Islam Perspective on Disabilities

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Islam Perspective on Disabilities

By Sheikh Muhammad Khan

Muhammad Khan
Sheikh Muhammad Khan a Graduate of Madinah University is the Assistant Imam and youth director at Islamic Center of Charlotte. He is the Head of Quran Arabic and Islamic Studies department at Charlotte Islamic Academy.

We live in a world in which we are increasingly facing many various challenges, trials and tribulations, a number of them concerns our well-being and the way we live. Sadly, muslims that are faced by disabilities and special needs are any times faces with a greater challenge which is their own muslim communities. As muslims we must understand that,

First: Looking at disabilities is looking at tests and trials in life that every Believer experiences

  • As a matter of fact, trials and tribulations are the norm of this worldly life.
  • Hence, experiencing hardship is part of that process.
  • Similarly a disability that has to be endured is just another one of those tests as Allah SWT so clearly tells us in the Quran:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿١٥٥﴾ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ﴿١٥٦

And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). (155) Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (156) 

Second: The greatest disability is the spiritual disability not the physical one

  • Sometimes, a disability is visible. Sometimes, it is not seen by our fellow brothers and sisters. But the greatest of all disability is the invisible one; the spiritual disability that we do not tend to pay much attention to.
  • This disability is rectified and fixed by gaining Taqwa in Allah SWT as Allah SWT says:

  (إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ﴿١٣

Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. (Al-Hujurat: 13)

Thirdly: Disability is a test for the person affected by it inasmuch as it is a test for the entire society. Treating those with disabilities with respect is something that even Rasoolullah SAS was told to pay close attention to them with the incident of Abdullah Ibn Umm Makhtoom (RA). And Allah SWT made it clear to our prophet Muhammad SAS and to this ummah when He revealed:

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ ﴿١ أَن جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ ﴿٢ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ﴿٣ أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ

 (The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him the blind man (interrupting him). But what would make you perceive, (O Muhammad), that perhaps he might attain purity or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? (`Abasa 80:1-9)

So while he was physically disabled he was spiritually abled. We must not make judgment about anyone.

Fourthly: They are to be engaged in every aspect of society. Islam asserts equal opportunities for people with special needs.

  • The same Abdullah Ibn Umm Makhtoom was left in charge of Al-Madinah when Rasoolullah SAS and the Sahaabah (RA) went out to Badr. He was also to known as one of the Muathin (caller to prayer) along with Billal RA. What a great honor!
  • The making of the Ka’bah cloth today is done by majority with special need.

Finally: Those with special needs gets the same rewards as those who participate in the expeditions of Rasoolullah SAS. He SAS said to his Companions: “You left behind some people in Medina who did not fail to be with you wherever you went and whatever you spent (of your goods) and whatever valley you crossed.” The Companions wondered: “How can they be with us when they are still in Medina?” He replied: “They were hindered by a valid excuse.” (Muslim)

And those of you who are taking care of someone that is totally Ma’soon those that the pen has been lifted from, you have a person of Jannah under your care and perhaps on the Day of Judgement they can ask for your pardon to enter Jannah, when in this world they were not able to help you and you did it all for them.

There is no doubt that we as a Muslim community need to change our attitude and understand that those with special needs and disabilities are blessings for us and our society and we must do whatever it takes to take care of our blessings.

I ask Allah to bless us to have the open mind and an open heart to care for those that are in need and to join us with those that are close to Him and make us amongst them.

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