Supermodel Halima Aden Makes Second Appearance On Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

In case you missed it, Halima Aden stuns in her second Sports Illustrated swimsuit appearance.

Supermodel Halima Aden Makes Second Appearance On Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

In case you missed it, Halima Aden stuns in her second Sports Illustrated swimsuit appearance.

By

Elizabeth Aziz
Halima Aden photographed by Kate Powers in the Dominican Republic for Sports Illustrated.

Everyone’s favorite supermodel, Halima Aden, made history again when she graced the pages of Sports Illustrated’s illustrious swimsuit issue for a second time last month. Her first feature in the magazine was in April 2019. 

This time, we got over forty-five photos (!) of the 22-year old Somali-American supermodel and UNICEF ambassador wearing modest swimwear by fabulous designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, LYRA Swim, Cynthia Rowley, Krahs, Une Piece, TAVIK, and more. 

 

Aden was shot by photographer Kate Powers in the Dominican Republic this past February, before the pandemic. (Fun fact: Sports Illustrated hosted a photography workshop for local area girls led by Powers during the same trip!)

Recently, Aden has also joined forces with Allure magazine and a company called Anywear that designs headbands and medical caps with buttons for comfortably holding face coverings and medical masks in place. As part of the #BandingTogether initiative, her collection includes a range of options for Muslim women, including matching mask-and-hijab sets and turbans. For each purchase made, Anywear will donate a headband or hijab set to a healthcare worker on the front lines of COVID-19. In an Instagram post, Aden wrote: 

“Having worked in a hospital, even several months into my modeling career, it was important for me to support this project. As many hijab-wearing women are working at health care facilities, I wanted to make sure they have a comfortable option for wearing a mask while keeping their hair covered.”

You can shop Halima’s Anywear collection here to benefit frontline workers and stay safe in style.

If you want to learn more about Halima’s life and trail-blazing career, check out this TED Talk she gave in 2018.

Artists Show Us What It Means To Be Muslim Through Art

This Eid al-Adha, we assigned our graphics team to create work that shows us what being Muslim means to them. The outcome was simply iconic.

Artists Show Us What It Means To Be Muslim Through Art

This Eid al-Adha, we assigned our graphics team to create work that shows us what being Muslim means to them. The outcome was simply iconic.

By

Muslim
Art - Shayma Al-Shiri

This Eid al-Adha, Muslim is celebrating through art. One of the goals of this publication is to create a community of Muslims no matter how you practice. One of the beauties of Islam is that each person has their own path to strengthening their deen. Faith isn’t linear and everyone experiences being muslim differently, so we asked our Graphics team what being Muslim means to them. This showcase is a taste of our loving community – we hope that you enjoy!


Art - Merna Ahmed

My name is Merna Ahmed. I am 20 years old, and a Photography and Design student. In my free time, I like making jewelry and rewatching sitcoms like Parks and Recreation or New Girl!

When I think of being Muslim, I think of the community aspect and how I bond with other Muslims because of our shared experiences. In those moments of bonding, the community feels like a safe and comfortable place, although I think it is important to acknowledge the experiences of my brothers and sisters who experience colorism and racism within our own community. In a religion that is already marginalised and subjected to hate by the masses, we in the Muslim community should not add to that by discriminating and hating amongst ourselves. The main beauty of Islam is that it is not exclusive to one race. Islam does not equal race, which is why it is important we have these conversations about colorism and racism, to be reminded that our community should be a safe and comfortable place for everyone.

IG: @artbymerna

 

Art - Tasneem Sarkez

I’m Tasneem Sarkez and I’m 18. I’m a multimedia artist who will be an incoming student at New York University. 

When thinking about what it means to be Muslim, the first thing I thought about were the family values I was raised with. I think there are ancestral, cultural understandings that are unique to each family, yet all share themes of nurturing a collectivist community in and outside of our family. In this piece I used symbols of strength, weakness, and family photos, to demonstrate how coming to terms with what it means to be family is an up and down process – but eventually you learn the importance of treating everyone, family or not, with respect.

IG: @min3youni/@z3kras

 

My name is Hamza Shahid and I am an incoming Life Sciences student at McMaster University. I love doing calligraphy and taking photos in my spare time!

For this piece, I turned to Islamic art and poetry for inspiration. Islamic art from South Asia frequently employs nature as symbols of paradise. Islamic poetry, in the same way, makes reference to flowers and gardens in connection to Jannat. I chose two lines from the Urdu poem Jawab-e-Shikwa, written by the acclaimed Allama Iqbal (RA), which complements his earlier poem named Shikwa. Jawab-e-Shikwa is written as Allah’s reply in response to the complaints of a disheartened, angry believer (from Shikwa). The lines I chose translate to the following: “The gardener should not be upset seeing the garden’s state. Branches will shine through from amongst the bunches of buds.” I likened the strokes of calligraphy to the branches Iqbal speaks of, the flowers eventually coming into bloom. As a Muslim, Iqbal’s words show me how the beauty and importance of our Imaan make themselves apparent in ways we may not see ourselves. While your proverbial tree may not be laden with flowers yet, there is no tree – nor its flowers, or buds – without its simple, barren branches.

IG: @hamzsha

 

Art - Noor Ali

My name is Noor Ali and I’m a Design Engineering student at Imperial College London.

The beauty of being Muslim is being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a note passed down from our Creator to our beloved Prophet (saw) that we now pass to each other. The Shahadah is a unifying oath; a perfect fit for every hand that reaches for it, no matter how uniquely formed they may be. When we truly believe this message, sent by Allah (swt), it is not only His warmth and love that surrounds us, but that of the entire Muslim ummah too.

IG: @illustratedbynoor

 

My name is Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman and I’m from Malaysia!! I am a Graphic Communication student at the University of Plymouth, with a lot of love for typography and editorial design.

There are over 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. One cannot simply pin point what being a Muslim is, and I find that beautiful and interesting. I wanted to focus on the fact that being a Muslim isn’t just one thing and it can be defined in many ways, depending on your perspective. I took the prompt literally, and illustrated in a way which defines the word ‘Mmuslim’. At the end of the day, all of us Muslims believe that there is only one god and Muhammad (SAW) is his messenger. 

IG: @hedzlynn.mareesya

Art - Umaima Haseeb

My name is Umaima Haseeb. I am 20 years old and am currently a senior at the University of Central Florida, studying to attend medical school, InshAllah. 

The biggest inspirations for this drawing were simple: yellow, my favorite color, and sunflowers, my favorite flower. But, under the surface, the color yellow reminds me of happiness and tranquility, just as Islam does. It’s also a self portrait and represents my relationship with Islam and the hijab. Although I don’t wear it anymore, I always cherish that time in my life as it brought me closer to my religion.

IG: @umaimmaa / @umaimadraws

 

Art - Shayma Al-Shiri

My name is Shayma and I am a 22 year old digital artist based in New York City. I enjoy film and TV as much as I do illustrating and I hope to continue creating art in Muslim spaces. 

My piece is a visual representation of my relationship with my hijab. I’ve worn the hijab for more than a decade and it’s grown with me and taught me many lessons, like how not be afraid to show what I believe in, what loyalty is, and how to protect myself and my spirit. Over the years, I’ve been asked about a million times, “Why do you wear that?” and I always give the same answer: “When was the last time you loved something so much you dedicated yourself to it every day?” 

IG: @shaymaalshiri

 

Art - Tirzah Khan

Salaam! My name is Tirzah Khan and I’m a senior at University of Maryland, Baltimore County studying information systems and psychology. I’m passionate about activism and passion fruit bubble tea.

This piece, titled “فقير / Beggar,” is an illustration of the room in my family’s house where we pray, and I wanted to portray my deep sense of comfort when entering that room and prostrating on the prayer rug, asking for Allah to grant me whatever will fill my life with good. That’s what being Muslim means to me – trusting that Allah knows what is best for me before I can even begin to ask for it myself, and trusting that whatever is good for me will reach me when He wills it to. And if you’re picking up some Animal Crossing vibes, it was unintentional but absolutely not unwelcome!

IG: @bytirzah

 

Art - Ameena Muhammad

Hi! My name is Ameena Muhammad, and I am a Texan graphic design student/wannabe illustrator studying in Toronto. 

Surface level, being Muslim means community, comfort, and faith. But for my personal meaning, I’m still trying to get a grasp who I am, and my religion comes with that. This piece includes me in three styles of dress; each projecting different ideas of who I may be. Physical change is my most tangible route of making some sense of myself, but oftentimes to others is the sole piece of evidence to evaluate how “Muslim” I really am. To me, being Muslim means that regardless of how I grow and change, there is a part of my inner weaving that will always remain the same. Each person’s experience with Islam is distinct and internal, and not something that can be grasped through biased, external judgement.

IG: @uhhhmeena/@ameena__m

 

7 Of The Most Phenomenal Women In Islamic History

We listed prominent and phenomenal Muslim women from Islamic history that set inspiring examples for young people today.

7 Of The Most Phenomenal Women In Islamic History

We listed prominent and phenomenal Muslim women from Islamic history that set inspiring examples for young people today.

By

Hafsa Chughtai
Art - 1001 Inventions archive

Unlike the general assumptions regarding the status of women in Islam, Muslim women are known to be some of the most powerful and distinguished characters in history. Islam describes women to be integral parts of their fathers, husbands, and children’s faith. However, they are not only referred to as mothers or daughters of some of the most important men in Islam but also as the influential figures that they were. 

Muslim women worked alongside men to leave their marks on different spheres of life and oftentimes changing the course of history. Besides playing a significant part in the emergence of Islam, women in Islamic history made name for themselves as some successful educationists, scholars, and rulers too. 


 

Here are 7 Muslim women who might be forgotten over the centuries but are inspiring examples for young people today:

 

Sumayyah bint Khabbat:

One of the first women to convert to Islam, Sumayyah bint Khabbat was also the first Muslim woman to become a martyr. 

She along with her husband and son started following the message of Islam at the time when Muslims were brutally being slaughtered by those in authoritative positions. Sumayyah was a dark-colored woman and belonged to a social class that was captured to be slaves. Having no tribal protection, she was killed by the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) uncle upon refusing to refute her Muslim identity.

Sumayyah bint Khabbat died before Islam spread. However, she contributed to the community with her utmost courage and became a model of strength for the Muslim men and women to come after her.

 

Rābia al-Adawīyya: 

One of the most influential Sufis (mystics) in the Muslim culture, also known as Rabia Basri, belonged to a very poor family in southern Iraq. She spent a significant part of her early life as a slave before her master set her free so she could practice her devotion to Sufism. 

She is recognized to be the one who introduced the Sufi school of  “Divine Love.” This school focused on loving Allah for His own sake, rather than out of fear of His wrath or hope for reward. Most of Rabia Basri’s life is narrated by others as she did not leave behind any written works of her own. 

 

Fatima al-Fihriyya:

This Muslim woman from the 9th century built the first university in the world.

Fatima al-Firhiyya moved with her family from Tunisia to Fez, Morocco. Growing up in a well-educated household, she studied Islamic law and Hadith. After Fatima and her sister inherited a considerable amount of money from their father, they built a large mosque in their city. That mosque was also a formal madrassa and welcomed students from all over the world to study science, Islam, astrology, languages, mathematics, and a couple more subjects.

Known today as The University of Al Quaraouiyine, it is the oldest running educational institute. It was also the first school to award degrees based on different levels of studies.

 

Arwa al-Sulayhi:

Arwa al-Sulayhi was the longest-reigning queen of Yemen. At first, she co-ruled with her first two husbands but went forward to achieve one of the most unique positions in Islam. 

Arwa al-Sulayhi was known for her great memory and was well-versed in Qur’an, hadith, and poetry. Her reign was characterized by several architectural projects and the advancement of Yemen’s infrastructure, as well as its increased alliance with the rest of the Muslim world. 

She might as well be the greatest example of a completely independent Muslim queen. How powerful is that?

 

Razia Sultana:

Razia Sultana was the only female to sit on the Sultan’s throne in Delhi. She was also possibly one of the most powerful females from the Indian subcontinent. 

Razia’s ascent to the throne was unusual not only due to being a woman but also because it was the general public who supported the idea of her rule. However, her short reign was later overthrown when two of her close officers conspired with Turkic opposition. 

Though her rule was short lived, tales of her brave and resilient personality have inspired people for centuries. An eighteenth-century historian, Farishta writes “…Razia, though a woman, had a man’s head and heart and was better than 20 such sons.”

 

Sayyida al-Hurra:

Sayyida al-Hurra, which is more of a title than a name (somewhat meaning an independent noble lady) was a ruler of Tétouan, Morocco. According to historians, she was also the last one to legitimately hold the title of al-Hurra (queen). After the death of her husband, she married the king of Morocco but refused to leave her city which also makes the first and only time a Morrocan king married away from the capital.

 

Kösem Sultan:

Also known as Mahpeykar Sultan was the wife of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I and the mother of Sultan Murad IV and Sultan Ibrahim. She is the second most influential female figure from the Ottoman Empire after Hurrem Sultan, the wife of Sultan Suleyman.

According to some contemporary sources Kösem was the most powerful of the Sultan’s advisors. The Sultan never refused anything to her given how deeply both of them were in love. 

She is also known to have contributed a lot towards Islam during the time she was handling the matters of the empire.

READ MORE: Five Influential Muslim Philosophers You Need To Know

#RemoveItForZayn Trends On Twitter After Islamophobic Song Gains Attention

Fans question Spotify after Islamophobic song linking One Direction musician Zayn Malik to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "The song violates the community guidelines of Spotify, why was it published?"

#RemoveItForZayn Trends On Twitter After Islamophobic Song Gains Attention

Fans question Spotify after Islamophobic song linking One Direction musician Zayn Malik to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The song violates the community guidelines of Spotify, why was it published?”

By

Hafsa Chughtai
Zayn Malik and the Islamophobic song that made #RemoveItForZayn trend globally.

 

Recently, fans of popstar Zayn Malik broke the internet (yet again) when #RemoveItForZayn began trending on Twitter. The hashtag went viral after a couple of fans took notice of a racist song targeting the star that was available for streaming on Spotify, implying that Malik was responsible for 9/11. 

While Muslims remain to be the target of Islamophobia, Muslim celebrities are most susceptible to hate speech and bullying. The singer’s biracial identity just happens to be one of the very incessant victims. This time, to the highly offensive song.

The fandom put together a social media campaign demanding the removal of the song from Spotify. Thousands of fans tweeted the hashtag to express their opposition to the situation and their call to action. This resulted in the song being taken down from the music streaming platform a day later.

The said song titled “Zayn Did 9/11” focuses on the terrible terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in 2001. Uma Kompton, the artist, unreasonably implies (in a not-so-decent way) that the singer was responsible for the horrific events. Probably referring to his Arabic name and religious affiliation. Lyrics of the song are, however, downright racist and extremely insulting towards not only Malik but to the religion Islam itself. The repeated use of abusive language makes it inappropriate to be put on any public website.

Even though the song was brought to notice recently, it remained available on platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Youtube since 2017. The artist herself is an infamous parodist and a troll whose Twitter account was previously removed in 2016 due to a series of controversial tweets. Kompton is known for her abusive comments and racist remarks and also remained the topic of a couple of other controversies in the past years. 

But hold up! This isn’t the first time something like this targeted Malik. A song with the same name was released back in 2013 by Rucka Rucka Ali, who is known for his dark-humor and parodies. Unsurprisingly, lyrics of the two songs resemble very closely to each other and gave rise to a similar campaign seven years ago too. Directioners took to social media and created petitions to get the song removed. Because, obviously, joking about such sensitive topics does not sit well with everyone.

The artist writes some highly objectionable things in this rap track. He refers to the singer as “Zayn Hussein” the leader of Al Qaedirection and mentions how he planned the attack when he was only 8 or 9. This and his other song “Al Qaedirection(which follows almost the same plot) was all a part of his shot at being humorous. And it gets even more offensive with every line.

The fact that these songs are still available on youtube and a few other platforms adds to the anger of Malik’s fans. It also calls for questioning the holes in the content guidelines of these streaming services. Does this evident verbal assault not fall under the category of hate speech? Why did these services continue to make such songs accessible to the public for all these years?

Acts of outright racism or even such attempts at making fun of situations that are unpleasant for a number of people should not be provided with a platform as famous as Spotify to be promoted on. Artists like Rucka Rucka Ali are unaware of the impact their humor can have and how it can fuel racial injustice. Youtube and Apple Music along with other websites/apps where these songs are available should understand the gravity of the ongoing events and take appropriate measures to settle everything.

READ MORE: Marvel’s Muslim Superhero Gets Her Own TV Show And Video Game

Marvel’s Muslim Superhero Gets Her Own TV Show And Video Game

Kamala Khan – a.k.a. Ms. Marvel – will headline Disney+’s live-action show Ms. Marvel and will be a playable character in an upcoming video game.

Marvel’s Muslim Superhero Gets Her Own TV Show And Video Game

Kamala Khan – a.k.a. Ms. Marvel – will headline Disney+’s live-action show Ms. Marvel and will be a playable character in an upcoming video game.

By

Sara S. & Wali Ahmad

Kamala Khan, a 16-year old Muslim, Pakistani-American character from Jersey City will be taking over our screens in the upcomings months. Also known as the superhero “Ms. Marvel” in Marvel’s comics, she has the ability to shape shift. 

Marvel Studios revealed that Kamala Khan will get her own live-action television Disney+ series at the D23 convention in California in August 2019. Titled “Ms. Marvel”, the series will be produced by Marvel Studios and written by British writer Bisha K. Ali. It is said to tie directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films – the show will share continuity with Marvel’s latest films, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well as future feature films. This makes sense, given that Kamala Khan’s superhero name is a tribute to Captain Marvel, who headlined the first female-led superhero film in the MCU. The series is expected to be released in 2022.

 

In anticipation for Khan’s appearance in Disney+ series, a video game featuring the character has also been announced less than two years before her TV appearance.The game’s publisher, Square Enix, announced that the next Marvel Avengers game would include Kamala Khan as one of its main playable characters and will make her central to the plot. This received praise from fans and industry insiders. 

Putting Kamala Khan at the forefront of superhero television and gaming comes as a result of Marvel’s push for more diversity and representation in its various outlets. In addition to the successful 2018 feature film Black Panther, which consisted of primarily Black cast and crew, Marvel continues to diversify its production both on and off screen with future films such as The Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings and Blade

Representation remains important in shaping and influencing the cultural identities of children growing up as part of a minority culture. For many adults today, racial, religious and/or cultural representation on any form of media while growing up was generally not readily available. Maria Afsar, a 25 year-old gamer, said that Khan’s video game appearance was something she has been waiting for “her whole life.” She first heard of Ms Marvel a few years ago and thought it was “so cool” that she had a background the same as her, being Pakistani, Muslim, and a girl.

Kamala Khan’s comic character was co-created in 2014 by Marvel editor and director Sana Amanat. As a Muslim-American herself, Sana Amanat wanted to create a character young girls of  a similar background could identify with and look up to. Kamala’s costume also represents her cultural identity.

“I think it’s absolutely insane that Kamala is in one of the biggest Marvel games that we’ve done,” she said during the promotion of the game. “The fact that she’s the entry point character in this game makes so much sense. People from all backgrounds can relate to her.”

READ MORE: What’s With The Islamophobia In Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’?

Hulu’s ‘Ramy’ Renewed For Season Three

What will Season Three focus on?

Hulu’s ‘Ramy’ Renewed For Season Three

What will Season Three focus on?

By

Elizabeth Aziz
Screen grab from Hulu's Ramy Season 2.

Ramy, the hit breakout series on Hulu, has officially been renewed for a third season. The news comes about five weeks after the debut of Season 2, which premiered on Hulu on May 29th.

Co-created by and starring comedian/actor/writer Ramy Youssef, the show follows Ramy Hassan, a millennial, first-generation, Palestinian-Egyptian Jersey boy who’s trying to figure out who he really is and what life means. Set in New Jersey, the second season focused on his dive further into his spiritual journey, finding a new Islamic community and embracing a deeper commitment to his faith.

Of course, the show’s success wouldn’t be possible without its amazing cast of supporting characters. Ramy’s family includes his devoted parents, Farouk (Amr Waked) and Maysa (Hiam Abbass), along with sister Dena (May Calamawy), the infamous Uncle Naseem (Laith Nakli), and cousin Amani (Rosaline Elbay). There’s never a dull moment with his friends, Mo (Mo Amer), Steve (Steve Way), and Ahmed (Dave Merheje), all three of whom are also stand-up comedians off-screen. Last but not least is the incredible Sheikh Malik (Mahershala Ali), who steals the show throughout the second season along with his lovely and poised daughter, Zainab (MaameYaa Boafo). Together, these characters and the incredible actors who play them bring Ramy’s chaotic world to life and help move his story along in unexpected, refreshing, and sometimes strange ways. 

As is the case with most streaming platforms, Hulu doesn’t release viewing figures for its shows. However, Ramy’s received near-universal critical acclaim for both seasons. In January, Youssef made history with a Golden Globe win for his lead performance, and the series as a whole won a Peabody Award alongside other hit shows such as Watchmen (HBO), Fleabag (Amazon) and Stranger Things (Netflix). The first two seasons of the show hold a combined approval rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In a recent interview with fellow comedian Whitney Cummings on her podcast Good For You, Youssef spoke about the perception of progress and diversity in Hollywood:  

“There’s this idea that Hollywood is pushing social change, but social change pushes Hollywood. No one really wanted to green light a show about an Arab Muslim family until Trump said, ‘Here’s a list of countries that people shouldn’t be allowed to come from.’ That’s really when people who are really on the right side of things were like ‘Eh, actually maybe we need to get to know these people a little bit more.’”

Don’t forget to check out our April cover story on the star here if you haven’t already.

 

READ MORE: Hulu’s ‘Ramy’ Tackles Spirituality And Self-Identity In Its Second Season

Hey Instagram, Taking Down Bella Hadid’s Posts Won’t Make Her Less Palestinian

Instagram Took Down Bella Hadid’s story about Palestine. Her response: a repost with the caption “I am Proud To Be Palestinian <3.”

Hey Instagram, Taking Down Bella Hadid’s Posts Won’t Make Her Less Palestinian

Instagram Took Down Bella Hadid’s story about Palestine. Her response: a repost with the caption “I am Proud To Be Palestinian <3.”

By

Zainab Damji
Photo of Bella Hadid attending a Palestinian rally in 2017.

The Hadids have always been proud of their Palestinian heritage. Whether it’s Gigi sharing her favorite Palestinian food on her Twitter segment of #askgigi or Bella publicizing it in her Instagram bio, they’ve never shied away from embracing their roots. Many suggest that their father, Mohamed Hadid is in large part to thank for that.

Mohamed has been vocal about the importance of his Palestinian identity and sharing that with his children. He was the keynote speaker at the Arab Conference held at Harvard, and shared how significant it is to him that his family remains in touch with their Palestinian culture. “One of my dreams is to have my kids carry the name Palestine with them everywhere they go, because it seems like we are losing that name as we go on,” he shared, according to The National. “We want to make sure my family always carries that on.”

However, as big of a celebrity family as the Hadids may be—they’re still susceptible to attempts at being silenced, and this time it was none other than Instagram taking down Bella’s story. Bella shared a photo of her father’s passport highlighting his motherland as she captioned it, “My Baba and his birthplace of Palestine.”

As the model released what she thought was a little bit of sentimental family history, Instagram was swift to take the story down and cited that it fell under “graphic violence, hate speech, harassment and bullying, or nudity and sexual activity.”

But alas, as seen before in the past — Bella was not about to remain silent and let that slide. She took to her stories again, publicly calling out Instagram titling her post “A message to me from @Instagram…”

Bella expressed her dismay and anger over Instagram taking down her story where she was just being proud of her father’s birthplace. “Are we not allowed to be Palestinain on Instagram? This, to me, is bullying,” she wrote as part of a larger message. “You can’t erase history by silencing people. It doesn’t work like that.”

The model didn’t stop there and reposted the image on her story once again and wrote “I am proud to be Palestinian <3” in large text. She also added that everyone should remind their parents “of how proud you are of where you come from” and encouraged followers to post where their parents were born.

Hadid reposted several accounts who followed her lead and shared photos of their Palestinian parents’ passports on their stories, along with their history.

This isn’t the first time Bella has been vocal about her support and love for Palestine. In December 2017, Bella took to Instagram to speak out against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Bella etched a long, heartfelt caption in which she said “The TREATMENT of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated.”

During the same month, Bella also attended a Free Palestine protest in London. According to TeenVogue, Bella was on her way back to her hotel after an event when she saw the protest and decided to join, still dressed in her floor-length deep-red gown and a bold red lip! Pictures of Bella at the protest quickly circulated over social media, with many people showing their support for her.

Bella also frequently reposts informational posts in support of Palestine on her stories, including the most recent topic of discussion: Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.

With all of that being said, one thing’s for certain—on or off the runway, Bella Hadid is a fierce, powerful woman who’s ready to take on the world.

READ MORE: Muslim Directioners, Rise Up: Gigi Hadid And Zayn Are Having A Child

Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

By

Nawal Qadir
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

The crisis in Yemen, while only recently trending, has been ongoing for years now, and comedian Hasan Minhaj has not shied away from it. As he does with most issues, Minhaj vocalized his concerns for the country on his show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, as a sub point during his episode covering Saudi Arabia, as the episode’s named. 

Minhaj gave a comprehensive run-down on the situation in Yemen, highlighting how the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, escalated the tensions in the country to its current boiling point. 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

 

 

Now, the entire episode can be found on Netflix (in volume 2 of the show), but let’s talk about why it’s so important. Minhaj’s look into Saudi Arabia, and the atrocities it so commonly commits, is an incredibly lacking take in Western media, when considering the fact that it’s coming from a Muslim man. It’s accepted in the West, and America especially, that Saudi Arabia isn’t a friendly state to human rights, but what is most often overlooked is how destructive Saudi is to its own community. 

As Minhaj points out in the episode, the relationship that most Muslims across the world have with Saudi is a confusing one. We accept it as the hub of our religion, yet most of us are vocal of our opposition towards the country. Minhaj detailing the latter fact is incredibly important on a platform like Netflix, whose main audience is Western countries, given that much of the Western world’s perception of Islam and it’s followers is borne out of Saudi’s actions. 

By creating a space where Muslims can openly converse about their feelings towards a country that’s meant to serve as the center for their religion, Minhaj offers a chance to flip an outdated and largely untrue script. The one that says that most Muslims stand with Saudi Arabia in its oppression. 

In truth, most Muslims claim to Saudi extends as far as it being the country that houses Mecca, and we tend to be as outraged at Saudi’s actions as the rest of the world. 

What’s more, Minhaj’s show offers a reliable source to center the conversation about Yemen around. He truthfully depicts the major roles of, not just Saudi Arabia, but Iran and America in the crisis. 

The attention that’s been surrounding Yemen on social media lately, while important, is largely incomplete. Yemen isn’t just starving, it’s being starved. The conditions are born out of three major conflicts, propagated by three major countries who are all comfortable destroying Yemen as long as it continues to promise benefit for them. Minhaj’s show addresses these faults head on, laying the groundwork for genuine advocacy for Yemen to take place. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look because, believe me, it’s worth your time. 

 

Major Clothing Brand SHEIN Appropriates Muslim Prayer Rugs And Clothing

“It is not acceptable to cherry pick a culture or religion and rename their items to your liking.”

Major Clothing Brand SHEIN Appropriates Muslim Prayer Rugs And Clothing

“It is not acceptable to cherry pick a culture or religion and rename their items to your liking.”

By

Mareena Emran
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

If you pay close attention to big market fast fashion brands, it’s quite apparent that cultural appropriation has existed for far too long. Just this week, fashion retailer brand SHEIN was exposed on Instagram for not only mislabeling South Asian clothing as sleepwear, but also misrepresenting Islamic prayer rugs, an important item used by Muslims to worship and complete the daily five prayers.

The prayer rugs were marketed as everyday household items, calling them fringe carpets and labelling them as Greek. They even had images of the Kaaba, the holiest site for Muslims. Because of the importance of prayer rugs, it’s absolutely necessary for them to be handled with care, but SHEIN’s false advertising of the product angered Muslims all across the platform (and rightfully so).

The reviews under the prayer rugs were appalling, with many customers saying that they’ve used the “carpets” for their pets and coffee tables. 

“For a customer to unknowingly buy this, step over it, and use it for decoration is not only a form of disrespect, but it’s also a form of cultural appropriation and they basically exploited their naive customers, who aren’t informed of what an Islamic prayer mat looks like, into making a quick buck,” said 19-year-old college student Nilo Gardezy from Arizona. “It’s not a coincidence that they stole this exact design that’s on almost 90%, if not all prayer mats.”

These items off of the SHEIN website were initially found by Khadija Rizvi, a student journalist based out of the United Kingdom.

Rizvi has been keeping a close eye on the website for a while, saying that she “was baffled” when seeing that the website advertised South Asian clothing as a normal pantsuit without any explicit indication that the marketed outfits have Desi origins. She initially posted this information on her story and many took notice of the issue.

As for the prayer mats, one of Rizvi’s followers brought it to her attention, and after looking on the website once again, took the product to her Instagram to make a detailed post. 

“As a journalist, and activist, I believe that it’s my duty to use my platform to raise awareness of the corners that people sometimes overlook in society,” said Rizvi.

Rizvi’s post ultimately garnered the attention of nearly 43,000 users, with beauty influencer Nabeela Noor even taking notice. 

“I did not expect my post to blow up the way that it did, I shared my own outrage and it turned out that tens of thousands feel the same way,” said Rizvi. “This led to the items being removed, we did it together.”

SHEIN has made a comment on the situation, but has yet to make a formal apology. I mean, after religiously appropriating Muslims, AND misleading customers into buying Desi clothes as sleepwear, it’s the least they can do.

“I definitely believe that brands need to be held accountable, big or small,” said Rizvi. “It’s not acceptable to cherry pick a culture or religion and rename their items to your liking. I think SHEIN taking down the prayer mats is a step in the right direction, but nowhere near what we want to achieve.”

Rizvi, along with many of her followers feel the same way, with some even going as far as to making petitions. One petition made by 16-year-old Ummay Rabbab has already gotten around 4,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. 

“I found out about the SHEIN situation through social media, as I saw everyone posting about how it’s very disrespectful and harmful to the Muslim community,” said Rabbab. “After seeing it, I immediately started to look for ways that I could stop SHEIN from profiting off of the prayer mats. This led me to create a petition, and before I knew it, people were signing and sharing it around.”

Rabbab’s efforts have extended even further, reaching out to SHEIN via email and persistently messaging the brand over socials.

“They apologized over Twitter, but their account doesn’t even have a fraction of the amount of followers they have on Instagram,” said Rabbab. “I’m trying my best to get SHEIN to publicly apologize on Instagram, and until then, we will not stop.

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But even after making two, *very generic* apologies, and taking down the prayer mats from their website, the Desi clothing continues to live on their website, being purchased by hundreds of unknowing customers everyday. It doesn’t just stop at Desi clothing, but even pieces like Kaftan dresses that are traditionally from Arab origins. 

Now tell me, is a Kaftan being called a “tribal print split back draped longline dress” appropriate? If you dig even deeper, listed on the SHEIN website are outfit pieces with Islamic calligraphy written on them that are ALSO being marketed as tribal. It’s outright disrespectful and it needs to go. 

SHEIN is only one example of how large companies can exploit the clothing of certain cultures, and can even go as far to appropriate religions too. SHEIN, if you’re going to sell South Asian and Middle Eastern clothing, perhaps think about getting some South Asian or Middle Eastern models. Just a thought.

So, after all of this, my biggest takeaway is that I personally need to be more mindful of the clothing I buy. I am absolutely guilty of buying shirts that have Chinese characters on them without the full meaning, especially when I was younger. The characters on my outfit were probably appropriating the Chinese culture and I had no idea, and now that it’s happening to the clothing I personally wear, I now understand that this is a real issue. 

In the future, I absolutely want to do more research behind the companies that I purchase my clothing from, and SHEIN is a company that I believe needs to make changes to the clothing options they offer on their website. 

UPDATE: 7/5/2020

SHEIN has released a formal apology on their Instagram page following the outrage of the Muslim community on social media. 

As many continue voicing their frustration with the company, Rizvi and Noor have responded to SHEIN with messages of optimism.

“Thank you for your statement and I am sure others will be pleased to see it too,” Rizvi commented. “I hope this leads on to careful reviews of all your products and a safe open dialogue with your customers. We can all move forward together in a positive way.”

Noor commented similarly, revealing that she had spoken with the company directly in hopes to catalyze change.

“Thank you for your statement and commitment to change – and a thank you to George, Head of the Brand for having an open dialogue with me about this,” Noor commented. “I will continue the conversation and hope that this will serve as an opportunity for growth and a deeper sensitivity and appreciation for all communities.” 

SHEIN stepping up to apologize is definitely putting them in the right direction in terms of acknowledging that there are faults with the merchandise they sell on their website, but there is still so much more to be done. Here’s hoping that they keep their promise in taking further action in making SHEIN a more culturally and religiously aware company.

Five Influential Muslim Philosophers You Need To Know

Muslim philosophers, inspired by their enormous exposure to new knowledge, set to work on a vast project: interpreting all previous world philosophies through the lens of Islamic revelation.

Five Influential Muslim Philosophers You Need To Know

Muslim philosophers, inspired by their enormous exposure to new knowledge, set to work on a vast project: interpreting all previous world philosophies through the lens of Islamic revelation.

By

Sameed Shariq

 

The Golden Age of Islam – typically around the 8th to 13th centuries – saw Muslims lead the world in science, culture and the arts. Due to expansion under the Abbasids, Muslims were the first to have access to discoveries of the natural world across cultures. 

Muslim philosophers, inspired by their enormous exposure to new knowledge, set to work on a vast project: interpreting all previous world philosophies through the lens of Islamic revelation. In this effort, they hoped to determine the relationship between spirituality and reason, thus integrating the two into a single coherent system which made sense of the natural world and man’s place in it.

Here are five of the most influential Islamic philosophers who embarked on this quest to understand reality:

Al-Farabi (872 – 950)

Al Farabi’s writings pertained to science, cosmology, mathematics and musical theory alongside philosophy. Diverse fields of study were common among the Philosophers, who believed acquiring all sorts of knowledge was an essential part of their quest to understand the nature of the universe. 

In his consideration of the Aristotelian concept of a ‘First Cause’, which describes a perfectly beautiful, indivisible initiator of the universe, Al-Farabi found a logical basis for Tawhid (the Islamic principal of the oneness of God). Through his commentaries of Aristotle, he preserved the original Greek texts for future generations and influenced prominent philosophers like Ibn Sina.

 

Ibn Sina (980 – 1037)

While often hailed as the father of early modern medicine, Ibn Sina also published a great number of highly influential philosophical works. His commentaries of Aristotle were critical – one example of which sees him reproach inductive reasoning as a means of defining a fact. Instead of solely drawing on one’s experiences to infer a truth, Ibn Sina proposed a method of examination and experimentation. Thus, an early form of the scientific method was born. 

Ibn Sina also followed Al-Farabi’s lead to comment on the question of being and the existence of God. He distinguished between existence and essence to develop an understanding of the soul. Through his ‘Proof of the Truthful’, Ibn Sina argued that God’s existence was necessary as there would need to be an agent-cause that imparts existence to an essence. Historian of philosophy Peter Adamson describes this as one of the most important medieval arguments for God’s existence.

 

Al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111)

Sufi Imam and jurist Al-Ghazali preferred to think of himself as more of a theologian and mystic than a philosopher. His inclusion in this list is important, however, because even though he sought to refute past philosophers’ rationalisation of the Divine through logic, he also utilised their methods of reasoning to do so. 

Through his ‘Incoherence of the Philosophers’, Ghazali claimed that by using the Greeks’ philosophies of metaphysics as the foundations for their own, philosophers like Ibn Sina had committed heresy. Ghazali claimed that ideas such as God’s existence being necessary were contradictory to revelation. It was not natural laws that governed causation, Ghazali said, but God’s rational will that enables the universe to operate in a way that we are able to make sense of and decipher rules for; Godis not fixed by these rules, so attempting to prove His existence through them is futile. 

Ghazali’s argumentation was widely celebrated and marked a major shift against the rationalisation of revelation in the Islamic world. 

 

Ibn Rushd (1126 – 1198)

Ibn Rushd was a highly proficient judge, physician and philosopher from Cordoba, Spain. By his time, the mainstream of Muslim thinking had shifted firmly away from Aristotelianism to Ghazali’s Asharite school of thought. Despite a valiant effort to defend the pursuit of philosophy in his systematic rebuke of Ghazali, Ibn Rushd’s ‘Incoherence of the Incoherence’ didn’t hold much clout with his co-religionists by the end of his life. 

In fact, his philosophical works survived not in Arabic but in Hebrew and Latin translations that ultimately earned him fame in the West. There, he became known as ‘The Commentator,’ the immensely important guide to the teachings of Aristotle.

 

Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406)

A venerated Islamic scholar, social scientist and historian, Ibn Khaldun is credited as the pioneer of the philosophy of history. By approaching history empirically and treating sources critically, Ibn Khaldun developed a method for historiography that refuted myths and falsehood. His most famous work, ‘Muqaddimah,’ identified critical issues made by his fellow historians and proposed a scientific method to the field that is practiced in varying forms to this day. 

These Muslim Philosophers form a cornerstone of our Islamic intellectual and cultural heritage. The pursuit of knowledge should be celebrated, especially where it serves to develop our relationship with our spirituality. Within Islamic philosophy we find questions which underpin our most fundamental beliefs as Muslims. Questions that ask us to think critically and innovatively, to strive for truth and understand our world and ourselves. It is imperative that we face them and continue to ponder reality and spirituality through the lenses they provide

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