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Ms. Fix-It: Sisters Getting Down to DIY

The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm, as Sumayyah Meehan explains.

With the ever-growing pressures of work and the responsibilities of worship, there is not always a man around the house when you need him! So when something breaks, cracks, clogs or spontaneously combusts, Muslimahs these days are looking to themselves to make minor home or appliance repairs. Economically speaking, Muslimahs really need to know the basics of home repair, like how to wield a hammer or repair a leaky faucet, otherwise any extra cash on hand will go straight into the repair man’s pocket! It might be intimidating to imagine yourself ripping up floorboards or painting an entire room by yourself, but empowering yourself with the bare minimum of home repair know-how will help relieve stress when things break. And most importantly you won’t have to nag, beg or complain to someone else to fix them!





This month SISTERS speaks to 3 Muslimah Ms. Fix-It’s who share their home repair advice and past projects. If they can do it, so can YOU!





In charge  
“I am a Mrs Fix-it, because my husband works like crazy, worships and teaches children how to read and understand the Qur’an, so I have no choice but to fix things myself,” shares Khadija Ghamougui, a housewife from Pennsylvania, USA.




Izdehar Albowyha, a housewife residing in California, USA, shares a similar story. “My husband is not someone who knows how to do any fixing jobs so they end up in my lap. When I fix something, I give it a lot of thought. I analyse what I need to do and picture it in my head.”





For some Muslimahs home-repairs are second-nature and something they love doing. “I love making things with my hands,” shares Ann Kamran, an office manager living in London, who loves to create and see a finished product.  “If something needs to be done and it’s not getting done, I’ll do it. My dear husband spoils me and won’t let me do anything laborious around the house, but I will do it on my own if I know my husband is busy.”




Finding the Necessary Skills
Having the initiative to make home repairs and possessing the necessary skills to do so successfully are two entirely separate things. Simply picking up a hammer or a drill and figuring it out along the way will not work and might end up in an even worse home repair nightmare or even injury. Before engaging in any home repair project, you should research the project on the internet or home repair books.




“I love to watch home improvement shows and take tips,” says Sister Izdehar. “I also go to Home Depot and ask the salesperson a hundred questions until I have the necessary knowledge. I might even ask my brother or a family member for home repair advice.”


Sister Khadijah was blessed to have a teacher who taught her the basics of home repair when she was a child.  “I watched and worked with my father when I was younger. And I also had to figure some things out on my own when I was a single mom raising three children,” she says. Sister Ann says that she was always inclined towards home repair: “I had my own toolbox and power drill before I met my husband.”



Sweet Success!
Sister Ann’s greatest victory in home repair is a room that she painted in her sister’s home. “I painted the room pastel green on the bottom half and soft blue rolling hills on the upper half,” she shares, “and around the top of the entire room is a painted vine with leaves and the alphabet ‘growing’ from the vine. I also added little hearts and stars stenciled on the tops of the rolling hills with inspirational words painted in the valleys.”


Sister Khadijah’s greatest home repair success story was when she hit the roof, literally! “The biggest thing that I fixed would be the roof. I had to rip everything off and start all over. I covered the entire roof with new wood and then shingling. It was so much fun, but I had to be careful not to slip!”


As for Sister Izdehar she turned her kitchen floor into a grand masterpiece when she decided to redo the entire floor herself. “First I ripped up the old floor and put in a new sub floor. Then I went to a home repair shop to buy tiles and seek advice. It came out beautifully, Alhamdullilah!”



Most of us don’t know the difference between a Hex Key and an L-Key, but that’s no reason to be afraid of meeting the challenge of home repairs head-on. With abundant educational resources about home repairs available online and a well-equipped toolbox at your fingertips, nothing can stand in your way the next time something breaks in your home. Now all you’ve got to do is hang-up your hijab and put on a hard hat as you enter the brave, albeit scary, new world of home repairs!





The Muslimah’s Toolbox

Straight from your sisters’ lips, here are the ‘Top 10’ tools every Muslimah should have in her toolbox:  
1. Hammer;
2. tape measure;
3. screw driver set;
4. crescent wrench;
5. hand drill;
6. drill bits;
7. exacto knife;
8. saw;
9. pliers;
10. a variety of screws, nuts, nails and bolts.





DIY Headboard in a Day