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13 Muslim Women Who Led Businesses

13 Muslim Women Who Led Businesses

by Riwaya

    In the modern era of entrepreneurship, Muslim women have emerged as dynamic leaders and innovators, breaking barriers and reshaping industries with their vision and determination. 

    In fact, influential women in business date back to the time of Khadijah (RA), the esteemed wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was a successful businesswoman and a prominent figure in early Islamic history.

    In this blog post, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of ten inspiring Muslim women who have excelled in the realm of entrepreneurship, through their creativity, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit.

    Explore our curated collection that pays tribute to the strength, wisdom, and resilience of women. This Women's Day, discover meaningful products that uplift and empower, reflecting the elevated status Islam bestows upon women.

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    1. Hoda Katebi

    Hoda Katebi is a prominent figure in fashion, culture, and social justice. Her insightful responses to Islamophobic questions in the media have garnered widespread attention, highlighting her advocacy for marginalised communities.

    Beyond her journalistic endeavours, Hoda is the founder of Blue-Tin Productions, a fashion production co-op in Chicago. Through this initiative, she empowers immigrant and refugee women, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity in the fashion industry. Hoda's personal brand, "JooJoo Azad" and her book, "Tehran Streetstyle," further amplify marginalised voices and advocate for social change on a global scale.

    2. Sameera Ahmed

    Sameera Ahmed is a prominent figure in the realm of mental health wellness and community development. As the director of The Family Youth Institute (FYI), she has been instrumental in providing workshops on youth development, marriage, parenting, and mental health.

    FYI, established in 2006, is renowned for its efforts in creating infographics and toolkits addressing various mental health issues and challenges faced by American Muslim youth. With a PhD in clinical psychology and a master's in biology, Sameera's expertise extends to her role as an associate editor for the Journal of Muslim Mental Health. 

    She is also a co-author of the book "Counselling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions." Sameera's dedication to grassroots community organising spans over three decades, reflecting her commitment to promoting well-being and resilience within Muslim communities.

    3. Zarinah El-Amin Naeem

    Zarinah El-Amin Naeem is a multifaceted entrepreneur and advocate for women's empowerment and cultural diversity. Her ventures, including Beautifully Wrapped & The Headwrap Expo and Enliven Your Soul, serve as platforms for celebrating cultural heritage and fostering women's leadership.

    Zarinah's dedication to promoting cross-cultural understanding is reflected in her role as a cultural anthropologist and author. Through her publishing company, Niyah Publishing and Creative Living, she amplifies narratives that challenge societal norms and inspire personal growth. Zarinah's innovative approach to community building and self-development underscores her commitment to creating spaces where women can thrive and lead with purpose.

    4. Najah Bazzy

    Najah Bazzy is a beacon of hope and compassion in the field of humanitarian aid and social service. Her journey as the founder and CEO of Zaman International began in 1996, driven by a profound desire to uplift marginalised women and children in her community.

    Zaman International provides essential resources and skills training programs to empower those in need, earning Najah recognition as one of CNN's top 10 heroes in 2019. Her tireless efforts to address poverty and social inequality epitomise her unwavering commitment to serving humanity with dignity and compassion.

    5. Melanie Elturk

    Melanie Elturk is a pioneering entrepreneur and CEO of Haute Hijab, a leading brand in modest fashion and lifestyle. With a background in civil rights law, Melanie founded Haute Hijab with a vision to provide stylish and inclusive hijab options for Muslim women worldwide.

    Under her leadership, Haute Hijab has become a famous brand, known for its commitment to quality, diversity, and empowerment. Melanie's dedication to serving her community extends beyond fashion, as she actively engages with her audience through social media and advocacy efforts. Through her leadership and advocacy, Melanie continues to inspire women to embrace their identity and pursue their dreams with confidence and conviction.

    6. Eman Idil Bare

    Eman Idil Bare is a dynamic force in the realms of journalism, fashion, and social entrepreneurship. Her entrepreneurial journey began with the launch of her fashion line at the age of 23, where she empowers refugee women through employment opportunities.

    Eman's innovative approach to modest fashion and ethical sourcing has garnered acclaim on both national and international platforms. As a writer for prominent publications such as Teen Vogue and Huffington Post, Eman amplifies diverse voices and advocates for social justice and inclusion. Her resilience and determination exemplify her commitment to breaking barriers and creating positive change in the fashion industry and beyond.

    7. Salma Malik

    Salma Malik is a compassionate occupational therapist and founder of Klimb2 Autism Services, dedicated to supporting children with autism and developmental disabilities. Through her innovative approach to therapy and community outreach, Salma provides essential resources and support to underserved immigrant and bilingual families.

    Her commitment to cultural competence and linguistic diversity underscores her dedication to providing inclusive and accessible services for all children and families. As an advocate for disability rights and multiculturalism, Salma's work exemplifies the transformative impact of community-driven initiatives in promoting equity and social inclusion.

    8. Halima Jama

    Halima Jama is a visionary photographer and storyteller who uses her art to celebrate heritage and inspire connection. Through her work as a wedding and events photographer, she captures the essence of love and tradition, weaving narratives that bridge past and present.

    Halima's commitment to representation and inclusivity is evident in her exhibition "Scratch & Mix," which highlights stories of resilience and cultural identity. With a focus on community engagement and positive storytelling, Halima's work serves as a testament to the transformative power of art in fostering understanding and empathy.

    9. Dr. Ingrid Mattson

    Dr. Ingrid Mattson is a trailblazing scholar and advocate for social justice and interfaith dialogue. As the founder of the Hurma Project, she leads groundbreaking research initiatives aimed at addressing sexual and spiritual abuse in Muslim spaces.

    Dr. Ingrid's contributions to academia and community engagement have earned her recognition as a leading voice in Islamic studies and women's rights. Her commitment to empowering marginalised communities and promoting healing and justice reflects her dedication to creating inclusive and equitable spaces for all.

    10. Suzy Ismail

    Suzy Ismail is a renowned educator, author, and communications consultant dedicated to promoting healthy relationships and family dynamics. As the founder of Cornerstone Marriage & Family Intervention Centers, Suzy provides counselling and support services rooted in Islamic principles and modern psychology.

    Her expertise in communication and interpersonal dynamics has made her a sought-after speaker and consultant for organisations and corporations worldwide. Through her advocacy for modern Muslim marriage and integration counselling programs for Syrian families and refugees, Suzy empowers individuals and communities to navigate life's challenges with resilience and compassion.

    11. Raja Easa Al Gurg

    Raja Easa Al Gurg is a trailblazing businesswoman and influential figure in the U.A.E. 's corporate landscape. As the Managing Director of the Al Gurg Group, one of the country's oldest and most respected family conglomerates, Al Gurg has played a pivotal role in shaping its growth and diversification.

    With a diverse portfolio spanning 28 companies and partnerships with global giants like Unilever and Siemens, Al Gurg's strategic vision and leadership have propelled the group to new heights of success. Beyond her business endeavours, she is actively involved in philanthropy and women's empowerment initiatives, championing social and economic development in the region.

    12. Lobna Helal

    Lobna Helal is a distinguished economist and banking executive with a proven track record of driving financial innovation and reform. Currently serving as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Helal brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role.

    Her previous tenure on the bank's board and leadership in mortgage finance have been instrumental in shaping Egypt's financial landscape. Helal's commitment to inclusive economic growth and financial stability underscores her dedication to advancing the country's prosperity and development.

    13. Fatima Al Jaber

    Fatima Al Jaber is a prominent business leader and influential voice in the U.A.E.'s construction industry. As a key executive of the Al Jaber Group, one of the largest privately-owned construction firms in the country, Al Jaber has played a pivotal role in its growth and success.

    With a diverse portfolio of projects, including the development of Abu Dhabi International Airport, she has demonstrated her strategic foresight and leadership acumen. Al Jaber's advocacy for gender equality and youth empowerment reflects her commitment to fostering inclusive and sustainable development in the U.A.E.


    In summary, these ten Muslim women entrepreneurs have showcased resilience, innovation, and leadership across various fields. From mental health advocacy to fashion entrepreneurship, their stories inspire change and underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving progress.

    Their contributions continue to inspire and empower Muslim women around the world. At Riwaya we celebrate their achievements and recognize the immense value women hold within the Islamic faith. Happy women’s day to all of you!

    Buying at Riwaya

    On this Women's National Day, explore our collection tailored for women, featuring health and beauty essentials that promote self-care and well-being. Discover thoughtful gifts to celebrate the women in your life, along with a selection of inspiring Islamic books that offer wisdom and guidance.

    At Riwaya we are dedicated to offer a wide range of top quality products that honour the beauty and depth of Islamic tradition.

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    Selling at Riwaya

    Attention, sellers! Riwaya invites you to showcase your items on our platform. Whether it's health and beauty essentials, thoughtful gifts, Islamic books or else, join us in honouring and uplifting women through your creations.

    Join us in fostering a community that appreciates and promotes the richness of Islamic culture and traditions.


    Q1: Are women allowed to start businesses in Islam?

    Islam encourages both men and women to actively participate in economic activities, including entrepreneurship. Throughout history, Muslim women have played pivotal roles in business ventures, showcasing their talents and contributing to their communities.

    Q2: Is it permissible for Muslim women to work alongside men in business?

    Islam promotes cooperation and mutual respect between men and women in all aspects of life, including the workplace. While maintaining modesty and professionalism, Muslim women can engage in various business activities alongside men, leveraging their skills and expertise for collective success.

    Q3: Who was the successful entrepreneur in Islamic history?

    One remarkable figure is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA), the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Khadijah was not only a supportive spouse but also a savvy businesswoman who managed her trade ventures with intelligence and integrity. Her entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy left a lasting legacy of empowerment for Muslim women.

    Q4: Are there any restrictions on the types of businesses Muslim women can start?

    While there are no specific restrictions on the types of businesses Muslim women can pursue, it's essential to align their ventures with Islamic principles, avoiding industries or practices that conflict with religious teachings. Ultimately, Muslim women have the freedom to explore diverse business opportunities while upholding their values and beliefs.

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