About UsAugust 16, 2021
Mastoora Beauty has been selling officially online since 2019, I had a generic ‘About us’ page like most other companies since you know, people are buying a product and I should market it to them. It wasn’t until recently friends asked me why I’m not open about who I’m as the individual behind mastoora and not just how we came about but what Mastoora Beauty means to me and how it saved me!
Truth is that I feared if people knew I was a Muslim that they may not be interested in my products and my personal struggles as I have faced alot of discrimination for my religious choice, unfortunately. I also wasnt prepared to speak on what I endured the previous years and the reason why I started Mastoora Beauty.
So why now?
As I mention above, friends and some customers who I ended up having some lovely talks with asked why I wasn’t more Public with myself when it comes to my business and why I was hiding, so to speak.
Truth is I wasn’t ready to talk about and face the real reason why I started Mastoora Beauty and what it represented to me.
So here goes…
I’m 32 years old and a mother to 7 young children (14-9 months)
I became a Muslim around the age of 12 but didn’t submerge into the religion until I was around 14, that lead me to getting married and being a very young mother at the age of 17.
Life was a challenge, I never thought I would be divorced or be so far from home, family and friends. I found myself in another country, alone with 2 kids and decided I would take a page from my own mothers book who would tell me to put my big girl pants on and figure it out. ( tough love always works)
I decided that is exactly what I needed to do. I didn’t need a man to come and save me, to pay my bills or to provide or validate me as a woman. I was very much a woman and a mother at that. This is when I first officially started my own business in 2010.
Our beginning was in England, we started as Anaqah Natural Beauty Products and sold mostly hair care and body butters.
My business was flourishing and I was independent, no benefits, no man and totally responsible for myself. I even had my own hand towels instead of wiping my face on a whole body towel. I finally felt like I had made something of myself.
Two years after my divorce I had made a business, provided for myself and my kids. I decided I was missing something and that something was a companion.
I wanted to share my happiness, sadness and my success with someone else and enter into a relationship that I was not automatically dependant on the other person for once and that I had my own value and status that I hadn’t had before.
I risked it all again, submerged into a marriage and devoted myself as a wife and mother first then a business woman second. Due to the nature of my marriage and the man I was married to this wasn’t possible. I was expected to be just his wife and then a mother.
Unfortunately I had to take a step aside due to some personal struggles which ended in me stopping my business at the time.
Without going into too much detail, for the privacy of myself and my children I have decided to leave out a lot of details.
My marriage was a severe disappointment, I felt deceived and duped by the man I married. He was not at all who he portrayed himself to be.
After moving to Morocco and another 2 kids later ( my second was born at 32 weeks premature and in NICU in Marrakech.) I decided I needed to seek a divorce. that I could not continue such a relationship that I felt supressed as a woman, a mother and a Muslim.
I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life. He insisted he would not accept a divorce and threatened me with everything under the sun including taking my children from me, threatened my safety etc.
I was forced to remain his wife, to carry 3 more of his children and to endure 5 more years of abuse as I became a prisoner in my home, in a foreign country and one that I couldn’t even speak the language nor is English common.
In 2019 I decided that I had enough and that I wouldn’t allow this to continue that I needed to make a plan out as I was being locked in the room for hours being verbally, physically and emotionally abused. While my children were in the house. This is when I started Mastoora Beauty in place of Anaqah.
I had no way out as he had taken my passport and birth certificate, he refused to register our children with the authorities and I was just a woman in the eyes of locals and the law.
I endured the abuse while trying to fabricate a plan, I did so with patience, until I found that after his, yet again pressure to conceive another child, that I was pregnant…again!
I fell into a very dark place, I couldn’t even talk to anyone locally and none of my friends or family knew the reality of what was happening in my life.
I insisted that he agrees to divorce and allows me and the children to live alone. this was my request for the previous 5 years to which he continuously refused to accept.
I know people think, why didn’t you just get up and walk out, why didn’t you just leave or call the police etc…
I would like to clarify that I had contacted local authority figures for help but was pressured by local customs and culture ( not Islam) to be an obedient wife and I’ll go to heaven, to obey and to endure etc. The law didn’t allow me to take my children from the marital home so I could only request his co operation and without my identification I was not able to approach the courts.
It wasn’t until our Covid-19 lockdown in March that I decided upon the advice of someone who was helping me with legal information and supporting me from the shadows that I would contact the police every time he put his hands on me or wouldn’t stop his tirade of abuse.
This led to me calling the police multiple times over the next weeks, finally I got my passport back, it was expired but still…it was a small victory!
This led me driving my local police absolutely crazy. But since I had no other solution as I have no family in Morocco and I spent 5 years without any solution that this was it, someone has to help me, something has to give. I cant be raising my kids in this kind of home.
Eventually the police told him that he has to take me to court to submit my legal complaint and start the divorce proceedings. The police informed me unless I’m bleeding from physical harm that they wouldn’t arrest him!
I was headbutt in my stomach while I was 5 months pregnant, I was shoved and pushed, slapped in the face, verbally abused for hours on end in a locked room, unable to go outside without his permission, was locked in the house as I didn’t have a house key and yet since I wasn’t bleeding the verbal abuse and the physical abuse wasn’t enough to ask him to leave or to allow myself and my children to leave.
I was forced to return home with him because he is my husband and I just shouldn’t make him angry.
My mind couldn’t comprehend how a woman, or anyone can be forced to remain in a relationship she didn’t want to, for years. legally I had no choice!
Then when I’m crying and showing the police my screen recordings and videos I had to prove the abuse I was told to just go home with him! while pregnant! while my children watch!
I had enough, I decided I would leave or die trying and if he tried to take my kids, I told him I would fight tooth and nail for them back!
The rest of the story is just my personal struggle adjusting to life after leaving ( I was still technically his wife but the courts accepted me to live alone and I leased a flat on my name which meant that I could keep my children legally as the court proceedings were pending and that he wasn’t allowed to enter my rental premises without my permission)
I endured pregnancy, corona while 32 weeks pregnant which triggered my PTSD from my preemie baby, and my vba2c birth of my 7th beauty little bubba, all alone.
This was only possible due to the platform I had from Mastoora Beauty, it provided me exposure to YouTube and Facebook so that if I didn’t come online and inform certain contacts of my safety then they would inform the police with my recordings.
That gave me strength to know that if he did in fact harm me that I had total strangers ready and willing to expose him as responsible and it wouldn’t all be in vain. Many people facing domestic abuse suffer the same ‘system failures’ I did and unfortunately its very common.
I had saved from my sales and put the money aside with a friend each month to help fund my exit plan which wasn’t a lot at the time since I was covering our costs as a family but none the less my amazing customers didnt even know they were saving a survivor of domestic abuse ( I refuse to be a victim)
I thank all of my customers for supporting me, I thank those of you who have no idea how much you saved me and my children, for making that choice to purchase from my online shop and trust me with your hair or skin care needs but ultimately providing my kids with food and a place to stay, and a way out… you contributed to that!
Mastoora was how I re-discovered myself after years in a controlling and abusive marriage. It was my ‘happy place’ but it was also how I was able to fund my way out with my 7 children in tow.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without my customers trust and support in Masroora Beauty but also My absolutely amazing mother! She is a force to be reckoned with, my biggest supporter! my role model as a mother, business owner and woman! My mother is the one who taught me to be strong, persevere and stand on my own two feet. She encouraged me and believed in my ability even when I didn’t. She was the first person I confided in and she had my back 100%
The other person is someone very dear to me, I had the support of a professional counsellor who helped me realise that I was in as bad of a situation as I thought and that it wasn’t going to get better or change. With his help I was able to find myself again and start the healing process.
I had a small taste of the me I once knew from back in 2010 and once I tasted that, there was no going back!
So I say to my Mum, to my counsellor and to my customers a massive thank you!
I love you all for what you have done for me and I hope and pray when you are in a time of need that you are sent the help and protection that you need