Posted on Mar 22, 2015
This month's HOTM was nominated by Sara Ibrahim who loves Leena's instagram and blog that features beautiful modest outfits and "provides inspiration on healthy eating and staying focused on studies."
My name is Leena Asad, I am a 21 year old half Palestinian, half American girl from Texas! I am currently in nursing school to pursue my dream career as a nurse practitioner in women’s health. I am fascinated with God’s intricate creation of the human body and have a passion for promoting health and caring for others. I could not see myself in any other profession! My other interests are fitness and nutrition. I am at the gym almost every single day! It’s my happy place. Of course, what most people know about me is my love for fashion. I love creating stylish looks that make hijab modern, approachable, and chic. Be sure to check Leena out on her blog, www.withloveleena.com and on Instagram @withloveleena!
1) When did you start wearing hijab? Tell us a little about your journey.
I started wearing hijab the Ramadan after I graduated high school. Growing up, I never had a doubt that I would wear hijab in the future. I knew it was an obligation for women, but I was never pushed or encouraged by my family. I told myself I would wear it when I got married, or when I started having children, just because it seemed so far away that I didn’t even have to think about it. Two months from my high school graduation I told my family I was going to wear it during Ramadan. I spent the next few months preparing my mind and my wardrobe for this life changing step in my journey to get closer to Allah (S). It was definitely hard at first being the only hijabi in my family. When I would go out with my family, people wouldn’t even think I was related to them. I also got a lot of stares and questions from people in my small town. Thank God, it got so much easier with time. I am more confident now, more than I was even before I wore hijab. I feel that dressing more modestly has given me more self-respect and in turn, respect from others.
2) Tell us about your blog With Love Leena, how you got started and what you hope to accomplish.
My blog With Love Leena started from my Instagram a year ago, where I posted photos of my everyday outfits and began receiving attention from other Muslim girls. I would get questions about where I got my clothes and was encouraged to start a blog by my followers! My mission has always been to share modest outfit inspiration and encourage girls to continue striving to be the best version of themselves! I also want to show the world that Muslim women are modern, stylish, powerful and strong. I want to provide a positive image of the Muslim woman and be a good example to girls who want to dress modestly.
3) As a nursing student, what imprint do you want to leave on the world?
As a nursing student, I want to show people that hijab cannot stop you from pursuing your dreams. Many people tell me how scared they are to wear hijab in fear that they will not be hired or will be treated unfairly in a professional setting. In the end, it is not about hijab, it is about self-confidence. I want to show others that I have confidence in myself and am striving to be the best at what I do, while not allowing hijab to define me as a nurse.
4) What's your go-to outfit as a hijabi and what tips do you have for women who wear hijab and want to look more stylish?
My go-to outfit is boyfriend jeans, a T-shirt and a blazer! It’s casual-cool with a hint of sophistication. I wear flats on most days, but for more special occasions heels make boyfriend jeans look amazing! My advice to women who want to look stylish and modest is find your own personal style and wear things that make you feel beautiful! When I first started wearing hijab, I started out with the Dina Tokio volume hijab styles that everyone wears and is super flattering on many girls. However, I was just following trends without considering my own style, and I felt self-conscious because it really didn’t suit me. After I found a hijab style I felt comfortable in, I began to incorporate it into my personal style, which allowed me to feel much more confident!
5) What/Who was a positive influence you had growing up?
A positive influence on me growing up was my mother. She reverted to Islam after she married my dad by her own choice. She saw the beauty of our religion through an onlooker’s eyes and allowed me to catch a glimpse. She always told me that Islam just makes sense. She is a very inquisitive person and always has a question about everything and she told me Islam always has a logical answer to her questions. She does not wear hijab, but that is not to say she is not modest in her dress or actions. I hope to be a good influence on her with my decision to wear hijab as she has been on me with all other areas of my life.
6) If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with hijab, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give to someone struggling with hijab is to take it in baby steps. The first step in hijab is to make an intention to please Allah (S) and to become more modest in the way you dress as well as the way you behave. This is the foundation to wearing hijab, and if it is not solid, then you may want to readdress it before moving forward. Next, start wearing more hijabi appropriate clothing without wrapping a scarf around your hair. Many people forget that hijab is more than a head covering. It is wearing long sleeves every single day and making sure nothing is too see-through or tight. You can use this time to watch hijab tutorials and build your wardrobe by buying essentials such as hijabs, long sleeve, tops, blazers and boyfriend jeans. ;) Finally when you start feeling comfortable with your clothing, it will be easier for you to start wearing a hijab. It may be uncomfortable at first, but trust me when I say it gets easier and you will gain more confidence with time.
Would you like to nominate someone to be our Hijabi of the Month? E-mail us at email@example.com!