Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I Took Off My Hijab!

She took off her hijab!! Wait, what?!?! Did you say she took off her hijab? OMG, why?

Hold your horses people. Before everyone starts freaking out. I didn’t take off my hijab.

 Disclaimer: I am no Islamic Scholar or Sheikh. I am a 23 year-old Muslimah. Hijabi. Fashion show producer. Chocolate fanatic. Fashion Magazine collector. Community member. Devote friend. Loving daughter. Caring wife.

Now that I made sure that’s cleared up, let’s carry on.

she took off her hijab

She took off her hijab has been something I’ve been hearing a lot lately. After seeing a few of my friends go through the same thing, it really made me wonder as to why they’ve chosen to do so and why now? Maybe its because we’re growing up and discovering ourselves.  Maybe its because we’re trying to find our path and realized we were lying to ourselves all these years trying to become someone we’re not. Maybe its because we want to break free of any religious or cultural “barriers” that may be holding us back. But how? How can something that is so liberating be viewed as a barrier? Whatever the reason may be, it is truly heart breaking.

I am not writing this to condemn or judge anyone. Who am I to judge you? Who am I to say that you’re not good enough? I am a sinner myself.

So before I go into the taking off the hijab part, let’s go back in time to when the decision was made to put on the hijab.  Before doing that, let’s agree on a few basic points:

  • Hijab is not optional. All Muslim women are obliged to wear the Hijab at one point in their life, just like they are obligated to pray.

  • A Muslim woman is required to observe hijab as soon as she reaches the age of puberty.

Those are points we can all agree on. Any further research about the religious side of the hijab is on you as a reader. Now moving on…

Because this topic was so intriguing to me, I went back and read through multiple blog posts about Muslim women who chose to remove their hijabs.

Why was the hijab put on in the first place? I saw answers like, everyone was doing it, it seemed so stylish, I didn’t want to be an outcast, my parents forced me (let’s not be ignorant and single out this point and take it out of context), I wanted the gifts and congratulations like my other newly “hijabified” friends.

Over 90% of those who have blogged about removing their hijabs have stated these reasons as to why they chose to wear the hijab. This makes so much sense. If you dont make such an important life decision with the right intention, you won’t last on your feet for too long.  You’ll break.

I was approached by a 15 year old the other day who was so excited about her new decision to start wearing the hijab and just to play devil’s advocate with her, I asked her if she was sure of her decision. I told her she’s so young and had such pretty hair; even advised her to wait a year or two. She responded with a simple “I can’t, I will be accounted for it.” Her answer blew me away.

Let’s get one thing straight. None of us understood 120% of everything behind the hijab when we first put it on but that’s completely fine because as we grow and experience more in life, we will continue to appreciate what we once knew so little about. Even myself. I didn’t really have a definite answer as to Why are you wearing that thing? when I was asked. My usual reply was My religion requires it and it’s to preserve modesty. Did I really understand what “modesty” was at the time? Nope. Was I able to quote any Hadith or verses from the Qur’an to support this? Not really. But deep down inside, I knew it was the right thing to do and I felt good about it. I wasn’t forced to wear it or forced to keep it on. The decision was completely up to me. I was happy. I felt beautiful in it.

It truly saddens me when I hear girls say that they feel ugly in their hijabs but I can understand where they’re coming from. Sometimes in my early years of hijab, while straightening my hair, I would catch myself thinking how pretty it was and if only I could go out with it. In fact, if any girl tells me she’s never thought this for even a split second, I would say you’re straight up lying because we all have at one point or another. Don’t think you have sinned if you ever had the same thoughts. It’s completely normal. You’re human. It’s just important to not build on these thoughts and to quickly rid yourself of them by either reading up on it or talking to someone about it.

The next stage after putting on the hijab comes the gifts, celebrations, styling, mixing and matching your colorful hijabs with your outfits. But after all the festivities are over, and if worn for the wrong reason, you begin thinking What have I done? Many women begin feeling unattractive and boring. Some stated that they feel “caged” and felt a huge burden on their shoulders of always having to represent Islam.  So some of you may read this and think, Their iman is weak! Why don’t they just read up some more on the hijab? Weeeeellll it’s not really as easy as it sounds.

So here’s the truth about hijab: It’s hard. It’s not easy. Maybe it seems easy for many of the parents and community members who immigrated to the United States for a better life for their children. Putting on hijab for them was much much easier, because back home, every other woman walking in the streets is wearing it. You won’t be the odd one out. What many parents AND community members don’t realize is the amount of stress and pressure young girls have to go through right now. You have all the peer pressure around them at school and media, at home or walking through the malls. Pressure to look and dress a certain way. It’s hard.  It should not be underestimated. Some people don’t realize the struggle some of the young girls in our communities are experiencing.

We as a community (especially men) can sometimes be very judgmental, not because they're mean horrible people but, because many of us can’t appreciate how difficult it is. Many people can’t grasp the fact that it’s actually NOT a very easy decision to take off the hijab. It’s very difficult and usually involves a lot of confusion, pain, fear and concern.

I am not saying we support the decision of young girls taking off their hijabs; in fact if you do support their decisions, you would be doing them injustice. Words like I am so proud of you for what you did, You look beautiful either way, Hijab doesn’t matter, It’s all about the intentions does not help these young women in this life nor in the next. If these are things that you say, then you’re harming your friend because you’re supporting the sin and not the person.
“There's a fine line between judging a person’s heart who is outwardly guilty of a public sin and congratulating a person for their sin. Be supportive of the person, not the sin.” - Sheikh Omar Suleiman

This is not to say you outcast them, openly bash or speak harshly to them. NO. NO.NO! That’s not how our Prophet (PBUH) used to deal with similar issues. Instead, we should learn how to help our friends learn the little things they missed out on. The little details that make the hijab so magical and beautiful. In essence, you’re teaching them how to feel beautiful all over again. This is because at the end of the day, after you remove your makeup and clothes, you’re left with a bare face that needs to see beauty in itself.

We are free to make our own decisions but if you consider yourself part of a community, then you’re just as responsible for these girls.


  • Teach your kids to make decisions for themselves. Guide and give them a proper foundation as children and you’ll be glad to know that when it comes time to make important decisions, they’ll make the right ones on their own.

  • Teach your daughters to feel beautiful. God is beautiful and he loves all that is beautiful. Feeling beautiful will NOT turn them into rebels. It will grow a sense of confidence they can build on to later become super women (in their careers or within their families).


  • Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions when you see a girl remove her hijab. Know that there’s is a lot of pain involved in it for her too. Know that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. Things you are not aware of. Appreciate the difficulty in putting on the hijab. If you are unable to help in any way, a simple prayer will do.

Community members:

  • Encourage all those events that promote beauty, self-confidence, and empowerment for women. It’s not just all about Dawah and fundraisers. These girls are members of your community. Take care of them .


  • Remember what the Hijab is all about. It is about self respect; not appearing like an object; it is to be loved and not to be lusted

  • Be courteous of your Giver and Caretaker. Allah has provided you with so many benefits; health, wealth, vision, cars, clothes …He gives you soo much and asks for so little.

  • It's all about my intentions, they tell me. You're very right but Robin Hood wasn’t perfect, he was still a thief.  Although intentions may be pure, actions are the end result.


Noun -

1.A head covering worn in public by some Muslim women.

2.The religious code that governs the wearing of such clothing.


Much love.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Abaya Addict Designer Dr. D

1.  How did Deanna go from Dr. De to fashion designer?

Ever since I was a child, I was always very fashion-conscious.  When I learned how to draw—I couldn’t stop sketching designs & ideas.  All my friends knew that was what I wanted to do—someday have my own clothing line.  As I grew older though, a new dream settled in—to become a healthcare provider.  It was a stronger dream in the sense that it had more pros—was easier to accomplish within Chicago & seemed attainable.  Of course with the support of my family—I pursued Optometry & graduated nearly two years ago.

Dr. Deanna Khalil on a humanitarian trip to Nicaragua where
she provided free healthcare for over 5,000 patients
over the course of one week.
Around the same time that I finished my doctorate, I got married and was whisked away to Dubai, UAE with my man.  While in Dubai, I took some time off to be a full-fledged wife, and during that period I had the freedom and time to start sketching again.  That turned into me creating myself a few pieces that worked well in the Dubai heat. 

During my first visit to Chicago as a newlywed, I brought some store-bought Abayas & some of my own designs along with me to sell to my friends & that’s how Abaya Addict was born in the business sense!  Friends began asking me to make them dresses similar to the ones I made for myself, and that gave me the courage to start promoting my items to others outside of my circle.

2.  History of Abaya Addict?

 Abaya Addict began as a buy and resell startup in December 2011, but within months I began mass-producing my own clothing creations, which are essentially the heart of the operation.  By February 2012, I had a website up & running which featured my clothing line along with caftans and abayas for resale.

3. What do you think distinguishes abaya addict from any other Kaftans/Abaya brand?

Abaya Addict isn’t about ABAYAS per-say.  It’s about a new wave of modest clothing.  When people think “Abaya” they immediately picture a black-clad woman either carrying a designer bag or wearing niqab. I wanted to really break that idea and introduce a new form of modest dress that was still mainstream and trendy. So ultimately, what sets us apart is that we’ve become a company that can provide comfortable, stylish & hijab-worthy everyday clothing.  We offer formal wear to everyday essentials.   

"When I learned how to draw—I couldn’t 

stop sketching designs & ideas. "

4. Tell us a little about Dr. De's day to day routine and how she balances being a doctor, wife, mother, designer, and business woman?

I don’t want to lie and say it’s an easy lifestyle, because God knows I have had many sleepless nights answering emails, finishing patient charts & ultimately attempting to be superwoman!  But Alhamdullillah, I am no superwoman.   I’m merely me.  I wakeup bright and early to direct my staff in AA business—I head to work like any other normal adult.  I get distracted during my downtime at work by social media—like anyone else does!  Of course healthcare has always been priority for me, as I have dedicated a long time to becoming an eye doctor—but fashion is really my essence.  I love waking up and picking out one of my own designs to wear to work.  I also love creating clothing that I feel is perfect for the working Muslimah. 

The nice part about doing what I do, is that I have a very supportive husband, who is also my business partner.  I can’t say I am that wife who cooks & cleans on the daily—and he can attest to that—but I do try! 

Now with a child on the way inshallah, I have decided to work less in healthcare and as a result I will have more time for starting a family and expanding the Abaya Addict empire.

5.  Did you ever get to a point where you doubted the possibility of running it all at the same time?

Of course! Let’s be honest, it’s very overwhelming at times to keep up with the demands of growing cliental & to keep up with evolving trends while having a career & personal life.  It can be stressful & exhausting especially if I am doing everything on my own. But alhamdullillah I have a great team around me & the support of family. It all works out in the end.

But there’s no doubt that some days, doubt creeps in.  On those days I just turn to Allah swt for guidance and I lean on my husband & staff for moral support.  Usually Allah swt sends me an uplift by means of a customer sending a beautiful and very supportive email!  That usually turns my frown upside down and it makes all the chaos worth it!

6. Do you think it is important as a business woman and fashion designer to diversify your portfolio?

I believe Muslim women can do anything they put their mind to. I’m not one to try to be anything I am not.  So what I do create as a Fashion Designer for Abaya Addict—I am creating with myself in mind.  Would I wear that? What would I feel best in?  What shapes are most flattering? That’s really what drives me. If I wouldn’t wear it—you won’t see it on the site!

I have a diverse taste because some days I want to wear all black—and other days I am wearing every color in the rainbow—so the collections are pretty diverse. 

Since I am one who likes to stay atop of the fashion trends, I try to keep every collection fresh & unique for my clients as well.  But I don’t sit down and say “okay lets create 5 very different looks” I just aim to create something the real Muslimah can wear & love.

7.  How big of a team does it take to run such a busy online brand?

It started off with just my husband and I running the show—but Alhamdulillah we are growing by the day.  Aside from us in management-we started with one patternmaker & now Abaya Addict has a huge staff of 90 people working to hand-make the items you see on our site.  I have wonderful sales reps and I am looking for a new personal assistant to help me balance it all.   In addition we are looking for fashion interns who can help with our blog & new ventures. 

8.   Do you ever consider turning Abaya Addict into a full time job?

Why not? Who knows what the future holds for me.

9.   Do you feel like being based in Dubai has made any aspects of reaching out to your USA customers difficult (ex: shipping costs)?

Being based in Dubai is a blessing & a curse.  It’s been wonderful because it has helped me develop a brand and ultimately create something out of nothing.  In the same token, shipping is more expensive from this region—so that turns off many potential customers.  We have, as a company, taken on a fraction of the shipping cost. For instance one dress ships to the states for $22.99 but we ask our clients to pay $14.99, in hopes of making shipping more affordable!

1 10.   Future plans for Abaya Addict?

Oh heavens yes!  For starts—we have invested in a NEW user-friendly website that will make customer care much more efficient.  We are enhancing the Abaya Addict brand & creating a new logo to represent us.  The new look & site will be launched early in 2013, God willing.  

We have a wealth of plans for Abaya Addict, from bringing the brand to conventions in the US & UK, to creating new items & even a higher-end brand branch-off, to FLASH sales on well-known sites.  You will see us in more fashion shows & events as well.  We’re also going to be collaborating with other designers and inshallah bringing accessories to AA.  We are also in the process of developing our own online magazine and taking our blog to another level inshallah. 

Sky is the limit!

Visit Abaya Addict:

Become a fan:

Ndaa H.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stephane Rolland Does It Again

As the models walked down the catwalk, it was as if I could feel the light breeze that accompanied the gracefulness of each dress. I mean, how could you possibly not love this collection when ever piece is seemingly even more beautiful than the one before. It reminded me of how amazing it is to be a woman. This is one show my jaw was kept open throughout the entire collection because of how stunning each and every single piece was. Haute Couture was definitely over the top gorgeous. 

Stephan Rolland put together a wide array of rich hour glass gowns that are white, silky and smooth. The sheer backs, ruffle embellishments, and flowy silk drapes added a touch of feminineness and overwhelming aurora of sensuality. 

White on white is one fashion combination that will never grow old.

I feel like this is where I should stop talking about the show and show pictures instead because no matter how much I talk, no words can explain the beauty of these runway pieces. 

INTERESTING FACT: Stephane Rolland baked chiffon bubbles (in the furnace)
 to add that exotic look to his dresses (PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BAKE FABRIC IN THE OVEN AT HOME! :)

Stephane Rolland does it again.

(not sure how comfortable those shoes really are though)


Disclaimer [ I do not take credit for these photos ]

Monday, January 14, 2013

Five Minutes With Winnie Detwa

She made a decision a little while ago that left many fans with questions. That decision was to remove her head cover or "Hijab".

This is not something I am going to address in this interview because this is no place to judge others as we are all human but behind all this is a girl who admires fashion with all her heart and that's exactly what we're here to talk to her about

Here's five minutes with 5 short Q & A with Winnie Detwa...

I've been following you since you started as Modscarfie. What drove you to this industry?
 It was always a hobby, but growing up, I was always told that fashion could only be a hobby- and nothing more (since I would have to go to school to enter a profession). I never thought that the blog would grow as huge as it has, and now my hobby has become a priority.

What's Winnie Detwa like away from the world of fashion, blogging and vloggin? 
Same exact girl. There's nothing that I hold back from my followers. You can usually bump into me, being alone, with my notebook, coffee, and tea. I'm actually not as loud as I may seem either.
 Two year goal? 5 ? 10? 
I see myself in New York. Not sure what I will doing, but that's what I see myself doing. No matter what it takes.
 Have you always been a turbunator? what about the turban makes you always going back to it? 
Well, I used to wear the hijab (the authentic Islamic wear), and now that I do not, I still do wear the turban from time to time.
 Ask yourself a question and answer it! Something you feel you'd like to tell your fans. 
One word of advice? Follow your dreams, no matter what they may be.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fashion & Islam | A Much Debated Topic

How do fashion and Islam come together? Its a question that crosses many minds.

So you're designing fashionable clothes? Wait, but isn't the point of modesty to conceal beauty? If you wear colors over just solid black, aren't you going to attract attention? So doesn't that defeat the purpose of modesty?

If you're in the fashion business or designing and you get questions like this or you yourself think this to yourself at times, then you're on the right track. This is because as a fashionable Muslim woman, you want to make sure that your intentions are always set straight and you questioning yourself is always a sign of either improvement or staying on track without diverting onto the wrong path.

This is a topic that has also been mind boggling for myself for quite some time and after weeks of serenading over the topic and doing a little bit of research, I came to a few conclusions.

Islam is about beauty and we all know that god loves beauty. The prophet's favorite color was green. I believe that it is of special importance to the Muslim women population to be able to garment themselves with modest and FASHIONABLE but also concealing clothing.

Picture this scenario: Two veiled muslim women walking into a cafe. The first of those wearing a long cream knee length sheer shirt paired with a black blazer with detailed work on the collar and wrist along with a pair of jeans and finished with a beautiful emerald green scarf to cover her hair. The other muslim woman walks in with a very baggy sweater and long to cover her behind and thighs layered with a raggy long white undershirt and pleated sweats. Not to forget the black scarf which is, btw, a necessity in every Hijabi's closet. Which one do you think is more likely to be approached to be asked questions about Islam?

I vote the emerald green scarf Muslimah.

Not because of her shiny scarf but merely because she is well put together. Professional, well dressed, and in a presentable manner. It's just like getting dressed to go to an interview. The only thing about being a hijabi Muslim woman in the streets of the US is that you are ALWAYS at risk of being questioned/interviewed by others. Not in a creepy, interrogative way but instead by folks who are interested in knowing more about this religion. People who see mere stereotypes on the media and end up resenting the religion but then saw you: The well put together, professional, kind and yes, fashionable, woman. Of course they're going to ask questions and right THERE is our opportunity for dawah.

Therefore, if im not mistaken, modest muslim woman + intelligent woman + fashionable clothes(non-revealing and modestly lose) = DAWAH!

In conclusion, I believe that YES, as a Muslim woman living in the 21st century and in the US, it is necessary to dress in a way that will please allah as well as be inviting for others to ask about my religion, my mind and my goals.

My Hijab is my way of Dawah.

"We are not here to be accepted. We are here to be respected." - Dr. Tariq Ramadan

-The girl in the emerald scarf ;)