Beauty Within Me

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Noor H. Salem, TMO Foundation

They say that I’m oppressed because I cover my hair, They are misinformed, and by that I swear, Misinformed because they lack, the knowledge that I own, Knowledge that changed, throughout the years I’ve grown, I cover my hair, not by force or shame, But by obedience to my Creator, His satisfaction is my aim, My birth, life and death, are all to Him alone, That’s why my beauty to strangers, isn’t ever shown, Women are treated like sex objects, billboards and ads, And they wonder why young girls, get harassed by their dads, They wonder why a 1000 girls, die every single year, Of eating disorders, as they try to impress their thinner peer, When a size zero isn’t good enough, you know there is something wrong, Even when the girl’s been thin all along, They wonder why women are rapped day and night, They don’t realize what the media is doing, just isn’t right, I was once a size one, and with societies push I thought, A size zero is better, and that’s the next thing I bought, Double zero came quite fast, and that’s when I began to think, Is this really what I want in life, to continue to shrink?

I realized there is more to life, than beauty and my size, And society is killing us, and it doesn’t seem to realize, I became thankful for my religion, for I’m not judged on my face, But the true purpose- good deeds; it’s all one big race, A race to Paradise, an option for us after we die, Of course Hell is the other, for those who deny and always lie, Why waste my time, worrying about my eyeliner’s perfection, Or the fact that I need to renew my lipstick collection, Why deprive myself of food, and have celery and carrots for dinner, And ignore my loved ones who tell me, I keep on getting thinner, Why live my life to try impressing those around me, When in the end, they’re judged at a total different degree, A degree based on our actions, words, and deeds, A good deed would be, like fulfilling other’s needs, A deed like this of course, weights quite heavy on the scale, The scale that REALLY counts, the one we don’t want to fail, It’s not digits of your pounds; it’s not length of your hair, It’s the good that you do, hear me out if you care!

We’re all going to die, and end up in the same place: underground, So why sit here and try, to make this life so sound, Why build up our wealth, our beauty and our fame, On the day we are judged, all this is going to be so lame, Allah is not going to ask me why I went from 90 to 99 (pounds), And He’s not going to punish me, because my eyes didn’t “shine”, With the so called foundation, mascara, and blush, So girl I’m gonna tell ya, keep your words in and “hush”,  If you’re blinded from the truth, I pray for you each day, To be guided on the path, the one and only way, For eternal bliss, eternal, yes, as in forever, So you tell me, what’s more clever?

Live this life as if it’s going to last, Then get a smack in the face, when I lay in my cast, Or stick to my heart, and follow my deen, The deen of Islam, I believe in the Unseen, Throughout the past few years, I’ve realized more and more, Islam is so beautiful; it’s a total different door, Than what society perceives it to be, oppression, terror and hate, Wake up and realize this, before it’s too late, I am proud of my religion; it’s a protection for me, And after reading this and learning, you just have to agree!

A shout out to my friends, my family and more, Who cover their beauty, as they walk out their door We don’t need the approval of strangers, we don’t need their rates, They didn’t create us, and they’re not the ones to open Heavens gates, Does it really make you feel good, at the whistle from the guys As they stare your behind up and down, checking out your thighs Does it really make you feel good, at the winks and the flirts Does it make you happy, because for you my heart hurts!

You walk in arrogance, as if showing more skin means you’re better than me, And I walk in laughter, because I know you are NOT what I want to be, I don’t need attention from the senior guys, I don’t need to sit and flirt, Because I am a human, and don’t deserve to be treated like dirt, Covering up myself makes me feel real great, Knowing I’m not an object, for others to use at their own rate, I’ve gained respected for my personality, from strangers all around, And that’s when I truly realized, Islam is very sound, My name is Noor Salem, and I shout out loud, My religion is Islam, and I am VERY proud, Those who hate can hate, those who lie may do, But in the end what will emerge, is everything that’s true, I thank Allah for my religion, deep down in my heart, And I pray to stay on the path, until the day I depart.

Copyright 2011© Noor H. Salem

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Leaf in His Hair

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Mahvish Akhtar, MMNS Pakistan Correspondent

I sat in my car being driven through the streets of Lahore and wondered what else I had to do after I was done with the task in front of me. I was going around running my errands since it was a Saturday. While I sat there in between getting the job done I thought about how much more I had left for today and how there was just not enough time. As my car stopped in front of the bank I sped to the ATM machine praying that I still have enough money left in the account. Exiting the ATM booth there was a lady ahead of me and was barely walking. First I tried to maneuver around her to get away quickly but there was no room to do that. Just then my eyes dropped to her spiked heal shoes and I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to say to her that lady, maybe if you had been a little bit more vigilant when getting ready and had worn sensible shoes you would not have such a difficult time walking over these uneven pavements. And maybe just maybe the rest of us who don’t have the whole day to waste, mind you, could go about our business a little bit faster. Once she was out of my way I was in my car once again and thinking of many other things that were more important than that woman and her shoes.

I was going along with my day trying to rush through time and in turn my life. Just then I had the most magnificent sight I could have with the kind of day I was having. A boy of about 12-13 years old was riding on his bicycle on the pavement next to my car. My car stopped for the red light ahead and I saw him. He was wearing dark brown shalwar qameez and had a mess of hair on his head about the same color. He was strutting along oblivious to his surrounding and to the fact that there was a leaf stuck in his hair. He was singing along to the beat of his own drum. He seemed so comfortable and happy even though it was hot and sunny outside and he was not sitting in an air-conditioned car like me. I couldn’t help but stop my car to talk to him. I guess for someone like me the idea of someone enjoying a casual day on a work day was completely absurd.

I waved at him and asked him to stop. He stopped on the side of the road a little surprised and said, “Madam I am not selling anything”, I told him I knew and also asked him where he was going, “home” he said. Then I couldn’t take it any more. I told him that there was a feather stuck in his hair. He caressed his hair and laughed when he felt the leaf there as though remembering good old times. He looked at the leaf and started telling me that he was playing with his friends they were throwing rocks at trees to see how high they could throw them. He said all this looking down at the leaf as though everything he was saying was written on it. Well it was a reminder any way. A little disturbed with the situation I asked him why he wasn’t in school. I was wondering why would parents let there little children roam around on streets rather then send them to school or have them do something else constructive. He looked at me with a glow in his eyes and told me that he does go to school. When? I said not believing him since it was 4 in the afternoon and he was on the streets and apparently playing with his friends. He said he goes to school in the afternoon. He said he has to work in the day and then late into the night so the only time he finds to study is in the afternoon. He said that his parents couldn’t afford to send him to school so one of the boys in his neighborhood who did his 10th class from a school was teaching him and a couple of his friends and making some money.

I was speechless after that. This little boy had taught me so much about my own life in a matter of minutes. Watching me quiet and unable to speak he asked me if he could go because he didn’t want to be late for his study session. I couldn’t say anything more to him. There was nothing I could tell him about life that he didn’t already know. In just the few minutes that boy was in front of me he taught me so much about life and how to live it.  As I watched him peddle off into the distance I thought about my life and everything I had wanted to be when I was his age. Trying to understand what I was feeling my eyes locked on the leaf on the ground. He had looked at it so carefully and I had felt a certain calm in him when he was holding it in his hands. I tried to look for that emotion but now it was nothing more than litter on the ground. Just then I heard my driver asking me if I was ready to leave. I wasn’t ready to leave. I wasn’t ready to go back to the same old hustle and bustle of my life. But unfortunately I did. Getting back into my car I realized we lived in two different worlds. His world was tough but was filled with innocence and charm. Yet my world is ugly and it renders one unable to move in front of the great jaws of what we call the wheel of life. That boy and the beautiful leaf in his un-kept hair is a distant memory now, just like everything else that is peaceful and lovable in this world that we live in.

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Democrat Joins Gubernatorial race, Says He’ll Spend $10 Million in Primary

November 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Houston hair executive Farouk Shami says his focus is stimulating economy.

By Corrie MacLaggan, American Statesman

image_8677646 Houston hair care executive Farouk Shami said Tuesday that he’s definitely running for governor and that he’ll put in $10 million for the Democratic primary alone.
“I am in,” said Shami, 66, a political novice whose company sells CHI hair-straightening irons and BioSilk hair products. “I am 100 percent sure I will be the next governor of Texas.”

Democrat Farouk Shami says he’ll put in $10 million.

For Capitol watchers who weren’t paying close attention to Shami’s declarations in recent months that he was thinking of running, his promise of $10 million of his own money might make them listen.

“Nobody else can begin to say that,” said Chuck Herring, president of the Central Texas Democratic Forum, which hosted Shami at a lunch meeting Tuesday.

As of July, the leading fundraiser in the Democratic primary for governor, former U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer, had $454,000 on hand. In the GOP race, Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison had $9.3 million and $12.5 million, respectively.

Shami, a native of Palestine who arrived in the United States in 1965 and likes to say he’s “living the American dream,” said he’s planning a formal campaign announcement Nov. 19 at CHI USA in Houston.

Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems Inc., said he’s not looking for fame or money and that he’d accept a salary of $1 as governor. (Gov. Rick Perry earns $150,000 a year and accepts about $115,000 of that, a spokeswoman said.)

“The people of Texas are really tired of career politicians who talk and work for special interest groups,” Shami said.

Shami, who recently announced that his company is bringing 1,200 manufacturing jobs from South Korea and China to Texas, said his campaign’s top priority is stimulating the economy, particularly with green jobs. He said that, as governor, he would create about 150,000 jobs by opening factories that would hire Texans to produce solar panels.

Shami “has a sincerity and a genuineness that are very attractive,” Herring said. “He’s untrained politically — that’s clear as well.”

Andy Brown, chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party, said an Austin reception for Shami on Monday evening drew people Brown hadn’t seen at party functions, particularly members of Austin’s Arab American community. “If his candidacy brings new communities to the active Democratic party structure, I think that’s a great thing,” Brown said.

Feras Mousilli, president of the Austin chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, was also at the reception and called Shami refreshing.

“Obviously, he’s got a tremendous uphill battle ahead of him—he doesn’t have a typical name, the look, the background of most career politicians,” Mousilli said. But he said he found it appealing that Shami is not indebted to PACs or lobbyists.

“It’s rare to find somebody without those kind of ghosts in their closet.”

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Hair Loss

September 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail 9-23-09

Hair loss occurs for a great many reasons—from pulling it out to having it killed off by cancer chemotherapy. Some causes are considered natural, while others signal serious health problems. Some conditions are confined to the scalp. Others reflect disease throughout the body. Being plainly visible, the skin and its components can provide early signs of disease elsewhere in the body.

Oftentimes, conditions affecting the skin of the scalp will result in hair loss. The first clue to the specific cause is the pattern of hair loss, whether it be complete baldness (alopecia totalis), patchy bald spots, thinning, or hair loss confined to certain areas. Also a factor is the condition of the hair and the scalp beneath it. Sometimes only the hair is affected; sometimes the skin is visibly diseased as well.

To understand the cause of alopecia, it is helpful to understand how hair grows. Hair grows out of microscopic depressions in the skin called hair follicles. Normally, there are about 100,000 hairs on a person’s head (scalp). Each hair is in one of three different growth stages. Eighty-eight percent of the hair on the head is in the growing (anagen) stage, which lasts for two to five years. Some of the hairs are no longer growing and are in a resting (telogen) stage. The telogen stage lasts for three to five months. The transitional (catagen) stage lies between the growing and resting stages. At the end of the telogen stage, the hair falls out. Usually about 100 hairs fall out each day. Alopecia becomes noticeable only after about half of the hairs have fallen out.

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