Around Ramadan I usually do a round-up of where to eat in the city that we are currently living in, this year we had to change with the times. I came up with the idea for pre-iftar interviews with our sisters and brothers in the online Muslim community. We kick off the series with an interview with Modest Fashion Blogger Modestly Wrapped.
Modestly Wrapped Raps with Us About Ramadan Lockdown
If we cannot have congregational Iftar with our families, then why not have then online and share our lives. Little did I know Charley and I had a lot in common. Living away from family during this blessed time is hard enough. Plus how do fashion girls change the way they shop in the future.
Modestly Wrapped and I agree that dressing Modeslty is not only about religion, but it is a lifestyle and style too that many women can adapt. I love fashion.
About Modestly Wrapped:
It's been a lifelong passion that started with Tammy Girl and is currently fixated on Zara. Along the way, I've changed my style, but I've always kept the same style goal; wear what makes you happy. I trained in Music Business, became a Business teacher, started 2 fashion based businesses, and am currently blogging. I've always kept my love of fashion in my day-to-day life. I'm a British ex-pat based in Dubai - but you'll know that from every photo!
I started working in modest fashion 3 years ago, networking my way around the industry, picking up friends and all the time, refining my style.
MODESTLYWRAPPED started out life as an international modest fashion platform, and I quickly realised that I wanted to share a more personal side to me and my style.
Tell us about your journey?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: I reverted to Islam in December 2009 after meeting my now-husband. I said my Shahadah at our Nikhah in front of a handful of my husband’s family and friends. My family weren’t there and didn’t know about it until many years later.
However, I wasn’t a fully practising Muslim until July 2015 when I was pregnant with my daughter. I wanted our children to follow Islam, and they needed to see both of their parents doing and behaving in the same way. So I started praying five times a day, using YouTube videos to help me learn how to do it. Then I started wearing the hijab on weekends and then full time the day after my daughter was born.
Over the years, my faith has deepened, and my children see no difference between us all; we’re all Muslim. They learnt early on that anyone can be Muslim, regardless of their background, skin colour or ethnicity.
So the journey continues! We all grow and learn more about our religion, ourselves, and when I look back to who I was 11 years ago, I see an entirely different version of me. I’m proud of the person I have become.
What is Iftar normally like for you?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: We are British ex-pats living in Dubai, but Ramadan to us is a pretty personal time. Iftar is the same as any other dinner time. There’s no feast, no decorations, no individual plates and dishes. The only addition is dates and Kisori (a Bengali staple!), to soften the stomach after a day of fasting.
We have been out a few times to break our fast, and there’s a great community feeling being in Dubai! The cannons signal Magrib and the restaurants have them on TV live. The waiters fall over themselves to make sure you have everything you want and need. It’s a nice one-off, but I hate to see wasted food and the portions are often huge. So most of it comes home or gets donated!
What is the new normal for you?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: Being in Dubai, we have experienced a full 24-hour lockdown. It lasted 3 weeks and was partially lifted at the start of Ramadan. But as it’s so hot right now, we’re indoors all day, and that’s how we usually spend Ramadan anyway. We stay in, read the Qu’ran, spend time together as a family and pray. So right now, our current normal is entirely reasonable!
What dish do you crave the most during Ramadan?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: At the moment, it is anything middle-eastern! It’s my favourite type of food, and I just love everything about it! The bread, the kebabs, the baba ghanoush! Heaven! But I’m definitely missing the handesh that my mother-in-law makes! It’s my favourite Bengali food, and I can eat so many in one go!
How are you coping?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: Pretty fine. We have three kids, including a 10-week old baby, so it’s busy! Just trying to squeeze everything into the day. We’re both teachers, and so we’re teaching online, home-schooling our own kids and fasting. But here in Dubai, we have Ramadan hours and finish work at 1 pm, so that helps us gain some extra hours in the day.
How are you supporting your Muslim community?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: This is a hard one right now. The only way to really do this is through charitable donations at the moment, and I miss volunteering during Ramadan as we did in the UK with Islamic Relief.
I started a series on my Instagram called ‘The Real Ramadan Series’ to be a voice for people who are fasting. I probably have a following that is 50% Muslim and 50% non-Muslim, so it’s a great way to teach others about a real Ramadan experience; not just the decorations they see online or where they might live.
I’m also spending time teaching my kids the true meaning of Ramadan. Again, that it’s not just about making lanterns and eating dates; the true meaning about why we do this.
How are you coping not being allowed to congregate?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: As a revert in the UK, I had never been to a mosque. It wasn’t down within the community of Muslims that I was surrounded by. Women just prayed at home. I also didn’t know any Muslims outside of my own family, which is why I started modestly wrapped. So I’m pretty used to not congregating with other Muslims! It is beautiful, living in the UAE now and having lots of Muslims friends though! So I miss fasting with others, including the students at school - it’s a great shared experience to feel normal and not the odd one in your community!
Will you buy fashion online now or did you miss in-store shopping?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: I’ve actually barely bought any clothes in the past year. Being pregnant, I don’t buy clothes, and I’m trying to fit back into my old ones right now! I’m genuinely trying to be more socially conscious with my purchase choices and want to stop buying fast fashion. I actually hate spending time shopping - I’m an in and out kind of person! I like to spend hours looking online, though! So in answer to the question, my aim is to buy less and spend more per item so that it lasts even longer.
What new skill did you learn?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: Not so much a new skill, but I have spent the last few weeks perfecting my prayers; my Arabic pronunciation. It’s been very rewarding!
What are you grateful for?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: I’m grateful that I have a very strong mindset. I can deal with situations and see them for the opportunities that they are.
I’m grateful for the time to focus this Ramadan, the more extended maternity leave I’ve managed to gain and the calm and serenity that Ramadan brings.
What is the lesson you learned from your grandmother?
MODESTLYWRAPPED: Wow, great question! My grandma taught me to be strong, to speak my mind and to be the very best I can be. She was a tough woman and took no prisoners! I am more like her in character than anyone else in my family. But most importantly, she taught me the love of tea in a china teacup!