more than hijab

Multi-culture, multi-faith, multi-inspired

Finding Common Ground – with “The Muslimah Mommy”

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MashAllah again I have been blessed with the friendship of another strong Muslimah Sister – this time it’s Sumaira Zaheer, from themuslimahmommy.com. Sister Sumaira didn’t start her blog that long ago, but since that time she has gained an international fan base and recognition from all walks of life. Her advice is contemporary, down to earth and realistic for modern Muslims trying to raise their children in an Islamic way. Her advice is particularly useful for those Muslims living in western countries, where the resources may be limited in an Islamic sense, or where most Islamic learning has to take place at home. She also provides tips on how to handle any conflicts which may arise whilst raising children in environments where they will be more exposed to other cultures and traditions. 

To top it off, she is also a beautiful person with an amazing creative style and a modest self confidence. As with my previous interviews with Nina from Lu’Lu Bag and Aisha from Aisha’s Oasis, I am inspired by the way she balances her home life and creativity in a modern way, while still maintaining a strong sense of her Islamic self. Thank you so much to Sister Sumaira for taking the time to answer my questions; it is so much appreciated and welcome. I hope that you all enjoy the interview inshAllah and please see the link to her pages below – JAK, Noora x

http://themuslimahmommy.com/  Instagram @THEMUSLIMAHMOMMY  and @AmeeraSumZ

Q1. As a Muslim in a western society, what are the common misconceptions about Islam that you face?

Living in Canada has been great, as it’s quite a multicultural country! As a result of the diversity within Canada, I haven’t faced many misconceptions in terms of my religion. It always amazes me of how knowledgeable non-Muslim Canadians are about Islam. However, with that said, there are the few individuals that are shocked when they find out I hold a University degree! I usually tell people that YES, Muslim women have the right to an education, and many such as myself have a degree! So, with that said, I guess a very few individuals have the misconception that Muslim women stay locked up in their houses and are not allowed to pursue a post secondary education!

 
Q2. Within the Muslim community, what are the issues that you see and what would you like to see changing/progressing.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of women judging others and declaring themselves better Muslimah’s than others. It’s as though the outer appearance plays a far more important role than the kindness and purity of one’s heart. There are a lot of personal attacks that come out if you don’t agree with someone. I have been very fortunate to not have this behaviour shown towards me directly, however I have seen it happening to other sisters on social media and it is quite upsetting. If we could just stop focusing on the outer appearance of a Muslimah, I’m sure there would be more friendships, and less hate.  
 
Q3. As a mother, how do you balance your home/working/blogging life so that all aspects are satisfied?
Being a full time mom, writing for my blog, and having an Family & Parenting Page on both Instagram and Facebook, can be quite overwhelming at times. I try to create a schedule and stick to it! I note down ideas for my blog posts throughout the day and write/edit when my children are napping or sleeping, or when they are spending time with their father. I try my best, but at the end of the day I try not stress out too much over the workload! It also helps to love what you do! I enjoy writing, I always have; and because I write about topics I’m passionate about, it never feels like I’m working when I’m writing a blog post or posting on Instagram or Facebook, Alhumdulillah! 
 
Q4 Culturally, how does your heritage affect your day to day life or outlook?
Being Pakistani, the concept of family is very important. Although I’am more of a person who likes to be alone, I have learnt that it is important to spend time with family. I do make an effort to visit my parents once a week and to chat with my sisters whenever I can! 
 
Q5. What are your views on those sisters who choose to wear niqab or full burka and do you feel this is something you would ever do?
I have so much respect for these Muslimahs, it fills my heart with so much love for them knowing that they cover up for Allah SWT and not to please the people of society in any way, Ma Shaa Allah! I find it so beautiful how they drape themselves in fabric from head to toe in hopes of pleasing the one and only, and when you look into their eyes all you see is the true beauty that radiates from within, Subhan’Allah! Really, a woman who chooses to wear the burqa is a woman of strength, and that is very admirable. As for myself, time will tell what will happen; afterall, growing up in Canada, I never imagined myself wearing a hijab, yet here I am wearing one, Alhumdulillah! 
 
Q6. As a modern Muslimah, what is the aspect of your faith that you struggle the most with?
I used to struggle with my moments of weakness, and in a way, I still do. However, I’m learning that these moments of weakness are re-directions for my life, and theses moments are Allah SWT’s way of showing me something that is more beneficial for me.  Likewise, I struggle with the idea of discussing these moments of weakness with others in fear of being judged.
 
For instance, such a moment of weakness was when I went through Postpartum Depression/Baby Blues. I chose to write about this issue in a blog post, even though I knew I might face criticism and I might have people labeling me as ‘not religious enough’ or suggesting that ‘Muslims don’t go through depression.’ However, I chose to write about this groundbreaking moment in my life because I knew other women could relate to it. Nowadays, I feel like some women don’t want to admit their weak moments, but really it is okay to experience them. In fact, chances are that you will go through these moments! It is nothing to be ashamed of; and it’s important to remember that if we don’t talk about these issues or seek assistance, we won’t be able to heal and move forward.
 
It’s important to keep in mind that going through hardships doesn’t mean you’re not religious enough, or that Allah SWT doesn’t love you; it means that Allah SWT does love you and he wants you to be in a better place than you are now.  
 
Q7. How do you handle stressful situations or situations which may lead you to test your faith i.e bursts of anger, racism or religious intolerance.
I used to take others words very personally, however I have learnt that there is a problem with the person being racist or the person who is angry, and NOT a problem with me! The racist person has a problem accepting others and the person showing anger has an issue controlling their anger! I try my best not to express anger back, but instead I make dua for that person, and pray that this person showing racism or anger be guided by Allah SWT.
 
Q8. What message or advice do you have for any sisters who are considering reverting to Islam?
Take it step by step, find a support system, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I am not a revert, however I didn’t embrace Islam until I was in my early twenties! I didn’t just put a hijab on and that was it! I asked millions of questions, I read many books, and even today I’am still learning about this beautiful religion! 

Previous interviews on Finding Common Ground:

http://morethanhijab.com/2014/06/14/finding-common-ground-part-2-with-aisha-from-aishas-oasis/

http://morethanhijab.com/2014/06/04/finding-common-ground-soul-searching-with-the-wonderful-nina-from-lulu-bag/

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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 – with “The Muslimah Mommy”

  1. Reblogged this on The Muslimah Mommy and commented:
    Please check out my interview with sister Noora from More Than Hijab! More Than Hijab is blog that is written by sister Noora; it’s a great read that appeals to modern Muslimahs from around the world, please check it out and show Noora some love!

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