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Islam and People with Disabilities

Dec 02, 2022

Despite efforts of experts and people with disabilities, the majority of people still look at disability as something to be ashamed of or to hide, something to get rid of or to be ridiculed – including many Muslims.

The culture and wrong interpretations of religion shape the view of some Muslims on disability which often leads to misconceptions and discrimination against the disabled.

Some Muslims believe disability is Allah’s punishment or the result of black magic, due to which they either refuse treatment and special help or fall into shirk by using witchcraft as cure.

However, just like in so many other cases, such behaviours do not at all represent the real teachings and values of Islam.

Islam’s View on Disability

Islam teaches us that humans are created different. It’s the beauty of Allah’s creation that we’re not the same – in colour, mentality, and abilities, so we need to cooperate and learn from each other.

As Allah says:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware. [Al Hujurat 49: 13]

In the eyes of Allah, humans are all equal; the only thing that makes one better than the other is the individual’s consciousness of Allah (taqwa). And, in order to develop and maintain taqwa, Allah continuously tests us. Thus, tests are not Allah’s punishments as stated in the Quran,

وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَٰحِدَةً وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِى مَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمْ ۖ فَٱسْتَبِقُوا۟ ٱلْخَيْرَٰتِ

“Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good.” [Al Maida 5: 48]

Tests come in different ways. Some might be tested by their wealth, others by unpleasant or even painful experiences, and others by their health and condition – such as having a disability.

Islam believes disability is a natural part of being a human; it’s neither a blessing nor a punishment. It assumes that people with disability “have strength and resources for their own empowerment” and emphasizes these strengths, but acknowledges their disability; and thus encourages Muslims to be emphatic and caring (but not overprotective) with others and assist them whenever they need help.

Allah orders us to never look down, label, or ridicule others – such as people with disabilities – because “perhaps they may be better than them” [Al Hujurat 49: 11]

According to Islam, integrating disabled people into the society is crucial in regards to their emotional and mental well-being.

For a successful integration, it encourages us to have empathy and a sense of care for each other and to treat disabled people as being part and parcel of our society.

Therefore, Islam grants them rights while assisting them in their needs.

In Islam, disabled people have the right to be respected and enjoy social justice; they are to be provided with basic needs such as food and clothes and receive treatment and rehabilitation.

Disabled people in a country where the Shariah rules might receive portion from the zakat, and certain religious duties might be reduced or waived completely due to their condition.

At the same time, our beautiful religion encourages assisting the disabled to carry out their duties.

They must be included in the life of the family as a full member, attend celebration on holidays, receive proper Islamic education, and even be able to marry – obviously while considering their abilities.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Ahmed Jassat

    Please come visit Greenside Maderressa as we are the first to have a special needs class integrated with maderressa

    Reply

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