Zale Navi


When I was 10 years old and the dream of becoming a doctor was still beautiful and naive, I met with Dr. Khadija. In my memory, I can still see this lady in full hijab plus niqab walking quickly towards my dad and I, apologizing for being late and excusing herself to go and change. When she came back, she had not done much of changing except for removing her niqab and putting on her white coat. As we walked around the hospital to have various tests done, I remember seeing eyes looking at her with such admiration, respect; she was the doctor, who would dare disrespect a doctor. And right then I knew that I wanted to be a doctor like her i;e never abandoning my hijab for my career.

Well that was long ago. I was too naive for this world. I never knew Islamophobia existed or could exist, I saw any Muslim lady without hijab to be lacking and I seriously did not understand the struggle people might be going through to be able to adorn the hijab. Right now I can say I know better. I have experienced discrimination due to my hijab, I know people who have undergone nasty situations because of it and all over social media we see sisters from different parts of the world being treated unfairly due to hijab. The enemies of Islam and Muslims are doing their best to ensure the world perceive hijab as a form of oppression, danger, threat, terrorism, naivety, uneducated, backward or any other word that makes it as something negative as possible. Thus the need for more correct information to be put out there and so I write.

When the topic, ”Acceptance in the community” is being discussed, we readily look at the ones bleaching their skins, the ones wearing weaves, those who cannot leave their homes without make up or those killing themselves with impossible diets for the sake of losing weight or staying in shape. We rarely look at a Muslim lady in trouser suit and a headscarf on the head. We have all silently agreed that this is the correct look for a career Muslim lady, or something similar. Creating another form of discrimination amongst ourselves. So the ones who put on the jelbab, niqab and abaya are most probably house wives or have studied religion. For us who are engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians and business ladies, we have our hijab adjusted to fit fashion. To make it more acceptable to our colleagues.

We have worked hard while studying for different fields of career, we did so while adorning full hijab hopefully, why then after we succeed we are quick to adjust the hijab? Why are we the ones giving the world the impression that the correct hijab is a form of limitation to our careers? What exactly does it limit us to do? Look pretty and learned? Do we realize that the message we are passing to our young ones is, the correct hijab is only for when they are in high school and below, after that it is not that necessary? When did it become more important for us to fit into the trending fashions and for our dress code to be accepted by our colleagues than abide by the laws of our Creator?

To others it might just be a dress code but we know too well that to us it is a statement of faith. A statement that the faith that we have accepted in our hearts, we are letting it show on the outside too. Making it even more important to make this statement correctly. This is a call and reminder to myself first then to you my sisters out there, lets put in the utmost effort in portraying our Faith correctly. It’s not only about being better role models to our young ones and among ourselves but it is a way of killing the stereotypes. Putting an end to thoughts such as hijab being a limitation or prevention for us to be whatever we might want to be. It will also allow any other lady interested in Islam access to correct image of a Muslim lady when she is outside her home.

We might not know this or might have chosen to ignore it; but it is true we dictate how the world treat us as individuals and also as a nation. Yes it has become hard and even dangerous to wear a headscarf let alone a full hijab. I know me suggesting this automatically qualifies my name to be under the extremists as per current world, people who make the religion difficult. I’m still not discouraged from reminding myself and my sisters. May be through this reminder, you and I will be able to create a world where correct hijab is normal. And as I have always said, lets take comfort and courage in ”… and whoever fears Allah- He will make for him a way out. And provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah- then He is sufficient for him.” (Qur’an 65:2-3). The goal is to attain Taqwa and yaqeen. Having full trust in Allah that my adorning the correct hijab is not an hindrance to reach my worldly goals nor a source of problems with others; rather an addition to my rewards and hopefully blessings in my life. And as someone puts it. ”if you stand up for All (meaning swalah) you can stand up to anything.”

One of my best friend’s dreams is to own a range rover and she would tell me how she can’t wait to be driving her range while in full hijab plus niqab. I say why stop at range? Dream of a ride in your sports car or convertible with the roof open and let your hijab be blown by the wind, with your sun glasses on. My dream is to own a motorcycle. I’m not a fun of thriller rides so this dream is usually an LOL to my friends but still, I can’t wait to take off my helmet at the end of that ride and flip my hijab. Wearing hijab should not stop you from being cool.

May Allah make it easy for us to present Islam in the correct way and may He fill our hearts with taqwa and full trust in Him, ameen.

Talking of hijab, we have an amazing hijab event coming up soon in shaa Allah. Don’t miss out! Check details in the poster below.

Photo Courtesy:

In many motivational speeches or writings, one thing the speaker or author encourages his/her audience to do is answer this question: “What is my purpose in life?”
It is as simple and complex as it is. The question automatically brings about more question to mind. Like; why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it what I was meant to do? Do i benefit from it? Are my loved ones benefiting from it? Does it make the world a better place? Etcetera etcetera.

But when we come back to the book of Allah, He states clearly;
“And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone)”
When you look at it this way doesn’t it seem easier? Well it does when you look at “worship” only in terms of the five daily prayers, fasting, zakat and hajj. But in addition to the latter there are numerous way of worshipping Allah. Isn’t it in the same Qur’an that Allah reminds us that He has given us minds and challenges us to actually think? That we should go out and explore the world? That we shoud seek knowledge? Thus personally, I define worship as that which pleases Allah. In this way , I easily find my purpose in life and be able to broaden it from the five pillars of islam to much more.

Still, the question is not what is your purpose in life? The real question is why aren’t you after it? If the main reason I am in this world is to please Allah then why am I not doing that?

Fear… it holds us back in achieving our purpose of living. I am not going to be the one to initiate peace between my arguing friends because I fear I might get caught up in the middle of it. I am not going to write the book because I fear they might not like it. I won’t be a public speaker because I fear I might lose my words. I am not going to start that business because I fear the risks and loss that I might encounter…and it goes on and on.

Most of us already know what we ought to be doing in order to please our Creator, to leave behind a great legacy, to create a better world but we let fear prevent us from acting. May be if we start thinking about our purpose in life being directly linked to pleasing our Creator, it will help us fight our fears. At the end of it all, Allah does not look at how great you did what you did, He is more interested in the struggle and intention of your actions. So, stop worrying about being good, being enough or being good enough and just be. Be among those who pleases their Creator.

Photo Courtesy:

Do you remember your first Ramadhan? I am talking about those days when fasting to you was for mum and dad’s sake. That is to say; if mum or dad and of course the “reporter” sibling in the family did not see you break the fast, your fast is still valid. You can deny it and I can, but Allah saw you every time you drunk half the water meant for rinsing your mouth while taking wudhu. But of course it was not a big deal, we were young and the thought of staying the whole day without food or water to drink either seemed torturous or mission impossible. I remember thinking to myself that even the adults sneak a sip or two of water when no one is watching because there is no way anyone can stay that long without water. At the age of 7 to 10 years Ramadhan to me was to be able to convince the people around me that I have stayed the whole day with neither food nor water.

Imam Siraj Wahaj puts it nicely when he says, Islam means progress. Right now I can look back at those years and see the progress in my Ramadhan. Maybe the adults around me understood it too and that is why they did not punish me when I broke my fast two hours to Magharib adhan (too dumb, I know that now). I was on training and it was okay to slip here and there, my relation with Ramadhan was still being nurtured. However, I never cease to enjoy the holy month. Apart from the hunger and thirst torture, there was the joy of having the extended family meeting up almost every day and excessive playing with friends (no wonder the unbearable thirst). Having the masjids full during all the swalahs, cooking the best foods and being able to witness the amount of blessings increase in the month. Till date, Ramadhan at my home is known as the month of barkah; not because we were taught so but because we saw the blessings. And then there was the ultimate joy that was Eid. So, in a nutshell, Ramadhan to most of us at that young age was torture from hunger and thirst, good food, friends and family.

When you do something wrong and you know it is wrong but no one reprimands you for it and they all act like it was okay for you to do what you have done, your conscious kills you. Or at least that’s what happens to me. At the age of 11-12 years, during Ramadhan all I could think about is that I got to do better. I have to see to it that I stay true to my fasting. It was a real struggle, reminding myself when it got hard that I can do it, I can stay the whole day with no water. Accomplishing this would make me happier than ever during the time of breaking fast and whenever I failed the enthusiasm of breaking the fast was lost all together. Ramadhan to me then was to be able to stay with no food or water the whole day; and it was enough.

Whenever I speak about Sheikh Khalifa, some people look at me with that eye of “oh she is at it again”. The truth is that given a chance to speak about my high school, I would not shut up. I love my high school. Not because it is the best high school in the Coastal province, though it is a bonus, but because of the role it played in building me as a young Muslimah. It was there that I also learnt that finishing the recitation of the whole Qur’an was highly recommended during Ramadhan. I still remember how people would struggle to finish the Qur’an at least twice while I would be struggling with my one khatm. I admit, I would be disappointed when I could not meet my one khatm goal, knowing that most of my friends had two khatms and others even three. All the Ramadhans in Sheikh Khalifa, my goal was that one khatm. I think I realized it once though I’m not so sure.

One of my biggest dream is to speak Arabic. I once told my friend that the day I would be able to speak Arabic fluently, I would not stop talking. He said that is the reason why I have not learnt Arabic till now. I am sure he is wrong. Being outside sheikh Khalifa my thirst for Arabic became intense; not just so as to be able to speak but I really wanted to understand the message in the Qur’an. My recitation was fluent but apart from a few surahs, I didn’t understand most of it’s message. So I asked one of the local ustadh to teach me Arabic at the same time I found myself a mushaf with the translation. And if you thought finishing a khatm was hard try doing it with the translation. Truth be told, I’m yet to accomplish it and I am disturbed by it. Still I was glad that I not only got to recite the qur’an fluently but I could also understand what it was saying to me.

Every Ramadhan has been different to me with different meanings. I have studied specific surahs, I have used Ramadhan to quit some sins. I have done memorizations of specific surahs, supplications and hadith. I have struggled to make each Ramadhan mean something to me. And it all comes back to; Islam means progress. I have seen my progress in my meaning of this beloved Holy month, and if Allah enables me to see more Ramadhans, I pray that I find more meaning to it.

Now as a 25 year old lady I ask myself what does Ramadhan mean to me and my mind goes back to the verses of the Qur’an that I memorized a long time ago due to how much they would be repeated during this month;
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183)
In them I get my answer. This month was meant for me to attain Taqwa. To build the strongest bond possible with my creator and as Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimatullah) said ;
“Taqwa is not praying long into the night and fasting long into the day but it is to abandon the obstacles between you and Allah (SWT).”
In other words, it is to abandon sin.

Ramadhan was meant for me to have that ultimate connection with the Qur’an. Not only by finishing multiple khatms or memorization but to be able to gain the guidance that Allah talks about when he says;
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgement” (2:185)
So yes, Ramadhan is meant for sharing, showing love and compassion to each and every one of us, for the ummah to be united more than ever, but at an individual level, What does Ramadhan mean to you?


By: Zale Navi

Photo Courtesy:

My friends believe I will be single forever, they are not mean, don’t judge them too early. They have a reason to believe so. The check list of my dream guy, is quite surreal. I made it that way intentionally. The unrealistic check list helps me to dodge their nagging. You see, when most of your friends are married or are in some sort of a relationship and you’re not, they tend to try to give you options of a possible match for you. And so to discourage them from doing so, I make it impossible for the option to exist within their reach, at least until when I would want to find him. Sometimes, I think the reason why they would want me to be in a relationship so bad is so that I would understand them. But I do understand, I understand how it feels like to love someone more than you love yourself. This is what I feel for you.

Everyday you arrive at school at intervals of 8:20 a.m – 8:25 a.m. I arrive five minutes earlier than you, just so that I would be the first person you say hi to. I can only imagine you thinking it is a daily coincidence. Sorry for blowing up your bubble but it is more of a created, calculated and worked hard for coincidence. I pray everyday for a good day and I think The Guy Upstairs already knows, a good day for me means a glimpse of your face.

My friends would probably call me a hypocrite when they find out you are not tall, dark and handsome. They might beat me up for falling for a guy with unkempt hair. They would not understand that I am crazy for that hair and I day dream about entangling my fingers in them. They might not appreciate your smile; the reason for my accelerated heart beat, making me wonder are you the reason for my living or will you be the reason for my death. After all tachys (tachycardia) are not to be taken lightly. In your deep voice my favorite character from Avengers is brought to life, Thor. I don’t know the reason behind your dressing style, whether it is to express or depress, you never fail to impress me.

KE Gif Ge 720X300

Though creepy and absolutely crazy, I sometimes do eavesdrop into your conversations with your friends. Your witty-fullness makes me wish I was one of them. Still, I’m grateful to be among the few under your leadership; which by the way, you make it seem simple. I am in awe of how you manage to maintain respect and peace in the group. Looking at the world in our times, maintaining peace and respect is a great a accomplishment. Convincing me further that you will be the perfect companion in leading my life.

The highlight of my day is when you turn to me after explaining a concept in our group discussions and ask if I have understood. You leave me with a tingling feeling in my heart whenever you say “see you tomorrow or nice weekend” at the end of the day. And the onset for the anticipation for another chance to see you kicks in.
I have had many conversations with you in my head. Don’t worry, I have already done my research on cars; at least now I can differentiate them by other factors than colors. I however didn’t go into engines. I would rather listen to you explain that part to me. I wish you could see yourself while speaking about your love for cars. The excitement in your voice, the light in your eyes, sometimes I get jealous over it. And I hope, one day you will have a brighter glow when speaking about me.

You make thinking seem fun as you throw your pen up and catch it between your fingers in continuous motion. I don’t know if you notice it, but you have an annoying habit of smacking your lips. Well it used to disturb me, until it didn’t anymore. Now I find it cute. Whenever you are having a hard time to understand something and you mumble incoherent statements to yourself and the creases on your forehead increases twice the number, during such moments I wish I could tell you to take it slow and that it is okay to not get it sometimes.

Buddha said, and I’m paraphrasing; when you find ‘the one’, you will feel calm inside. Mostly that is how I feel whenever I’m around you. Serenity, no worries. May be it is because you’re constantly looking out for me, being the silent one in our group. I never stress over what I did not hear nor understand because you have always made sure none of us leave the discussion group empty headed. You care, and that is important trait for any human being.

It is strange and arguably unrealistic to fall in love with someone you know nothing about. To feel so strongly towards someone you only see and hardly talk to except for exchange of few words formally. May be that is so because we think of love as being hard and complicated. But love is not a vocabulary to be looked up in Oxford Dictionary; love is simple, when you see it, you know it, you feel it and most importantly want to be with the one you love.

Photo Courtesy:

Four years ago, I didn’t know the existence of this word. Being a writer (not professionally) and someone who enjoys and loves reading, it is really a shame to admit that ”introvert” was not in my dictionary. But again, I have never been good with vocabularies.

Our dearest, beloved, respected, much appreciated and celebrated uncle Google defines introvert as a shy person. However, if you care to dig deeper to the psychological meaning of the word, you will discover that introvert has got nothing to do with shyness. So I will just blame uncle Google for misleading many of us. Why is it a big deal? Do I go around checking for words wrongly defined by Google? Absolutely no! I don’t even use Google, I prefer Oxford Dictionary 😉

The reason why I took interest on ‘introvert’ is, I believe it is not a coincidence that recently most of us identify ourselves as introverts. Before you throw your shoe at me, I know some of us are really introverts while the rest of us are just shy. Conventionally speaking, shyness is not a trait that is looked at positively; not unless you are a bride. Introvert on the other hand sounds cool to the ears and guys with this personalty are really productive people to hung out with; even though they are not largely celebrated in the society. Nevertheless, I’d rather say am an introvert than to admit my shyness.

The problem, however is not about being shy or being an introvert. The problem is actually how the world has forced some of us to keep to ourselves. We live in a society whereby, what is least important is considered to be the most important; yes I am talking about sources of entertainment. If you don’t know enough about them, then my friend you are automatically sentenced to life time silence. There is lack of kindness in our words and expressions. Our actions knows no boundaries nor show of compassion and consideration to the next person. We treat each other like the ground we step on. who would not want to keep to themselves in such a world?

Kindness, compassion, love, care, humility… they are important traits that give most of us the courage needed to get out of our shells and share our world with others. In today’s world, we listen, not to understand but to catch that shrub, or word said out of place so that it can be a source of entertainment to us years later. Making fun of one another and ridiculing each other is the norm. We observe actions not to learn from them but to find a slip up fit for our critics and harsh comments. We are busy looking out for ways to out do one another, competition is the order of the day leading to hearts that house jealousy and hatred towards each other. Love that is meant to be shown in actions is reduced to sweet meaningless words updated as status on Facebook or cute pictures posted on instagram. Our main focus is to accumulate more and more of anything and everything to ourselves, with no care whom we have to step on to get there. Many are in pain and tears because of our actions but we just don’t give a damn! Humility is a vocabulary to us and it does not matter how many definitions Google and Oxford Dictionary offers, we just don’t seem to get it. I ask again, who would want to be associated with such a world?

We need to see the urgency in making the world a better place. It does not cost you anything to show kindness, love, compassion and humility to others. It all starts with a smile, a ”how are you?” to the disturbed classmate. A helping hand to the lady from the market. A ”thank you” to the one who cooked your meal. A ”sorry” to the one you bumped into in your hurry to catch the bus. Holding the door for the boy coming right after you. A genuine ”well done” to the one who did better than you… the list goes on and on and I am sure I can list a thousand more a like without asking you for a penny from your pocket. So what is stopping you from taking action now?

So back to introvertism; it is so real. And these people too, need our love and acceptance. We should not view them as people with some kind of abnormality, because they are normal just the way they are. It is their different personality, their tendency to keep to themselves that bring balance to the world. So please, have mercy on them and don’t force them into gatherings for long hours, they literally get drained. It is in their solitude that they derive their energy from. But isn’t that what we are all about, diversity? Different personalities? Let’s allow our differences to bring us closer and celebrate the various personalities that are out there. Share your world with the rest of the world.

As for me, I am an introvert, I think. I’m also shy and know very little about entertainment world. So basically I am a part time normal person. And the people around me have accepted that. Most introverts, what they really need is their space. If you deny them that, it gets hard for them to function. But it is not a disease that needs cure. Being an introvert is just like being left handed and the society needs to accept you for who you are and make you feel comfortable among other types of personality. Our world is all about diversity, and we can co-exist. We just have to learn how to share the gifts of life.

Photo Courtesy:

The hot summer weather had me wishing I was wearing an air condition fitted outfit (seriously, someone should work on that).

‘’I still don’t get it why men can walk in three quarters and vests while muslim women are to cover from top to bottom in this unbearable weather.’’ He argued. And this was the climax of our heated argument. I could have just answered simply; ‘’Jahannam is hotter’’ but I dislike that answer even though it is so true and also I know the person am talking to. He is not the one to accept one word answer or three for that matter. He would have probably said something like, ‘ why can’t God make the earth cooler’. And no he won’t understand the concept of; the earth is a prison for a believer and paradise for a disbeliever. No, he just don’t roll like that. He is a man of reasons. Deep thoughts. Contemplating, arguing and finding logic. Yeah, I hate him sometimes when he becomes so philosophical but not for long because he is my friend and more importantly, it is my duty to answer such questions.

After our long argument which took two hours or more, I sat on my bed and a thought came to my head. ‘I wish I was like Imam Shafi or was it Malik, definitely one of those clever people that were before us who possessed so much wisdom to argue their points.’ Then it hit me, I was not sure which Imam or person I was referring to. I just have a rough idea of this man who was good at debates but don’t know who. Sad, isn’t it? Or may be not that sad because it’s just a debate; after all we should avoid them as much as possible.

What is really sad is that, few of us todaytake time to learn our religion. We are updated on most of the aspects of this world but when it comes to our religion, we are where we left off from madrassa. Some of us are doing a PHD in whatever field we are specializing in but it has never bothered them to learn how to make their swalah better and sweeter. The world that is supposed to be in our hands is in our hearts and the deen whose place is in our hearts is no where near our thoughts. Don’t blame time, because most of our time is consumed on absolutely nothing constructive. In this times whereby you can get anything and everything just by clicking a button, you really want to blame time for your luck of advanced knowledge in religion? Nouman Ali Khan has made it easier for you to get a chance to understand the Qur’an like never before just for $100 per year subscription, Qalaam institute got Seera intensive classes every year at $85, Hadith of the Day sends you daily hadiths at no cost, Islamic Online Universities offers different courses on religion at $100 per semester, there are numerous books on religion found online and teachers too from every corner of the world, Productive Muslim teaches you ways to be productive from life of the Prophet s.a.w at an affordable price.. what then is our excuse?

The worst part is when a non-muslim asks a question about Islam and we have no idea what the answer is, they present their arguments and we answer by getting raged and we are ready to fight for the religion that we  have not taken time to understand it for ourselves. We really need to see the urgency in us learning our deen. We should not leave it to Imams and Aalims. We have to learn it for ourselves. So that, just as you update your mode of whatsapp messenger, you update your reading of Qur’an. In your many dreams in life, fit in something to do with acquiring knowledge of the deen. You don’t have to take it all in, we can leave that for the scholars. But for your day to day life; you need Qur’an, Sunnah, important aspects of fiqhi, seera. Find books or courses on them and spare time on learning it. Every year, under your new year resolution, have something like: ‘’ Do in depth tafsir of Qur’an’’ or any other field you know you are really poor at.

And as I always say: it all comes down to the people we love and look up to. Who are the people we admire the most in our lives. Doctors might tell you Dr. House even though he is a fictional character. But really, do you think he is the best person to be looking up to. Yeah he is a genius according to the series and what not, but is he worthy a role model to a muslim lady or gentleman. I remember when we were preparing for our KCSE, the school will invite people from different fields. Now that I mention it, am not sure if it was form four or form three. My point is, there is this one guy. I don’t remember his name nor his profession but I will never forget his advice. It was as simple as, ‘’whatever you want to pursue in life, make sure you are a muslim first. So that you will be: a muslim teacher, a muslim lawyer’, a muslim engineer etc… not by name but by your way of living.’’ We can achieve this by having the right role models in our lives. If you are a muslim and your number one role model is not Rasulullah s.a.w, then you need therapy.

And my opinion is that, apart from the messenger of Allah may peace be upon him the swahabas,  tabiin and those who followed the religion to the letter would make great role models. Whatever profession you are in, look for a role model from the former people and also current who are in the same field and Allah is pleased with them. So if you are a teacher, get to know Aisha r.a one of the best teachers of her time, if you are in army how about you take some notes on Khalid bin Walid’s life, you are a business lady or gentleman, let AbdulRahman Ibn Awf blow your mind; you are a doctor Ibn Sina, you are a nurse Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, you want to be the president or a leader in anything you have a list to choose from, from the four Caliphates to Ummar Bin Abdulaziz, Architectures you can definitely find someone during Ummayad dynasty… the list goes on and on. We have this great people to look up to with whom we are sure if we follow their footsteps we will be successful in this world and the hereafter. The sad thing is that, we don’t know about them and we don’t bother to know about them. Now this is really really sad.

In this world, we are just passers by and the Hereafter is permanent. What if I tell you that there is a way to be happy in both worlds, won’t you jump at the opportunity to know how can you do it? Well this how… whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are dealing with, check and see how intact is your islam. Not by possessing the most beautiful Arabic name (so far mine is the most beautiful :p) but by possessing the most beautiful heart and characters as we were taught by the teacher of teachers Muhammad s.a.w and his Teacher Allah s.w.t. Make time to know Allah and know what He asks of you. Make time to acquire as much knowledge as you can so that you won’t be wishing to be like a wise someone centuries back because you will be that wise someone and you will be able to answer the questions and remove any doubts. Be a carrier of knowledge. This is an advice to myself first and then to you my dear brothers and sisters. Lower your gaze but don’t lower your standards by failing your religion.

And for the one who is curious to know how the argument with my friend went, well… we agreed to disagree. I pray one day, he agrees to agree with me in shaa Allah. May Allah increase us all in knowledge that is beneficial to us and others and make the path of knowledge easy for all of us, may He grant us success in this world and the hereafter, ameen.