Hijabi of the Month July - Mariam Al-Kalby
Posted on Jul 04, 2013
Mariam Al-Kalby is a storybook writer, poet, blogger, wife, and mother of two young girls from California. She received her Bachelors in English Education and Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. She is a dreamer and seeks out the creative aspects of life. She loves nature and natural beauty whether it's through art, writing, photography, or architecture. She believes art is in every form and it is up to the person to see the magic within. She has published her first children’s book and is currently working on the second one for, "The Prophet Says" series. To purchase The Apple Tree, click here.
1) When did you start wearing hijab?
I started wearing hijab in the seventh grade; my family was always preparing me and talking to me about hijab while growing up so it became a little bit easier to take on that responsibility. In my experience, the hijab has played a big role in my success as being an American Muslim and I am blessed to be able to observe this part of my deen happily. There have been many trials but through it all it has made me into a stronger individual.
2) What do you love most about hijab?
I love so many aspects about the hijab but I receive a lot more respect from people when they get to know my intellectual side instead of being focused on my appearance.
3) Tell us what inspired you to write your book, The Apple Tree.
I was inspired to write "The Apple Tree" after a night of reading ahadith. I thought wow, I can really create a story out of this. After I finished the first draft I realized I could make an entire series of stories (The Prophet Says Series) inspired by ahadith. I also realized that there was a lack of high quality and contemporary Islamic literature in the market for both Muslims and non-Muslims. I wanted to create stories that Muslims can feel connected to and at the same time, I wanted the stories to be something people of other faiths could learn about. I also wanted to convey the idea that Islam has universal and humane ideals and really wanted all types of people to enjoy these stories. Also, for the longest time, I was always on the "search" for a way for me to contribute to my ummah and community and I am happy to say that I have finally found something! Alhamdulilah!
4) What do you think is the biggest problem facing our Muslim youth today and how can we start to address it?
There are many things that are a great cause for concern for our youth today, and there are also many positive and great things about them. I think we need to address the idea of community instead of competition amongst one another. I think many great things can happen when our youth comes together to make an impact for everyone. There is so much potential and growth for the youth because they are young, healthy, passionate, creative, fresh, driven, and open minded people that are a tremendous asset to the world. The problem is that a lot of youth are wasting their time with meaningless and unproductive activities (social media/sitcoms/games/celebrity magazines and websites, etc.) and they can honestly create movements and history if they came together and did things that have meaning and benefit for the society as a whole. The youth have a misconception that they have to stop racism and just feed the homeless but there are so many other ways of creating and partaking in actions that are filled with good deeds but also fall into the things they may be interested in. Like if girls are into fashion, they might create a label for people who have trouble buying clothes, if people are into sports they can teach sports to the lower income community, etc. It is just taking those passion and hobbies or whatever it may be and creating something that people can benefit and grow from.
5) If you could tell your 17-year old self anything, what would it be?
There would be a lot I would want to tell myself! One important thing I would tell myself is to to believe in myself and if I want to do something to never give up and keep searching for the answers to the questions I may have (career wise or relationship, etc.)
Mariam with the author of "A Cup of Mint Tea"
6) If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with hijab, what would it be?
Just do it! You'll never know until you try and Allah (S) knows how hard it is for you. Allah (S) does not burden His slave with more than they can handle. Nothing goes unnoticed by Allah (S) so every breath in His struggle is all worth it in the end.
Is there someone you'd like to nominate for HOTM? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.