more than hijab

Multi-culture, multi-faith, multi-inspired

Finding common ground – Soul searching with the wonderful Nina from Lu’Lu’ Bag

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As I’ve mentioned before, I feel that there is a real lack of support for reverts in general in some areas of our community – but I was surprised to find that these problems are not symbolic only of reverts. I recently connected with the lovely and talented Nina from Lu’Lu Bag and I want to share with you some of her experiences as a born Muslim in a multi-cultural relationship. We were both surprised by how similar our experiences were, despite being born into different religions and nationalities. It goes to show….whenever you feel you are alone, there’s always someone to find common ground with Alhamdulilah. Thank you so much to Nina for sharing her feelings and experiences with me, and for any sisters who are struggling with their faith, InshAllah you will find something to help you get through it. I have also put the link to Nina’s website below, she has some beautiful products so please have a look.

http://www.lulu-bag.net/

Make dua and be happy :-), Noora xx

Q1. What was the biggest issue that you faced when introducing your husband to your family?

He isn’t the same nationality as me (Bosnian).The fact that my family believes in Allah eventually helped and my Dad was very unhappy. But thank God he never abandoned me and upon our nikkah he left behind any anger and gave me away happily. He was scared at first I’d go off to Africa and he’d never see me, so instead I went to UK and he sees me a few times a year.. But my husband is a Muslim and he is very charming so he won them over!

Q2, Did you have the same issues with your husbands family and how was their treatment of you?

His family is very religious, both parents are hajjis and accepted me with open arms Alhamdulillah. Culture clashes have happened and at times tears were shed, but having Allah as main priority makes it easy to overcome trivial stuff.

Q3. Did you ever experience other people from outside your family making assumptions about your marriage?

Oh yes. The first assumption is that I converted for him. Conversion is a personal thing and I hate that phrase, faith and belief is something you can only do within yourself, so this irks me royally. Then the hijab, they assume that he made me do it. When I practice something Islamic, which might not be normal in my culture or that other Muslims have not embraced, they paint it as a cultural thing I had to follow because of my husband. 

Q4. As a hijabi what are non-Muslims treatment/reaction of you like?

Sometimes they assume I can’t speak English, that I am not interesting, uneducated, and have been forced into Islam!Then being tall adds to it – people at times appear scared/intimidated by me, at times people are reluctant to help, For instance on public transport. In an interview once a woman was interviews scared to shake my hand and wanted to wipe it clean afterwards! One funny question was, “can you take it off while at work?”and “can you laugh at jokes?”
 
Q5. As a hijabi what are born Muslims treatment/reaction of you like? 
 
 I love the Salams I get from sisters on the street. Nothing feels better, and I will never forget the first one I got on my first day as a hijabi. It’s funny when they assume I speak Arabic. Sometimes they find it appalling that I don’t pray Jummah, or that I am not 100% clued up on all practices. 
 
Q6. Which aspect of your faith do you find the biggest challenge? (for example, I find it almost impossible to concentrate wile praying!)
 
During salat I will find myself making “the list” of what needs to be done. I get so scared, but it happens almost every time. I am also not good at all at reading the Qur’an. Little snipets here and there, but I never sit down with an intention to enjoy the Qur’an. I pray and plan to change it during Ramadan and inShaAllah it will stick. (make dua for me)
 
Q7. What is the biggest misconception you face in the UK regarding Muslims or Islam?
 
That all Muslims are Asian and we have no lives. 
 
Q8. How does your style of raising your family differ from the way you were brought up?
 
I try very hard to abandon culture and traditions, unless it’s something very sweet. I find traditions to be very often belittling women, Culture is often tainted with non-Islamic customs, that are just plain shirk. It’s been hard on my family but with time they see that I will try my best to follow the prophet SAWS and not culture. Also I had to fight everyone and I mean everyone to make sure my child eats only halal meat.
 
Q9. What is your impression of those sisters who wear full cover (burka/niqab)?
 
I love them first and foremost. May Allah bless them for their devotion and courage. In some places there may be need for this, I myself don’t consider it a necessity and don’t feel the need for it. The sister choosing the niqab segregates herself and I think they do this on purpose. Just as I adopt my hijab on purpose and willingly differentiate myself in appearance from non-muslims. 

 

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Author: noorlaila265

Hospitality trainer, wife, mother, multi-faith, reader, writer, food fanatic, lover of poetry. “Study me as much as you like, you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.”

8 thoughts on “Finding common ground – Soul searching with the wonderful Nina from Lu’Lu’ Bag

  1. This was an excellent interview! I have also faced criticism upon deciding to wear the hijab. Many people thought my husband had forced me into it because I did not wear one prior to marriage. However, I started wearing the hijab because I studied about Islam and fell in love with the meaning of hijab! Sister Nina, all of these trials have made you the strong person that I have come to know! May Allah continue to shower you with blessings! Great interview More Than Hijab 🙂

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