Welcome to Chic Muslimah!
Where were you born?
I was in born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Where do you live?
I live in London, UK.
Currently, I am studying for my degree in Fashion & Textiles (BA) at UCA (University for the Creative Arts). However, I took two years out after my A- Levels to study Islamic History (including Tajweed and Arabic) at IESH University, Chateau-Chinon, France. The decision to move to Paris and study Islam more closely was due to a developing interest in learning more about my deen, Quraan and Ahadeeth, something I was not able to do studying at a regular school.
My aim is to educate those around me and connected to me that you can have the love for Islam, be religious but also be fashionable at the same time.
My mother also runs her own school called Dar Al Rahmah, which is located in Wanstead, London. The school is targeted at both children and adult a-like and caters to people from all backgrounds. She started the school in Saudi Arabia and re-launched it here when we moved over as a family. Previously my mother used to lecture at a university and in a high school, which she later gave up to pursue her own school. I have grown up around teaching and knowledge so I have always had the teaching skills and want, to change narrow mind-sets that Muslim girls progressing and having different careers is okay and beneficial for our community and that includes Fashion Designers.
When did you start making YOU TUBE videos:
From the age of 12 I had many Youtubers post my recitation videos that they captured from the Islam Channel TV shows, which swiftly got 100,000 views. This then made me want to launch my own. I made my first You Tube video when I came back from France about two years ago. I did a Quran recitation which was largely appreciated, but also attracted many inappropriate comments. I am not a consistent You Tuber, however, I have been posting videos from time to time for about 7 months. I will try to be more consistent, Insha’Allah.
Is there anyone or anything that keeps you inspired or motivated?
Well firstly, my mum because of the inspirational transition of her life from Saudi to England. My parents generally have supported my sisters and I throughout life, particularly the difficult adjustment that came with our move to the UK.
My Parents have never let us feel that we lack in anything and always ensured support was provided whenever we needed it. My mother has a priority for education, and has always instilled this in us. She wants us to be strong, independent women before we get married. I have learnt many lessons in my life through her actions.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career so far?
This whole combination of fashion and religion is a challenge in the sense that it requires constant management of individual expectations and perceptions, particularly online on social media. There are a lot of bloggers who are fashionistas, but not a combination of both. I usually attend an event and give inspirational talks or inaugurate with recitation and then later manage the fashion shows or anything fashion related. So this combination is fairly new to many and I want to continue being different. Having a successful background in recitation has helped keep me grounded, I was the first ever national Qir’at competition finalist in 2006 broadcasted by the Islam Channel. As a consequence, I received a lot of interest and attention by the Muslim community, which lead to TV appearances to recite the Qura’an. My fan base grew naturally and it was not until I started making You Tube videos that I realised how far my name had reached. I would also communicate with supporters through Skype also.
Once I did a recitation and there was a girl in the audience, she came and told me that she had converted to Islam after hearing me recite the Quran – I could not describe the feeling an emotion of making such an impact. If you have Islamic knowledge, I feel that you can network correctly and if you have the right intentions then why not pursue what you love to do.
This combination of Religion and Creative World has taken me very far which includes being a guest speaker at various TV talk shows, University events at UCL, Westminister, Queen Mary’s, UEL and LSE, interviewed by BBC, Appearance in Ramadan Diaries (BBC), Published in the Evening Standard , East End Life, Modest Street Fashion book,
Swiss Magazine: Edelweiss, Malaysian TV9 and many Blog interviews obviously the most fun being this one.
Do you have a signature look?
I like to explore with my looks, it depends on what I doing on the day. Where I am going or who I am mingling with. I like keeping it simple but unique. I don’t like too much colour blocking or too much jewellery. If my make-up is heavy then my clothes are simple. I prefer to keep my look elegant.
I never wore the hijab before, but my love for fashion and art was always there. When I did finally come out as a fashion blogger people thought I was doing it for attention, people were shocked but it was something I always wanted to do for myself.
In our religion, it is perceived that women have to dress a certain way. You have your own community, I feel as though I am bang in the middle of culture and religion.
A beauty tip you would like to share?
Hmmm ……. I am not really good at tips! Although, I feel nowadays everyone is trying to be someone else, so if you want to stand out you need to be yourself. Work with your face shape and inner self, if your personality does not shine through, then it’s not you. Let your beauty reflect in your personality.
What is your favourite accessory piece?
I am a ring person. I always wear a ring on my pinky finger, that is my signature look. I went through an obsession with bracelets, anklets and earrings in previous years, however, now I don’t have that much time to accessorise so it’s just rings for me.
Any tips on juggling work and home life?
I think firstly time management, look into your future and be very focused on what you need to achieve and work towards that.
You have to spend time with your loved ones. You have to find a way to juggle everything to get what you want. There is always a way.
Think to yourself, do I want to be mediocre or do I want to be something amazing? If it is the latter, you will need to sacrifice along the way, but as long as your priorities are in-line then you will be successful. It won’t be easy and it won’t be an easy straight road, but you will get there.
Over the past year, I have learned to pick and choose the events I attend, as it is not productive or useful to do it all. I have learned that unnecessary things take up too much of your time and cause you to derail on your journey. Think about your time. Time is more important and precious than you realise.
Any cooking tips you would like to share?
I am not really a cooking person, however, I think presentation is key, from food, table dressing and room interior. It changes the whole ambience of a room. Good presentation automatically changes your emotions. I always set the table nicely and candles are part of my signature setting as I just adore candles.
I enjoying sampling all types of foods, but nothing beats the comfort of mum’s cooking. If I had to pick a dish in particular it would be Chicken Biryani… Mmmmmmm!
I am also a big fan of Al Baik in Saudi Arabia. They have stores in Jeddah, Mecca and Medina. It is a fast food restaurant serving the most amazing chicken and shrimps you will ever try!
-Tea but not English. I like tea with Nido powder milk.
-Fresh Lemon Juice
I go through phases of colour and changes upon my mood, however, for interior it must be cream or white.
Favourite television programme?
Favourite holiday destination?
Indonesia, I went there three times when I was 14 years old
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
-DKNY ‘Be delicious’, apple green.
Balmain and Elie Saab
Favourite make up product you are currently using?
The YSL foundations really suit me, so too does the Dior BB cream as it is really light and does not cake on. I am not a make-up person on a daily basis. I only use make up for when I have to go somewhere important.
I cannot live without lip gloss or lipstick. My favourite is the MAC Ruby Woo red lipstick, it is my staple product.
The most rewarding project you have done so far (on a personal level)
We run a family charity and we hold a fun fair for the kids and adults at the end of the school year. The most amazing story I can share with you is that in our first year setting up the charity, me and a few members of my family raised £7,000 for Palestine by selling art pieces – Alhamdulillah. It has inspired me to do even more charity work.
The event could not have happened if it was not for all the free food and toys etc. that were given as donations by local businesses and residents in our community. May Allah (swt) bless them all.
Three words that sum you up?
Innovative, driven, talkative
Do you drive? Have a car ?
Yes, I drive the new Nissan Micra coupe. I think it’s cute
Interests or hobbies?
I do everything and anything. I like to take part. I used to love playing basketball until I went to France, I was really good at it. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for it now.
A quick message to inspire other people reading this interview…
“Appreciate your life if you have a roof over you, clothes to wear and food to get rid of your hunger. We easily forget those who are less fortunate and look up to those living the celeb life and believe that fame and luxury is happiness. However, what we don’t realise is that we are blessed to be where we are now, because God choose us to be born into that family and place. We could have been, from among those suffering from starvation in Africa, or making shoes from plastic bottles in Palestine.
But we are sat on our sofas watching Telly, eating ice cream and complaining about something or another, or who said what and all the rubbish that really does not matter. Now stop and think, do we really appreciate what we have as much as we should? What are we doing to create a better life for ourselves and others around us?
I truly believe that one can be the happiest if they do the following;
Be YOU, be thankful, be creative, be passionate, be driven, be ambitious, be caring, be giving and happiness will run to you.”