CAIRO – The name of Nigerian young Aishah Ajibola Obabiyi has stormed the global stage after being named World Muslimah, a nomination that sparked criticism in some circles as imitating ‘immoral’ beauty queen competitions.
“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,” Miss Aishah told Leadership newspaper on Saturday, November 23.
“I was voted the World Muslimah and not a beauty queen as many would want to believe.”
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In a contest held in Jakarta last September, 21-year-old Aishah emerged winner of the Muslimah World 2013.
Miss Aishah, a student at the prestigious University of Lagos, beat 19 other challengers from across the world to emerge Muslimah Queen 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, at a competition that tested not just the Islamic appearance of the ladies but their understanding of the Qur’an and issues facing the Muslim world.
Aishah won $2,200 (N356, 000), hajj journey to Makkah and a visit to India.
Despite general welcoming for the idea of Muslimah Miss World, a strong segment of the Nigerian Muslim community sees the Muslimah World beauty pageant as a dangerous and unacceptable mimicry of western values.
Correcting these conceptions, Aishah asserted that the competition was not all about beauty and fashion.
The event was “organized by World Muslimah Foundation… 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,” she said.
It also “encourages members to be confident to find their essential skills.”
Aishah added that the foundation’s main target was to create a new generation of true Muslim women who are proud of their faith and hijab.
“One of the projects run by the organization is called Home CASH, simply translated to mean, Home, Carrier, Assistance, Sisterhood and Hospitality, while another is MIRACLE, which means Muslimah Integrated Change for Life Empowerment,” she said.
“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.”
Two months after her nomination, waves of criticism were still hot in her homeland.
“I must say it is a huge burden and a big task for me particularly, with so much misconception by the public about it,” Aishah said after arriving Nigeria.
“I have wept severally over this burden and the founder even wanted to accompany me to Nigeria when she realized the attacks I was receiving from individuals on my twitter and Facebook accounts,” she added.
Despite criticism, she feels proud for being a role model for many young Muslims.
“Islam is a religion of peace and a religion that emphasizes beauty,” she said.
“So I will forever be happy that I am a Muslim and this new experience has taught me to know that regardless of background one can get to the peak in life.”
She also encouraged young Muslims to preserve the true teaching of tolerant Islam.
“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).”
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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