Exiting The Emotional Rollercoaster

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Emotions are something everyone experiences, even if we prefer not to advertise them. Contrary to popular belief, internal emotional conflict is not specific to one particular gender. Emotions stem from chemical hormones in the body – something all of mankind were created with. What sets us apart, male or female, is how we process them. It is often assumed that there are only two ways to face these feelings –

  1. practically and rationally
  2. succumbing to the emotions without logical thought

However, is it really this black and white? Or is it possible to handle situations rationally whilst also nurturing sensitivities?

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Hijrah Diaries: Bittersweet Nostalgia

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew offers advice on maintaining positivity  while suffering painful and isolating homesickness.

After a big move abroad, it is normal to become caught up in the whirlwind of organisation as you try to find your feet and routine. Once the adrenaline dies down and your routine settles into habit, you are given little respite before the next challenge sets in – homesickness. Regardless of what and who you left behind, there will be something you miss. Adapting to a new environment will contrast with your old life, sometimes quite drastically. The challenge of being without friends and family aside, the main cause of homesickness is the yearning for familiarity.

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Hijrah Diaries: The New Move Shine is Quickly Lost

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Finding  more changes than she expected, Khadijah Stott-Andrew explains how she adapted to new areas of her life.

Moving to a new country will come with a catalogue of various changes. Some you may expect and prepare for, but others can catch you off guard. When this happens, your creativity and patience is truly tested as you attempt to adapt to your new circumstance. There are many differences between my life in the UK and my new life unfolding in Qatar. Here are just a few areas that have changed, most I found challenging at first, but now, nearly 2 years into my move, they have become a part of my life to either embrace or manage.

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Hijrah Diaries: Finding My Feet

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From new friends to no internet, Khadijah Stott-Andrew shares her first experiences in Qatar.

My first few weeks in Qatar sped by. I threw myself into my surroundings; I was exploring the area with my husband and focusing on furnishing the house to my liking. I didn’t want to dwell on the amount of time it would take to see my family again. Truth be told, the week leading up to our departure was such a whirlwind of chaos that it was a relief to finally arrive in a quite, spacious house and just breathe. We had a few days before my husband started back at work, so we enjoyed some quality family time together for the first time in two months. It truly was a sakina (small blessing)from Allah SWT.

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Pearls and jewels and iPads – Oh, My!

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We’ve all heard them: the pearls in the oysters, the jewels in the boxes, the sticky sweets without the wrappers, the queen that won’t shake anyone’s hand… and now, the iPads in their protective cases. Yes, iPads.

Many people encourage these analogies for wearing hijab, and, for the most part, they seem to get the point across. Women are beautiful, and covering that beauty does not diminish it, nor devalue it. But is that all these analogies are saying?

For a while, I loved the imagery and used it myself when justifying my hijab to non-Muslims. I cherished the idea of being a precious pearl, an invaluable jewel, a queen of my religion. But what I didn’t realise is that playing into these analogies was only adding to a superiority and arrogance that was developing inside my heart. The doubts about these metaphors slowly started to develop when the images across social media became less flattering.

The lollipop.

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Hijrah Diaries: Taking the Plunge

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew begins her series discussing the highs and lows of moving abroad.

When it comes to writing an article about personal issues, I am the first to admit that it’s a struggle. How much should I reveal to an audience such as this? Do I praise the positives or warn you of the negatives? After several drafts, I have decided that the only option is to be brutally and unashamedly honest.

Moving abroad is not easy. It’s hard work, complicated, stressful and there are many points that have left me sobbing like a baby at the sheer magnitude of what we were about to do. Hijrah is scary; leaving behind your life, family, friends, routine and even your favourite shops can render you full of fear and doubt. I can’t remember the number of times I have broken down in sujud, begging Allah SWT to guide my husband to the right decision and to bless me with the strength and ability to deal with it.

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Inner Haya’ and the Judgemental Hijabi

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew questions the assumptions we make based on a sister’s level of hijab.

Hijab is a topic never far from the mind of a Muslimah, whether she wears hijab or not. However, ‘hijab’ instantly implies the scarf wrapped around the hair, possibly with an abayah thrown in. Many of us forget the implications that piece of material should have on our overall character. Hijab is an act of modesty, an act of haya’. If someone is described as modest or humble, is this in reference to their outer appearance or an internal quality? Modesty comes from within; it affects the way a person carries themselves, the words they say and the way they treat the people around them. Unfortunately, internal modesty is a feature that is frequently absent from hijab lectures and study circles.

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Book Review: She Wore Red Trainers

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When I first heard that a “Muslim love story” was on the horizon, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. Knowing that Na’ima B. Robert would be taking on this task only filled me with confidence. This is the author that brought you the inspirational From My Sisters’ Lips, the heart-wrenching Far From Home and the thought-provoking Black Sheep. Unafraid of controversy and depth, Na’ima B. Robert brings you her latest novel for Young Adults, She Wore Red Trainers.

With my Young Adult years not so far behind me, I can confidently and unashamedly recall the sheer number of Young Adult romance novels I devoured on a weekly basis. With my childhood surrounded by the Disney princesses of my time, I was no stranger to drifting off into a fantasy land with my prince on his noble steed sweeping me off my feet. Unfortunately, once I hit my teens, I believed this fantasy land to be just that – a fantasy. Like most of my peers, we saw the windswept romance of movies and novels to be an enjoyment for non-Muslims. With what we saw as suffocating and almost impractical rules and regulations surrounding any attempt at finding love, we didn’t believe a heart-fluttering romance to be achievable.

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Yearning to be Like the Sahabah: Uniting as One Ummah

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From cramped prayer spaces to unfair accusations, Khadijah Stott-Andrew discusses the problem of ostracising women and explains how we should use the Prophetic example as a solution.

A common desire amongst Muslims today is a deep yearning to have been with the sahabah and to have thrived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). At the other end of the spectrum, some people even blame their indiscretions and lack of resolve on the fact that they do not live amongst our pious predecessors. Many people feel that the times and circumstances the sahabah were blessed with were an exclusive formula that rendered the companions epitomes of perfection – a perfection that we can only dream about. However, if we were to study the authentic ahadith, we would see that the companions were humans who occasionally made mistakes. Mistakes that the Prophet (SAW) helped them to fix. Through the grace of Allah (SWT), these situations have been recorded in order to guide us in our day-to-day lives.

Having said that, there is one quality that enabled our pious predecessors to earn such a title – they were pure of heart. The sincerity that flowed through each of them inspired them to change when they went astray, to repent when they made mistakes and to seek counsel when they felt lost.

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Keeping My Marriage Alive

Khadijah Bint Khuawaylid:

A legacy that keeps my marriage alive

Khadijah Stott-Andrew

Khadijah Stott-Andrew reflects on how the character of Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid RA has been a constant guidance throughout her marriage.

As I put pen to paper, I contemplate the reasons why I feel honoured to be called Khadijah. Although, I was not always sensible of this honour; unlike most reverts, I was fairly young when I chose my Muslim name. Only just hitting double figures, I picked the first name that “sounded pretty”. My Mum became Muslim when I was just 8 years old, and I followed along with my mind until my heart embraced the deen completely, when I was 14. At this point, I had been known as Khadijah by everyone around me since I had started secondary school. Yet, there were times when reading about ‘A’isha’s feisty, yet playful attitude, that I wished I hadn’t been so hasty in my name choice.

However, 2007 brought a nasheed into my path – a nasheed that divulged the true beauty around the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid RA. The words of this nasheed touched my heart in a way I never thought possible, with its lyrics describing the strength of Khadijah and the unwavering loyalty that bonded her with the Prophet Muhammad SAW. It explained the respect, love and understanding that existed between them and made their marriage one of the most inspiring love stories I’ve ever heard. Hearing this nasheed motivated me to purchase books, look up articles and search hadiths, as I was desperate to learn more about their beautiful marriage. Putting Romeo and Juliet to shame, I have always seen Khadijah’s marriage to Muhammad SAW as one of the most exquisite partnerships in history, and I struggle to discuss the beauty and tenderness behind their relationship without tears filling my eyes and a lump forming in my throat. Continue reading