Layali Webzine Vol. 2 Issue Three

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LAYALI Volume 2, Issue 3

quick summer bites




e u s s i TH 1

Editors’ Letter


rowth doesn’t happen over one night, but over many. As we delve into the scorching heat of summer, the holy month of Ramadan awaits us.

With another opportunity to spiritually grow closer to Allah (SWT) and our communities, we should strive to better ourselves and truly glance into our souls. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself “Who am I?” What better time to figure things out about yourself than in Ramadan. Whether you are contemplating a career path but are hesitant like artist Nadia Janjua (on the cover and on pg. 20) once was, or if you’re ready to lead a healthier lifestyle (p. 26), take the time and contemplate. Instead of watching Netflix all day and scrolling through mouth-watering pictures of food on Pinterest, read a book (pg. 58) or spend time with family and friends. Cook iftar together and perhaps try Noori Ali’s Lemon Bar recipe (pg. 34). These simple actions and more can help your kids learn to love Islam (pg. 14). As Dr. Zainab Alwani discusses in her Deen & Spirituality piece (pg. 6), make this Ramadan a month of change. Keep faith, Omama Altaleb & Rawan Elbaba @omama_altaleb & @roelbaba



To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.


Ralph Waldo Emerson



Establishing our own traditions since being married has been enjoyable. There’s a sense of excitement when one is put into place and repeated each week, month, or year.



10 simple habits to help your kids love Islam

18 Deen & Spirituality 6

Make this Ramadan the month of change

Ramadan is the prime time for change. This month dramatically alters our routines and schedules. The real change however, is internal change – a change that positively transforms our lifestyle, character, attitudes, conversations and habits.

in school 8

5 reasons to pursue grad school right after undergrad


Figuring out what to do with the rest of your life isn’t an easy decision, especially if you don’t have an entry-level job lined up for you after graduation.

Career 10

Being good vs being liked

Nowadays, we live in a world where it seems as if it’s, ‘every man for himself,’ which means advice will rarely be given to you by people other than your parents and teachers.

The Wife Life 12

Marriage traditions

entrepreneur. I had the chance to chat with the colorful Nadia about her art, work and childhood at the NUR Center’s Evening of the Arts.

Health 24

5 ways to prevent bloating

Here are some easy ways to stop bloating in its tracks and to help you Getting your kids to love to feel light in your step broccoli and peas may be again. a challenge, but teaching them to love Islam shouldn’t be as difficult. Motherhood columnist, Sumayya gives you 10 simple habits to help your How to stay healthy kids love Islam.

Fitness 26

Feature 18

Nadia Janjua

Soft-spoken with her words and loud through her art, Nadia Janjua is an abstract artist, teacher and

while traveling

Our Editor in Chief gives you 5 ways to stay healthy while abroad or on the road.

Fashion 28

Modest runway

The most modest looks hot off the runway.


Summer favorites

Spring and summer are the seasons to bring on the colors bring back prints into your wardrobe.

food 32

Quick bites

Noori Ali gives you several recipes for the best (and most colorful) salads for the summer time.

travel 36

Places to visit in the United Arab Emirates

When we hear of the Emirates, the glitz and glam of Dubai immediately comes to mind. However, there is a lot more to the emirates than just Dubai.

community 46

value of STEM degrees as oppose to liberal arts.

advice 48

How you see the world depends on the filters you use “I’m typically an open person who loves meeting new people, but lately with all the news surrounding Islamophobia, I’d been feeling a little fearful when talking to strangers.”

Reviews 58

Side Effects May Vary

In her raw, semichronological prose, Murphy tells the story of 16-year-old Alice, who was diagnosed with leukemia but starts the novel in remission.


This month, we’re reviewing the film Selma.

The Road to Mecca

Our book columnist, Sarah, reviews The Road to Mecca.

beauty 61

The politics of higher education Layali’s drugstore If it isn’t enough that makeup picks

our parents want us to be doctors and engineers, our education system also emphasizing the

Layali gives you the best drigstore makeup products.

LAYALI editor-in-chief Omama Altaleb

executive editor Rawan Elbaba

contributors Zainab Alwani Zohra Alnoor Samirah Nabbus Sumayya Sahin Leena Asad Somayyah Ghariani Nada Ibrahim Noori Ali Masouna Kochaji Lena Nour Sarah Mohideen Rehnuma Majid Anwar Omeish Najma Khorrami Mahvish Danka Sameen Bozai Isra

We invite any of our readers to contribute to Layali Webzine through your experiences, talents and skills. For more information on contributing, please visit the Contribute page at or email us at Always remember, this is a webzine for you, by you. Just a reminder: The views expressed by the contributors in this Webzine are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Layali, or Layali Webzine.


MAKE THIS RAMADAN THE MONTH OF CHANGE By: Zainab Alwani Ramadan is the prime time for change. This month dramatically alters our routines and schedules. The real change however, is internal change – a change that positively transforms our lifestyle, character, attitudes, conversations and habits. God has described this change in the month of Ramadan as follows: “O you who believe, fasting has been ordained on you as it was decreed upon those before you so that you may obtain taqwa, being mindful of God” (Surah 2:183). Ramadan offers a perfect and natural environment for moral training. Interestingly, researches from “positive psychology” (scientific study of successful people) have repeatedly shown it takes between 30 to 40 days to kick a bad habit and develop a new one. One of the challenges we face in this age is the lack of Khushu’ in our prayers. Ubadah ibn Al-Samit said: “If I will tell you about the first knowledge to be removed from the people. It is Khushu’. Soon you will enter a masjid where people pray jama’ah (congregational prayers) to find that none among them is in a state of Khushu’”


(reported by Tirmidhi). In order for a Muslim to improve his/her relationship with Allah, observing Khushu’ is necessary. It is a state of complete submission and humility when one stands before Allah in prayer and fully directs one’s heart and mind toward Him. God says: “Successful indeed are the believers, Who are humble in their prayers (23:1-2).” Allah refers to the establishment of prayer as being a characteristic of the believer. Prayer is a mercy, and its benefits become clear for those who work hard to perfect it. “Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful (5:6).” The fruit of such a prayer is to obtain peace and happiness, healing, structure and comfort, success in this life and hereafter.

deen & spirituality

How to obtain Khushu’: • Khushu’ starts in the heart. The heart must be liberated from all that distracts and corrupts it. • The mind and our faculties of sight and hearing are the main avenues of influence to the heart. Numerous sounds, images, words, bits of information are part of a human’s cultural, social and natural environment. • Our success to attain Khushu’ depends on our efforts to be selective about what we allow to pass through these channels that are directly connected to the heart. This requires constant training. • Remember that having an unfocused mind and an absent heart while praying indicates a lack of respect when communicating with Allah. • First step: Purifying our Intentions -- we must have the intention firmly set in our heart that we will strive to pray every prayer within its given timeframe as prescribed by Allah (SWT). • Actively making this promise to ourselves and to Allah, both mentally and even verbally, creates a resolute mindset to continually seek help from Allah.


a. Contemplate the adhan (call to prayer) b. Turn a deaf ear to whatever will harm you (backbiting, gossip, bad language...).


a. Visualize and ponder the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon you. b. Do not look at what Allah has bestowed to others of possession, talent or beauty and envy them for it.


a. Recite the Quran and contemplate its meaning. b. Learn to control your thoughts and dismiss the negative ones. c. Keep away from evil in speech (any verbal abuse/cursing, backbiting, gossip, spreading rumors…). Brush your tongue with istighfar and perfume it with dhikr (remembrance of Allah). • Learn to remove everyone and everything from your heart and turn to Allah. • Cherish the Creator and put your worries behind. • Remind yourself that Salah is the most important deed that you will bring with you when you meet Allah. • Approach Salah with love and make the time of prayer the time of comfort, joy and relaxation. • Ponder this ayah “And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive to Allah (2:45).”


Photo courtesy: Maggie Gallagher

5 reasons to pursue graduate school right after undergrad By: Omama Altaleb


Photo courtesy: Razan Elbaba

in school

Figuring out what to do with the rest of your life isn’t an easy decision, especially if you don’t have an entry-level job lined up for you after graduation. So if you don’t want to face the post-grad blues and still want to stay in school, here are five reasons why graduate school might be the best option for you.

1) Still in an academic mindset The idea of going back to school after years of being away from academia can be daunting. But going back to school after just a summer vacation will feel like another two years of college. Although graduate school is more academically challenging than undergrad, it wont be as difficult to get back into the routine of having classes. After all, you will still be in the zone of studying and writing papers.

2) Applications don’t have a strict deadline Unlike undergrad, most graduate schools have flexible deadlines. The final deadlines are usually in August, so if you don’t decide to apply until the summer, it won’t be too late. In addition, the application process usually runs on a rolling basis, where the school reviews your application as soon as it is submitted versus waiting until the final deadline. It is still important to note however, that there are priority deadlines for merit awards and scholarships.

3) Academic programs offer merit scholarships One of the main reasons why undergrad seniors don’t attend graduate school right away is because of how expensive it is. Trying to pay off the debt from

your bachelor’s degree can be taxing enough without the $30,000 + that graduate schools ask for. But before you change your mind, many schools give out academic merit awards and scholarships to incoming students. This definitely eases the financial burden of graduate school. Additionally, applying for outside scholarships and grants can help too.

4) More likely to get a job with a master’s degree Although many people who attend graduate school are already working professionals, for those who haven’t worked yet, having a master’s degree can increase your chances of landing a well-paying job, the Guardian reports. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected how employment could increase between 2010 to 2020 and with those ranks, Forbes found that a master’s degree in information systems can round up a yearly salary of $101,000. Attending graduate school will also give you the opportunity to enhance the skills you already have and gain more -- putting you at a possible advantage over your co-workers.

5) Get it done (don’t put it off) Pursuing a master’s degree right after undergrad will stop you from putting it off until later…aka, never. Let’s be real, life gets in the way and you don’t want to regret not going to grad school while you are in your 30s or 40s. Plus, two years isn’t too long. It’ll go by in a breeze, and once you’re done, you can think about your next step – PhD anyone?





By: Zohra Alnoor

Advice is hard to come by. Nowadays, we live in a world where it seems as if it’s, ‘every man for himself,’ which means advice will rarely be given to you by people other than your parents and teachers. When it comes to advice from parents, many children will annoyingly roll their eyes, ignore their words of wisdom and go on with their day like nothing happened. Some will follow their advice, but the advice is usually something like, “Wear clean undergarments and socks all the time in case you’re ever in an accident.” Which then follows with them saying ‘austugfirullah’ because they don’t even want to think about that. But yeah, the advice is usually something along those lines, and less about your work ethic. The line of advice I received that changed the way I see the working world came from one of my college professors, which I realize, doesn’t happen often for many people. I asked a few of my friends if they remember any advice from a teacher or professor, and they stared at me blankly…


before asking me what my Netflix password was. I realized that advice from teachers can be ignored just as often as someone else’s, but in this case, the following advice stuck with me, and now it’s something I “pass on” to others if the topic about work ever comes up, and it’s this: Being liked, is better than being good. Because you can get away with things when you’re liked, that you can’t get away with when you’re good. One of my professors said that to his 9 a.m. marketing class, and even though I was sitting in the back most likely on Facebook or playing some random ‘Escape the Room’ game, I stopped and listened to this because I always thought being good would get me far. What he said really changed that thought. He went on to talk about two hypothetical guys, let’s just call them, Larry and Gary. He said Larry has always been the good guy, he’s a good worker, he’s friendly with everyone, he puts his hours in and he does minimal socializing and then once the clock hits 5:00 p.m., he’s outta there. He politely says goodbye, leaves and the next day

Photo courtesy:

Being liked, is better than being good. Because you can get away with things when you’re liked, that you can’t get away with when you’re good.

does the same thing over again. Then there’s Gary. Gary is also a good guy. He’s a good worker but he’s also super friendly with everyone. He goes out socializing or just does little things like, check up on his peers, see how they’re doing, ask about their families, be relaxed and know when to work and when it’s okay to joke around. He lets loose and for that reason people really like him and are comfortable around him, comfortable enough to see him as not just a coworker, but also as a friend. Now let’s say, something bad happens. Larry/ Gary messed up, made a big mistake have now become his friend as well as his coworker. They know him well enough to know that he’s just having a tough day and made a mistake, something all humans are prone to do here and

there. They’ll forgive him and the next second, they’ll want to talk to Gary about the latest ‘American Horror Story’ episode. That’s the difference between being good and being liked. One can help you in tough situations and give you a better work experience. Get to know your peers, make an effort. You’ll be surprised how much you probably have in common with some of them. You may even find a life-long friend. Just remember that you’re spending almost as much time at work as you are at home. The people you’re working with will become your second little family, so don’t you want to know them? I doubt you won’t find at least one person who has so much in common with you that you’re shocked you spent this much time walking by one another in the hallways mumbling awkward hellos. Take your time to get to know your peers, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to remember, you’re still working, so during those few minutes of downtime you have at work, talk to your coworkers, and once you see how much you like them, they’ll feel the same way about you.


Keep the tradition alive story by Samirah Nabbus

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always looking for an opportunity to start a new tradition in our home! Establishing our own traditions since being married has been enjoyable. There’s a sense of excitement when one is put into place and repeated each week, month, or year. Sometimes when we think of traditions, we assume they need to be large or formal, but this isn’t the case. They can be set up at any time and can be informal. Anniversary traditions are very common. We take a picture on each anniversary, exchange gifts, and we go to a different restaurant each year to celebrate. You might go back to the hotel where you were married, or back to the place where you had your honeymoon. Our Eid traditions include baking cookies together, sending out our Eid card, wearing new clothes, giving gifts to each other, decorating our home, and visiting family. We remember our parents always getting us new clothes from head to toe and how they have made sure Eid was extra special in many different ways. We want to do the same for ourselves! Other traditions we have established at home include praying together, making and eating dinner together, and our weekly date night. Praying together


has to be my absolute favorite practice. Praying with your spouse is extremely special and it’s great to have someone who encourages you to pray on time, especially Fajr prayer. For date night, we plan to go out one day a week for a relaxed evening. We don’t necessarily go to fancy restaurants, but just out and sometimes a movie. An informal tradition we have is binge-watching Netflix when a full season of a show comes out (the most informal tradition ever!). We can’t be the only ones. As I said, traditions don’t need to formal to be established. It’s also easy to start your own traditions. You can start traditions for New Years, Ramadan, Eid, or any other occasion of significance. ‘Just because’ traditions can become just as meaningful as any other tradition. The most important part of setting up a tradition is to have fun and go all out for it! Make it meaningful, it’s about the time you’re spending together and the memories you’re creating. Establishing our own traditions since being married has been enjoyable. There’s a sense of excitement when one is put into place and repeated each week, month, or year.

the wife life


Our Eid traditions include baking cookies together, sending out our Eid card, wearing new clothes, giving gifts to each other, decorating our home, and visiting family.



10 Simple

Habits to helpYour Kids love ISLAM By: Sumayya Sahin




Photo courtesy:





he following are some daily habits that help develop love, understanding and religious routine in our own lives, as well as the lives of our children. Some of them are habits we already establish in our home, while others are reminders of what we still need to adapt. While I would recommend reading and learning more extensive advice on parenting from scholars and more experienced parents, these are some simple habits that if properly established, can have a beneficial effect that lasts a lifetime.


I recently listened to an interview with Anse Tamara Gray where she stressed the importance of making duaa for others, particularly your own children. She related the story of a woman she knew in Syria who successfully raised all of her children to have a firm understanding of deen, hifz of the Quran and honorable educations as well. Her secret: after Fajr, she would spend 15 minutes praying for each of her children. May Allah preserve and increase them in good.


DAILY RECITATION/ LISTENING TO THE QURAN We know from the teachings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him),


that there are a number of suras that grant us benefit in this world and the next if read daily. Of them are the three Quls, Sura Baqara, Sura Mulk, Sura Waqiah, Sura Yasin, Sura Kahf (on Fridays), etc. A quick Google or hadith book search will give you more information on the benefits of each. While it’s best to read them aloud yourself, even just playing them for the family to listen to is a great way to instill the habit of making the Quran a part of your daily life.



This is something that I’ve heard many scholars stress. The obvious benefit is the increase in reward for praying in congregation, but there are many other benefits as well, including teaching your children how to love prayer.



I’ve seen people write them out themselves, buy children duaa books, laminate them, or simply buy premade duaa cards for that purpose (Learning Roots UK has a duaa card game). Hanging them up at an eye level for young children helps them remember to say their duaas for entering and exiting the bathroom, beginning and finishing a meal, looking in the mirror, going to sleep, putting on clothes, etc. Many times, it’s a great way for parents to learn new duaas as well. To make this work, you must read the duaas out loud with your children for some time so they learn how to pronounce and memorize it properly, especially if they cannot read.


LEARN ABOUT THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET, PEACE BE UPON HIM He taught us everything we know about our deen and was the best example to humankind. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to love him more than we love our parents… and yet, how can you love someone you do not know? In order to teach our children to love him and desire to emulate him, they have to know him. One important point on this topic I also heard is to read stories of the Prophet’s interactions, (peace be upon him), with children, so that your own kids are able to relate to the stories and realize how gentle, kind and perfect his character was.


CREATE A SADAQAH JAR Do a craft one day and decorate a jar to collect loose change and bills that your children can fill and then give to the needy or masjid.


In this day and age, there are so many options and ways to get our children Islamic books, cartoon DVDs, nasheed CDs, audio stories, toys and more. These not only remind our children of the beauty and essence of our faith, they also instill in them a level of understanding and excitement about Islam, the prophets and Islamic history.


ESTABLISH A REGULAR ROUTINE WITH THE MASJID It’s extremely important that while you begin taking your children to the masjid, you also teach them how to respect the space and the worshipers within. When that is firmly established, make it a habit to frequent Jummah prayers, encourage family stops at the masjid for prayer, engage in masjid-planned activities, participate in planning, and volunteer your time and efforts. All of these and more create love and respect in the hearts of your children for the houses of Allah.


BE WHO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE This is self-explanatory. Children learn by watching, and who do they watch more than their parents? If you curse, your kids will learn those words (and will probably use them too). If you are generous, your children will learn generosity. It’s easier said than done, but something we have to keep in mind daily.


Cleanliness is from the faith and it’s important to establish a regular routine with your children to keep the house tidy, clean and fresh. This means no trash piled up, no foul odors from the fridge, floors free of dirt and mud, toys organized and picked up (reasonably), etc. Not only do angels love to come to places that are clean, but it will also add a layer of peace in your heart while worshiping Allah in a clean and pure space.


artist, teacher, entrepr

NADIA JANJ Story and Photos by: Omama Altaleb



JUA 19



Soft-spoken with her words and loud through her art, Nadia Janjua is an abstract artist, teacher and entrepreneur. I had the chance to chat with the colorful Nadia about her art, work and childhood at the NUR Center’s Evening of the Arts. Born and raised in small town Cumberland, Md. Janjua, 36, teaches art classes, gives lectures and exhibits her work at various community events. As a young girl, Janjua was quiet and kept to herself. “I remember my aunt’s friends would say, ‘Nadia should be in toothpaste commercials because all she does is smile and never talks,’” she said. Instead, Janjua spent a lot of time cuddled up in her room coloring, painting or working on some type of craft. “It was a natural place to find myself in solitude,” she said. She first dabbled in art as a teenager by watching “The Bob Ross show,” a painting tutorial program on PBS. “I would record his shows and follow along with him step-by-step and all of a sudden, I started finding my voice and expressing myself thorough color and the paints,” she said. “It helped me in becoming more of an articulate and vocal person.”


When she got to college, art became her hobby not her major. “Like so many South Asians, I was premed in college and I decided like ‘omg what am I doing, I’m not happy with this,’” she said. Soon after, Janjua’s mom encouraged her to look into architecture. For eight years, Janjua practiced architecture after receiving her master’s. She loved it since it combined her love for art with her technical, structural background. But in 2011, she decided to switch paths again and pursue art full-time. “I had thought, ‘I’m turning 30 so if not now then when,’ Janjua said. Shortly after pursuing her art full-time, Janjua started her own business, Nadia J. Art. Selling original paintings, Janjua grew her business to include hand-made and manufactured goods like earrings, key chains, phone cases and greeting cards. “I feel so blessed that I’m now in a position where young people, parents and slowly the older generation is really seeing the value of art as something to teach their kids from a young age, and as something that can enhance and inspire us, as adults even,” she said.


LAYALI: How do you incorporate your Islamic beliefs into your artwork? NJ: The process of conceptualizing a painting is a very spiritual process for me. Really, it begins with bismillah and ends with bismillah. For me, it’s more about being very God-conscious when I’m painting, and painting to me is truly a form of dhikr. My goal is to keep thinking about Allah, what my intention is and for Him to put Barakah in whatever I’m doing for Him, and to allow whatever is coming out of my hands to inspire other individuals to see His beauty. I like to push people to think a little bit deeper about things. I saw you made a painting “Love is a Give & Take” after the passing of the Chapel Hill students. Can you briefly discuss the piece? For so many of us, we were moved by how strong the families related to the three young individuals were. I remember thinking Razan was an architecture student and I felt like she could’ve been my friend, like I could’ve gone to school with her. And then the young couple’s wedding photographer


was the same as mine so again there was this connection like ‘gosh this could have been my best friend, God forbid a relative.’ As I kept thinking, mourning and reflecting on it, I started reflecting on “Ya Wadud,” the name of Allah, which reminds us that He is love and that even when something is taken from us, Allah gives us love to replace it with. Seeing how the family was dealing with this great loss inspired me and I know it inspired so many other people, like if they can see something beautiful, then surely those of us who are so distant from them can see it as well. The colors just came to me; there were a lot of blues, pinks and a mixture of melancholy and hope. And there’s this white spot in the middle and I kind of saw that as a blank slate that may Allah give the three of them Jannat al Firdous. When I made the painting, I posted it online and I remember it just blew up because other people were moved by it, so I started this campaign and donated all the money to United Muslim Relief since Deah and Yusor were planning on providing dental relief in Turkey to Syrian refugees. Alhamdulillah, it raised more than $800 just by selling the prints and I’m so grateful I can use my art to raise awareness about

these issues and to give back to the community.

What’s your favorite part about being an artist?

Do you have any advice for young muslimahs who are talented in art but are hesitant about making a career out of it?

Every single day for me is different and I love that. I have a really hard time seeing the same people, with monotony with getting up at the same time everyday. I’ve always been like this as a child. But Alhamdulillah being an artist and running my own business, sometimes an entire day is based on me going and teaching art classes, the next day I’m working on marketing and writing contracts, the next day I’m in my studio painting or working toward an exhibit and honestly maybe the next day, I’m visiting sites for people who are commissioning me for a painting or meeting with clients, so everyday is an adventure. It’s just been such a beautiful process. Running your own business comes with so many risks and sacrifices, but when you love what you do, Allah makes it easy for you.

Every time that I have a booth, especially at ISNA, the demographic that comes to my booth the most is young women and they say to me ‘my parents aren’t letting me do art full-time and they want me to be the doctor, lawyer, engineer, how do I deal with that, what can I do?’ First of all, the thing that I say to them is you don’t stop making art, you don’t have to be a full-time artist, you don’t have to convince anyone, you don’t have to figure out how you are going to make money from it right now, just become disciplined about making art. I was 30 when I decided that I wanted to do this full-time and had I not continued making art for my own sake, I wouldn’t be here today so the first and most important thing that I always say to young people is in between classes, after exams, when you’re home on the weekends, make art and pathways will come, just don’t ever stop making art.


by Leena Asad from the blog, With Love Leena

flat belly? here’s five tips to beat the bloat

Bloating is something that all of us suffer from at one time or another. It can make you feel heavy and really take a toll on your self-esteem. Here are some easy ways to stop bloating in its tracks and to help you to feel light in your step again.

drink more Water

Source: Salt Sisters Online

Drinking water may sound counterintuitive because we are trying to rid the body of excess fluids. However, your bloating may actually be caused by not drinking enough H2O! When our bodies are dehydrated, they hold onto as much water as they can, going into survival mode. When we are constantly flushing out our system and hydrating our cells, there is no need for our body to hold onto extra water and you will feel less bloated.

limit salt


Source: Natural Resources Defense Council

Where salt goes, water goes. Simple as that. Not only do we have to watch the salt shaker, but excessive amounts of salt can also be hidden in many of our daily foods such as canned goods, salad dressings, condiments, soy sauce, olives, pickles and deli meats, to name a few. Cutting down on your salt in small ways each day will really make a difference!

avoid constipation

Keeping your bowels moving is the most effective way to have a flat tummy. You can do this by making sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water a day and eating lots of fiber to bulk your stool such as fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, beans and whole grains. If you still need more fiber in order to be regular, try Psyllium Husk capsules, they work like a dream.

health consume probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are naturally found in your intestinal tract. They replenish the “good” bacteria and balance out the “bad” bacteria in our gut, especially if you’ve taken a round of antibiotics. They reduce inflammation in the gut, aid in digestion and can make a visible difference in flattening the stomach! Probiotics can be found in yogurt that contain “live cultures” and fermented foods such as sauerkraut. If you take your probiotics in a capsule, make sure to take them on an empty stomach for better absorption.


Getting your body moving will get your bowels moving and cause you to loose excess fluids through your sweat! There are so many cleansing benefits to exercise. Even starting with walking for 30 minutes and building your stamina up can be extremely beneficial for your digestive health and help flatten your tummy.

By implementing all of these tips into your daily life, you will be on the road to a flat stomach in no time!

Source: Empire State Tribune

bloating myths 1 the less you eat, the less you bloat 2 detox diets will reduce bloating 3 only junk food causes bloating 4 eating bread causes bloating 25



Source: weheartit



1) WALK 3) TRACK CALORIES Seriously? YES, SERIOUSLY. Walking while traveling may not seem like exercise as much as it is a necessity, but it does the trick. Instead of hailing a taxi to drive two blocks to the Eiffel Tower or the Buckingham Palace, use those soles and calves.

Download the MyFitnessPal app to help control portion sizes. Now you can’t track everything you eat, simply because you just might not know how many calories are in that Parisian Nutella croissant you had for breakfast, but at least you will get a sense of what you are eating each day.


The more you walk, the more calories you burn.

The Mayo Clinic reports that fiber is necessary for a healthy diet. To include more fiber in your diet, focus on fruits and veggies, and skip those carbs. The benefits of having a high-fiber diet, according to the Mayo Clinic, are the following: • •

Bowel movements are normalized • Bowel health is maintained • Cholesterol levels are lowered Blood and sugar levels are controlled • Can help reach a healthy weight

If you are staying at a hotel with a gym, you are lucky. Don’t be lazy. Go to the gym and make good use of the treadmill, elliptical and weights. Even if you exercise for only 20-30 minutes a day, it will still be worth it. Alternative: If you aren’t as lucky and don’t have a gym in the hotel, create your own workout. There’s still a lot you can do without fitness equipment. You can do a high intensity interval training workout with moves like burpees, mountain climbers, pushups, jumping jacks and more.

5) SLEEP WELL Last but certainly not least, make sure you are getting those zzz’s. Being in a place other than home and in a different time zone can really mess up your body’s sleep cycle. But try your best to get enough time to sleep. According to, most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. The more sleep you get, the more energized you will be to explore your destination.







1 1) PETER PILOTTO - resort 2016 runway. 2) PROENZA SCHOULER - resort 2016 runway. 3) THE ROW - resort 2016 runway. 4) STELLA MCCARTNEY - resort 2016 runway. 5) CREATURES OF THE WIND resort 2016 runway. photo courtesy:





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By: Somayyah Ghariani

the printed pant Spring and summer are the seasons to bring on the colors bring back prints into your wardrobe. Printed pants are a staple for those sunny warm days, whether it's a floral print, an animal print, or a geometric print. Just make sure to tone it down with the rest of your ensemble to truly make a statement with the pants. PRINTED PANT OUTFIT: Pants are H&M, sweater, belt, and purse are Banana Republic, shoes are Charlotte Russe. Wrapping a scarf around your neck is always a great way to add some more cover up as well!


the skirt

A modest wardrobe essential, the maxi skirt. Spring and summer are the perfect times to pair your maxi skirt with a denim top or denim jacket, a crop top, a basic cotton tunic, or a leather jacket for the evening. Full skirts with vibrant prints are all over this season.


SKIRT OUTFIT: Crop top is H&M, skirt is BCBGMaxAzria, cotton scarf was an infinity scarf from Nordstrom Rack, and shoes are Dolce Vita.

the waterfall trench


Mid-summer showers bring on the drops, and what better way to take on the warm rain than in a classic trench coat. The waterfall trend has made its way from fall to winter and now to spring and early summer in a lighter trench coat style. Now’s the time to grab one!

TRENCH OUTFIT: Trench coat is H&M, top is French Connection, and sandals are Franco Sarto.

blogger FAVORITE



Hakeemah is a modest fashion stylist, blogger and has her own line of beautiful hijabs that can be found on her site Hakeemah has really been on the move from her work with D.C. Fashion Week, styling an array of different shows for various desigers, managing her own collection, to being a great blogger to follow. Check out some of Hakeemah’s perfect Spring Fling/Summer-y looks from her own closet and also looks she styled. Don’t forget to follow her @hakeemahcmb and visit her site at


quick bites FOR Breakfast


By: Nada Ibrahim

1 tube crescent rolls (8 regular sized) 2 eggs 2 sprigs thyme FIRST, unroll the crescent dough. Press to attach the individual rolls into a larger rectangular dough. Combine 4 crescent triangles to make larger portions, or 2 triangles to make smaller, individual portions.

(or 1 if using 2 rolls per flatbread)

SECOND, roll the ends of the dough to create a wall so toppings do not slide off.

FIFTH, set oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your preference.

THIRD, crack 2 eggs onto each flatbread



2 strips of turkey bacon (or other protein) 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan salt and pepper to taste

FOURTH,top with chopped up protein, thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. And top with some cheese and other toppings you like.

food FOR Dessert

Cinnamon chips 8 small flour tortillas cooking spray 3 tbsp. granulated sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2 Usuing a pizza slicer or scissors, cut tortilla rounds into 6 wedges each 3 Spray both of each tortilla with cooking spray 4 Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle each side of the tortillas. 5 Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 - 12 minutes or until crispy

Fruit Salsa 1 apple (red) 1/2 lemon or lime 1 kiwi 12 medium strawberries 1 cup raspberries 1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional) 1 1/2 tbsp. fruit preserves


1 Peel apple and finely chop. 2 Zest lemon and squeeze smoe lemon juice over apples to keep fresh 3 Chop strawberries and kiwis 4 Combine ingrediencts and mix well to break up rasperies and incorporate preserves 5 Let sit for 15 minutes before serving with cinnamon chips


Old Fashione Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 cups white granulated sugar 2Âź cups all-purpose flour 4 large eggs 2 lemons, juiced

Source: David Lebowitz


ed Lemon Bars

food By: Noori Ali


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. In a mixing bowl, beat softened butter with 2 cups of flour and ½ cup of sugar to make shortbread dough. 3. Press dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. 4. Bake dough for 20 minutes, or until light brown and firm. 5. Combine 1½ cups of sugar and ¼ cup of flour in a second mixing bowl. 6. Whisk in eggs and lemon juice. 7. Pour egg mixture over the completely cooled crust. 8. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until set. 9. Cool completely and cut into 2-3 inch squares to serve.




By: Masouna Kochaji



HEN WE HEAR OF THE EMIRATES, THE GLITZ AND GLAM OF DUBAI IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND, HOWEVER THERE IS A LOT MORE TO THE EMIRATES THAN JUST DUBAI. The capital of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. A smaller city maintaining aspects of historic culture and new modernity, Abu Dhabi is truly a gem. If you are planning a trip to the UAE, consider spending some time in Abu Dhabi. The following are some tips on what to see and do on your trip.


UAE is thriving in the restaurant and service industry. You can find popular American chains and classic Arab cuisine all throughout the Emirates. Wherever you go, the food is great and the service is incredible. Additionally, fast food in Abu Dhabi delivers! If you want shawarma, mana’eesh, or KFC, give them a call and it’ll be at your door before you know it. If delivery isn’t your thing, some restaurants have servers come to your car at the parking lot. Don’t forget, your food will be halal, so take advantage of being in a Muslim country and eat without hesitation.


Abu Dhabi




PLACES CAFE LAYALI ZAMAN: Walking distance from the corniche, Layali Zaman is a beautiful cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating and is open till 2 a.m. Fans of outdoor seating will find the nighttime atmosphere in Abu Dhabi perfect at this restaurant. With tasty traditional Arab dishes, incredible staff, and the fresh evening breeze, a night at this cafe will be one to remember. THE EMIRATES PALACE: While certainly not the cheapest option, this is a dining experience worth having. You must try their unique and well-known chocolate cake. When it arrives at the table you’ll fall in love with its delicious layers of chocolate and the glimmer of gold sprinkled on top. ARABESQ: A shop found in Abu Dhabi Mall as well as Yas Mall, you can find sweets from numerous Arab countries here. The true treat is the fresh booza (ice cream) made at the storefront, it is definitely worth a try.

TRANSPORTATION PARKING is not easy in Abu Dhabi. The streets are cramped and parking spots are limited. Taking a taxi in Abu Dhabi is however easy, cheap and comfortable. It is nice to tip your taxi driver a few dirhams. Note that taxis in Abu Dhabi ONLY take cash. WALKING is always an option, but sometimes it’s just too hot and you don’t want to walk into a nice place looking like you’ve been trekking through the desert for days. Weather permitting, you can find that Abu Dhabi is pedestrian friendly with nice sidewalks and underground tunnels to cross major streets. BUSSES are around, but while cheaper than a taxi it can be very uncomfortable and harder to navigate bus routes.


SHOPPING Don’t be shy to bargain, NEVER take the listed or first mentioned price at a shop. Be polite, and the price will go down even more. There are tons of shops in the souk all selling the same things, so if the first guy doesn't bargain with you, go on to the next shop. While some souks are modernized and take credit cards, cash will always give you a better bargain. Cash gives you some leverage in the bargaining games since the shop owner won’t have to worry about the credit card company taking a percentage from him. Malls: - - - - -

Abu Dhabi Mall Marina Mall Yas Mall (Yas Island) Al Wahda Mall World Trade Center Mall

Souk: - World Trade Center Souk - Madinat Zayed Center - Global Village (Dubai)

BE A TOURIST Some people often expect UAE to be an underdeveloped land full of men riding camels and women dressed in black roaming the sandy desert. While the local men and women can be found dressed in traditional Emirati clothing, the population of expats greatly outnumbers them. Additionally, UAE is a fast paced, well developed and an overall incredible country. It has a beautiful mix of modern lifestyles with access to the beauty of Emirati culture everywhere. Lastly, if you don’t speak Arabic, don’t worry. Most signs are in both English and Arabic and much of the population is familiar with English, so communicating will be just fine. There is no shortage of things to see and do in UAE. These listed activities will spark your Emirates adventure. Let the adventure begin! - - - - -

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Emirates Palace Heritage Village Global Village (Dubai) Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital





city life


The POLITICS of higher education By: Lena Nour

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education doesn’t simply teach us how to learn, but how to live. Our fondest memories from school come from learning how to color within the lines or how to keep the sand in the sandbox; all elements that teach us to distinguish between right and wrong. Education teaches us creativity, how to look for the bigger picture and most importantly how to be a life-long learner. When it comes to specific degrees that we pursue at the collegiate level, we are often separated by politics. Luckily, we are not as divided as our pundits want us to believe. Since the creation of the first iPod by Apple in 2001, society has largely encouraged, at times even eagerly pushed, students to consider careers in the technical field. From computer science to IT, we are driven by our technological advancements as we compete on a global scale. In the last decade, the term “STEM” was created to place a high emphasis on promoting fields within Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Competing


acronyms like STEAM were recently used to add “Art” emphasizing the importance of humanities degrees in helping to increase innovation in all fields. Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs knew the value of a liberal arts education as he eloquently stated, “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” If it isn’t enough that our parents want us to be doctors and engineers, our education system also emphasizing the value of STEM degrees as oppose to liberal arts. If there is such a push to study STEM degrees why would millennial pursue a degree in the humanities? As a liberal arts candidate, I’m a firm believer that if you work very hard, you can be successful in any field you choose. To shed some light on the value of liberal arts education, I eagerly sought after a student perspective on the value of a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. Remaz Abdelgader, a junior at George Mason University majoring in Conflict Analysis &


STE(ART)M Resolution with a minor in Public Policy, chose her degree by a desire to study something constructive. “I’m not living for myself; my life purpose is to serve others.” Abdelgader’s passion stems (no pun intended) from the desire to combat all the injustice and conflict around the world. “We cannot surrender to the notion that we can live our lives simply for ourselves without making an impact. With passion in her heart and conviction in her voice she continued by highlighting the value of her program. “It isn’t about a degree; it’s about the process of acquiring knowledge and learning from professors who’ve worked on peace keeping in developing nations all over the world.” Abdelgader has participated in various internships to help enhance her academic experience and believes that her hands-on training can help her “develop a conceptual framework on peace initiatives that can bring about change in the world.” Riham Osman is the Communications Coordinator at the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Washington DC Office. Two years after receiving her B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Mary Washington

University, Osman reflects on her undergraduate experience. “When I look back, my education was very broad. We focused on critical thinking and analyzing the big picture of international events. Given that I work at an organization where we constantly respond to events happening all over the world, I’m definitely applying what I learned to my professional career.” What Abdelgader and Osman have in common is their passion to think outside of the box. We will always need critical thinkers, writers and news commentators to shed light on the Muslim American narrative. If we aren’t telling our story who is? Additionally, MPAC recently launched their inaugural, Congressional Leadership Development Program designed to encourage young American Muslims to pursue an internship opportunity that allows them to shape public policy and public perceptions in Washington, DC. To learn more about all of MPAC’s student programs, click here. On a final note, if you’ve never thought about pursuing a liberal arts degree, give it a chance. Be willing to take risks, work hard, and eventually you’ll find your way. Be steadfast, and God willing, you will one day reap the rewards.

If it isn’t enough that our parents want us to be doctors and engineers, our education system also emphasizing the value of STEM degrees as oppose to liberal arts. 47


How You See the World Depends on The Filters You Use



story by sameen Bozai

t was a cold also managed to give a weak smile. the two strangers. I’m typically an gloomy Friday An awkward silence passed us by open person who loves meeting afternoon when and then she asked, “… Soooo, new people, but lately with all the my mom knocked what’s your affiliation with the news surrounding Islamophobia, on the study door school?” “Oh, my dad actually I’d been feeling a little fearful and asked me if taught there for some time.” I when talking to strangers. I had some time responded with a more confident Stereotyping has been taken to to go to Home smile. “What about you? What’s a whole other level within this Goods with her your affiliation with the school?” past year. However, I remembered just to keep her I asked. Her smile grew huge, something my parents would company and to “I went to school there and get always tell me, “How other people give her my opinion on things. excited when I see anything or treat others is a direct reflection Although I had tons of work to anyone reppin’ Oklahoma.” The of how they treat themselves. do, I threw on my favorite pair man with her, who happened to Let others do what they do, but of jeans, grabbed my Oklahoma be her son finally spoke, “She just remember, you should always Sooners sweatshirt that was can’t contain her excitement when open and welcome someone with hanging on my closet hook your kindness”. Thinking I’m typically an open person who and threw on my hijab. about all of this made me loves meeting new people, but lately My mom and I were very realize had I been more with all the news surrounding productive in our short open and welcoming to Islamophobia, I’d been feeling a little trip and I was more than the lady at the store, she fearful when talking to strangers. would’ve thought better happy I chose to spend some time with her while of me and in general, shopping. I was in the room décor she sees anything Oklahoma about Muslims. My inner fear had aisle alone when I felt two pairs far from there.” “Oh, awh” I said created a reflection on her that of eyes looking in my direction. I picking up the ugly decoration wasn’t something I would ever looked up to find a well-polished piece and slowly walking out of want to be remembered by. woman and a younger man with the aisle. I walked around for a bit Many of us have been touched her looking my way and sharing and then made my way around to or affected by stirrups caused by a few words. I ignored them put the piece where it belonged. Islamophobia; however, fighting thinking it was nothing, however I found my mom when she was fire with fire is most definitely not I still was trying to figure what it ready to get going and saw the the answer. Instead, we should could possibly be that they were two Oklahoma fans walking out work even harder to prove the best discussing. “Is that a Sooners of the store; the lady turned back of our personalities and religion. sweatshirt I see?” the woman to look at me, wave and smile. It may be tough putting this into asked openly. I looked at her and I came home and instead of action, but every move counts. down to where she was pointing focusing on my work, I started to Even if others don’t see the best in at the sweatshirt I was wearing, reflect on how and why I acted a us, Allah (swt) does. “Oh! Oh yeah,” I said bleakly and little taken back when talking to


Why a discussion about mental health is needed now more than ever By: Najma Khorrami


Photo courtesy:



n 2006, a USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 50 percent of Muslims surveyed faced depression compared to an overall 20 percent in all Americans. The findings were backed by some stories of hate crimes and other prejudice that Muslims faced at the time and still continue to face today. This begs the question -- if the stories of prejudice and challenges of integrating into mainstream society exist for Muslim Americans, why is it still so difficult to discuss mental health issues? It shouldn’t be. Fear of Islam by non-Muslims has caused many Muslim Americans to sink and dwell on the difficulties for them to become productive members of mainstream society. Still, many Muslims have gone on to make many notable achievements, despite the challenges. Surely, if confronted, we can confess our struggles and stand tall and proud enough to admit we need more help when we may be feeling sad or anxious. Prejudices presented by society are not our fault and could make any young Muslim American feel sad or anxious. Therefore, reducing the stigma around the discussion of mental health will help the Muslim community and our greater American community advance. Not too long ago, three Muslim Americans were killed in North Carolina, and the idea rose that the motivation was hate. I felt fearful of how others might act toward Muslim Americans after their deaths, and I wasn’t alone. Muslim Americans, as well as those of other faiths came together to console the families and their loved ones, which was great, but many people were still afraid and shocked by the situation. Some Muslims face psychological stresses from a young age with growth and the desire to fit in. As a result, it is not a surprise when youth feel a disproportionate amount of stress, especially

when it comes to feeling accepted in society. If our youth are feeling stressed, then this affects all members of the Muslim community, including parents and mental health professionals. The impact of isolation felt by youth should bolster our efforts to become better parents and better educated in sharing all kinds of our emotions when it comes to relationships. Besides bolstering our community ties among parents, teens, professionals and all-in-all families, acknowledging our strengths and working toward greater levels of acceptance is important. Acceptance of differences between members of various faiths and ethnicities is vital. We may feel comfortable interacting within our communities, but we should volunteer to help others outside of our circle. Food banks, social service agencies, and other organizations of good will are great venues with which we can volunteer our time and gain personal and professional enhancement, all while being confident and good ambassadors for Muslim Americans as a whole. Admitting our internal struggles is crucial to our advancement as well. Many times we want difficulties to go away, because we don’t want to accept them. The power of acceptance practiced over time, as well as perseverance in other forms, can be the key to finally dismissing our difficulties and living life without complaints. So, in addition to needing a community mental health discussion, we also need to learn how to accept. Putting our best foot forward, and knowing our limits and common struggles will only uplift our communities and strengthen our families. Hopefully, we can move past stigmas and establish a safe zone for all Muslim Americans to openly communicate and express their struggles and concerns.


lucky and abused. There is a difference between feeling lucky and coping. I mastered the art of coping; a child suffering through the rollercoaster of an abusive, unstable childhood. I constantly told myself that it could be worse; that, for a lot of other children, it was much worse. I could’ve lived in a different country, had no education, or been unable to develop any sort of support network. I coped with my childhood.


Story by Isra

Luck is good fortune, destiny almost; ordained by God. I am lucky. I was often punched, slapped, and kicked by my own father. I would sprint if I heard him call my name, rushing to avoid his fists. He would hit first, ask questions later. I was lucky. I helped my mom clean her hair off the floor after

If we cannot even speak openly about the epidemic that is occurring to women in all communities, in all faiths, in all ethnic groups, we cannot expect real change to occur. he had dragged her around by it. I watched as he hit my brothers with a stick..a belt..a shovel. I listened as he called me a whore; a streetwalker. And then I listened as he called my little sister the same. I was lucky. I would pray. I would repeat that prayer with a stinging handprint on my cheek because my father didn’t believe me. I was abused by a man who used religion as his weapon. But I never stopped praying. I hated him, not Him. I was lucky. Let me be clear. It’s not easy growing up in an abusive household. The only thing worse than being hit, tormented, and living in a constant state of fear was watching the ones you love most going through the same thing. I did not feel lucky when I was hiding in my closet listening to the screams occurring in the next room. I did not feel lucky when I saw my mother walk away, helpless and defeated, as he hit me. I did not feel lucky when he withheld me from attending school whenever he pleased. I did not feel lucky as I contemplated marriage as an escape or when he kicked me out of the house in the middle of the night with no money, no car, and for no reason. But now, ten years removed from the helplessness of being a child I realize how lucky I am to have survived that life. How lucky I am that I did not carry the cycle on with my own children. I learned kindness from oppression, patience from rage, real Islam from hypocrisy. I learned to protect those I love by being left exposed, defenseless. I


learned strength from weakness, love from hatred, and poetry from incoherent bellowing. Alhamdulillah. Muslim communities, generally speaking, don’t have services set up to help women dealing with domestic violence. Unfortunately, many communities only help to continue the cycle of violence by avoiding involvement even when directly approached by a victim. When 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, this becomes a huge problem. As women, we need to change this statistic for the sake of our mothers, daughters, and our own lives. If we cannot even speak openly about the epidemic that is occurring to women in all communities, in all faiths, in all ethnic groups, we cannot expect real change to occur. After an open and judgment free dialogue has been established we need to educate ourselves. Read about the statistics, prevention, and the signs of an abuser. Unfortunately these people exist, but fortunately, they typically follow the same tactics and have the same characteristics which make it easier to identify them. Sisters, when we find a man we want to marry, it’s up to us to ask him the real questions like whether there are any situations in which he would think it’s acceptable to hit his wife, his children, etc. Mothers, it’s up to us to raise our sons as men who respect and are kind to women and raise our daughters to never doubt themselves, and to truly understand that God, the Most Merciful and the Most Just, would never expect a woman to endure oppression silently. And fathers, love your children and love their mother. Set the example for your sons and daughters of functional, loving, uplifting relationships. Finally, as an ummah, we need to become active and volunteer to bring an end to this societal problem. There are some great organizations that are out there such as Peaceful Families Project (, Project Sakinah (www., not to mention that most major cities across the US have some type of non-profit organization aimed at helping those affected by domestic violence and child abuse. Please visit my blog www.shroudedmemories. for just a glimpse into a life affected by domestic violence and child abuse.




Photo courtesy: Razan Elbaba

Why Your Reluctance to Let People in Will Ultimately Leave You ALONE By: Mahvish Danka

As children, our fears are limited to monsters underneath the bed and the boogeyman in the closet. But eventually life happens, and one day we start fearing people and the power they yield over us. Our first heartbreak teaches us that we cannot trust people easily, and every broken relationship after that only makes us build our walls higher. Then one day, when our walls are high enough to ensure no one hurts us again, we lock our vulnerabilities in an impenetrable safe and spend the rest of our lives in fear of someone tearing down our walls and forcing us to lose control. A part of us still hopes, and will always hope that maybe, just maybe, someone will care enough to try to tear our walls down and make us happy. But hope is a dangerous thing because hope means that one day you might give someone a chance, that one day you might find happiness, and that person might walk away and destroy your happiness with their absence. The only thing worse than being stuck in your own Hell, is knowing what Heaven tastes like while you’re in it. So then you start fearing happiness, and all these irrational fears -- the fear of being hurt, the fear of losing control, the fear of being happy -- makes us afraid of everything and we become cynical toward everyone. We shut

down and entertain people on the outside of our walls. We fail to realize what great relationships we’re missing out on until one day we’re left very, very alone. We build our walls in order to protect us from other people, but ultimately our walls become a source of our own self-destruction. We have all been through suffering, but we need to learn to adapt to pain without closing ourselves off to people. Not everyone is out to hurt you, and you need to learn to open up to someone at some point. We’re all fighting our own battles, and people will rarely leave their battles to come help you fight yours. Some people are only interested in your life for the sake of interest, but there will always be people who genuinely care and the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. And if they prove you wrong, forgive them and move along. Forgive them not for their sake, but for your own. As long as you hold a grudge in your heart, you’ll also hold the mistakes of people from the past against people in the future. Be straightforward, be open, be kind, and give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s easier said than done, but five years from now, you don’t want to look at your life with regret and ask “what if ?”


reviews 56




Photo courtesy:



By: Rehnuma Majid

Dr. King said, “Those who have gone before us say “No more”! No more!” There have been many reviews before this, of that, I am certain. But when I find myself looking back on the most influential and relevant films of 20142015, “Selma” continues to sing strong. In recent memory, I can’t recall having watched something that made me feel such a wide range of emotions. In the opening scene, I felt nauseous. You hear the chatter of young black girls in a church. Unknowing of the fact that within the next few seconds an explosion would end their lives. It’s a moment you don’t expect and it hits you hard. Many films work up to such traumatic events, starting off with something lighthearted or happy. Ava Duvernay, director of “Selma,” chose not to feed us this façade. This is the reality of black Americans, whose color, name, and history is not one painted with privilege, liberty and freedom. Slavery, lynching, beatings and segregation are woven into history books and films such as this, as a thing of the past. But why, after watching the film, does it feel so close? So current? Government subsidized housing looks an awful lot like a modern day ghetto. Beatings and shootings fill my social media news streams and feeds. And lynching? Disgustingly, it is not yet a thing of the “past.” And yes, I have heard the white cry of the historical inaccuracies in the portrayal of then


president, Lyndon B. Johnson. He was made out to be a grudging character in the progression of one particular event in the civil rights movement. But to be honest, of all things to take away from the film, did it have to be that? It’s not as if Dr. King was portrayed as the perfect man, Duvernay chose to show us just how flawed the people we look up to can be. His married life was riddled with his infidelity. But in the same light, it showed us the caliber and strength of Coretta Scott King, who stood by his side for the greater good of her family and the entire movement. Referring back to the opening quote, we have most certainly come a long way. The efforts of leaders before us have paved the way for non-white people in our country to grow up and become amazing individuals, but there continues to be a sickness in our communities, which made “Selma” feel reflective of today’s society. The sickness is a regression in steps taken forward. It fogs the glass ceiling and removes the very ability of children to dream outside of the box. It kills our brothers and sisters with bullets, hate, and ignorance. I wanted to be able to view “Selma” through the eyes of someone living in a totally different world. I wanted to be able to watch the entire thing and think, “Oh thank God, these things don’t happen anymore.” But that simply would not be true.


In the wake of the tremendous success of John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” any and all young adult novels about teens with cancer have automatically been compared to it. Julie Murphy’s “Side Effects May Vary” is no different in that respect, but it could not vary any more starkly when it comes to plot and characters. In her raw, semichronological prose, Murphy tells the story of 16-year-old Alice, who was diagnosed with leukemia but starts the novel in remission. Alice is selfish, bitter and deeply confused, a stark contrast to her lifelong best friend, Harvey, who is hopelessly in love with her and whom she constantly used and took advantage of. Once diagnosed, Alice had decided to rectify her wrongs and fix her relationships with the various people in her life – namely Harvey and her parents. However, stunned by her remission, Alice finds herself unable to confront the consequences of her actions. As she breaks more hearts (including her own) and sinks to new lows, Alice has to deal with the realities of her situation and put her life back together, piece by shattered piece. Murphy’s take on this oft-exhausted subject – the angsty teenager with

cancer – is refreshing in its reality: she doesn’t skirt around the consequences of living with a mortal illness. Instead, she creates a character who is deeply flawed and distinctly unlikeable, who is teetering on the border between life and death and completely unsure about how to deal with it, who has shattered her own life and cannot face the results. In fact, Alice’s profound unlikeability is what makes the novel so compelling – you understand where she is coming from, and you hate yourself for it. Similarly, Murphy also turns other tropes on their heads: Harvey, the best friend who unconditionally loves Alice and who spends much of the novel doing what she wants, changes dramatically throughout the course of the story. The tremendous transformations of each of these characters – as drastically different as they are – are what make the novel so rewarding. In combination with her piercing prose, Murphy crafts from these characters a novel rife with emotion and fiercely striking as it explores the inner world of secrets, guilt, redemption and love. List price: $14.49




By: Sarah Mohideen

If you have heard of Muhammad Asad it is probably through his 1980 translation of and commentary on the Qur’an, considered one of the most influential of the modern era. To any Islamic scholar, he is a household name, having worked enthusiastically for most of his life to increase European understanding of Islam, which considered the religion unserious, flighty mysticism at best. He was born Leopold Weiss to Jewish parents in Austria and spent his childhood in Vienna. Like most of us, he had a foot in two worlds—the Islamic and the West—which, “The Road to Mecca” suggests, are irreconcilably different. Having become disillusioned with the materialism and lack of Godconsciousness of interwar Europe in his formative years, this is an understandable perspective. But the view of Islam in the West has shifted radically. Our biggest problem is not that the West fails to take Islam seriously as a religion and as a philosophical endeavor, it is that the West views Islam as a fundamental threat to all the values it holds dear. What can a modern-day Muslim living in the West learn from a book that highlights our differences rather than our similarities? While “The Road to Mecca” covers a variety of topics, including the author’s career, his friendships with Arabian monarchs and the politics of the Middle East during the 1920s, these disparate themes are tied together by the story of Asad’s acceptance of Islam. Asad (then Weiss) first became acquainted with Islam when staying in Jerusalem with his uncle and noticed the remarkably peacefulness of Arabian society, how the whole Muslim populace seemed to be spiritually content, a stark contrast to the frantic, directionless pace of life he observed back in Europe. He spent the next four years learning more about Islam and discovered that it made up for everything that he found lacking in Judaism, which he had a considerable academic background in. He converted to Islam in 1926, though the events described in the book go up until 1932. His descriptions of the physical and emotional landscape of the Middle East during this time are vivid, if guilty of the romanticism he criticizes earlier Europeans of, his dreamy descriptions of everyday

marketplaces sometimes stretch on for literal pages. Whether this was an orientalist appeal to European audiences on the part of the author or a genuine expression of his feelings is open to interpretation, but I think it is the latter. “The Road to Mecca” is half autobiography, half sociopolitical commentary. While it is written with timeless appeal, it has never been more relevant than it is now. As an introduction to Islam for a Western audience it is invaluable, but I find the parts that call the ummah to educate ourselves about our faith and return to the values of truthseeking and equality much more urgent and relevant. Their application to the modern day is clear. First, the practice of Islam applies to social institutions that paint it as an attack on freedom of thought and to the ones that pervert Islam to intimidate and oppress. Second, Asad’s criticisms of the thenmodern Muslim world still ring true today: “’Tell me—how has it come about that the faith of your Prophet and all its clearness and simplicity has been buried beneath a rubble of sterile speculation and the hair-splitting of your scholastics?’” From the same section: “’How has it happened that your princes and great land-owners revel in wealth and luxury while so many of their Muslim brethren subsist in unspeakable squalor—although your Prophet taught that No one may call himself a Faithful who eats his fill while his neighbor remains hungry?’” Our faith should shed light on the dark places. In order for it to do that, we must strive to learn more about it. This is what I learned from reading “The Road to Mecca.” You may find a different lesson in its pages. That’s alright, there are many different roads to Mecca, but the destination is the same.



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PHOTO COMPETITION Some of our Layali editors and columnists are traveling to various places around the world this summer. We want to know where your travels have led you. Tag us in your pictures or use the hashtag #layalitravels for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and in our magazine. We can't wait to see everyone's pictures!

Bremen, Germany INSTA-LOVE

Our editors share and discover through their love of Instagram.

1. Muslim woman wins against Abercrombie & Fitch. 2. Congrats to all graduating seniors #2015. 3. Munira Khalif gets accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools.



mango MANGO debuted its Ramadan collection on June 8. Pieces include tops with stone detailing, palazzo trousers and long chic dresses.We asked you what you thought about their MANGO Ramadan collection and the results are in!



77.2% LOVED it 15.9% COULD’VE DONE BETTER 6.8% ehh I DON’T MIND IT 61


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