Thus, one can say that this book is definitely not for light reading. I initially wasn't too keen on reading the book (after the first few pages) simply because I felt it caused a burden on my heart and made me feel kinda forlorn and I wasn't sure whether it's the right book for me. Now for those who know me, they would know that I'm quite a cheerful person with a positive outlook on life and heavy stuff just kinda anchors me and makes me mellow (or kinda out of sorts).

Anyway, I am not the kind to shy away from finishing a book and I don't like not being able to finish a book (unless of course it's a textbook, that's something entirely different and is on a different plane of its own). So I decided that I could only cover subtopic per reading session and I proceeded to do just that. A subtopic could range from a page and a half or even around 10 pages. After a while, having gotten used to the style of writing and how the author looks at the subject matter, I was no longer affected by how serious the book is and I actually kinda liked reading the book (i.e. it no longer felt heavy). In fact, I actually looked forward to my nightly sessions. I used to read the book right before I go to sleep just so that I can contemplate and understand what's being said without dealing with my daily distractions.

So, what can I say about the book? Firstly, it's an absolutely fascinating book. I never knew that there were so many diseases of the heart (I was slightly afraid of getting a heart attack from reading about all those diseases) and how I can actually relate to those diseases in my daily life. In fact, I have most of those diseases in me. What I've discovered is that, some things, we might take them lightly, but when it's put in perspective, it's not something that we should take lightly at all. Instead we should constantly be aware of them (bad habits, bad thoughts etc) trying to attach themselves to our heart.

Secondly, the book has definitely given me a different perspective about myself (and having read so many self help books, motivational books and books that try to give you insight about yourself, I am not easily surprised by what current/ present gurus are trying to say). But this book has helped me to see things in different ways and have even helped to see how I can recalibrate the direction that I want to take in the future if I want to be closer to my Creator. Indeed, Jannah is my goal (as it is with most people) and discovering the many diseases that I have in me (planted and nurtured *sigh*), I know that I need to change and I need to have a game plan if I want to stick to this direction.

Thirdly, I wouldn't mind reading this book again and again (just to make sure I remember what are the diseases of the heart) and recognise their symptoms. Inshaa Allah.

So, would I recommend the book? Most definitely! As I said, it's a heavy book, not that easy to read but it's definitely worth a read. Thank you to members of the SRC for gifting me with such a wonderful gift. May Allah reward you all immensely, ameen.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mystery of the Stolen Floor Mat Revealed

I have been living in KL for almost two years now and since then (including today), my floor mat has been stolen 3 or 4 times. It baffles me.

I mean seriously?

A floor mat?

Let me tell you why it baffles me:

First, it's a floor mat. It's what you use to wipe the dirt from underneath your shoes. It's what you use to filter the dirt which you've picked up from walking (from various places) and ensuring that your apartment/ house is not filled with the dirt that you've accidentally picked up from outside the home. Thus it's not exactly in pristine condition.

Secondly, it's only RM3.90. Not the most expensive floor mat either. It's not pretty either. It's the cheapest one available in Ikea. Yup, the black one. Hence, I know that this door mat is no eye candy.

Okay, let me tell you what happened:

My mum was on the phone (we were at home) and I heard a scratching sound near the door. And having had my floor mat stolen a couple of times, I realised that someone is pulling my floor mat from under my apartment door. A couple of inches of the floor mat is peeking from under the door, therefore if somebody were to pass by my apartment, they could definitely be able to identify that yes, I have a floor mat.

Now, this is where it gets to be interesting:

My apartment is at the end of the corridor. The apartment in front of mine is empty (my neighbour had moved out earlier last year) while the apartment next to mine is usually empty during the day (this neighbour is a very sweet young lady from Iran). For someone to purposely steal my floor mat, she (I actually confronted the thief today) would have to walk all the way to the end of the corridor (roughly about 30 metres or so) and come to my apartment (and when I think of it this way, it kinda creeps me out that someone is routinely checking out my floor mat and trying to steal them). And although a few inches of the floor mat is on the outer side of the door, you would need some effort to pull the whole thing out.

So when I realised that my floor mat was missing, I peeked out through the peephole of my door. The corridor was empty. I quickly unlatched my door, opened it and peeked out at the corridor. There was a small middle aged lady (dressed in a smart casual manner) about 5 - 10 metres away from my door, walking quickly towards the lift door. She had just put something (which appeared to be my floor mat) into her shoulder bag. And no, she is not my neighbour.

I called out to her and I said, "Excuse me, did you just take my floor mat?"

She didn't answer. She continued to walk quickly to the lift doors. When she had her fingers on the door, she looked at me.

I said again, "Excuse me, did you just take my floor mat?"

She looked at me, now both hands at the door and said, "No I didn't. I had come from the other side (i.e. the podium) and I was walking this way."

What amused me is that the direction in which she said she was walking is totally opposite from the direction that she took.

So I said, "Really? You did not take my floor mat?"

By this time, as much as the situation seemed pretty eerie to me (I mean this lady is kinda stalking my apartment and stealing my floor mat), I was also amused. Amused by the thought that here you are (the lady I mean) getting busted for stealing a RM3.90 floor mat.

She replied, "No." She then opened the lift doors and walked away.

I could have confronted her and insisted that I check her bag. And I know my floor mat would be in that bag. But I didn't. I mean, it's a RM3.90 floor mat. I could replace it any time I want. There's no use in embarrassing her over a floor mat. Although I did want to tell her that the floor mat is dirty and it's not exactly new. But I think she already knows this.

But the fact of the matter is, I don't think she's a real thief. Maybe what she has is an illness. Maybe she just has a thing over floor mats. But then again, I don't know.

This incident has also taught me a lesson. When my previous floor mats were stolen, I had actually thought that it would be by the cleaners or security guard. No, not because of what you are currently thinking. Simply because of the fact that they are the only ones who would walk to end of the corridor. I mean, would you walk all the way to end of a corridor if you don't have to? You won't right? And I wouldn't either. But this lady was pleasantly dressed, her clothes didn't scream that she was in poverty, and she had nice shoes and a nice handbag to boot (no, not a Louis Vuitton but it wasn't shabby either). From the way she looks and how she speaks, I was able to identify that she's a Malaysian, most probably from a particular race (which I will not mention here because this is not a racial post). And she speaks English as well (which shows she's educated enough to be able to converse in a language that is not her mother tongue). Another thing which surprised me is that she looked as if she's in her mid-forties or maybe early fifties. This incident has taught me that, people may not be what they seem but in spite of what they do, forgive them anyway. Why? Because, if you want Allah to forgive you for your sins, you might as well forgive others for what they have done to you. And if I have done anything that may have hurt you, please forgive me.

May Allah forgive us all. Ameen.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Which deed is the dearest to Allah?

My Al Maghrib exam is tomorrow and as I am reading the notes provided by Al Maghrib Institute and Qabeelat Ihsaan (Al-Maghrib's Malaysian chapter), I have stumbled upon some very interesting gems. Among them is this hadith as narrated by 'Abdullah:

"I asked the Prophet p.b.u.h., "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He replied, "To offer prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents." I asked again, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To participate in jihad (struggle) in Allah's cause." 'Abdullah added, "I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet p.b.u.h. would have told me more." [Bukhari]

What is interesting about this hadith is that:

Praying at the beginning of prayer is more beloved to Allah than being good and dutiful to your parents and jihad. What this tells us is that, discipline and strong will (i.e. making sure that you pray early and the will to leave whatever that you are doing to answer the call of prayers) is a commendable trait in Islam. This hadith also teaches us what our priorities should be; we should always put what Allah has commanded us to do first in our life. Secondly, after we have fulfilled what is required of us, we are to be good to our family i.e. fulfil our obligations to our family. And then, only we participate in jihad.

What is even more interesting is that Allah has made it very easy for us to seek His pleasure. Praying at the beginning of prayer times is not a very difficult thing to do and it is actually quite easy for us to be consistent at. And each prayer take only around 10 minutes of our time, we can go back to our work (what we were doing before the call to prayers) or our familial duties even before they notice we went missing =).

A photo of Alexa imitating me and hubs praying. Although we have not taught her (or even emphasised) much about prayers or dua'a (she currently knows how to recite the basmalah, al Fatihah and the dua'a before eating), our aim is to make her familiar with the five prayers by making it a norm to pray in front of her and invite her to join us. She joins us only when she wants to and she has her own praying top (which is actually an adult scarf which I bought in Banda Aceh last year). Her prayers usually last about 15 seconds; consisting of one or two rakaah per prayer with two rukuks and two sajdah per rakaah, and she whispers nonsensical words to herself. And yes, she also jumps on me and does piggybacks on me when I am in rukuk or sajdah =).

Let's try to be better shall we? Smart Muslims are better Muslims. Let's seek the activities that Allah will reward us with the most, inshaa Allah.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista