Muslim Women

Why are Muslim Travellers Different?

As a Muslim traveller, I didn't realise I was "that" different. I knew that my food and activity preferences are not always the same as everyone else, but I just considered it personal, but the more I travelled around the world, I realised that the Muslim traveller is different and this post will tell you why! Before I start though, I want to tell you a little bit about Muslim women.

Muslim Women - Who are they?

The thing about Muslims is that they are all different. Islam is spread to over 50 countries and every country has its own culture and customs. Not all Muslims are Arabs and not everyone is part of the Arab culture. The Arab culture itself is different depending on the geographical location. For example, the countries in the Gulf are unlike the countries in North Africa. Muslims come from a rich and vibrant heritage, so defining "A Muslim" is a challenge on its own.

Read: A traveller’s guide to exploring Arab culture, language and traditions

As I live in London, I have friends from African, Pakistani, Arab, Persian roots. We are all considered Muslim women, but we are extremely different even in interpreting the same religion that we are all part of. That is why there are so many constant debates about the “right” Islamic practices. However, I see this as a good thing. 

Why are Muslim Travellers Different? 

Destination can be an issue

Muslim women, who are dressed modestly and cover their hairs (wear the hijab) standout when travelling outside of the Muslim World and with the negative portrayal of Islam in some Western media outlets (I am talking about you FOX News), it makes them more of a target to a negative interaction. Therefor, covered Muslim women are cautious with their travel choices. For example, I am not rushing to go to the US or far right European countries anytime soon especially with everything that is going on at the moment.

Read: Travel Blogger in a Headscarf Q&A

Muslim women, who do not cover their hair, but are from ethnic backgrounds also have their challenges in choosing a destination. A lot of my Black Muslim friends are very aware of the destination choices. Even regular destinations that everyone raves about can be strange when you are a person of colour. For example, when I was in Greece with a group of my Muslim Black friends, two of them got harassed on the street with someone making monkey sounds and moves. All the other interactions were fine and we were really comfortable in the country, but that one negative interaction makes us all aware that we do stand out. 

Halal Food while travelling

Food to me is not a huge issue because I am happy eating vegetarian food or sea food, which I find plenty of while I travel. There are some Muslims who don’t even mind eating non-halal meat too. However, the bigger majority of Muslims want to have halal meat. The halal food industry is booming in London because there are more choices than just ethnic types of food.

One of the joys of travels is trying the local food, but it is rare that I get to do that because a lot of it is non-halal meat. I am pleased that there are more and more delicious vegetarian options available. 

This is not a big deal, but foodie travellers might choose to travel to only Muslim countries for this reason because they want to enjoy the food without worries.

Alcohol Free Activities  

When I was planning my trip to Prague, Kotor and Belfast, I read so many blog posts and travel guides that had multiple alcoholic activities do to the cheap price of alcohol in those countries. Even the tours that are not about alcohol have a some sections dedicated to this. The day trip I went to in Kotor had a planned stop to a liquor making facility, which I just did not go into. The Belfast nature tour as well had a stop to a distillery, which I also skipped and just walked around instead. Going to these tours with an alcohol aspect might not be a big deal, but sometimes other tourists over drink on these stops and start smelling of the liquor, which is a smell a lot of us Muslims don’t particularly love. 

Prayer times and locations 

Muslims pray daily, a few times a day. I usually pray in my hotel, so, I will have stops to the hotel to do that. On day trips, it is harder to do that because the hotel is probably in another city. When I am on a nature walk hidden from people and their judgement, I just do my prayer, but a lot of the time I feel awkward to just pray in the street or inside an attraction. I make up my prayers at the end of the day when I get back, but other Muslims would like to do them on time, so planning a trip and a schedule will usually involve two prayer stops.

I am telling you this because…

This post is not to say that we cannot travel or we are limited, but it highlights the reality of being a travelling Muslim. I still travel to most places and absolutely love it!

On a side note, it helps celebrate these differences in dedicated travel events to women of colour like this upcoming one I will be speaking in :D

London BAME Women event: 

BAME abbreviation means Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.

If you are in London in October, come along to "Turning your travel passion into profit" event to hear me (along with a group of amazing travelling women) speak about Secret of Successful BAME Women EnTRAVpreneurs. 

More Travel Tips

10 Muslim Female Travellers to Follow (Bloggers & Vloggers)

As I go on in my own travel blogging journey, I always like to look around to see who else is creating engaging travel content from the same bracket as me. I came up with ten Muslim women that either blog or vlog about their travels. It wasn't an easy task to put this list together. There are many Muslim women on social media, but the ones who are dedicated to the travel content can be counted on two hands! Here are my travel heroine and I hope you find this list useful! 

1- Rasha Yousif

Rasha is a Bahraini documentary photographer and travel blogger with a love for graceful and cultural experiences. She also just climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. 

2- Fly with Haifa

Haifa is a force of positive energy in all the colours of the spectrum. Love her personality and how she likes to involve locals in her travel videos. Some of the places she has visited give me serious wanderlust. 

3- Passport and Plates

Sally is a travel blogger with a love for culture and food! Her posts make me either hungry or in awe of the places she has been. She is an expert when it comes to Egypt and Sudan, so make sure you visit her blog if you are planning a trip! 

4- Hijabi Globetrotter

Kareemah is an American language teacher who spent two years in Spain. I always pretend to read her Spanish captions! She has a fresh perspective that she shares on her blog and YouTube. 

5- Muslim Travel Girls

Elena is one of the first Muslim female travel bloggers. She is all about giving other Muslim women options to have hijab free holidays. 

6- Nada Al Nahdi

Nada is unstoppable and thirsty for adventures even with all the hurdles that embassies worldwide give her because of her Yemeni passport. She is persistent and she has been to many destinations around Africa, Asia and Europe. 

7- Hello 965 

Fatima is an adventurous soul and she has been to wonderful destinations in Asia, Africa and South America. Basically all the places that are on my list. Her presence is strongest on Instagram with three accounts: travel, hotels and food! She also has a blog and YouTube. 

8- The Travelling Turbanista

If you want gorgeous outfits with beautiful adventure then Sisi is the person for you. She is a flight attendant based in Dubai and I am in love with her fashion style and destinations that fit perfectly with her elegant and colourful style. 

9- Maroc Mama

Amanda has turned her life in Morocco into a successful blog. She shares the gorgeous patterns and delicious dishes of Morocco. She also travels in the US and Europe. She should be your first point of research if you are looking at anything related to Morocco. 

A post shared by Amanda Mouttaki (@marocmama) on

10- The Zeina Diary

Zeina is an Iraqi based in Jordan. Her dream is to travel and explore the world and she is doing it slowly as her Iraqi passport allow her! 

Bonus: Arabian Wanderess

Yours truly! I think you know by now that I am a vagabond and love to see the world. If I haven't to a country, then it's 100% on my list! Basically the world is my list and I can't wait to see it all. 

10 Muslim Female Travellers to Follow

If you would like to read more about Muslim women who travel, then make sure you checkout Muslimahs Who Travel instagram page. If you would like to join a community of like minded Muslim women who travel, join the private Facebook group 

Over to you: Who are your favourite muslim female travellers that you always follow for inspiration?

Muslim Women Retreat in Morocco (Hijab Free Holiday)

London was getting cold and dark in December, so when I was invited to join The Big Reconnect Sleepover, TBRS, in Morocco, I said yes right away! I was already yearning for some sunshine and warmth. I also wanted to experience one of TBRS's Muslim women only retreats.

TBRS is run by two Muslim full time working moms: Brooke and Khalida. When they met in Morocco the idea of this retreat was born. They wanted to give hard working Muslim women a real holiday that is all about self care and self love. I have been friends with Brooke for few years online and I have noticed all the amazing photos from the previous retreats, so, I was happy to get involved.

I knew Morocco gets cold as well in the winter, but it is much more mild than the UK, especially in the area around Marrakech. I was right! It was warm (20-15 celsius degrees). The day time was just the right amount of heat I wanted. It got a little chilly in the evening, but there was fire to keep us warm at the Riad. Other than the weather, the trip exceeded my expectations. I got to enjoy lots of activity while relaxing and laughing with the ladies.   

Ten Things to do on your Moroccan Holiday

During the week I spent in Morocco with TBRS, we managed to do lots of really fun activities that I really enjoyed!  

  1. Stay in a beautiful Riad. 
    I am so thankful for the Riad the the TBRS selected. During our stay, they made sure to have an all female staff so we can enjoy swimming in the indoor heated pool and tanning on the terrace. I am not allowed to disclose the secret location though! 
  2. Give yourself some attention with a Spa treatment
    One of the things I always do when I visit Morocco is to get a spa treatment! It's cheaper than London and so worth it! TBRS organised private spa sessions at the Riad we resided in to give us our full privacy because most Moroccan spas are unisex. It was such a good thing to start the retreat with!   
  3. Go Quad biking around Marrakech. 
    Our Riad was half an hour away from Marrakech by car and it was in a small quiet village that offered Quad biking. It was my first time trying it and it wasn't as scary as I expected! After tensing for the fist half an hour, I relaxed a little and got to enjoy the ride.  
  4. Walk in the Souq
    I know this goes without saying! Walking and shopping in the old market can be an intense experience because some of the sellers are really pushy, but you will be fine. Just say thank you and keep walking. By the way, make sure to ask everyone before you snap photos of their beautiful produce and product. This made my visit much nicer because if you ask permission, no one would yell abuse at you.  
    Here's how to ask in Arabic & English: Momken Asoar? ممكن أصور؟ Can I photograph please? 99% said yes! 
    The vibrant colours of the Souq are the best. 
  5. Visit the architectural gems in the old city
    The old city or as it is known in Arabic: Madina, houses a few gorgeous architectural gems. In my first visit few years ago, I went to Bahia Palace, Ben Yousef Madrasa, Museum of Marrakech and Koutoubia Mosque. TBRS organised a guided tour to the Bahia Palace and going there again was as amazing as the first time!   
  6. Go on a creative workshop
    Although Morocco is known for its traditional crafts, going on a half day workshop is a relatively new activity. We went on a ceramic painting workshop in the pottery village near Marrakech known as Fkhariah فخارية, which means pottery in Arabic). We spent three hours painting on plates, bowls and cups! (Ps. there are craft workshops in Fez as well like the one I tried with Craft Draft). 
  7. Go up the Atlas mountains
    TBRS collaborated with let's go trekking in Morocco to take us to see the biggest waterfalls in North Africa in the city of Ozoud. It was a bit of a drive (3hours each way), but the views were worth it and it was a short comfortable hike. It was a less intense hike than the first time I visited the Atlas Mountains
  8. Get close and personal with the waterfalls
    On our visit to the Atlas mountains and waterfalls, we got on one of the boats (20 Derhms per person) to get closer to the falls. It was a very short trip, but it was a fun thing to do on the day.   
  9. Ride camels in the Moroccan desert
    As a Saudi, you would think I have done this already, but I was never tempted or had the opportunity to ride a camel before. TBRS organised half a day of camel riding, which turned out to be lots of fun! Especially, dressing up!
  10. Get Henna done! 
    There are lots of ladies in the old city that would do this for you, but thankfully we didn't have to deal with the haggling in the souq because TBRS arranged for a henna artist to come to the Riad to do it for us!

Ps. TBRS activities might change depending on the season and the people they are working with.

Muslim Women Moroccan Retreat

The Big Reconnect Sleepover Highlights: 

  • The two ladies who organise everything are REALLY kind and helpful *mashAllah*. It made me feel right at home. It was like a real sleepover with the girls! 
  • The female only Riad to give us a private place for a hijab free holiday to swim and tan comfortably 
  • The scenic and quiet location of the Riad 
  • All the home cooked Moroccan and international meals at the Riad. Seriously best food I have had in Morocco. I wouldn't even compare it to the food avilable in resturants. Just AMAZING!  
  • Lounging around the fire place in the evening (only in winter) 
  • Sisterly chats about life along with some guided visualisation

Ps. Although the trip is designed for Muslim women by Muslim women, it is not a religious trip. The ladies who run it are welcoming and friendly to all levels of practicing. 

Moroccan architecture and Moorish patterns
Moorish Patterns

Ethical Travel in Morocco: 

A lot of tourists are not aware that their money that is spent in some resort and some riads/hotels does not benefit the local economy or the workers because it is internationally owned and the workers are underpaid. The thing I especially loved about the TBRS retreat is the support that it provides to local Moroccan business and individuals. The money goes directly to the hard working Moroccans or those who live in the country permanently.  

The next retreat is in April 2018, so if you are interested in going, make sure you sign up on: 

It's ideal for Muslim women, who want to relax and explore Morocco. PS. you can pay in three instalments too!

The Big Reconnect Sleepover Fee Includes: 

  • The payment you make to TBRS covers your stay in an all females Riad with an indoor heated pool and a terrace. 
  • Three meals a day in the Riad (minus two lunches on the two days you go out to the Madina). 
  • Transportation from/to the airport plus all other required transports between locations. 
  • It also covers the spa session and all the activities. There will be extra optional activities for an added fee such as the Quad biking. 
  • Guided tours to the Architectural sights. 
  • Group Guided visualisation and a private session with a qualified therapist (if you want!).
Disclaimer: My stay in this retreat was complementary, but all opinions are my own. 

You can also watch all the things I did above in this video: 

Over to you: If you go to Morocco, what would you want to see and do? If you have already been to Morocco, what was your highlight there?

Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Jessica Lee, Brett Atkinson, Paul Clammer, Virginia Maxwell, Regis St Louis, Lorna Parkes

More Posts from Morocco: 

Muslim Friendly Travel Retreats (Five Options)

Muslim Friendly Travel Retreats

Starting to travel the world might not be the easiest thing to do and not everyone can get the courage to just up and leave. Building courage and confidence to travel is a real issue. Although, I was living independently abroad for years, I was still worried about travelling by myself even though that I was already "travelling by myself!" Somehow staying in one location, London, where I figured out everything became comfortable. I wanted to break out of that comfort zone especially as I felt that life was passing me by! So in 2014, I decided to go on a workshop abroad (details on that below!). The workshop was set up by a group from London. I have previously done a workshop with them locally, so I felt that an international workshop will be ok. It was only five days in Granada, Spain. The organisers said they will give me a list of recommendations, so I went for it! After proving to myself that I can do it alone, travelling became much more frequent to the point that I decided to become a travel blogger because many people started asking me about my trip and everything else.   

Also, going on a study tip or a Muslim specific retreat will make your partner or parents sleep easier at night. My mother used to be really worried when I travelled. She still does, but going with a group eased her fear a little. If your parents or partner are not sure about you travelling alone, I would recommend starting with one of these!  

In this post I want to suggest FIVE Muslim friendly workshops, retreats and group travel run by Muslims for Muslims. If you need any more information please contact the organisers directly. I don't organise any of these retreats. 

One. Art of Islamic Pattern Workshops Abroad

Let me start with the three I went on. The Art of Islamic pattern  is the group I mentioned in the introduction. I went with them to Granada, Fez and Istanbul. They are truly wonderful and the workshops include constructing and painting Islamic geometry and visiting the major sights. The group is usually 20-25 people (90-95% females) and because all have a few common interest, the vibe is always fabulous. I made really good friends from these trips. My only time alone was going from my house to the airport and sleeping. It didn't even feel like I was on that trip solo. I managed to connect with a few on Instagram before I went as well. If you are into art and travel then this is made for you!  

Read about the study trips I took with AOIP:
Art of Islamic Pattern Workshops Abroad 
Lonely Planet Andalucia (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Isabella Noble, John Noble, Josephine Quintero, Brendan Sainsbury
Lonely Planet Turkey (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, James Bainbridge, Brett Atkinson, Steve Fallon, Jessica Lee, Virginia Maxwell, John Noble, Hugh McNaughtan

Two. The Big Reconnect Retreat (Female-only retreat)  

The Big Reconnect Retreat is run by one of my online friends, Brooke Benoit. It is a women-only retreat specifically for Muslim women to rejuvenate one's self and relax. You can even bring your daughter if you like! 

"Imagine a week away in the company of great sisters from around the globe in a private lakeside Riad with an indoor heated pool."

I loved my time with them when I went for their winter Morocco retreat. You can read all about it on here: Muslim Women Retreat in Morocco (Hijab Free Holiday) 

They have two main retreats a year, the Moroccan one and another to London, UK. Check their website for dates and detailed information. 

'only female family' retreat organised by the big reconnect sleepover
Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Jessica Lee, Brett Atkinson, Paul Clammer, Virginia Maxwell, Regis St Louis, Lorna Parkes
Casa Moro: The Second Cookbook
By Sam Clark and Sam Clark, Samantha Clark
Lonely Planet Pocket Marrakesh (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Jessica Lee

The three suggestions below seem really good, but I haven't tried them myself. They all look good and run by people I have only met and spoke to online. They are 100% legit though! 

Three. Burgundy Roots Retreat

I have only met Wafa Judas on instagram. She organises and plans the Burgundy Roots Retreats (It used to be called Sip of Love Retreats). She has retreats in Morocco, Jamaica and a few other destinations. The Jamaica Dreaming trip looks really good and she has a good itinerary with healthy food, yoga practice and beautiful scenery. It seems like she offers two trips a year to Jamaica, but it's best to contact her directly for specific dates. 

Jamaica Dreaming Retreat by Burgundy Roots Retreats

Four. Rahhalah Adventure travel company

Rahhalah is an adventure travel company based in Dubai and Kuwait. I only know about them because popular Arab vloggers have been on their trips and spoke about them. They have monthly adventures (up to eight months in advance). All the trips and prices are mentioned. I only interacted with them on email once, but their options seem good! You can also search by destinations. It's a Muslim company, so they should be aware of all the Islamic needs. It's usually a mixed group from what I have seen on their social media photos.   

Rahhalah is an adventure travel company based in Dubai and Kuwait.

Five. Qaflh Group 

This is run by Rasha Yousif, a Bahraini photographer and a blogger on Not Just A Photo. We keep trying to meet up, but our travel schedules are so different! She started a female group travel platform called Qaflh. One of her previous trips was to India with a group of females that looked great!  I am not sure how often her trips are, but might be worth contacting her to see what she has planned.

qaflh: Hello from Delhi 💛 نامستي من دلهي

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post. I just thought these are beautiful options that you should be aware of! 

Six Summer Hijabi Outfits for Traveling

Happy Summer days lovelies! 

I hope everyone is having a good summer full of adventures and days out. I find it hard to be outdoors during summer at times because I wear the headscarf & keep my body covered, which can be challenging when the temperature reaches 30 C & above. In May, I went to Fes, Morocco. It was only the start of summer there and the heat was bearable, but it was still HOT. I knew it would be hot before I even got there, so I packed accordingly. I was there for a week and had 20KG of luggage allowance, so I had the luxury of packing six outfits, one pair of walking shoes (from Clarks) & three jersey hijabs (I got them from Kuwait) . All very summery, cottony, airy & cooling. To add a little something to the outfits, I took four long chain necklaces with me and one bright orange nail polish (from the body shop). I think as far as modest/hijabi summer wear goes the outfits worked a treat. All the outfit details are under the images. Hope you can find these outfit ideas helpful.

Enjoy your hijabi holidays ladies :D 

Big thanks to the travel photographer & designer Piotr Fedorczyk for taking the first five awesome photos 

PS. I know my poses need some work. Will do better next time! :D

Dian Pelangi Meet & Greet

Happy Monday world! I am baaaack! :D

What I love about London is the events and the activities. I only got back two days ago and already managed to squeeze into two events *MashAllah* The first was my friend's market sale (Four Corners Interiors Ltd) and the other is the awesome meet and greet event with the fabulous Indonesian fashion designer, hijabi icon Dian Pelangi organised by the talented photographer Muna Ally and the creative fashion designer Zinah

  Dian Pelangi   *MASHALLAH*

Dian Pelangi *MASHALLAH*

  Dian Pelangi   *MASHALLAH*

Dian Pelangi *MASHALLAH*

 Muna and Zinah *mashallah*

Muna and Zinah *mashallah*

The meeting took place in the lovely rustic, cozy Sable D'Or Café upstairs. It started off with a short and sweet speech from Dian Pelangi. I am not into video, but I thought this little clip is a great one. It's full of kindness and encouragement. 

Beautiful and Successful in Hijab Dian Pelangi in London 

I love all the hijab pointers in this video, which are a perfect extension of the World Hijab Day from last month. It is always good to get these positive notes on Hijab because when you live in a Western environment you get so much self doubt and pressure when wearing the hijab especially with the messed up media view on what beauty and freedom are. Listening to Dian speak about hijbais was very reassuring because hijabis can be beautiful, educated and successful. A piece of fabric on the head is no reason to stay behind. Hearing that filled my heart with much needed pride of my headscarf.   

Muslim Women Stories
Muslim Women Stories
Muslim Women Stories
Muslim Women Stories
Muslim Women Stories
Muslim Women Stories
Bubblegum Hijabi Story

The vibe of the meeting was great and very inspiring. Some of the ladies shared their stories, the happy and the sad. They were all heartwarming and touching. Hearing some of the struggles of others and how they raised above it was reassuring. I met so many gorgeous and lovely ladies who are all creative hijabis who weren't held by their headscarves. In fact, all of them were inspired by it and it made them achieve so much. 

 Some yummy desserts 

Some yummy desserts 

 A selfi was a must with the rainbow queen dian *Mashallah*

A selfi was a must with the rainbow queen dian *Mashallah*

 GOODIE BAG from Zinah 

GOODIE BAG from Zinah 

 All the beautiful ladies from the event *MashAllah*  Photo taken by Muna Ally 

All the beautiful ladies from the event *MashAllah* Photo taken by Muna Ally 

Our attempt to say "Salams From London" we got it right the third time tho! :D 

I am so thankful I was able to attend alhamdulilah! اللهم صل على محمد و آله :)