Aishah Ajibola Obabiyi, 21, is a 400 level student of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka. She recently stormed the global stage with her selection as the winner of the 3rd edition of the World Muslimah, an annual event held in Jakarta, Indonesia by World Muslimah Foundation.
She was born and bred in Ibadan and her parents are devout Muslims, who groomed their children in the way of Islam. Aishah Ajibola Obabiyi attended Air Force Primary School, Alakia, in Ibadan, and had her Junior Secondary School education at Fadhl-Umar College, Adewumi, also in Ibadan. Her Senior Secondary School education was at Wesley College of Science, Ibadan.
In a recent interview she has spoken about the competition, while taking exception to being labelled a beauty queen. Excerpts:
About winning the World Muslimah in Indonesia.
It is rather an annual event organised by World Muslimah Foundation, WM Foundation, a non-governmental Muslim organisation that provides a conceptual model and specific techniques to guide sisterhood among Muslims so that they could become models in the world through piety, obedience to Allah’s injunctions and every necessary activity that will enhance understanding of Islam and encourage members to be confident to find their essential skills.
The World Muslimah competition falls under this category and it tries to acknowledge and appreciate young women who ensure that their hijab is not a barrier for them wherever they may find themselves.
How Aishah Ajibola Obabiyi entered the competition.
In 2012 I applied to participate in the competition and fulfilled all conditions but when I was selected, my visa could not be processed on time to travel down to Indonesia but in April this year, the founder during one of our interactions reminded me of my participation in this year’s event and pledged to forward me an invitation. After screenings, 20 of us were invited to Indonesia in September this year for a two-week workshop where we were trained on the basic tenets of Islam by Islamic scholars cutting across various professions.
About participation requirements:
Everything was online but we were also required to make a short essay attached to our registration form about our hijab experience, Islamic lifestyle, academic accomplishments and arts and culture. If you are selected to be among the semi-finalists, you are required to create a three-minute-video profile to be uploaded on YouTube. The video is semi documentary movie about contestants’ daily lives and their Al Qur’an reading proficiencies. A friend helped to make the video which I uploaded and sent the link to the organiser. But the most important aspect of the competition which most people don’t know about is that apart from the workshop, which is similar to Islamic vocation courses we often attend in Nigeria, we also spent some time with orphans, relating with them, taking care of them and trying to make them feel alright.
About 100 orphans were invited to the grand finale to vote for their choice, and believe me, I cannot particularly tell what influenced their decision because everything was just a surprise to me, even my participation to that stage was surprising.
It must surely have been Allah’s choice; so, to be clear about it, the orphans nominated and chose me and not any panel of judges. I was not selected based on physical beauty or any of those obscene features typical of beauty pageants but by some moral inclinations and religious tenets identified by scholars and orphans. So I was voted the World Muslimah and not a beauty queen as many would want to believe.
Aishah Ajibola Obabiyi’ message to fellow Muslim students:
As I have learnt to say that only Allah (SWT) can guide humans, I want my sisters to strive hard to practice Islam as recommended by Sunnah; that is, the teachings and practices of prophet Muhammad (SAW).