Hadiza was born some decades ago in Kano to a civil servant father, Mohammed Isma and mother, Amina known to many as Iya. For her primary education she was at Shekara Primary School, Kano where she excelled and passed both the School Leaving Certificate and the highly coveted St. Louis Secondary School examination with flying colours.

Hadiza proved herself again in the West African School Certificate Examination in which she got Division One with distinction. Hadiza graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1983 with a Masters Degree in Architecture and has since passed her professional papers in that field. She also got an MBA degree in 1992 from ABU and more recently in 2012 she acquired another Masters Degree, this time in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in the UK.

Mrs. Hadiza El-Rufai has had a very fulfilling professional life, starting as a lecturer at the department of Architecture of Kaduna Polytechnic, to working at what was then known as NEPA where she gracefully bowed out after five years to set up a private practice. She kept on practicing her profession even while her husband was the FCT minister.

Hadiza loves children and is a mother to all the children she comes in contact with through her own children, with whom she has a very close and loving relationship. She is a family oriented person who has a very close relation with her husband, based on mutual respect.

Hadiza as an adult studied French and is a fluent speaker of the language. She is well travelled in off-the-beaten-track tourists places and is interested in writing, the fine arts, gardening and landscaping. As people close to her know, her choice of dress style is simple.