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11 Inspiring Hijabi Women Around the Globe

Misbah has always wanted to pursue writing as a career. She writes on different topics, She loves to do research work as well.

Author's Own Creation

Author's Own Creation

It's always inspiring to see women breaking down barriers all throughout the world. However, seeing a Muslim woman not only compete, but also become a champion in her profession makes one proud.

Hijab is a modesty and privacy concept in Islam. This is a notion shared by several religions, including Judaism (where the value of modesty is known as Tzuniut) and Christianity. The Islamic practice of hijab is most commonly seen in women's clothes. Hijab garments relate headscarves (known as Khimaar or just Hijab) to full-body coverings known as Burqa and Abaya.

“What is the point of wearing a hijab?” I am rather certain that this basic question must have arisen in the mind of someone who has never experienced a hijab-wearing Muslim, and if this question was left unanswered, they would have most likely reached a conclusion described in one terrible word, "oppression."

February 1st is World Hijab Day, and in honor of this occasion, we celebrate Muslim athletes, politicians, musicians, and activists who break glass ceilings around the globe. The article shines a light on the Hijabi women who continue to inspire time to time

1) Kulsoom Abdullah - Weightlifter

Kulsoom, a Pakistani-American weightlifter, was the first woman to compete in the sport while wearing a headscarf. She competed in the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships in Paris, France, as Pakistan's first female weightlifter. She's also competed in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in South Korea, where she represented her country.

An athlete's knee and elbows should be visible to verify if a lift is properly executed, according to the old International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) guidelines. Kulsoom, on the other hand, was able to compete in accordance with her Muslim beliefs after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) authorized athletes to wear a full-body covering as part of the standard weightlifting uniform.

 - re:publica Portland 2019

- re:publica Portland 2019

CrossFit - "Lifting Boundaries" with Kulsoom Abdullah

2) Raianne Alameddine - Boxer

Raianne was inspired by her elder brother after witnessing his training. She was the first amateur boxer from New South Wales to fight while wearing a headscarf. She wants the independence that he possessed in order to be able to defend herself.

Firstly, she was told that she had to remove her hijab during a fight or she would never be allowed to part in a sanctioned fight again. She inquired of the authorities as to why she was being forced to make such a difficult decision about her Muslim beliefs. It's great to see young people who are as enthusiastic as she is.

Hijab-wearing boxer Raianne Alameddine, 17, at Final Round Gym in Prestons.

Hijab-wearing boxer Raianne Alameddine, 17, at Final Round Gym in Prestons.

3) Raffia Arshad - a Deputy District Judge

After a 17-year legal career, Raffia Arshad was appointed as a Deputy District Judge on the Midlands circuit in 2020, becoming the UK's first hijab-wearing judge. Ms. Arshad was no stranger to discrimination and prejudice in her field of work, despite having a successful career dealing with issues concerning Islamic law, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. In 2001, the judge had one of the most life-changing experiences when a family member urged her not to wear her hijab to an interview for a scholarship at the Inns of Court School of Law.

In an interview upon asking about her profession and hijab she said

“I chose to wear my headscarf because accepting people for who they are is so important to me, and I wouldn't want to have to change who I am to pursue my profession”

Rafia Arshad UK’s First Hijabi Judge

4) Nura Afia - a Beauty Vlogger

Nura Afia is a Moroccan-American beauty vlogger. She shot to fame in 2016 when she was named a brand ambassador for CoverGirl cosmetics. Afia is the company's first hijab-wearing brand ambassador. She's also known for her creativity and multi-talents, and she uses her social media accounts to share a variety of unique content.

The Moroccan-American vlogger has joined the ranks of other CoverGirl ambassadors such as Halle Berry, Katy Perry, and Sofia Vergara.

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Nura Afia

Nura Afia

Huda Beauty New Nude Palette Tutorial *Chit Chat* | Nura Afia

5) Halima Aden

The initial chapters of Aden's life story are completely unrelated to the fashion industry. She was born in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp, which is arid and bleak and home to over 160 000 refugees. It's a difficult area to live in, with scorching heat, sickness, and no ways of earning money or starting an agricultural business.

After moving to the United States with her family when she was six years old, Aden made history as the first veiled contender in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant before making her New York Fashion Week debut at Kanye West's Yeezy Season 5.

Soon after, appointments were made at Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara in Milan. With the June 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia, she became the first hijab-wearing model to be on a Vogue cover, and subsequently, with the April 2019 issue, she appeared on Vogue‘s first group Hijabi cover (with models Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan).

Aden has left the fashion business, but as Vogue Arabia's diversity editor-at-large, she continues to empower Muslim women to pursue their dreams while being loyal to their values.

Halima aden

Halima aden

Halima Aden Becomes First Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model to Wear Hijab

6) Ibtihaj Muhammad - Fencer

Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencing champion, was born in New Jersey in 1985. She began fencing at the age of 13 and has since won numerous medals and honors for her efforts in the sport. She was named to Team USA in 2016.

In qualifying for the Olympics, Muhammad made history by being the first Muslim woman to represent the United States, while wearing a hijab, a traditional Muslim head scarf. She was the first female Muslim-American athlete to win an Olympic medal.

The New Jersey native made headlines again in 2017 when it was revealed that she was the inspiration for Mattel's first hijab-wearing Barbie.

“People told me that my ambitions weren't attainable for whatever reason – especially when I was attempting to achieve a milestone that had never been done before – it was disheartening,” Muhammad admitted in an interview with team Vogue prior to her Olympic triumph in 2016. Her message to the future generation of Muslim sports stars is “Never allow someone to direct your path.”

Ibtihaj Muhammad

7) Zahra Lari, the Hijab-Wearing 'Ice Princess'

Whether it's wearing a burqini or creating a stylish figure skating costume, Muslim women are finding inventive ways to compete in sports without compromising their religious observance.

The 17-year-old is not only the first figure skater from the Gulf to compete in an international competition, but she is also the first to do so while wearing a hijab, an Islamic headscarf.

“Women don't practice much sport in my country, and much less figure skating, I skate with the hijab, my outfit follows the Islamic tradition,” the quietly spoken youngster told AFP after participating in the European Cup with skaters from 50 nations.

A practicing Muslim girl with her black colored headscarf and a sober outfit stood out among the flashy orange tutus and fluorescent pink tights.

We look forward to seeing what Lari accomplishes next, as she uses her sphere of influence to spread positive messages to girls all over the world to pursue their aspirations no matter what hurdles they face.

Zahra Lari’s Beautiful Costumes

8) Neelam Hakeem - a Hijabi Female Rapper

Neelam Hakeem is not an average female rapper. Through her music, she advocates for women's rights and speaks out against social and political injustices, while also representing modesty and Islam.

She converted to Islam in 2007 and in an interview she told Vogue Arabia about the difficulties she encountered with modesty, saying, "I never felt like I was truly ready to commit to hijab — my hair was a crutch for me." In terms of fashion, I had no idea you could be modest and powerful at the same time; that you could enter a room and command it. I've never been a skin-shower, I don't have a Kardashian physique”, she chuckles.

Neelam Hakeem, with millions of followers on Instagram, may appear to be just another modest influencer, appearing in companies such as Dulce by Safiya, Culture Hijab, and Hayah Collection.

When you play one of her videos, she begins rapping about everything from political and social injustices to women's rights. Her lyrics, sung to music by Jaden Smith and Kanye West, went viral on social media in a matter of months. Her tracks have been regrammed by Diddy, Will Smith, and Erykah Badu.

Neelam Rap Compilation

9) Ginella Massa - Canadian Anchor

Ginella Massa became the first Hijabi woman in Canada to anchor a major late-night newscast. But it wasn't until 2015 that Massa made history when she earned her first on-air job at CTV News in Kitchener, Ontario, and became the first hijab-wearing television reporter in Canadian history. Her selection was a significant step forward for diversity and inclusion in North America. She won the prestigious Canadian Screen Award.

10) Noor Tagouri - a Journalist and Activist

Noor Tagouri is a journalist and activist who wears a hijab. Born in West Virginia to Libyan parents in 1993, her family relocated to Maryland, where she grew up and discovered her passion for journalism.

In an interview, she stated, "I simply knew I wanted to ask questions for a living." Tagouri went on to study Broadcast Journalism at the University of Maryland when she was 16 years old, and she obtained an internship at CBS radio a year later. She is the creator of the thought-provoking documentary series A Woman's Job, which focused on women working in male-dominated sectors.

11) Ilhan Omar - a Politician

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar was born on the 4th of October, 1982. She is a politician from Minnesota who has been the United States Representative for the 5th congressional district since 2019. She is a Democrat–Farmer-Labor Party member. Omar formerly participated in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2017 to 2019, representing a region of Minneapolis. Her congressional district encompasses the entire city of Minneapolis as well as part of its surrounding suburbs.

The Somali-born Democratic, who brought up in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to America at the age of 12, was also the first African refugee and a Hijabi woman to serve in Congress.

Final Thoughts

Hijab is an important aspect of women's belief in Islam and is worn in different Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the world. If we go back in history, the hijab was known by other religions as a form of custom.

She carries the hijab, and this is the way of her submission to God and a way of honoring and pleasing God. There's nothing to worry about seeing her wearing Hijab. She is as normal as others. Hijab just covers her head, not her brain.

The above-mentioned inspiring women have proven that they can be successful in every path of their life with their skills while wearing their hijab. They are not the only Hijabi women who are inspirational, there are dozens of more.

Hijab is just a cloth to cover their head and there is nothing to fear about it. A Hijabi can do everything like any other woman. She is just a true and obedient servant of God. She follows and practices what her religion teaches her.

Do you not wish to be a true and obedient servant of God?

It was the Almighty who decreed that men and women must cover their nakedness by wearing proper and modest clothing.

— Mark E. Peterson


Kulsoom Abdullah didn't set out to become a weightlifter, yet ended up forever changing the sport

Meet Dr. Kalsoom

Ilhan Omar- Biography


Raffia Arshad Becomes First Hijab-Wearing Muslim Judge in UK

17-year-old Muslim boxer from Australia wins right to fight wearing hijab

How Ginella Massa, CBC’s Newest Anchor, Made Her Own Dream Job?

12 Questions With Rapper Neelam Hakeem

Hijabi trailblazers who are smashing stereotypes and paving the way for inclusivity

international figure skating competition wearing a headscarf

Ibtihaj Muhammad Biography

Halima Aden Model

Nura Afia

6 Inspiring Hijabi Athletes

Muslim teen boxer wins right to fight wearing a hijab

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh


Misbah Sheikh (author) on June 05, 2021:

Thanks, Rawan

I am glad you liked it


Rawan Osama from Egypt on June 05, 2021:

I love it

Keep going

Misbah Sheikh (author) on June 05, 2021:

These 11 inspiring hijabi women have proven that they can be successful in every path of their life with their skills while wearing their hijab.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on June 02, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind response, Devika. I am glad that the article helped you to understand the reason behind wearing Hijab.