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Inspirational Muslim Women Series - Dr. Hawa Abdi

Written by Marium Khan

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Posted on October 26 2021

Islamic Heritage Month Series

“I have given my people my heart and my soul,” she said. “Still I did not lose my hope. One day my people’s lives will change in a better way. I hope my children and the children who grow in camp, and are born in the hospital, will change the lives of Somali people.”

Hawa Abdi is remembered by many names; Mama Hawa, The Saint of Somalia, First Female Gynecologist, Mother Teresa. She has touched many hearts and continues to change the world even after her passing. 

Her first major accomplishment was in 1971, when she became Somalia’s first female gynecologist. She opened a clinic on her family’s ancestral land and provided free healthcare to every patient who came. In 1991, a civil war broke out and basic human rights such as healthcare were no longer accessible. Hawa Abdi welcomed all refugees who came to her and her small clinic turned into a big displaced persons camp which had amenities like a hospital and a school. 

In 2010, militants took over her hospital and held Dr. Hawa and her nurses hostage. Without hesitation, Dr. Hawa stood up to them and refused to be intimidated. She told them, “If I die, I die with my people and my dignity. You are young, and you are a man, but what have you done for society?” She even got a letter of apology from them for being held hostage. Hundreds of women protested in her favour, and the people of Somalia expressed their contempt for this event. We can see how Dr.Hawa has built relationships with her people and just how much she has helped them to stand up for injustice against her.  

Dr. Hawa Abdi’s life may have been completely different from most of ours, but the character she possessed can be the common link. She stood firm in her beliefs regardless of what confronted her, she sought out education in order to protect herself and benefit the lives of others. She helped anyone who approached her and continued to find ways to further expand her reach as her foundation continues to touch lives even after her passing. Her ultimate goal was to make the society she was part of a better place, and subhanAllah she accomplished just that. This is the type of person we should strive to be, someone who brings good onto the world in any way. 

May Hawa Abdi be rewarded for her efforts, Ameen.