Being a Muslim girl in the twenty-first century isn’t always easy! Here you’ll find tips and advice on problems that many common Muslim girl problems.

Don’t see a common concern here? No problem! Ask The Muslim Girl here and keep checking back.

Muslim Girl Problems:

***Arranged Marriage
Yes, you read the title of this post right. Yes there is a problem with arranged marriage, a BIG problem. And the problem starts with you.

Many of us out there that don’t date before marriage are content to wait for Allah to find us our life partner. We choose not to date or engage in intimate relations before marriage, because we believe that the only relationship between a man and a woman can be that of husband and wife. And so we’re content to wait.

But while we’re waiting for our parents, family, or friends to find us this ideal mate, we begin daydreaming. While we wait, we begin to concoct a fantasy in which we are the princess and our husband is the prince. While we wait, we begin to build up our future husband to epic proportions. He will look like a mix between David Beckham and Shah Rukh Khan. He will be into sports but also going to the theatre with us. He will be a millionaire and will spoil us. He will be everything we’ve ever dreamed of and more.

I speak from experience when I say it’s so easy to do this. We don’t mean to, but as we wait for our soul male, we begin to have unrealistic expectations of our future spouse so much so that when we meet potential suitors, we are not satisfied. Obviously they don’t look like a mix between your favourite celebrity crushes and nor are they a millionaire. They might have some of the qualities you dreamed of, and they might have some qualities that you didn’t dream of.

Many of us get so caught up in this ‘dream guy’ that we let many potential suitors walk by us, because we are so fixated on finding that guy that we have been dreaming about and thinking about for years. But I have news for you: he doesn’t exist.

The qualities or attributes that you’re looking for, some of them are superfluous. Money will come and go, and so can looks. But the strength of someone’s character and their faith in God are things that last a lifetime. So prioritize. What are the characteristics or attributes that are most important to you? Is praying 5 times a day important to you? Is someone who is family-oriented important to you? Is someone who is forgiving important to you?

Focus on the things that matter most to you and forget about the things that don’t matter. Allah has made a match specifically for you, and he might do all the things that annoy you, but he is the one that Allah has destined for you. And you will end up together no matter what. So have patience.

And while you are waiting for your ‘dream guy’, take a look at yourself. Are you someone’s idea of a dream girl? Meaning, do you possess all the qualities and attributes that you are searching for in a life partner? If not, work on yourself. Not for the sake of someone else, but for yourself. Be the best person you can be.

Marriage is no fairytale. It is a relationship that requires work, love, and patience. It is half our deen, but not all of it. So don’t focus all your energies on it and on your idea of what your ideal husband will be.

So pray, make dua, and have patience. May Allah reward give us the best in this world and the next, inshAllah.

***Buying Modest Clothes
The most common reader question I get almost daily is where to modest clothes, and so this post is for all the readers who have asked me where I buy my clothes.

Unless you are live in an Islamic country or are willing to order from Islamic clothing retailers, it can be very difficult to find modest clothes that fit all the requirements you’re looking for, at an affordable price. And so you will undoubtedly have to layer at least 2 pieces of clothing (for tops at least) to fully cover your body. The pieces of clothing that are modest and also look chic that I highly recommend are maxi dresses and skirts, especially in the summer, and blazers, which provide great coverage.

But there’s lots of different pieces that you can combine to be modest, and it all depends on your personal style and how much you’re willing to spend. Some of my favourite places to buy modest clothes can be found below…take a look!

*(insert h&m images and clothers)
The Swedish retailer is my go-to place to buy modest modest clothes. It offers a lot of great selection that is constantly changing from season to season, and so you’re bound to find something you like. They offer affordable prices, and carry maxi dresses and skirts all spring and summer, and sometimes into the fall. They also carry a lot of short dresses that can be worn as shirts on top of pants, in addition to longer sleeveless shirts that can often be paired with a long sleeve t-shirt or cardigan.

H&M is the perfect place to buy modest clothes because it carries many staples all-year round, which is very convenient. Their long-sleeve t-shirts come in a variety of colours, and can be found easily. They also carry long-sleeve cardigans, both short and long, in a variety of knits and colours, making it perfect to instantly add sleeves to any short-sleeved top. They also carry a collection of colourful and fun scarves year-round, which is one of the many reasons why it’s the number one destination where to buy modest clothes.

*(forever21 images here)
Forever 21 is another retailer that offers clothing that can be made modest at fairly affordable prices. The American retailer is known for their fun, eclectic style, and if you’re looking for fun prints, Forever 21 is the place to go.

Their selection of maxi dresses in the summer are rival to none, since they have many different cuts and styles, from pleated to slinky to A-line. They also carry a selection of fun pastel coloured pants, as well as chiffon maxi skirts that are usually fully lined. Like H&M, they also offer a large selection of short dresses, from sleeveless to short sleeves, that can be worn as shirts on top of their pants. For those that love affordable, fun accessories, Forever 21 is definitely the place to go! They also carry fun scarves with a variety of prints and textures.

*(zara images here)
like to think of Zara, the Spanish retailer, as H&M’s classier, more fashionable cousin. Both European retailers often carry similar styles and selection of clothes, but Zara offers fashion at a cut above. Their quality for affordable fashion is second to none, which is reflected in their slightly higher price points.

Zara is perfect to find pieces that are classy and well-made. They aren’t really known for their bold prints, but you will often find clothes there are fashion forward and a little bit different. They carry a lot of long-sleeve tops in various cuts and styles, as well as short dresses and long sleeveless tops. Their maxi skirts and dresses aren’t usually sheer or have slits. Their dresses are perfect for special occasions, because of how pretty and how well made they are. So if you’re looking for quality and fashion-forward clothes, Zara is your place to go!

These three are my top choices for where to buy modest clothes, but they are not the only places, by any means! You can buy modest clothes pretty much anywhere; it all depends on how you’re willing to modify them to make them modest and to suit your needs. Some other places to find modest clothes are: ASOS, Target, The Gap, and Joe Fresh. Another option is to design your clothes yourself; if you have access to a tailor, find styles that you like and buy some fabric and get them sewn so they fit you perfectly!

For more inspiration on where to buy modest clothes and how to style them, make sure you follow my Instagram for styling tips and outfit of the day pictures!

Buying modest clothes doesn’t have to be a chore when you’re willing to be creative and flexible. So the next time you’re shopping, have an open mind; you might be surprised by what you find!

***Dating
ith the rise of the media in the past few years, there’s been an increase of pressure on young Muslim girls to date. As someone who went to high school and university in the West, I know that pressure very well.

You might have non-Muslim friends who are dating or even Muslim friends who are dating. You might be surrounded by guys, guys who seem interested in getting to know you one-on-one, guys who seem very friendly, guys who seem like they would be the most wonderful boyfriend. You might just want to join your group of friends when they go out and hang out with their boyfriends. Or you might just be sick of being the third wheel. Or you might want to try and see what it’s like. Or you’re ready to get married and think that this is the best way to go about it. Or you might think that having a ‘halal boyfriend’ is no problem.

There’s many reasons that Muslim girls feel pressured to start dating. You might have your own. And I know how hard it might be to resist. But I’m here to tell you to have patience.

Yes, it’s easier said than done. I know all about that feeling of being lonely and wanting someone to share your life with. But I also know that God rewards those for abstaining from those things He has made unlawful. And one of the things He has made unlawful is relations before marriage.

If you’re still in school and marriage seems a long way away, it might be hard to wait for an imaginary someone, especially if you have a very real boy in your present. But again: have patience.

You might engage in a relationship and claim that you will marry this boy, and call him your ‘halal boyfriend’ since you set up very strict parameters about what you can and cannot do. You might have the best of intentions. But you have no guarantee that this boy will end up your husband nor do you know what God has planned for you.

In the Quran, Allah has told us in Surah Ar-Rum (30), Ayah 21 that “He created for you mates from among yourselves” (Yusuf Ali translation). What could be more wonderful that being told by the Creator that He has created someone for you, that He has already thought of you and provided for you? So have patience.

In the meantime, focus on other things. Join a club. Read some books. Hang out with friends. Start a hobby. Spend time with your family. Study the Quran. Pray.

Distance yourself from the people that pressure you to do something you don’t want to.

Having a relationship isn’t everything. Focus on the things that make you happy, and inshAllah God will take care of the rest.

For those of you who are going through this, may Allah make things easier for you. Hope you found this useful!

***Environments with Alcohol
Living in the West, it’s almost guaranteed that you will at some point be in environments with alcohol. Whether it’s at a restaurant, at a work/school event, or sometimes just even in a public forum.

If you’ve never been in a setting with alcohol at close quarters, your first encounter with it might leave you feeling uncertain or weird. Or you just might start randomly telling random strangers that this is a very weird environment for you, which might leave you sounding like a bumbling fool…

While you may not be able to be able to totally escape environments with alcohol, there are things you can do to try your best.

My first piece of advice would be to avoid those environments where you know for certain that alcohol will be served. For example, if you have non-Muslim friends who invite you to a party where you know people will be drinking, don’t go. Don’t make any excuses, but just tell them the truth. If they’re your true friends, they should understand.

I have often had my non-Muslim friends assure me that they won’t pressure me into drinking, that it’s just part of the background, in order to make me come to the pub or to an event. But what they didn’t understand was that it’s not just about the drinking; it’s the environment with alcohol. For those of us who have very limited experience with it, it can be quite a jarring experience, and one that you may not feel totally comfortable in.

Many young Muslims today have their first experience with environments with alcohol in college/university. Whether you live on campus or off, you’re bound to run into it somewhere, and especially with all the pressures that come from being in school, you might be roped into going to an place where there people will be drinking. But try to avoid it at best. Tell the truth about why you can’t, but if that’s too hard, then make up an excuse.

So at this point you might be thinking, why should I stay away from environments with alcohol when I know that I have no intention of drinking it?

Good question.

While you have no intention of drinking, you don’t know if you might feel tempted when you’re there. Living in the 21st century, there are so many social pressures that young people today feel like they have to live up to (some of which can be found in college/uni), and you have no idea whether you will fall prey to them in a setting where everyone else is drinking and seem to be having a good time. So why bother putting yourself in temptation’s way?

Obviously there are times when you won’t be able to avoid it. For example, at weddings or formal work events or meetings. As uncomfortable as you feel, you won’t be able to escape it. Or you might think you’re attending a meeting, but there might be alcohol being served.

Don’t panic. Just be calm. Ignore it. It won’t bite you. Don’t call attention to it and just focus on the reason why you’re there. It might be weird for you, but it’s not weird for the people who are drinking it. So be and let them be.

Whatever you do, don’t start telling everyone how weird it is for (like I did at a recent meeting where there was wine). I got through it and so will you.

For some of you, dealing with environments with alcohol may not be a big deal. For others, it may be something totally foreign and scary. But regardless of your comfort level, just keep a clear head.

And there you have it! Hope some of you found this useful

Keep smiling, beautiful girls!

With love.

***Interacting with the Opposite Gender
For some of you, interacting with the opposite gender may not be a problem. For some of you, it might be a BIG problem!

Living in the West where men and women must interact and communicate can be a bit tricky, especially when navigating social norms like hand-shaking and going out to drink.

My personal experience with this problem comes from my years in school, where I struggled a lot with my interactions with guys. Growing up, my mom told me not to talk to boys and I took this advice very literally. I realised that she didn’t actually mean what she said when I was paired up with a guy in grade 7 on a French assignment and came home crying, thinking I was going to Hell for breaking this critical rule. Suffice it to say that I don’t think this way anymore!

Some people say that having male friends and hanging out is fine, as long as you’re not too close or intimate. Some people say that when living in the West, girls and guys should go to schools where girls and guys are separated. You need to figure out what works best for you and what you’re most comfortable with.

But my biggest piece of advice is: keep your distance.

Islamically, it is recommended for men and women to maintain their distance when interacting with the opposite gender. Do that to the best of your ability.

Going to school or working in the West, there will undoubtedly be times when you will be paired up or grouped with the opposite gender. Sometimes you won’t have an option. And so the best thing you can do is focus on the assignment or project at hand, and keep your distance in your interactions without being too friendly.

School or work is usually the easiest part. It’s when you move out of that context and into the social setting that things can sometimes become complicated. In social events, the lines between the professional and the personal can be blurred, and it can become even harder to keep your distance.

Obviously there will be times when you’ll have to participate in mixed group social events. But know your limits.

But we don’t just interact in person. We also talk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, BBM, Google chat, and on a million other platforms! I’m not going to tell you not to give a guy your number or your Twitter name or whatever, because sometimes it’s unavoidable. But like everything else, keep it clean and polite and respectful. Just because your mom can’t see you doesn’t mean God can’t.

During my university days, I took the keep your distance advice quite literally and didn’t really interact with the opposite gender much. I was shy, yet that manifested itself in not talking to guys at all and ignoring them. I was thought to be rude and standoffish.

And so there’s a caveat: be polite, yet don’t be rude. Say salam and return the salam of any Muslim brothers you encounter. Be friendly and respectful to all, since your manners speak for your character. There’s no reason why you can’t work productively in a professional capacity alongside men.

Everyone is different and everyone interprets things differently. So your idea of maintaining distance could be someone else’s idea of being too friendly, and vice versa. So know yourself and know your limits. Always remember that Allah is watching.

It’s a difficult road to navigate but you need to figure out what works best for you. Remember, only Allah has the right to judge. Hope you found this somewhat useful.

Keep smiling, beautiful girls!

With love.

***Not Fasting in Ramadan
We all know about that time of the month where girls can’t fast during Ramadan, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that since it is the way Allah made things. Not fasting in Ramadan can make some girls feel like they’re missing out on Ramadan and all the blessings it offers, just because they can’t fast or pray. But not fasting in Ramadan doesn’t mean that you cannot reap the benefits that Allah has bestowed upon us in this blessed month! There are still so many other ways that you can remember Allah in the short time that you aren’t able to fast. Here are 6 ways that you can still continue ibadah during Ramadan:
Listen to the Quran

Ramadan is the month that the Quran was revealed in and we are meant to read as much Quran as possible during this blessed month. Not fasting means that you can’t read the Quran during that short time, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot listen to it. With technology, there are so many ways that you can listen to the Quran. Download some surahs onto your ipod so you can listen to them on your commute to school or work. Burn a CD to keep in the car so you can listen to it even when you go out to run errands. Open up Youtube on your computer or TV while in the kitchen and listen to the Quran while cooking or cleaning.
Read the Translation

As previously mentioned, Ramadan is the month of the Quran, and while it’s very important for us to read it and recite it in the original Arabic, it’s also very important to understand it. So read the translation in whatever language you understand best, be it English, Spanish, Urdu, French, etc. Understand what Allah is saying to you in the way you can understand it best. Because if we don’t know what Allah is saying to us, how can we follow it? So use the time where you can’t fast and can’t read the Quran in Arabic to understand Allah’s words.
Do Dhikr

Dhikr is the remembrance of Allah and regardless of whether you can fast or not, you can always remember Allah. We have been told in the Quran that if we remember Allah, He will remember us (Surah Baqarah 152). So say subhanAllah, alhamdulilah, astagfirullah, and other dhikrs throughout the day so that Allah’s name is always on your tongue and in your heart.
Listen to Lectures

Again, with technology, there are so many wonderful lectures that are available on Youtube and the internet, all just a click away. You can attend Islamic conventions without even leaving your seat, so why not take advantage of this and listen to some Islamic lectures? Whether the topic is on an ayat of the Quran, a topic that plagues Muslims, or just praise of Allah, listening to Islamic lectures can boost your spirituality and give you knowledge you didn’t have.
Do Good Deeds

Just because you can’t fast or pray doesn’t mean that you can’t do good deeds in the month of Ramadan. Everything counts, and so make an effort to continue doing good deeds throughout the short time span that you can’t fast. Give charity. Help the needy. Be kind to your parents. Volunteer some of your time. Smile. Be kind to others. Prepare iftar for those less fortunate. Open the door for a stranger. Don’t let your bad mood affect how you treat others. Some of these things are very small and things you should be doing anyway, but put some extra thought into them during the month of Ramadan so that you can make a difference in the world.
Make Dua

There are so many blessings in the month of Ramadan, subhanAllah, and it is a month where duas are extra special. So just because you can’t physically perform salah doesn’t mean that you can’t pray and make dua to Allah. He is always listening, regardless of the condition, so remember that. Use those special times in the day, like right after hearing the adhan, or right before maghrib, on Fridays, when it’s raining, etc., to make supplication to Allah. Allah hears us all, so be sure to ask Him for things you want and things you need.

Not fasting in Ramadan for a short period of time for girls doesn’t mean that the gates of Heaven have closed and Allah’s mercy doesn’t apply. Ramadan isn’t only about fasting, it is about the strengthening your imam and becoming closer with Allah. So just because you can’t fast doesn’t mean that you can’t do all of that. Everything counts, especially in Ramadan, so purify your intentions and continue to do all that you do when you fast and Allah will reward you. May Allah make this month a blessing for us and may He shower His blessings on us all, inshAllah.

***Shaking Hands with Men
Many of you reading this blog have probably encountered that awkward social norm of shaking hands with men, especially if you live and work in the West.

It’s a social norm, especially in Western society, and is used as an introduction and even goodbye. It’s used as a symbol of trust (“let’s shake on it”) and is used to judge people, especially for interviews. As Muslim girls, it can be very tricky navigating this social norm, especially when it’s a gesture that is meant in goodwill.

As a Muslim girl growing up in the West, this was (and still is!) one of the most tricky situations that I would encounter that I had no idea how to deal with.

Before I give you some tips on how to handle the situation, let me back up and first and talk about the expectation of men and women in Islam. It’s a generally agreed upon rule that men and women must not interact physically with non-mehrams (those they aren’t related or married to), and this includes shaking hands. Thus, many women agree that they will not extend the hand outward to a male who is not their mehram. But what about when someone extends a hand out to you?

Someone who answers this question in a humorous yet helpful way, is Amena on her Youtube channel Amenakin. You can find the video here.

Humour can only be used sometimes though. In all situations, I would recommend honesty; just say, “I”m sorry, but in my faith, I can’t shake hands with the opposite gender.” You can word it however you like, and in whichever way you feel comfortable. It’s simple and straightforward and honest.

But it’s also quite bold. Some of you (myself included) might have difficulty saying this, especially as you meet someone for the first time. You might be nervous (especially if it’s a job interview) and you might not be able to word it correctly, and so instead of fumbling with the words, you just do it. You shake the hand that’s extended to you.

I’m going to be honest here: I do it. And I feel awful about it. In my mind, I know it’s wrong but when put in that situation, I don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. So when my mind starts racing in those 2.5 seconds after a man extends his hand to me, the only thing I do is put my hand out too in a panic. And I feel so guilty about it afterwards.

The reason why I’m sharing my personal story with you all is to say that I relate. I get it. I totally understand the pressures of living in a Western society, and wanting to please people and also be true to your own beliefs. It’s hard.

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, some of them repeatedly. So let’s try to have the best of intentions and strive to be the best.

Hope you girls found this useful. And if you have any suggestions or ideas for this topic, please feel free to comment below. May Allah guide us all.

Keep smiling, beautiful girls!

With love.

***Where to Pray
If you live in the West, or anywhere that isn’t a Muslim country, you’ll realise how difficult it can be to pray in public. Without the athan or call to prayer, a lot of people have turned to technology to know when prayer times are, which is awesome! There are so many different apps nowadays, which make it a lot easier to know when to pray. But it can still sometimes be tricky figuring where to pray.

If you’re like me, sometimes you spend the whole day out and about and it can be very difficult to find a place to offer salah. Depending on where you are at any given time of day, it can be tricky to find a quiet, suitable place.

My first piece of advice when searching to find a place to pray is: ask. It sounds cheesy, but you’ll never know unless you ask! Many multinational corporations and many workplaces now have multi-faith prayer or meditation rooms, and you might just have a prayer room not far from you! Up till a few years ago, I would forgo my salah in fear of embarrassment of asking, and would just pray all my missed salahs at home. But one day I plucked up the courage to ask, and was pleasantly surprised by my employer’s desire to accommodate me! Even if there isn’t a designated prayer room, your manager or supervisor may be able to find an unused room for you.

If you’re a student at college or university, again, there might already be a multi-faith room on your campus. If you’re new to the school, ask around. A good idea is to ask other Muslim girls; you might even make some new friends!

If you’re going to be out and about, and not anywhere where there’ll be empty, unused rooms, try to plan for it. I try to carry a mini prayer mat with me in my purse on days when I know I won’t be able to find an empty room. Try to look for a secluded corner, somewhere out of the way, where you can pray. If you don’t have a prayer mat, you can also use an old shawl or even a piece of paper. It really doesn’t matter what you pray on, as long as the floor is clean.

The point isn’t where you pray or how beautiful your prayer mat is or whether you pray in a room with a closed door; the point is to pray on time.

If you make time to pray, Allah will make things easier for you, inshAllah.

Those are just a few tips for a problem that many Muslim girls face. Hope you found it useful!

Keep smiling, beautiful girls!

With love.