Friday, 17 August 2018

The role of Women, in society and in Islam

 Hello lovely readers, 

With Women's Month upon us, and my insane life at the moment, I have been pondering on the role of women in society. I have seen many write ups about why we celebrate Women's Day, or Women's month with the focus on empowering women and taking care of young girls and women in our society. This has led directly to deliberating my role as a woman in society, in my home, in the lives of others and most importantly, my role as a woman in Islam.

Leading up to this month, this week, and my birthday, has me introspective and listening more than I have been talking and participating. I have read, contemplated and found so many answers within, and realisations which have presented itself. 
My first role is as a woman, for myself... I cannot fulfil any other role if I am not sure of who I am, what I want and what my responsibilities are. My responsibilities do not refer to taking care of the family, or the home, or being a model wife. Instead, my responsibilities include being aware of myself in the world, which means knowing my impact, my strengths and weaknesses and how this affects my interactions with others. It means being fully aware of gifts which have been Divinely bestowed upon me, my Divine purpose in this world and having the consciousness to embrace these, even when it doesn't fit with my idea of my role and purpose. The very act of being is a responsibility, where I am content to trust the greater plan to the Almighty and listening intently to the Divine guidance offered. This is easier said than done, because my humanness means that my control freak tendencies will get in the way, my headstrong ideas of my future will cloud my intent and my judgements will pop up when I least expect it. It takes work and constant insight into the self to keep these at bay. And this is merely one example of how I live my Hajj ♥️

My other roles include being a wife and mother, and this too comes with responsibilities apart from the usual cooking, cleaning and mom jobs. The responsibilities I consider all-important are being the best version of myself with them each day. Presenting my best and being my authentic self goes a long way to making them feel safe and secure in a very significant male-female relationship in their lives. Treating them with respect and showing them that they matter in the context of their own lives, and mine, is something I strive to impart. In return, these men who occupy my life, reciprocate the respect and reverence toward me as their wife, mom and as a role model. From birth the kids would have been watching, learning, absorbing every detail about how I go about in the world, more than what I would tell them, teach them or say. They learn by example; and by just being fully aware of myself, the wonderful bits and the not so wonderful bits, I would hope to teach them to accept themselves in this way too. Part of my role as a wife is to be the companion and support structure, providing a safe haven for my spouse and partner in life. Being able to accept my partner for who he is, warts and all, love him entirely, is a gift on its own, and I receive the same in return. 

As a woman in Islam, I am held in high regard, and in no way am I meant to be the stereotypical subservient good 'wifey'. In Islam women are elevated, and this has been reinforced by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), by raising the stature of women to one of high esteem, privilege and dignity. We have evidence of the high esteem of women in Islam by just observing the great Muslim women in history:

  • Khadija, "The Mother of Islam", who was not only the the first follower of Islam (and also the first female follower of Islam), but also a successful businesswoman and entrepeneur.
  • Some of them avid scholars such as Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), who was an acclaimed teacher, an intellectual who narrated over 2,000 hadiths.
  • Asiyah, wife of Fir’aun, who died a matryr, tortured at the hands of her husband for embracing Islam.
  • Arwa al-Sulayhi, also known as the Little Queen of Sheba, who ruled Yemen in her own right for 71 years, the longest ruling leader Yemen has ever seen. She was also highly intelligent and well versed in the study of Quran as well as other religious texts and the sciences.

  • It is clear from the few examples above that these women who are so revered in our Islamic history were strong women, who were well versed academically, business minded and headstrong individuals, while knowing their place in Islam. 

    It is not to be like men, but to hold our own space as women, uphold our responisibilities with dignity and enjoy the privileges afforded us. I do not wish to compete with men, I do not wish to usurp their place, I wish to co-exist with them in peace, being fully entitiled to my dignity, esteem and privilege. I am grateful to be able to live freely, able to follow my thirst for knowlege and an education, run a business and speak my mind. I can only hope that the example of my husband is followed by our three young men InshaAllah.

    Today's look is a warm bundled up look against the biting cold we have been expereincing in Cape Town. A teddy coat from A Sense of Style, over a black dress with ankle boots- perfect for comfort and style.


    Outfit details: 

    A Sense of Style Coat
    Asos black dress
    French Connection bag
    HS Collection scarf (turban)
    Neck scarf purchased abroad
    Woolworths leather boots

    Ciao for now, 
    RuBe xoxo

    Read more ...

    Friday, 3 August 2018

    My life is not just the Highlight Reel

    Hi lovely readers!

    August has arrived and that means my birthday month, Yay! These past two weeks have been tough, we have had a death in the family, numerous hujaaj leaving, my new charges have been usurping all my free time, lack of sleep, a bout of flu and work has had some stressful moments. So needless to say, I'm looking forward to the weekend and some sorely needed R & R. 

    Since the past week has been so demanding, it got me thinking of conversations I have seen around social media, where it has been emphasised that Instagram or Facebook is nothing more than a highlight reel. This is a very important point, and I cannot stress enough that what you see on social media is not whole sum total of someones life, and most times the difficult, unedited, no makeup moments aren't shared. I don't mind sharing those, but it's also ok not to feel comfortable sharing these moments. For some, Instagram is a perfectly curated feed, for very specific reasons, which we may not guess at. I share difficult times occasionally, but choose not to when things get too much, and I need to deal with things that happen. My orientation to difficulties means that I don't complain or get caught up in drama, and instead handle things head on.

    The message is that we are all human, life is made up of our highlight reels, as well as the not so great moments. It's vital that we know this when looking at the lives of others through a curated lens, and when we compare our lives to theirs. My motto is: to focus on my own life and impact, and work through trials in my own way. Whether I do this privately or publicly is irrelevant, it's my life so my decision. I have issues which I struggle with, and as a wife, mother, daughter and sister, they cannot always be shared to respect  privacy. 

    Even if someones life really is all highlight reels, that is amazing... especially because we have no idea how much work has had to go into having what we perceive as a great life. I have always wanted to live a full life, and this has spurred me to study, work hard and make my dreams a reality. The traumas and trials are not seen, they are not always spoken about, as it they are in the past, but I have lived the hard work, continue to put in the hard work and take nothing for granted. And when something I have worked so hard for doesn't materialise, I have to accept that it is not within my control. My comeback is usually to process the disappointment and sorrow in the best way I know how,  always mindful to move forward with purpose. I cannot get caught up in the highlight reels of others and in their successes, apart from being really happy for them. My highlight reel is just that; MY highlight reel, and I have so many dreams, so many ideas, so many plans I am working on fulfilling. And I have my own challenges, trials and difficulties to manage. Where does that leave any time to worry about someone else's highlight reel?     

    “Beginning today, set an intention and a relentless focus on living your life as the greatest person you can be, in all situations.” 

    Brendon Burchard


    Today's outfit is a typical mom on errands look; a sweat top with jeans and boots. Quickly thrown together for ease and comfort. All pieces are existing wardrobe pieces, only the boots are current, and I love them because of the girly colour!

    Outfit details:

    Calvin Klein London sweat top
    Polo shirt
    Guess Jeans
    Aldo boots
    Rebecca Minkhoff bag
    Sunglasses from Opulence
    Scarf old

    Caio for now, 
    RuBe xoxo

    Read more ...

    Wednesday, 25 July 2018

    A Heart Wrenching Farewell

    Hi lovelies, 

    We currently find ourselves in the midst of Hajj season and we have just emerged from a week where four very close family members, which include a brother, departed to perform their pilgrimage this year. Whilst it is a huge blessing to have this wonderful excitement, it is also overwhelming trying to spread oneself across all the homes. In addition, I also have a long list of friends and acquaintances who depart/have departed for pilgrimage. But of course, it is still with a sense of nostalgia that I navigate this special time.

    It is so appropriate for me to end my #HajjSeries on the anniversary of the day I departed for Hajj last year, 25 July 2018. My journey, as you will have read, was an absolute life changing experience; one where I still uncover a little more everyday. Each day is a day where I am tasked with living my Hajj to the best of my ability. 

    The last instalment covers how we spent the last few days in Makkah post-Hajj. We had a full week after Hajj before we would depart for home, and the first thing I needed to do to be fully free to do anything, was to complete my Tawaful Ifaldah and exit the state of ihraam. Once I had done this, hubby and I decided to check ourselves back into our hotel a few meters away from the Haram, as I could not see myself spending my last few days in Makkah (in Azizziyah) so far from the Ka'bah. I wanted to get as much time in the Haram, without needing to be concerned with the logistics of travelling to and fro. I was also very aware that each and every minute was precious, and that as much as I planned to return, this is not always within my control. So the time that we were here, I'd make every second count! Many people say that post-Hajj one misses the kids, and home; this is true, but for me the magnetic pull of the Ka'bah superceded this. The constant buzz I was on just by being in central Makkah was exhilarating and a feeling I will never forget.

    Apart from spending all my free time in the Haram, we decided to be typical tourists and explore Makkah and its surrounds on our own. One day we used the local mini-bus taxi and left to spend the day touring Jeddah. I wanted to perform a waqt at Masjid Al Rahma (also known as the floating mosque on the Red Sea), let the warm waves of the Red Sea wash over my feet and visit the spot where Gouwa (AS) was buried (this has now been flattened by the Saudi Government). We also visited the Mall of Arabia, where I did some shopping and even stumbled upon an Ocean Basket! Algamdulilah - My wish for sushi was granted in the last week of our journey!

    Once back in Makkah and sightseeing done, we spent all our free time in the Haram, by the Ka'bah. As the days passed, the heavy feeling of farewell started setting in, and with it the sadness that this altered reality we were living in would soon end. I was looking forward to being reunited with my boys after 7 weeks away, and at the same time I was torn with my intense need to stay right there. Even though it was post-Hajj Makkah was still unbelievably full, and we were so fortunate to have had some moments of complete peace and momentary respite from the crowds. Our last Thuhr, we spent sitting on the mataaf, sun hidden behind the clouds and a practically non-existent tawaaf crowd. As I sat there, and the realisation dawned on me that this was my last Thuhr, the tears started flowing, as I knew this significant time was nearing its end. It was difficult to comprehend what life would be like without the constant draw of this captivating city.

    We performed our Tawaaful Widaa just after Fajr on the Sunday morning before we flew out. The crowd was enormous and with each circumambulation we walked slower and slower, wanting this last tawaaf to last, needing to commit every single footstep to memory. The sight of the sunrise in the east as we performed tawaaf was a reminder that the day for our departure had dawned, the birds circling the mosque a reminder that life continues outside of this sacred city. Life back home which we would soon be re-joining. When we were done, I was practically sobbing as hubby made a final duah before we turned around and walked out King Fahd gate for the very last time on this journey. It is hard to articulate the heartbreak at that moment, the heart wrenching feeling of leaving your soul behind in this revered city. I remember filming every single moment of my walk out of the Holy Mosque, and returning to the hotel. Our sorrow was evident in the silent tears coursing down our cheeks, not talking and just walking side by side, and finally packing our things to return to Azizziah where the bus would collect us for the airport.

    I believe this farewell to have been one of the most difficult moments of my journey, and even as I reminisce on it, I relive the desolation. The only light is my focus to return for umrah very soon InshaAllah ♥️
    As we embarked on the bus to leave, I reflected that it has been an experience like no other, where I managed my trials with hardiness and grace. And I breathed a sigh of relief as we entered the highway en route to Jeddah airport. Little did I know that the journey is not done until you set foot back in your home. Our bus driver got horribly lost for about 2 hours, and a trip which was supposed to take us roughly hour and a half, took over 3 hours. In a dilapidated bus, the likes of which I had not even glanced during my entire trip, with dodgy aircon. About two hours into the journey, I needed to use the bathroom, and was unable to whilst we were driving in circles. After about 4 hours with a full bladder, I broke out into a cold sweat as my one semi-functioning kidney and bladder started aching. I am so grateful when we approach the airport and no additional buses were allowed into the airport, instead we would have to wait on the outskirts until some flights had taken off. At this point I felt faint, and could not find a ladies bathroom to use, so I grabbed hubby and used the men's loo which was the absolute worst experience of my entire trip! The moral of this story for me is that the journey is not over until you're back in your own home!
    So the saying about taking bags of sabr (patience) along is not an underrated saying at all!

    On this year milestone, I realise how much my perspective on life has changed. May all our 1439  Hujaaj be granted a Hajj Maqbool, and Hajj Mabroer InshaAllah, and may all their trials be accepted and managed with ease.

    Performing Tawaaful Ifaldah

    In Azizziyah Main Road 

    Azizziyah Main Road  

    In the mini-bus taxi

    A suburb in Jeddah, Al Balad

    Masjid Al Rahma where we performed Asr Salaah

    All I wanted to do is sit with my feet in the Red Sea :-) 

    Mall Of Arabia, Jeddah

    Quran monument as you approach Makkah from Jeddah

    Waltzing around in Azizziyah post-Hajj

    The last sunrise, after our Tawaaful Widaa 

    The empty mataaf after my last Thuhr

    Touristy Selfie
    This was such a treat for me, sushi, at long last!

    The manager of Ocean Basket, Jeddah, treats all Saffas with a discount :-D
    Exiting through King Fahd gate for the last time of my journey

    Caio for now, 
    RuBe xoxo

    Read more ...