Enter a Hijab Support Group Workshop and these are some of the electrifying and inspirational words you will hear, engrossing you and leaving you feeling positively immersed:

  • When you get the “iman rush” grab it and make it your change
  • No place for judgement in Deen or in this group
  • You always had it in you! All we did was give you a kick
  • Make the Sahaabiyaa a point of reference in your life
  • If you take little steps toward Allah, Allah runs towards you

These are the words of two astounding women. Meet the founders of the Hijab Support Group, Sisters Zaahira Karrim and Tasnim Dendar.

Zaahira is an Aalima, a graduate of Madressa Mu’eenul Islam.  Tasnim completed a post graduate certificate in education.  They both did their honours in Psychology and are currently working on a research report towards their Masters in Psychology.  Zaahira is also working towards a degree in social work.  They are both counsellors at the Islamic Careline. They do lifeskills workshops at schools with the Muslim Aids Programme.  Tasnim is a mother of 4.  Zaahira runs her own Madressas.


The Hijab Support group was founded on the 1st of June 2009. Targeted at all women regardless of age, religion, race or hijab status.  The Hijab Support group was established out of the hope of providing therapeutic intervention as well as shariah guidance to Muslimahs from all walks of life. They run their sessions like a workshop where members interact on a weekly basis. This is what they say  “ Hijab is a command and not a choice! It is a fard like your salaah! Hijab is not only for a muslim once you’ve attained piety. For piety only Allah can judge. It has been commanded by Allah for all believing woman so if you believe then you cover. Simple! Or is it???

Attending the hijab support sessions is all about self discovery and self growth… Wearing the hijab is not just a physical act of putting a scarf on your head… it is also about your spiritual connection with your Creator.  It is all about progression and becoming a better human being.  There are no hijab/parda requirements for attending.

Tasnim and Zaahira also say “When you truly do something for the sake of Allah with pure intentions, HE will Help you in unimaginable ways, insha’Allah.”

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I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Zaahira and Tasnim at the trendy Europa in Parkview. This interview had a calmness I cannot describe; I can only say that it surely came from the awe and warmness of Zaahira and Tasnim. (They brought along a friend too, another Tasnim, it was such fun)

Just watching them was inspiration enough! They have such chemistry between them. The way they address each other, the laughter, the smiles, the encouragement, the holding of hands in support of each other, I can now see why they are so successful in their workshops as well as any presentations they conduct. Beside the chemistry and deep friendship they share, it’s the complete love and trust they have for each other and for what they do! MashaAllah to a beautiful team!

Here are some pictures of them, where you can witness that chemistry too.


Did you plan your career/life or did events just happen?

Zaahira:  The only thing I planned in my life to date was becoming an Aalima… After that I found it true that when you do not chase after the dunya it then chases after you… The rest of my life was laid out alhamdulillah with much ease.

Tasnim:  I love doing what I do! Its gives purpose and meaning to my life. Allah is the best of planners and I make shukr that He planned this work for me.. May we always be in His service. Aameen


When did you start donning the Hijab and the Niqaab? What was your turning point?

Zaahira:  The day I became a young woman, a friend of mine told me that Jannah is waajib for a women that covers herself. I looked within myself and thought that I can never secure Jannah through anything so why not do it this way… Why not invest in my aakhirat. I decided to don the niqab so that regardless of where life takes me… My Jannah is wajib.

Tasnim:  Please follow this link, A MUST READ.  Tasnim tells us about her journey!!!   I posted it onto the “You Inspire me” page of the website!


Which person or what had the biggest influence in your life?

Zaahira: I could never choose a person for every individual plays a role at some point in your life. I can however say that my greatest influence was the knowledge I gained in Madrasah for it helped me understand the true meaning of life and who my Creator is.  In all my happenings, success, failure, hurt and happiness only Allah understands it’s weight and it was always only My Rabb that inspired me to wake up and keep walking.

Tasnim: Regarding Hijab Support Group, Zaahira


What was your best mistake?

Zaahira: The best mistake I made was sharing a text book with a total stranger… “Tasnim” (lol) for it led to an As-salaam followed by a friendship that led to Hijab Support Group with Allahs mercy.

Tasnim: We can only grow and learn from our mistakes. I have many.


Have you encountered any negativity towards your hijaab/niqaab and how did you deal with it?

Zaahira:  Yes I have on many occasions, what I do is analyze my mood… If I’m in a pleasant mood I address the issue with calmness and if I am irritable by the childlike behaviour of many then I simply make salaam and keep walking so as not to disgrace the deen.

Tasnim:  I try to use any negative experience and use it as an opportunity for dawah and  that way it becomes a positive one. Living in a western so called “modern” World hijab is our jihad! So don’t take any negativity with regards to your hijab personally. You are not fighting a personal battle but in fact you my dear sister are walking in the path of Allah Swt.


What was the best advice you have received?

Zaahira: “Give your heart to the one who gave you a heart ”

Tasnim: All the words and sayings of Nabi (SAW)


If you had to change one thing in your life what would it be?

Zaahira:  If I could change one thing… I’d change the time wasted in madrasah on trivial matters

Tasnim: I wish I was an Aalima.


Now for “SOME STYLISH FUN” Questions

Here Tasnim is sporting some stripes and Zaahira wearing a really awesome scarf with some Arabic print.



What’s your personal style?  Are you an on trend dresser? Inspiration from?

Zaahira: I never ever follow any sort of trend, I have a simple way of dressing sort of sporty yet neat. I do not get inspiration from anyone but would like to inspire others to think that you can be a Muslim and still look cool.

Tasnim: I love beautiful things.


Are you a handbag or shoe person?

Zaahira: Definitely shoe

Tasnim:  Both lol


What is your splurge budget normally wasted on?

Zaahira:  Technology

Tasnim: Shoes


What’s your handbag contents like? Neat or Freaky?

Zaahira: Neat

Tasnim: Neat


What do you never leave home without?

Zaahira:  I never leave without my little brown book, labello and of course my phone.

Tasnim: My niqab


What’s your favourite book or saying?

Zaahira: My favourite book seemingly obvious would be the Quran, if you look at what it holds you will find the best love stories, heartache, happy moments, love, betrayal, family, consoling, advice and strength… A book we read over and over yet very few stop to look deeper.

My favourite saying would be that of Hazrat Ali (R.A):

” how beautiful is this world… If the one who has it knows how to use it ”

Tasnim: “Stay steadfast…!!!”


I heard you sing nazms? Is that what you do to relax and have fun?

Zaahira: I guess both, during madrasah we would sing a lot like a lot! And when I left I stopped until Allah sent me Tasnim … We have such fun singing and giving of the idea that deen is fun and melodious…

Tasnim:  Yes we love singing. We sing to audiences and sing when we alone. We have fun and just relax. Zaahira has an amazing voice. She teaches me all the nasheeds she learnt at Madressa. I just love when we singing and then suddenly our voices harmonize and we sound like one. Most amazing feeling.


Zaahira: Allah is beautiful and loves beauty… Dress for Allah always. Every person is on their own journey of change but remember you are not alone on your journey for Allah loves each of us as though there is just one of us. Also, along the way if faced with any hurdles remember you have your HSG ladies… Support is essential and alhamdulillah we are here to hold your hand along the way. Fee amaanillah… Live like a stranger

Tasnim: As humans we always searching for love, praise and approval. Let’s try to find this in our relationship with our Creator and we will never be disappointed. You were created by ALLAH with a purpose, to touch other lives in some way, and to leave a permanent mark in this world. Let us all be of service to humanity and by doing so, serving our Creator in the best possible way.  Aameen

Zaahira and Tasnim: Our sacrifice is nothing especially in a tolerant country like South Africa. We are blessed. We can practice our Deen so freely. We need to break stereotypes amongst our own Muslims. I think as South African Muslims that’s our greatest challenge. We need to be the change we want to see in the world.  May Allah help us and guide us to represent HIS Deen to the best of our ability. We would love really only to be known as the servants of Allah. May Allah grant us ease and accept all our humble efforts. Aameen.


Alhamdulillah I was seduced by the words of these two amazing women! For days after I could not stop talking about them and hanging onto every word they said.