Posted on Dec 14, 2015
Last month I was invited to Kuala Lumpur to speak at the 11th annual WIEF (World Islamic Economic Forum) on a panel about modest fashion alongside Dian Pelangi and Zulfiye Tufa. It was my first time in Malaysia and I arrived a few days early to make the most of this amazing city. I also put together a vlog about my travels that you can watch here!
I got in early Friday morning just in time for Friday prayer! My friend Iman Salam from Faithfully Yours who I knew through Instagram, picked me up and took me to Putrajaya to the "steel mosque" - and it was stunning!
I was amazed at how many people attended the prayer! There looked like thousands of Muslims and the most beautiful part was the sweet and humble Malaysian women who greeted me and everyone else as soon as the prayer was finished with a beautiful smile and greeting of peace. Take a look at the video below.
We then ventured over to the Putra Mosque or "pink mosque" as it's otherwise known and it was another simply stunning masjid. The inside was so intricate and there was a beautiful group of women gathered around a teacher attending a lesson front and center at the mimbar.
For the first day of exploring I kept it casual in boyfriend jeans from J.Crew (Ontario wash), a cozy linen shirt and the HH Essentials Viscose Wrap in Stone.
For dinner Iman (now my BFF for life at this point) took me to Fuego back in Kuala Lumpur and this was our view. The food was fantastic! If you find yourself there, enjoy the watermelon & cheese appetizer, the salmon ceviche and the fresh guacamole!
On Day 2 of my trip, I spoke at the "Make me a Blogger" event sponsored by MYRYL - Master Yourself, Revamp Your Life, headed by Shuhada Alauddin (far left). It was an awesome workshop with plenty of great speakers talking about finding your niche and maximizing your voice through blogging.
I got back to my hotel just in time for dinner at KLCC Suria Mall at Ben's with my girls! Sumayyah (not pictured) and Asma (far right) from Love to Dress I met a while back in Dubai and of course Iman and another lovely American living in Malaysia, Sue.
On Day 3, I had a photoshoot with Hijabista Magazine! I had *such* a blast! For this outfit, I'm wearing a gorgeous skirt by Shea Rasol. Celebrity make-up artist Noriana the Face Designer was amazing, I loved the glam yet natural look!
The amazing Hijabista team!! Look out for my cover shoot issue, coming soon!
On Day 4 I got to do more sightseeing! Zulfiye Tufa of @thehijabstylist, my co-panelist at WIEF, finally arrived so we explored KL a bit before having to head back for the WIEF welcome dinner. We started our day at the Batu Caves!
It was a crazy hike up 272 steps all the way to the top where a stunning cave opens up! Along the way you'll see these crazy little monkeys. Be careful of your belongings, particularly food - those monkeys stole those drinks you see them drinking from a person who was not happy about it!
I kept it casual again with Gap broken-in chino's in army green, a striped tee, a Kate Spade crossbody and the English Meadow Scarf.
We also made our way to Central Market, a cute marketplace with local goods and then met up with Langston Hues and tried durian - a fruit that people either love or hate!
We made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the WIEF Welcome Dinner at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Here I am in the Florence Dress - Scarlet alongside Iman, Tasneem Chopra, Zulfiye and Dian Pelangi :)
The Florence Dress - Scarlet and the Cider Mill Saturday Scarf
It's hard to believe I had just met these girls on this short trip. I've "known" Iman virtually for years but when I met her I felt like we grew up together - I felt so incredibly comfortable with her and instantly, like absolute and utter sisters. And Zulfiye! We spent the entire day exploring KL her first day in and instantly clicked - her easy going nature and beautiful spirit made it so easy <3
Day 5 of the trip I had another photoshoot with Hijab Fesyen Magazine! I'm wearing a gorgeous new ball skirt in this black and white checkered print coming soon to HH!
The yellow vest is vintage 60's that I got at a vintage shop in Royal Oak, Michigan called "Lost and Found." Look out for my spread in Hijab Fesyen magazine next month!
The photoshoot was at a really cool hipster-y cafe called Chuckles on Jalan Aminuddin Baki in Kuala Lumpur. The food was amaaaazing!!!
After the photoshoot I made my way back to the hotel for the WIEF Gala Dinner where the Prime Minister of Malaysia spoke about "Social Justice through Islamic Finance" with 5 main points: Solidarity, Universality, Social Empowerment, Social Justice, and Compassion. "No life should be lost due to lack of money." It was an amazing and uplifting speech!
Day 6 and my final full day in Malaysia was our WIEF panel! The talk was entitled, "Islamic Fashion Industry: New Trends, New Markets" and I spoke on the need to own the narrative of the modest fashion industry (as the mainstream fashion industry begins to penetrate) not only with the message but imagery as well. I also spoke of the need to mobilize the key players in the existing industry and the very real need for support from the global Islamic community.
My co-panelists Dian Pelangi and Zulfiye Tufa also gave compelling presentations that were met with encouragement and benevolence from the delegates.
Post-panel group shot!
Afterwards a big group of us headed to Publika for lunch at Wondermilk where we caught up (after finally being able to breath!) after the panel.
I had the most amazing time in Malaysia and cannot *wait* to return! What made it so amazing were the amazing amazing Malaysians who are so humble, so kind, so hospitable - they make you so proud to be Muslim because they actually live Islam through adab and akhlaq - something we as Muslims in other parts of the world often lack unfortunately. I'll never forget the people I met here that brought tears to my eyes with their thoughtful words and incredible stories. I know the friendships I made here will last a lifetime because they're tied to 'La illaha illaAllah' - a bond that's unbreakable <3
To see more of my trip, enjoy the vlog below!