RAMADAN 101--THE BASICS




Ramadan is a month of fasting in which Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and other similar activities during daylight hours. Every year, this month falls on a different time, and it is based on the Arabic lunar month, and is believed to be the month that the Holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
 
This is one of the holiest times of the year (because of all the holes we’re creating in our stomach…hehe sorry bad joke), as Muslims use this time to focus on his/her relationship with God, read the Qur’an, and purify the body. Donations to the poor from Muslims also always spike during this time, as spending the day hungry really makes you appreciate what you have and helps to better empathize with those who unfortunately don’t. By the end of the day, you feel a lot lighter, mentally and physically, and you learn to really appreciate and value food, and not take it for granted. During this month a lot of people also try to abstain from other pleasurable things such as listening to music, shopping, etc, in order to really try to detach themselves from the materialistic aspects of this world.
 

Traditional Moroccan "Iftaar," the meal eaten to break the fast at dusk.
Of course, not everyone is required to fast. Young children, the elderly, or anyone sick or traveling do not fast because doing so could be harmful to the body, which would be contradictory to the purpose of fasting.  
~
 

TL;DR: Ramadan is sort of like a physical and mental juice cleanser…except without the juice because it’s a fast…and it’s not aimed to make you lose weight (although you probably will!) but to lose excess and unnecessary distractions in order to focus on self-improvement and spirituality.

You learn self-control, empathy for your fellow humans, and strengthen your relationship with God.

So okay it’s not really like a juice cleanser at all. Scratch that part.

Yum Yum Moroccan tea!
Ramadan ends with a huge celebration called “Eid-al-Fitr,” which includes a lot of eating (obviously), gift-giving, family-time-spending, long hours of dinner parties, and other traditions that vary based on family/region! This year, Eid al-Fitr will fall on Monday, July 28nd (wait is that actually tomorrow…) or the next day (it's based on the moon sighting!), so be sure to congratulate your Muslim friends on surviving another month of fasting!

But of course, you don’t have to be Muslim or even religious at all to fast! I encourage you to give it a go and try it out for a day or two (although the first week is always the hardest) and share your experiences!


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or speak with your local friendly Muslim.* Traditions and interpretations do vary, so for best results consult with a variety of sources!
*beware: during Ramadan we get a bit grumpy after a long day of fasting, right before sunset, so best to save the questions until after we’ve broken fast for the day ;)

 

Ramadan Mobarak/Ramadan Kareem/Happy Ramadan to all who are observing! (maybe) Last day!

Talk to you in the comments! xx
 
P.S. Feel free/you’re encouraged to share this post with any and all your friends who might want to learn a thing or two about Islam/Ramadan. (Especially since this post took awhile to put together now that acessing my blog is a bit more difficult *cough* in Iran... 
P.P.S. On that note I am severely backlogged with posts from Morocco so just hold tight!
P.P.P.S. Again, my apologies for not posting in forever! I’m trying my best to resolve this!
P.P.P.P.S. The first photo is a little sneak peek from a shoot with Youssef Harzy--can't wait to show you the rest of the shoot!
P.P.P.P.P.S (this is really getting out of hand sorry about that)
Thoughts and prayers are going to the hundreds of innocent men, women, and children currently being massacred in occupied Palestine #supportgaza
I really do urge you to, if you haven't already, read up on what is happeneing--more than 1000 deaths in 20 days is not making world headlines, so it's up to you to do the research and learn for yourself what the situation is on the ground right now!

<(')
 
 
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POSTCARDS FROM MOROCCO



Oh my. So, Morocco has been absolutely lovely..


Just got back from the Sahara (read a bit on that adventure here

I hope that these photos make up at least a teeensy bit for my 2 week+ absence! This is by far the longest break that I've taken from blogging and I must say that I'm coming back feeling quite energized and ready to post regularly again (...anticipating that the wifi here in Morocco stays semi-reliable this next week)! Alex and I have been shooting quite a bit I can't wait to share with you the photos from our explorations! (In the meantime, I have been updating my Instagram regularly if you'd like to connect with me there! c; 
I've barely had time to breathe since arriving, what with missing bags (story + shoot to come!), a larger language barrier than expected, and a bit longer-than-usual stares, but from everything I've seen thus far, Morocco is filled with beautiful places and people! Unfortunately, I didn't make it through the bulk of my photos that I've taken so far, and so I still have quite a lot to share, but just think of this post as a I'm-still-alive-thanks-for-checking-in-on-me-I-promise-I'll-get-better-at-this post c; 






Iftaar in a little cafe in downtown Rabat~


Alex and I woke up to catch the sunrise and take a shoot (so excited to share this shoot with you!)



Camel pocket-square made from palm tree leaves because why the hell not


The legendary Moroccan tea on handmade Berber carpets






(Sort of secretly) shooting in little alleyways in Rabat!

One week left in Morocco and off to Iran! Thanks again for sticking around! 

To anyone who has visited/lives in Morocco: Any suggestions on places to see around the Rabat area for my last week here? c: 


P.S. OH and it totally slipped my mind I will definitely be posting a bit about Ramadan as well, momentarily, (especially since this is my first time observing Ramadan in a Muslim country) but in the meantime, Ramadan Mobarak to all who are fasting! (if you have any specific questions about Ramadan/anything please feel free to ask in the comments section and I'll try my best to answer in the next post!) 


Talk to you in the comments! 
<(')


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SUMMER MINIMALISM


(The ones with an asterisk are socially-responsible pieces from ethical brands!)

Put together a little post to hopefully inspire me while packing to pack less and lighter because at the moment my usual anti-minimalist style is being rather demanding of the non-existent space in my suitcase. (I can always tell which of the indefinite number of black suitcases is mine because it is always that one that is bulging at the seams, ready to explode (and then I end up not wearing half of the things I brought). But this time I've challenged myself to pack only what is necessary: basics like the picks above that are so easy to put together in so many different ways (and of course, a favorite light-blue button up). Not to mention the fact that I am traveling to Africa and the Middle East so the temperatures will not exactly be necessitating a plethora of layers, so that's in my favor, as well~ 

What does your summer wardrobe look like? Do you have any packing tips for a struggling over-packer? I'd love any advice! 

Happy Friday!

<(')

P.S. A few lovelies reached out to me saying that they were unable to leave a comment. If this is the case for you, I'd still love to hear from you and you're more than welcome to send me an email with your thoughts (and in this case, advice)! 


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MR. BLUE SKY





In this Oklahoma humidity, wearing anything more than a pale-colored, paper-thin blouse will weigh you down. (Not to mention, as a hijabi, receiving incessant comments of  "omg I'm so sorry you have to wear that on your head in this weather--are you hot in that!?") Thankfully though, these past few days the weather has calmed down a bit and refrained from peaking over 90F! Which means I run out of excuses to stay indoors and complain about the weather and instead get to run around the suburb's "downtown" (literally a two-street stretch of old diners) (#sorrynotsorry) with my brother (who never fails to make me laugh while shooting). 

Haneif also made a trip back home so it has been so nice to have the whole family together under one roof again (which, for you means another forced menswear shoot with the broskies, so stay tuned!) Check out the last shoot we all did together, here



Photos: Hadi | Location: Downtown Edmond (lol) | Hijab: Etsy | Blouse: Forever21 | Sandals: c/o Zappos

<(')

T-3 days until I leave for Morocco!



P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $100 Target giftcard here!


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$100 TARGET GIVEAWAY!




Happy Summer! As promised, I put together a little giveaway with a few other blogger friends celebrating the new season, guessing correctly the location of this shoot, and simply thanking you for your continuous support! Really, JooJoo Azad wouldn't be the same without you, as it is all your encouragement that has kept me going these past 9ish months (honestly I didn't think I'd last this long! My follow-through is lasting longer than I thought! (well it seems I still haven't fixed my little tendency to rant...I'll work on it c; )

The Prize: $100 Target Giftcard | Organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! | Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 7/21 and is open internationally

Follow amazing bloggers on Instagram and enter to win! (P.S. 5 free entries if you are already following me!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you again and best of luck! xx

<(') 


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{A REFLECTION}




A little excerpt from a poem I wrote for my creative writing class:

Enclosed in a borderless land, I exist in Chicago with crescent moons pressed under my eyes, 
singing a lullaby of lies about the night sky. The city’s refuse is dumped in Michigan Lake whose darkened blue waters are my only refuge when the sky is blanketed in smog. I bike to the lake every night to let my caged soul out to breathe for a few hours while I drink the thin and pale reflection of the moon and the stars.
~

I've always been attached to vast bodies of water and the secrets they hold. Living in a land-locked state has always been difficult, and especially so when I come back after staying in Chicago for my studies, now that I know what I'm missing. It's always a place I visit when I want to clear my mind or just freely think about anything. Lately I've been in reflection about where I am in my life and where I want to go and what I want to do. I've always just imagined myself intellectually stumbling through life and being at ease doing so, but I'm starting to have second thoughts on what that even means to me. I feel like saying "I'll just take whatever life throws at me" is easier said than done. I can't help but let my thoughts drift to the unknown waters of what lays ahead, which, I suppose, is not new for me.
It might just be that I have just been pulled away from my home and comfort zone for too long; as Rumi says "Anyone pulled from their source longs to go back." This is hoping that this trip to Iran will refresh and recharge~

I usually don't get very personal on JooJoo Azad, so thanks for bearing with me and my little rambling that has been consuming my thoughts xx

I was planning on writing a Social Action Sunday post for today about cultural appropriation in fashion, but I've just been so wrapped up in doing nothing that it just slipped my mind, but I promise I'll get something up soon! In the meantime, I've teamed up with a few other bloggers to put together an amazing giveaway Monday afternoon (all Intsagram based!) so be sure to come back tomorrow for that! xx

Photo via my Instagram: @hodaaak | Location: Michigan Lake, Chicago

Happy Summer (and 1 year anniversary to my brother (Cadmium Soul))!

Until tomorrow,
<(')

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WHAT IS MINIMALISM?




Hah, remember that time that I pretended like I was going to try to edge toward the empty land of minimalism? Yeah...whoops. (I'll try again another time?)
Regardless, I fell sort of in love with this dress gifted to me by MartofChina a little online store based in Shanghai, and quickly relapsed back into my usual game of how-many-patterns-can-you-wear-at-once-and-not-look-like-unicorn-vomit. Mostly, I was drooling a bit over the back (it's so lovely!)

Speaking of minimalism, this blouse was also worn recently for what I thought was the start of a minimalist transition (which obviously didn't happen) in this look and quickly found its way back on my shoulders to create something completely different. Ah, fashion~

Although, yes, yesterday's post was not untruthful--lately, I have been dressing rather lightly--this look was actually put together when I was back in Chicago, but what with finals I didn't have time to shoot until I came home! So, the darker tones and pattern clashes that I usually wear in Chicago were still lingering in this look. I'll be running around the town with my brosky soon so you can see the more Oklahoma influence in my next outfit post! xx





Vogue Cutout Back Floral Print Tank Dress for Lady

Photos: Hadi | Location: Oklahoma | Cutout Dress: c/o MartofChina | Grid Blouse: c/o Persunmall | Floral and Bird Pattern Bomber Jacket: c/o Persunmall | Cutout Boots: c/o Zappos | Rings: H&M

P.S. That promised giveaway is coming up *possibly* tomorrow so get excited! xx
P.P.S I know you're just dying of curiosity so I'll go ahead and say it--the plants to my right are fig bushes!

Happy Thursday!

<(')


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