What’s Islam Got to Do with It?

I know some of you must have been looking at my site by now and wondering what’s so Islamically-inspired about this? Well, I haven’t quite dished out all the inspirations up my sleeves. But, I assure you, there are some unique items to be showcased inshAllah (God willing) that definitely have at least a Middle Eastern vibe to them in the coming months. For now, though, I’m just concerned with keeping our babies’ heads and necks warm and keeping the girly girls’ hairdos looking fantastic!

On a more serious note though, Islam has everything to do with it. It’s the reason you don’t see animal figures on my projects. It’s a way of life that I’ve chosen to live by, and I am particularly inspired by two women from the early days of Islam. Both were wives of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at different times. One’s name was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and the other was Zaynab bint Jahsh (may they both be enveloped in Mercy). Khadijah (ra) was a businesswoman, who actually employed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). She remains a noteworthy example of a strong woman to this day–self-employed, privileged, educated, and business-minded at a time when female infanticide was still practiced. Khadijah was successful in pre-Islamic Arabia, a time best described as primitive and barbaric. “Women were marginalized, and unequal, used for enjoyment and breeding…[without] property or dowry rights […]. Survival for most women meant being attached to a family unit” (see Tamam Kahn’s Untold: A History of The Wives of Prophet Muhammad, 2010, p.10). Shoot, women are still marginalized in that way today, but Khadijah didn’t merely survive, she soared like a butterfly!

The other wife, Zaynab (ra), who came years after Khadijah’s death, excelled in arts and crafts and then spent the money she made on charity. She did leatherwork (tanning and piercing leather) and embroidery. There is a hadith (traditional saying of the Prophet) that concerns her, “The swiftest of you to join me (in paradise) will be the one with the longest armspan (or hand).” Zaynab was a small woman, her arm wasn’t that long, but it was clear that after she died, Muhammad had been talking about her generosity. She died ten years after the Prophet–the first of his later wives to die, with her small, but long hand forever a symbol of charity (See Sahih Bukhari, Vol.2, Book 24, Hadith #501). It is my hope to one day create a circle of women crocheting for charity.

And to my fans of other faiths, don’t worry–there will always be something here for you. Remember, everything can be looked at as inspiration, though I’m not sure you’ll want any change to my designs once you see the beauty of Arabic calligraphy… But that’s all I can say without spilling the Arabica coffee beans.

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