In The Holy Month of Ramadan, We Honor Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir

Abdul-Qaadir, the First Hijabi Hooper in Division I College Basketball

Image credit, Abdul-Qaadir

As Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting and reflection, graces the Muslim community, it is an opportune time to celebrate the remarkable contributions of individuals who embody the spirit of faith, resilience, and empowerment. Among these extraordinary individuals is Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the first hijabi hooper to play Division I college basketball, whose journey has left an indelible mark on the intersection of sports and religious identity.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Abdul-Qaadir’s love for basketball began at an early age. Fueled by passion and talent, she quickly rose through the ranks, breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes along the way. Abdul-Qaadir made history as the first hijabi hooper to play Division I college basketball, a feat that showcased her unwavering commitment to both her faith and her sport.

Her impact reached new heights when she became the all-time leading scorer in Massachusetts high school basketball history, amassing an impressive 3,070 points throughout her illustrious high school career. Her achievements, however, were not without challenges. Upon entering the world of professional basketball, she encountered FIBA’s headwear rule, which prohibited the wearing of hijab during games.

Undeterred by this obstacle, Abdul-Qaadir embarked on a journey of advocacy and activism. Through her efforts, she played a pivotal role in overturning FIBA’s discriminatory headwear rule. Her dedication ensured that women wearing hijab could compete at the highest levels of basketball without compromising their religious identity. This landmark achievement opened doors for countless Muslim women and girls who aspire to pursue their passion for basketball without sacrificing their faith.

Abdul-Qaadir’s journey extended beyond her high school and college basketball accolades. After playing four years for the University of Memphis, she concluded her college career at Indiana State University. Later, she returned to the sport as a graduate assistant with the team, sharing her expertise and inspiring the next generation of athletes.

As we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, let us reflect on the inspiring journey of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the first hijabi hooper in Division I college basketball. Her story is a testament to the strength of faith, resilience, and the power of advocacy to overcome barriers. Abdul-Qaadir’s legacy continues to resonate, reminding us that the intersection of sports and religious identity is a space for inclusivity and empowerment. In honoring her achievements, we celebrate the diverse contributions of the Muslim community and foster a spirit of unity that transcends cultural and religious boundaries.