“Voices of Faith, Faces of Beauty: Connecting American Muslim Women through Azizah” by Jamillah Karim, from Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop by Miriam Cooke and Bruce Lawrence

I have always been somewhat visually inclined – I insisted on dressing myself from the age of two, I have always found myself in art, and in general, have always appreciated “attractive” people and things. As I’ve grown older, however, this visual inclination has become more and more focused aspects of our aesthetically-influenced consumerist society. In society today, big cities and social hubs are not the only potentially dangerous hot-spots for advertising, both implicitly and explicitly, as the internet and social media not only allows us to, but often forces us to, indulge in explorations of our own greedy natures. Of course, many religions, including Islam, teach that these are abominable traits and values, and encourage preoccupations with faith, morality, and caring, instead. One of the motivations behind developing “Azizah,” a “luxury” magazine for American Muslim women, was to provide these women with a self-reflective, positive, and spiritually-aligned resource for entertainment and aesthetic indulgence. Instead of being filled with content that feeds into the beauty, body, brand and product-obsessed society of America, it is filled with diverse advice and information, and representations of the diversity of the community of American Muslim women. This seems to be a beautiful, valuable and rewarding publication, in that it draws these women away from the detrimental and rather Godless eye-candy American society tries to force, and encourages them to grow and connect based on spirituality, community, shared and alien identities, and values, in a way that is not completely disconnected from American culture itself. Through its description as an aesthetically pleasing, colorful, “luxury” magazine, it allows them to participation in and identify with American culture, but simultaneously provides them with an oasis of grounding.

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