5 Amazing Success Stories of African Muslim Women

Samah Al-Gadi - © The Guardian

In many ways has success been attributed to Muslims around the world. We have seen and heard countless numbers of names gracing stages with their consequential contributions and imprint in the development of the globe in its entirety. More astonishing and attention-grabbing in recent years is the overwhelming and meritorious emergence of great minds of notable impact and achievements from the female gender. That to say their contributions in the world of today is just encouraging or impressive would be an understatement for they are making marks and are reaching unprecedented heights. To see Muslimahs especially Africans being part of these great feats is more than impressive and tells that Islam does not only produce sound and renowned male representatives but also trains the female counterparts to be as much relevant and purposeful in the outside world.

We also recommend our guide to AZEEMA and the North African and Middle Eastern Women.

Many success stories of great women who followed and supported the prophet during the early days of Islamic religion propagation and after has been well documented and recorded. Khadijah Bint Khuwalid, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr and Zaynab Bint Ali to mention a few are names of great women with profound impacts in Islamic history.

Another notable name in Sub-Saharan Islamic history is Nana Asma’u, a princess from northern Nigeria who was a famous intellectual. She was a celebrated poet, scholar and religious expert who was seen as an important figure in African feminist history for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. These great contributions of Muslim women of history has however waned in many aspects in today’s world. There now exist the stereotype of Muslim women stuck in the kitchen and carrying out household chores. Muslim women now find it hard to follow their dreams and make their impact felt. In this post we would be sharing some interesting stories of Muslimahs around the world who are part of the generation pushing boundaries and breaking the barrier of stereotyping through different societal impact and empowerments.

llhan Omar

llhan Omar
llhan Omar – © @everydaysjourney/instagram

llhan Omar – a Somalian refugee who rose to high ranks in the United States is the first on our list. She is an inspiring young Muslimahs who is ably representing the Muslim society and female gender in great capacity.

The story of llhan Omar is one of a refugee who rose to the post of state legislator in America. Omar was born in Mogadishu and raised in Baydhabo, Somalia. She grew up in an upper-middle class household where she lost her mother as a child. After the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Lenya. It was in 1995 that they emigrated to the United State where she completed her studies and graduated with bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies.

Omar began her career as a Community Nutrition Educator with the University of Minnesota. She also served as campaign manager for Kari Dzeidzik’s bid for a legislative seat. She was a volunteer in many areas of interest including politics, education, civil rights and social action, environmental issues amongst other before she won the general election in November 2016 to become the first Somalia-American legislator in the United States. If Omar could do it, who says you can rise to the highest pedestal?

Magatte Wade

Magatte Wade
Magette Wade – © Gage Skidmore/flickr

Next on the list is Magatte Wade – a young lady born 80km south of Dakar, Senegal. She is an entrepreneur who defied the odds by being African, Muslim and female to become a successful entrepreneur in America.

Magatte rose up from being a seven years girl who moved to Germany where she attended school for the first time to a lady who completed her high school and business school in France and finally moved to San Francisco where she kicked started her kick-started her African-inspired beverage company called Adina World Beverages. This company was first of its kind, selling African drinks all over the United States. The success of the company changed the perception of all Americans had of Africa, being extremely under-developed and incapable of success.

Magatte passion for entrepreneurship and creating high brand based on indigenous and diverse African resources lead her to forming her second company – Tiossan. Tiossan is a skin care product based on indigenous Senegalese ingredients and recipes. Her success as a super entrepreneur has won her awards and also a nomination in Forbes “20 Youngest Power women in Africa”. She has also spoken at different business conferences and well-known college campuses like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, Wharton etc. With all these successes, it can only get better for Magatte as she is further breaking new heights and keeps inspiring young Muslim women to choosing a path and following it with determination.

Amira Elmissiry

Amira Elmissiry
Amira Elmissiry – © African Development Bank

Few women venture into the international scene of their chosen profession. Amongst those few and on our list is Amira Elmissiry who has excelled beyond all doubt. She is currently the special assistant to the President of the African development Bank. Amira rose to the ranks as a result of her hard work, dedication and excellence after joining the Bank as a young professional. She holds a master’s degree in Law and Restorative justice and has served in various capacities with international bodies.

Throughout her career, she has won many awards for her dedication and service. She was listed among the Choisel 100 Africa 2015 which features successful entrepreneurs, rising business leaders and investors who are involved in developing Africa. She is perceived as one of the four women who will change the economic landscape of Africa in a few years. If Amira can command such respect and significant recommendations, who says you can’t?

Oumaima Erhali

Oumaima Erhali
Oumaima Erhali – © @oumaimaerhali/instagram

Next on the list is Oumaima Erhali – a 17-year-old Moroccan surfer girl. She is a young lady who grew up following her brother who was a coast guard and an avid surfer to the beach. Her drive to becoming a surfer heightened more when her brother passed away and she had nurtured a passion for surfing. She represents a generation of Muslim women in the Moroccan society who are slowly conquering their space in the professional world and in sports. She has decided not to let stereotypes hold her back from the love of sport and the live she wants to lead.

She is a motivation to every young Muslim women who nurtures a dream of pursuing a career in sport but is wary of society perception and stereotypical view. To every young Muslimah out there, Oumaima says go ahead to achieving your dream, remain modest and stay steadfast in Allah’s religion.

Samah Al-Gadi

Samah Al-Gadi
Samah Al-Gadi – © The Guardian

Last but not the least important is Samah Al-Gadi – a 32-year-old Sudanese entrepreneur who won the first season of the popular Sudanese entrepreneurial TV show Mashruoy. Her emergence as the winner isn’t only to encourage young female to participate in such economic impacting program or for the $20,000 money prize but it is more centered on inspiring female viewers to place more importance on studies and career.

Al-Gadi is a young African female with an academic background in social development and Agriculture. In her project for the TV Show, she proposed an environmentally friendly project to help communities living along the riverbank of the Nile. The project involves removing water hyacinth that causes problems such as parasitic growth and diminishing fish populations. Her project is now being implemented in the Nile community of Kosti in Khartoum. She doesn’t only emerge as a successful entrepreneur but she is also with her project and contributions improving the living standard of people in her country.

We hope this inspires young Muslimahs out there to sit up and think. Create an identity for themselves and soar amidst social stereotyping to becoming an impactful and relevant individual.

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