A Doctor in the making, A first-class Baker, An outstanding Caterer, A Podcaster, A Talk-active, and A Cheerful soul, never a dull moment with her. A defer of odds. She’s the jack of many trades and master of it all. She’s also a serial volunteer; she says volunteering provides a healthy boost to my self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction
How’s Super Girl Khadijah and Mother of All able to combine baking, podcast, serial volunteering, and studying for a degree in MBBS?
Join us as we take a ride into the journey of Mother of All and what fuels her.
Assalāmu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullāh Wa Barakahtuhu
Please Ma’am, can you kindly introduce yourself to us?
My name is Abdulwasiu Khadijah, I’m a penultimate medical student, a serial volunteer, and a Baker.
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Who’s Khadijah Abdulwasiu?
Khadijah is a Muslimah, the 2nd child and 1st lady (I’m always so proud of this) of 4 children. A great cook (on my lucky days). A wannabe writer. A runaway Tailoring student. Joking apart, I enjoy trying different things and love to learn new things (better than a jack of all trades) but I promise you the career path I’ve chosen is a jealous one. It won’t let me explore other career paths. PS: I laugh at my own jokes. I’m a talk-active (please notice that it’s “Active” and not “ative” ?). I’d say I’m a gentle and easy-going person with a sprinkle of troublesome traits (behind the door). I’m an ambivert and I’m a very shy person. I may not look it but no one knows the inner struggle before I do anything in public. I’m very playful. I love plantain so much and I enjoy baking. I have zero tolerance for people that don’t keep to time. I love love. I love my family so much, I’m so big on friendships, and always so intentional about my relationships.
Let’s start with a journey down memory lane. How was growing up like for you?
I grew up in a very religious home with my parents and siblings. My childhood was actually a very busy one. From Western school to Arabic school and end up returning home late at night. I go to Arabic school on Sundays too. So, the only free day for me growing up was Saturday and it’s for house chores. So, you could tell I wasn’t involved in so many extracurricular activities. It was definitely fun to me though. I grew up to enjoy that kind of life and now that we’re grown, when my friends are talking about how they enjoyed Cartoon Networks and other popular childhood experiences growing up, I always can’t relate. We only had access to computers at the very beginning of our life until later that we had access to TV. Not strict parents but very disciplined. Our Ustaz too played important role in our growth, May Allah forgives him, widen his grace, and admit him into Jannah.
I know on a personal note that you are a lot. But let’s start with med school. Tell us about Med. School? Why are you there?
I don’t think I can tell you about Med school because the life in here, no one would really understand except you’re into it. So, telling you about it wouldn’t do justice to your expectations, but just know it’s not easy in here. I’m in Med school, Alhamdulillāh. It was a tough journey for me to get in here. I’m here because I do not see myself practicing any other profession rather than medicine, I love everything about it. It’ll forever be fascinating to me. Forget about how Nigeria has underrated this career but it’s such a top-tier career. I feel like a magician sometimes ?. I mean, you have abdominal pain and by asking you few questions, I can tell you what’s going on in there and prescribe medication and you can come back smiling a few days later, you’re healed. Subhanallāh, it’s such a beautiful feeling. I love the diversity of knowledge in Medicine, I love so many things. I can’t say specifically when I started loving medicine. My parents are both in the medical line and I’ve been around the hospital since my childhood days. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and I am very hopeful that the sacrifices will all be worth it in the end. Bi idhnillāh.
Oh! I forgot to mention that I love to be part of the reasons people are happy when I was telling you about myself. I feel really good when people come to me for help and I’m able to be of help, and they’re so excited about it. It gives me pure and unadulterated joy.
You’re a serial volunteer. Why do you love volunteering?
For me, volunteering provides a healthy boost to my self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Doing good for others and the community provides me with a natural sense of accomplishment. My role as a volunteer gives me a sense of pride and identity. It gives me a sense of purpose. It helps me gain real-life experiences, leadership skills, taking up challenges, great communication skills, teamwork, the social contact aspect of volunteering by working with others and helping people have a profound effect on my overall psychological well-being. There is so much more that I love about volunteering that I possibly can’t put into words or not even coming to my thoughts right now. But yeah, let me be brief and leave you with that ?.
During the lockdown, you held a program to help those dealing with mental health. Tell us about it. What motivated it and was it successful? And were there any challenges encountered?
I did a lot of volunteering work during the lockdown. I didn’t single-handedly organize any program for people struggling with mental health, I work with an NGO (Suicide and Depression Awareness Foundation). Most of the programs were organized by this organization and I was just playing my role as a volunteer. What I did, not alone, but I was the team leader, was a 7-day awareness against rape. And that was when the rape cases were making it to the media almost every day and I saw that people’s opinions were clearly from a place of ignorance. It wasn’t so challenging. It was during the lockdown so it was a virtual session, we had a group chat where we educated people and also sent out graphics conveying pieces of information about rape and post it on various social media platforms. There was a physical session that I wasn’t present at, that was just about sensitizing young children. Alhamdulillāh, it was impactful.
Is there any plan to make the program a continuous one?
For now, I have no plan for it. If in the future, I see a need for it and I have enough time to dedicate, maybe it’ll come back. But for now, I’ll rather work with NGOs that are already existing.
Sometimes last year you started a talk show known as GistWithDija. Tell us about that.
Omgggg! GistWithDija ?. It started off as a joke on a Friday when I was at the clinic and I enjoyed it, as a talk-active that I am Nah. If you address me as talkative, we’ll have issues ?. When the COVID lockdown started I converted it to a platform where I talked about Mental health and basically gist people. My favorite topic that was addressed on that platform was the pressure on male children and how the gender is perceived as being weak when expressing their emotions. It brought so many people towards me and I’m glad I was able to help a lot of them. It was such a nice feeling.
Listen to my podcast here; Gistwith-Dija
What has happened to the show? We don’t get to see it anymore.
Life happened to it o, nothing but life happened. I got busy actually. If nobody has told you, let me tell you now… Medical school will humble you, it’ll take away everything you have/enjoy from you if you give it that chance. I have other things at hand too, so I’ve got no time to dedicate to it. I dislike inconsistency and the best option is for me to just let it be for now.
What future plans do you have for GistWithDija?
The same future plans that I have for the program held during COVID. If I’m convinced in the future that there’s a need for it and I have time to dedicate to it, it might come back but for now, Allāh knows best. I still have my channel, if I feel good about it, I can always visit and release another episode.
Tell us about your podcast
My podcast is the channel I use for GistWithDija. I believe I’ve given enough info about GistWithDija which is indirectly about my podcast.
What fuels your passion for all these?
My love for volunteering work fuels my passion. Like I’ve said earlier, I feel really good when I help people. This also makes me learn more about quality of life because trust me, you don’t want to do these without a deep understanding of certain things. I love to see people around me happy so that is another factor.
Does your upbringing in any way influence you to be doing all these?
Yes, my parents are people of quality. They did all within their reach to prepare us for a quality life and I’m so glad it’s paying off now. We attended the best Arabic school in town that year (Rawdat-ul-Uluum). The quality of knowledge impacted, the quality of our home training, and the sense of quality that was planted in us all have a role to play here. There’s still a need for me to grow, so many aspects of life that I still have to develop myself on.
Does being a Muslim play any role in your many exploits mentioned above?
Simply, I’d say being a Muslim is the major factor responsible for all these moves. Islām teaches kindness, good manners, and behavior. In particular, showing kindness to your brothers and sisters, helping people in their time of need, forgiving others’ offenses, respecting parents and elders, fulfilling promises, being kind to people and to animals, being patient in adversity, maintaining justice, being honest, and controlling one’s anger to mention but a few appear as major virtues in the Islāmic concept of morality. All of these are not far-fetched from the qualities mentioned. Knowing that there’s a reward for it with Allāh, by Allāh’s will, is of positive effect also.
Also, does being a Muslim influenced your way of life and your decision-making?
Yes, being a Muslim is a major influence in decision making for me and thereby influencing my way of life. I’ll never make a decision without considering the Islāmic view of it. The reason why I convincingly settled for my course of study has to do with being a Muslim. The need to choose a career that’ll give room for preserving my Haya (Modesty, shyness). There are other careers I’d have loved to explore if this isn’t in the picture. I put religion into consideration a lot before making a decision. For instance, before I can join any organization, I want to know your mission. you won’t see me involved in anything that has to do with female child/girl child, because at the end of the day you’ll realize that the agenda is all about pushing the feminism ministry forward which Islām isn’t in support of. Islām preaches equity and not equality and the place of men is clearly marked out from that of women. So, at what point is the fight for equality?
There’s a fast-growing brand of yours known as Bakes’n’Fries. Tell us about it.
Bakes’n’Fries is an online catering business. It was born out of a passion for baking. I initially had an interest in baking just for personal purposes but later decided to monetize my passion. Alhamdulillāh, it’s been a beautiful experience. Bakes’n’Fries officially came to life on 7th Nov 2020. I had already started baking for people before then but I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of my designs. I went for an upgrade class immediately after the lockdown was lifted in 2020 before school resumed. Alhamdulillāh, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Check us out on Instagram Bakes’n’Fries
Have you faced any challenges with running the brand?
Yes, definitely. The major challenge I have is time. I do not have a lot of time at hand and it’s a must to always prioritize academics. There are times that I’ll be off business for a long time just because academics need more of my attention. Being a growing business, that isn’t healthy for it. Sometimes when I resume back, it feels like I’m just starting the business all over and will require more energy and dedication. I’m grateful to Allāh for blessing me with an amazing support system and customers, they are the reason why I remain in business. They’ll always give me the need to come back even after a very long-time off business.
What should we expect from Bakes n Fries in the future?
May Allāh preserves our lives upon the goodness and May He grant our heart desires and make it a source of Jannah for us. In the future, I hope to upscale Bakes’n’Fries. I want it to be able to function well whether I’m in or out of the country, have in different regions in the country. By doing so, I’ll be contributing my token to address the problem of unemployment and also human empowerment. Although, this is subjected to change with respect to conditions of life/living in the future.
You have your hands in a whole lot. How do you combine all of these? How are you able to cope and handle them, especially in combination with med school?
There’s no hack to this thing, and there’s no point trying to make it look easier than it actually is. It isn’t easy at all. School is demanding, Business is demanding, I have other things at hand too, it can be so draining. I always pray to Allāh to strengthen me and I’m telling you that I’d complete my tasks on some days and wonder where I got all those strengths from. That’s an answered prayer. I’ve sacrificed a lot of things just to strike balance, my leisure time, my sleep, my social interaction time, down to my hobbies. You’ll most likely only see me do things that are necessary now, if not, I’ll rather sleep. I tend to do business work overnight, catch some sleep so I remain productive during the day. That’s better compared to working during the day.
However, I have this principle that I call ‘EARN IT PRINCIPLE.’ If I’m going to do business work at night, I have to probably study enough to make up for the time that’ll be spent working. If I’m going out with friends, I must have done something to deserve it. This helps me to remain disciplined and achieve my daily to-do list (don’t work always though). I have a reward system that I work on also, I reward myself for almost everything I do. The reward can be as little as to call a friend, to sleep, to eat something I’ve been craving for, or to walk around the street. I only make sure it’s something I really want at that point. So, I set it as a reward at the end of a task. Looking forward to that reward is like a push to complete that task, even when I don’t feel like it. Those are a few of the helpful tips that help me strike balance but above all, I’m grateful to Allāh for always helping me through this, it’s honestly not easy.
As a Muslimah who wears the Hijāb, what are the challenges you’ve had to deal with as a Hijabi?
I’ve had a lot of bitter experiences regarding being an Hijābi. I school in a very low Muslim populated area, there’s this thing I have no word for (I don’t want to call it hate) towards Hijābis but I’m immune to it now. Being looked down upon because I’m on Hijāb, even some people won’t want to associate with Hijābis until they probably see value in the Hijābis. May Allāh make us steadfast on His righteous path because the pressure is a lot. I miss the luxury of being around people that constantly remind me of Allāh, through admonition, short reminders, their behaviors. Now, it’s mostly a battle with my soul all alone and this requires a lot of conscious act, and, of course, knowing how to overlook major distractions. May Allāh ease it on us (Aameen).
Read also; WOMEN
You are a person of surprises, what should we expect from you in the future?
Thank God you know I love surprises. So, keep me in your prayers and expect surprises from me, pleasant surprises bi idhnillāh.
What would you advise those who wish to tread your path?
Whatever you’re going to do in life, commit it to Allāh. Pray over and about it. I pray that Allāh eases our paths, guides us right on what’s best for us, and grants us goodness. Although I must say this if you’re ever going to study medicine, be sure about it. Don’t admire a Doctor up to a level that you’ll start wishing you’re a doctor. Be sure that you really want it because you get to a point that nothing would make sense to you and the only thing that’ll keep you going is your determination except if you’ve reached the point of no return ?. It’s a beautiful career path but be sure it’s what you want. Be sure to know how and when you function well. Your actions should be goal-directed and be sure that the goal aligns with your purpose. Whatever you do in life, strive to always give in your best. Know how well you can multitask before engaging in so many things at a time. Measure your horse’s strength before adding so many things to your cart.
What’s your advice for our darling Muslim sisters?
Dear Muslim Sisters, let us learn, know, and understand our Deen. Make our intentions sincere. Everything we do should ideally be for the sake of Allāh. Guidance is from Allāh, make Dua and make sincere efforts towards what we’ve prayed for. We seek refuge in Allāh from misguidance. You’re amazing and in hard times, keep your head up, turn to Allāh, and peace will find you. Make the focus of beautifying the interior landscape of the heart and mind a priority. There are so many pressures out there. May Allāh keep us firm in this religion
Any message for the Muslim Ummah, particularly of your age grade?
I mentioned earlier that we should strive to understand our Deen, this is because so many atrocities have been normalized and if you are not convinced enough, one could logically think such atrocities are acceptable. There is so many fitnah in the world now, Subhanallāh! May Allah protect us from fitnah and guide us right. So, never ever follow the crowd, that everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. In all our life affairs, let’s strive to know the Islāmic ruling and stand on it, don’t feel discouraged, don’t feel left out. I understand how it feels when you don’t have people of similar views around, I have been there and I’m still there, it’s not easy but bi idhnillāh we’ll make it through, successfully. May Allāh reward us with Jannah (Aameen).
Any other thing you would like to share with us?
I’d like to let you know that I do not intend to make this read a long one for you. If you get to this point, please say a prayer for me (ask Allāh to ease my affairs and grant me the best in both worlds). May Allāh answer your prayers Akhis wa ukhtees.
It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to share my story with you (At-Tareeq) and the Ummah at large.