For college student Yasmin Ben Ltaifa, she finds her joy in joy in serving others. Yasmin is studying architecture in order to contribute to design interventions that empower communities, shaping the environments locally and globally. "I see creativity and technology as tools to generate added value for communities while exploring new modes of living and engaging with our surroundings," she says
Yasmin also wants to further break misconceptions some may have about the role of women in Islam in relation to education, confidence and ability to lead. She says that "as a community, I feel we should be united and celebrate each other, seizing every opportunity to show the world what we have to offer."
We were so excited to have Yasmin join our Positive Threads campaign
as part of the launch of our new Bamboo Woven Print
hijabs and our Fine Pleat Hijab
collection! In the last of our "Positive Threads" interviews, I spoke with Yasmin about why being a visibly Muslim woman is so important to her, and how in studying architecture and applying what she learns to her future work, she will become a better steward of our planet.
Tell us about being a visible Muslim woman – is it something you think about when putting on your hijab and entering the world, what it means to be visible? Why or why not?
When deciding to wear hijab two years ago, I was aware that I was also choosing to be recognizable as both a Muslim and a Muslim woman. Ultimately, this became one of the motivations for my decision. I think of being a “visible Muslim” as a daily opportunity to engage with others, perhaps imparting on them even the slightest element of the good character and values our faith teaches.
Further, I like to break the misconceptions some may have about the role of women in Islam in relation to education, confidence and ability to lead. I have experienced many encounters where people’s first impressions of me, the Muslim woman who walked into the room, are shadowed by certain erroneous ideas. I have also felt like they do not see me as a singular individual, but rather a label: Woman Wearing a Veil.
Given that the field of architecture is dominated by white men, it won’t come as a surprise that many have not engaged or collaborated with a “visibly Muslim woman.” I enjoy seeing how my interactions, ideas, initiatives and leadership alter my professors and colleagues’ impressions, making way for a more profound understanding of my values and even creating lasting friendships.
What do you love about wearing hijab? Or what is your struggle/challenge (if you have one) in wearing it?
I love the serenity and peace it brings me in the morning when I remember Allah (S) and that everything that will come to me in this day is PRECISELY written and meant for me by Him. I also cherish that it connects me to a special community, beloved to Allah (S).
When are you at your most happiest, content or really feeling yourself?
I find most joy in serving and helping others. Being blessed with the ability to bring people together and see them feeling comfortable and happy is what brings me contentment and fulfillment.
I am most in my element when I am surrounded by family and friends sharing good moments that become fond memories to look back on.
Check out Yasmin's Instagram video below!
What do you do or how do you manage when you’re feeling low or down?
In my hardest moments I ask Allah (S) for special guidance, patience, and strength. When confronted with a trial, I often turn to istikhara, the prayer of seeking guidance, searching for light towards the best path forward. I also focus on my routine and doing the things that keep me grounded at my core. This includes treating my body by working out, getting dressed even if it’s to go nowhere, and turning to my support system of family and friends.
When you heard about our call out for everyday women for this photoshoot, what motivated you to take part?
I wanted to meet the other women living and working in the city. I enjoy hearing the stories and learning from the strong and successful woman of our community. I also wanted to meet the HH fam and have some fun with them! I appreciate all the work the HH team puts in to designing hijab for the everyday woman.
How important is it for Muslim women to see themselves represented in these types of campaigns?
I feel great pride and motivation in seeing Muslim women experiencing successes and being featured or represented for the rest of the world to see. As a community, I feel we should be united and celebrate each other, seizing every opportunity to show the world what we have to offer.
Now’s your chance! What do you want the world to know about you? What do you want to plug about the work you do or your goals in life?
I find most joy in serving others. I consider it a true gift from Allah (S) to be used as a tool in His greater plan, and I ask that every day I continue to inch closer towards fulfilling that mission.
My motivations and outlook on choosing architecture have certainly evolved over the years. By the time I was working on my undergraduate thesis, I had started to uncover my purpose within this field. I decided to pursue a Masters in Architecture and grapple with these curiosities. My journey reaffirms my aspiration to engage in work of greater purpose and contribute to design interventions that empower communities, shaping the built environment locally and globally.
Yasmin is wearing our Fine Pleat Hijab in Latte.
I see creativity and technology as tools to generate added value for communities while exploring new modes of living and engaging with our surroundings. As stewards of this planet, I believe it our duty to address the urgent challenges we face as a global community, whether these are the repercussions of post disaster events, environmental stresses, or issues of social and spatial justice.
I am fascinated by architecture’s ability to be a catalyst for change when used with the proper motives. Ultimately, my goal is to take part in design interventions that serve others and allow them to realize their agency. I work to support people in living their best stories.
On a fun note, my favorite activity is spending quality time with friends and family. I am a foodie, and I love to travel. I enjoy exploring and learning about new places, cultures, cuisines and cities. It’s double the fun when I get to bring someone along for the adventure. As an amateur cook, I love putting together dinners that draw on inspiration from a particular place. From the preparation, to the presentation, and the photography, it’s my creative outlet. Most of all, I enjoy bringing people together.
What do you want your legacy to be? What do you hope to do while you're here on earth, living your life?
When I think of my legacy, I have many ambitions that relate to improving the built environment for communities in need. If I were to single out a sole and quintessential legacy, I aspire to be granted the gift of impacting or meaningfully helping, even one person change their life for the better with the help of Allah (S).