Dirty Woman

I am a very dirty woman. At least that’s what you might think after my next few confessions:

  • I do not wash my hair with shampoo.
  • I do not brush my teeth with tooth paste.
  • I do not use any lotions or creams.
  • I do not use make up remover after I’ve put on some make up.
  • I do not use soap to wash my body.

But this wasn’t the way I’ve always lived. It’s no like I was raised by monkeys. On the contrary. My mum’s a hygiene and cosmetics freak. She’s always very clean and she always uses the right products for each specific part of the body. Like the perfect consumer should.

There are A LOT of products out there. I wanted to write down a list of all different kinds of products but I got so annoyed by the ridiculous amount of skin care, hair care and body care that I had to stop before dying of exhaustion.

Now here I am asking myself: Why? Why do we think our body that is capable of the most amazing things is not able to maintain itself. Maybe we’ve never really thought about it, because there are companies out there telling us what our body needs. So we believe them and never question it.

My journey of questioning began as I became interested in the zero waste movement. For those who do not know anything about it please check out Bea Johnsons ted talk, which I embedded in my TOP 5 Inspirational Websites post.

Thinking about zero waste made me analyze my consumerism. The whole hygiene topic was bigger than I thought and I wanted more than to just make my own products. I wanted to eliminate them for good if this was even possible.

Hair

This reminded me of another movement I’ve heard of No Poo, which actually means no shampoo.  I’m not so much into trends and even if I was, Switzerland is very slow to pick up on them, so I didn’t realize no poo was already such a big deal. I’ve googled a lot and read a ton about it until I ended up on a German blog called HappyGaia, where the blogger describes how she’s washing her hair with only water and started her transition with only lemon juice. This sounded great and especially very easy. Perfect for my lazy self.

It took my hair about two months of random greasiness to get used to no shampoo, but it eventually worked out. Today I only use water to wash my hair on a regular basis. And my hair looks and feels great.

leylahaar

Teeth

How could I reduce the use of toothpaste and the plastic packaging that comes with it? I wanted to have good teeth, obviously. And protect them from those evil bacteria. That’s when I thought of my grandparents. Many muslims use miswak to brush their teeth with. It’s a twig made from the arak tree, amongst others.

I’ve never given that twig any thought growing up. I’ve seen people using it but I didn’t realize you do not even need to use toothpaste with it. It really is natures toothbrush.

miswak

My teeth tend to get black stains after a while. My dentist once explained to me, that this has to do with some enzymes in my saliva. And although it does not look very pretty it actually isn’t harmful at all. So I got used to my half-yearly appointments with the dental hygienist.

After using miswak for a little while I had to cut it to get new bristles. Before I could do so, I had to soak it in water over night. I didn’t have a back up miswak at that time, so I had to use a normal toothbrush with toothpaste for once. And then something amazing happened: I was able to brush away almost every last black stain. How great was that!

Dentists, and dental hygienists always told me, that only professionals could remove them. But nope.

My guess is that the stains couldn’t get too deep into my teeth, because I wasn’t using any toothpaste. Whatever the reason, I believe that little twig is to thank for that, since this was never possible before.

Face

I have dry skin. That’s why I’ve always been keen on using the right moisturizer. But before I stopped using any product at all I switched to coconut oil. I love its scent, which reminds me of islands and hammocks. But maybe that’s also because I really need a vacation…  The coconut oil did a great job, but I somehow still wondered if it was possible to leave my face just totally naked. So I tried it out. At first my skin was rather dry – as expected. But after about 2 hours the dry spots were gone.

For years I thought I NEEDED face moisturizing cream. But it turned out to be a false belief. At least during summer – I still have to face winter. And if I really do need to use a product then, it’s gonna be coconut oil. But for now I’m quite happy with my bare skin.

alnatura-kokoso%cc%88lI do use make up from time to time, but I wear it less and less. I think the whole process of learning to understand how my body works made me appreciate my natural beauty even more. This, plus being very lazy, since I do not see why we always have to try to look perfect, if we already are perfect the way we are.

But there are days on which I feel like enhancing my features and those are the days where my good ole friend coconut oil comes in. There’s absolutely no need to buy any make up remover if you have coconut oil at home or even any other kind of cold pressed oil such as olive oil. It does the job perfectly. Yes, it even removes waterproof mascara.

Body

I haven’t used soap on most of my body for quite a while now. It just dries out my skin. But I did use soap on my armpits. After a hot summer day and some heavy sweating I usually begin to stink. Not too much, be enough to get noticed. A few days ago I forgot to wash my armpits with shower gel. I got out of the shower,  realized that I forgot to use soap and was almost already back in the shower when I noticed: Hey,  I do not smell at all! I’m clean! That’s when I understood that I didn’t even have to use soap for my armpits as long as I wash them thoroughly with water.

I made it – I eliminated soap for good. No shampoo, no body wash. Only water.

Well aaaaalmost. I am currently using up my solid deodorant from Lush, which does have sodium stereate in it. That’s the last trace of soap which my body gets in contact with. Maybe I won’t need any deodorant in the future – I really do hope so. But I also love my garlic and onions, which make even a person with very healthy eating habits like me smell. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Mmmh garlic…

Now you know my dirty little secret.

Side Note: I do wash my hands, so you don’t have to worry about getting all my filthy germs. I felt like I needed to clarify this.

What do you think? Do you want me to elaborate on any specific topic? Let me know!

your unspoiltmind

Hijab – Mandatory or Not?

I am a spiritual agnostic. But I grew up in a muslim family and even visited Quran school in our mosque. Although I stopped going there after a while I was still a very god-fearing child. Later on in my early teenage years I stopped believing in the concept of religion and started to walk my own path. Still interested in all kinds of beliefs ‘though, I started reading a lot about different faiths and practices.

Being born a muslim I never questioned the presence of hijabi women. But I also never thought that wearing the headscarf was mandatory since a lot of women didn’t wear it. “If you want to wear it, wear it. If not, don’t. It’s sunnah – God will be pleased but not angry” is what everyone around me believed in. So I didn’t question it.

At present times even the most ignorant people have heard about the word hijab somewhere. Most likely in the middle of some burkini media hullabaloo. The big question concerning the hijab being mandatory or not seems to be very important a the moment. A lot of Muslimas do choose to wear it, others don’t want to and do not really know if they are doing something haram if they put their headscarf aside.

I wanted to know. There are scholars out there defending both sides. And both sides argue with the same words from the Quran:

[24.30] قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

[24.30] Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

[24.31] وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّعَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِيإِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُواعَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

[24.31] And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments…

After reading those lines it’s pretty clear what it means, right? That’s what everyone says and they still come to different conclusions. That’s because there are many things to consider, like specific meanings of those used expressions:

  • Guarding their Modesty
  • Beauty and Ornaments
  • Must Ordinarily
  • Veils

Another issue which leads to even more confusion is different translations.

Guarding their Modesty

What does that even mean? It’s very unspecific. Since I don’t speak any arabic, I have to go with everything that I’ve read about it. I’ve learnt that the closest translation to the original text would be “guarding their private parts” – well that’s specific. But it doesn’t say anything about how to dress other than not letting anybody see your love glove.

Beauty and Ornaments

No translation issues with that one, but it delivers too little information on what to include in those terms. Are hair part of your ornaments? Who knows.

Must Ordinarily

If you leave it like that you could interpret this as everything can show that isn’t part of your beauty and ornaments. Which again is dependent on what your definition of beauty and ornaments is. Some other translations say “must necessarily”. This sounds more like you shouldn’t show anything which isn’t necessary like your hands, which you need to be able to use.

Some people argue that Allah doesn’t speak in riddles. He’s very clear all throughout the Quran – why would he be that vague on this specific topic? If he doesn’t say “hair” and “body” it doesn’t mean hair nor body.

Veil

This is the most interesting one. In this translation you only read; they should draw their veils over their bosoms.  Beside your private parts, please do cover your breasts – this makes sense. Other translations say “headscarf” instead of veil. And whoops you have a whole different meaning. But let’s take a look at the original arabic word: khumur, plural of khimar.

In pre-Islamic Arabia women wore a loose headscarf, which endings just hung down behind their head or loosely in front of them. This headscarf was called khimar.

By using the word khimar in arabic and understanding the historical context it becomes clear that the veiling of the head didn’t need any further explanation for it was already in use. So the only thing that needed to change was the covering of the bosom. This is the only argument which makes perfect sense. But we’re not done yet.

Further on the Surah Al Ahzaab:

[33.59]  يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لأزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَاللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

[33.59] O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

The IRFI – Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. explains it this way:

“According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garment when going out of their homes is that they may be recognized as “Believing” women and differentiated from streetwalkers for whom sexual harassment is an occupational hazard. The purpose of this verse was not to confine women to their homes, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting unsavory attention.”

Some translations changed should to must, which once again changes the whole meaning.

My Personal Conclusion

I do believe wearing the hijab (used as headscarf, which also covers the bosom) is mandatory. Dressing modestly without showing too much of ones body also makes a lot of sense to me reading all this. Khimar is the key word that convinced me.

I do not believe, that the outer garments or hijab (used as full body cover) are fard, they seem rather sunnah to me. A recommendation not an obligation.

This is at least what I would think if I were a practicing Muslima, who’d think the Quran is meant to be followed word by word.

I don’t believe in Dogmas

But I’m not. I’m an agnostic because I think God (if there is one) is bigger than this. So if you are a Muslima not wearing hijab: Great! If you are wearing a lot of make up and love to show off your kick ass waist, while wearing a headscarf: Great! If you wear niqab, hijab, jilbab or burka and you’re rocking the shit out of it: Great!

Believe me, what’s in your heart matters way more than what you wear. Allah will understand.

The big question whether the hijab is mandatory or not will be ongoing. At least I solved it for my personal understanding.

your unspoiltmind

Being Ambiguously Ethnic: Somali Origins

सुप्रभात – Sorry, what?

Hola, que tal? – Nope, no Spanish. Sorry.Question-mark-blackandwhite

مساء الخير – Salam, I guess.

Bom dia! – Yeah… was that Spanish?

It’s not like I wouldn’t like to be able to speak Hindi, Spanish, Arabic or Portuguese. But let’s just say I’m not there yet. This scenario happens quite often: People approaching me with a big smile on their face thinking they found a fellow countryman (or countrywoman in my case). I had to disappoint them all.

I’m half Somali, half Swiss. A strange mixture, which lead to me looking like an Arab. “What? Your mother is black? I wouldn’t have guessed!” is the normal reaction. Normally followed by another quick face scan like they’re trying to find any hint of blackness on my face. I don’t need your validation to be biracial, thank you.

halfsomali
Somali/Belgium Family

But what is it about Somali people mixed with white people that almost all of us are very light skinned? I tried to find out – but I failed since nobody seems to really know. You find a bunch of ideas and statistics, which try to explain why the Somali look the way they look. The basis to finding out why I look the way I look.

Somali come in all shades of brown and black and share facial features with Caucasian ethnicities. Which leads to idea number one:

1. Somali are Black Caucasian.

Wikipedia about the Caucasian race:

“The  Caucasian race  (also  Caucasoid[1]  or  Europid[2]) is a grouping of human beings historically regarded as a biological  taxon, including some or all of the populations of  EuropeNorth Africa, the  Horn of AfricaWestern AsiaCentral Asia  and  South Asia.[3]  The term has been used in  biological anthropology  for many people from these regions, without regard necessarily to  skin tone.[4]  First introduced in early  racial science  and  anthropometry, the term denoted one of the three purported major races of humankind (Caucasoid,  MongoloidNegroid).[5]  Manysocial scientists  have argued that such analyses are rooted in sociopolitical and historical processes rather than in empirical observation.[6]However,  Caucasoid  as a biological classification remains in use in  forensic anthropology.[7]

The German version of Wikipedia says that this race categorizing system is not in use anymore because it’s outdated and is rejected by science. So, the confusion begins.

2. Somali are Descendants of Arabs

This is actually what I believed growing up. And it made sense to me – especially seeing we halflings almost all look like arabs. Wiki about the Somali ethnicity even supported this idea with statistics: The Somali gene pool seems to be made out of around 60% African and 40% Eurasian genes. Although this study seems to refer mostly to the female x chromosomes. A newer study shows that the male x chromosomes only show about 15% Eurasian influence. This also makes sense to me, since I always felt my male relatives were darker than most of my female relatives. Is this the true origin?

somalicouple
Somali Couple

3. Somali is the oldest Ethnicity

Some Somali take pride in the “common knowledge” that humankind seems to have originated in East Africa. But science actually shows that the Khoisan are the oldest ethnic group. Taking a look at these pictures of Khoisan people it’s like looking at a black asian-white mix. A little bit of everything. This might be the original race.

What to Believe?

If we trust science and go with the 60% African and 40% Eurasian assumption  we might have an explanation why people like me end up with stronger Eurasian traits. We just have weaker African genes. But does it really matter in the end?  No it doesn’t. It’s interesting but it doesn’t matter as long as we see each other as one people, one race. Because that’s what we are. We all have different cultures, traditions, beliefs but ultimately there’s just one kind of humans. The humankind.

your unspoiltmind