Author: Brooke

2 Horrid Ramadans & Moving Along w/ the Ramadan Battle Plan, Insha Allah

I have been meaning to write a sort of sketch for my family of all the different ways we have done Ramadan: from just me and the new hubby sharing cream puffs out of a paper bag in front of an Italian bakery in Brooklyn to enjoying a break of a solitary iftar while the husband took our bunch of kids to the masijd, and then onto Ramadans with extended family in Morocco. I should still do that, but today I am going to write about my worst two Ramadans ever and more importantly how I hope, insha Allah, to bury that habit quick this year. The last two Ramadans I have spent half the month alone with my six kids. I mean really alone. I have neighbors, but no friends or family within several hours of driving/flying to my home. My lifestyle is… maybe unusual. We unschool, I work from home, and our home is located in a rural village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where life is very in touch with the land, clean-living and fairly hard work. Alhumdulillah, I am not out digging in the earth and tediously caring for farm animals, but I still do work (which can be long hours if I don’t watch myself), plus the homeschooling and lack of any help for half the month… you get the idea? Also,...

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Meet the Muslimah Sellers of Etsy

From SISTERS magazine’s November 2014 issue, some of the best sister-owned shops on the Internet’s favourite place to buy handmade. I know many folks think that shopping on Etsy can be a very dangerous thing. There are just far too many unique and wonderful things on that website! But it’s actually an excellent shopping practice to buy from independent sellers and small-business families, as the products are exceptionally made to last a long time, often made with eco-green considerations in mind and directly support individuals in a fair-trade manner. Best of all, there are now many Muslim sellers on Etsy and your...

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Talking Business with The Shawl Label for SISTERS Magazine

For the October issue of SISTERS Magazine Aida Azlin explained to me how “It’s all about Sisterhood” with her fresh and exciting clothing (and tech stuff!) business. Brooke Benoit: The idea of entrepreneurship can be really terrifying. At what point did you know that this was your path? And how did you prepare yourself to walk it? Aida Azlin: I don’t think there is any perfect formula that will ever prepare you to walk on the path of entrepreneurship! I’ve always thought that I was an “accidental entrepreneur” because I never really set out to be one. But I now realise that there are no accidents in life, as everything is beautifully and perfectly planned by Allah. Early in our marriage, when my husband and I were seriously considering moving back to Morocco, my husband asked me, “What do you want to do when you are back in Morocco, Aida?” I remember telling him that I really wanted to learn how to quilt and sew. I wanted to source for fabrics and just spend my days working with my hands. My husband was the one who suggested to me that “You should really consider selling shawls. Everyone wears them anyway!” To be honest, I was very, very, very, very hesitant about it. I felt that there were already too many shawl sellers out there, and they were all doing a brilliant job. But...

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Mothering Mondays: Maybe It’s A Convert Thing or How Brooke Got Her Sparkle Back

Carnelian, turquoise, fine and sterling silver charmed bracelet. Have you heard the one about the convert who accepted a recited surah for her marriage? Or a promise of hajj or a complete set of Sahih Bukhari? If you know me, then you know how disinclined I am to make generalizations, however in this instance it is only converts to Islam who I know waive decent mahrs or accept token 14k gold sets from Macy’s or maybe a Ben Franklin (100 US dollars) as their complete mahr. Here is where I will caveat that this post is about me, me, me- another reflection for the #motherhoodproject, so while he is entangled in my mothering mess- this is not meant to be a reflection on my husband. I was one of those converts. I got a Gucci watch and a 15-speed bicycle for my mahr. My teen now rides that bike and my tween is coveting the watch. Back then, I (haughtily) didn’t even wear gold, so silver didn’t make much sense for a wedding gift anyway, but then a strange thing happened on the way from the marriage negotiations to the onset of motherhood less than a year later- NO jewelry was bought by or for me. None. This is especially odd considering I worked in a boutique that sold lovely handmade/designer jewelry. And I did use to wear jewelry all the...

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