Thursday, September 14, 2023

How Disability-Friendly Is Muslim Community?

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 14 September 2023 It is very interesting how Islam addresses disability. Islam discusses this issue and provides guidelines like no other culture or ideology. Islam is a religion that presented a verse against the Prophet (PBUH) who did not treat a blind companion who entered the audience while speaking to the civic leaders of Mecca. Meanwhile, when we examine our social order, childhood stories often feature stories of the blind being given sight and the lame being ministered. Here, the message is being conveyed that blindness and lameness are imperfect and the perfection of man lies in changing them and becoming sighted and able-bodied. Perfection is considered to be the transformation of a differently abled body into an abled body. There is a general tendency here to see people with disabilities with sympathy, to pity them, to inquire about their problems and remedies, and to force them to transform themselves into able-bodied ones without acknowledging their disabled bodies. Photo courtesy/About Islam ----- But in the case of the blind companion mentioned earlier, instead of changing him to a capable one, Islam took steps to keep him as such and accept his existence as a blind person in society. Hopefully, they are willing to accept the existence of such people by building ramps in Muslim mosques. The problem with society's approach to such issues can also be seen in the issue of sexual minorities. The fact is that we are not adequately addressing the problems these people are experiencing. We have many good examples. But we are unwilling to borrow them creatively into our culture. Every human being is created by the Creator and has unique abilities. Everyone's thoughts, views and abilities are different. The task of the believer is to accept it in the same way. Allah has said that the mission of man is that We have appointed him as a representative (Khalifa). Everyone's caliphate will be different. Allah gives them the body, ability and capacity according to it. differently abled were created differently to fulfil different life missions. Islam recognizes these varieties. We should be guided by the fundamental belief that every human being is in his own perfection. It is also noteworthy that Islam never associates ability with the body. Rather, it is related to the whole soul. There is no such thing as disabilities for the soul. If there were, they are man-made. Rather, it is to fully accept and submit to it. Because this is the destiny of all human beings (Qadr). The applications of disability in our daily lives are often dangerous. For a long time, we used the term disabled. Over time it became differently abled. Finally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the term Divyang to refer to such people. In fact, the phrase Divyang, which means divine body, is also dangerous. Because it is a human body. It is as dangerous as the expression ``disabled'' to give it divine status without even acknowledging his existence as a human being. There is also the danger of creating the impression that they are something beyond all limitations, even though the truth is the opposite, by making such applications. The problem here is that society is not sufficiently aware of the issue. Every disabled person is not the patient, but the person. As such, the existence of every person with disabilities as an individual needs to be accepted in the society. The most important thing is to accept one's identity. Accepting a differently abled person as a human being with his disability is the greatest recognition he gets. In many developed countries, things have come to the point where special centres are being established for the purpose of conducting studies on the sexuality of differently abled people and its possibilities. Disability Friendliness and Inevitable Changes People with disabilities are a community where sometimes we hurt people with a heavy look, facial expression, words or some sympathetic attitude without even realizing it. People with physical or mental limitations are called differently abled or people of determination. According to the Disability Rights Act, 2016, 21 types of conditions in 6 categories are included in the disability category. 1. Physical challenge: Locomotor disability, Leprosy cured, Cerebral Palsy, Dwarfism, Muscular dystrophy, Acid attack victims, Blindness, Long vision, Hearing impairment, Aphaxia 2. Intellectual disability: Specific learning disability, Speech and Language disability, autism spectrum disorder. 3. Mental illness (Mental illness) 4. Chronic neurological diseases: multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, haemophilia, thalassemia, sickles anaemia 5. . Multiple Disability Disease 6. conditions all have more severe and less severe conditions. All these fall under the category of differently-abled but the conditions of those who face physical and mental challenges are very deplorable. In the disability category, certain causes are identified for congenital or early developmental disabilities. Unhealthy diet during pregnancy, accidents, infections, lack of care, drug use by parents, consanguineous marriages, mental illness and marrying people with developmental disabilities can cause birth defects. Most of these reasons are mentioned for attention by our Islamic literature but are found in most of our families. Early Detection and Rehabilitation Figures and reasons may not be necessary for those who have reached such a state, but what they need is a change from this state. First of all, we need to identify our child's condition very clearly and provide the necessary rehabilitation treatment based on it. See a specialist neurologist or paediatrician to identify and provide appropriate therapies for movement difficulties, speech difficulties, barriers to social interaction, or other neurological problems. As drugs do not have much effect in such conditions, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioural therapy, play great roles. Role Of Our Institutions It can be said that there are very few Muslim-managed institutions in India that provide scientific rehabilitation for differently abled society. Although relatively present in the urban regions, most of them are private-centric. If our orphanages, Arabic colleges and other educational institutions can focus on these areas, basic religious education will also be possible among the differently abled. Urgency For Community Interventions If differently abled promotion activities are organized by the community, the differently abled community will be well-empowered. All religious institutions should start by being disability friendly. They came to mosques and madrasas in wheelchairs and three-wheelers. Arrangements must be made for the smooth conduct of worship. Wheelchairs, wheelchair-friendly urinals and other means of movement should be implemented in mosques just as prayer chairs are universal. Special consideration and scientific intervention should be made possible for the differently abled and learning disabled in Madrasas. Identifying and distributing aids to the needy, establishing information centres and parent associations to provide supporting hands, helping the economically disadvantaged due to long-term medical needs, providing basic facilities for self-employment training and financial security, providing counselling for parents and children and remedial measures for children with learning difficulties are very important for the inclusive growth of the community. To provide education, utilize the buildings of Madrasas and vocational training centres for the special needs to achieve economic security are also of vital necessity. -------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Differently Abled Are More Favoured By God in Quran and Hadees -------------------------------------------------------------- How Prophet Treated the Differently Abled In the history of Islam and the life of the Prophet, we can see the noble behaviour and attitude towards the differently abled. Abdullahi bin Umm Maktoum was the most prominent of the Companions and memorizer of the Qur'an, a great scholar and a person with limited eyesight. Once when he went to the Prophet to study the Qur'an, the Prophet was talking to the leaders of Quraysh, and at that time the Prophet ignored Umm Maktoum, which caused him a little distress, and immediately reminded the Prophet of the Qur'anic verse (Do you turn away when a blind person comes to you) (Surah Abaza 1, 2) ) Even as a visually impaired person, the Prophet took care to recognize his abilities and give him positions and opportunities. Like this, an epileptic woman came to the Prophet and complained that during her illness she lost consciousness and due to this part of her body was seen by others, the Prophet said to her: Allah has given you Paradise because of your patience. And they gladly accepted it. Here the seer understood their illness and tried to comfort them and keep them together. The Way Forward The differently abled community is an important area that our Muslim community needs to open its eyes to in many areas. Especially in creating a differently-abled-friendly environment and enabling institution-centred rehabilitation. We can make it possible through centralized donations and Zakat. But only by incorporating scientific methods, we can make positive changes. Through this, new studies and active changes can be made to intervene in religious institutions and social sectors. If we ask how to create a change in the mindset of the society, the answer is that the society should be transformed in such a way that it becomes accessible to all. Apart from specific places and spaces, a situation where differently abled people can be accepted and part of the general society should be created. There should be representation of such people in various groups and organizations of the Muslim community from the bottom to the top. Their voices should be heard. Among the differently abled, the problems faced by women are overwhelming. In a patriarchal society, we have not addressed it at all. One only needs to think about how society would view a woman coming out in a wheelchair, just like a differently abled man who wants to go out in general, to understand the horror of this. In the Arab world, looking at its rich culture, their mosques and houses were built with spaces and ramps to accommodate all kinds of people with disabilities. This practice still exists today in mosques in the Arab world. Even when we fully adopt the modern methods of house construction and church construction in such places, even when we imitate their air-conditioners, decorative lights and everything else, the biggest degradation of our system is to avoid only the existing facilities such as ramps for the differently abled. Another important issue is the changes that our education systems need to make in this regard. The fact that young polio-affected students are not afforded further education in our religious education system should be problematic. It is a fact that including the fiqh of such people in the madrasah syllabus will help them learn things and create awareness about such people among all the students. They need to move away from schools only for abled bodies. The issue is not whether differently abled people come and study in such religious schools, but whether the student generation will grow up and become aware of such a community. Making them aware that there are still a few in the world is a big reason for their existence to be acknowledged. Only by giving space to such people in the curriculum committees can their problems be properly addressed and concrete solutions suggested. It is not necessary to completely deny the fact that there have been and will be many changes that spread hope, but in the context of the rapidly growing world, efforts should be made to bring more changes without stopping at the current small gestures. We need to be more updated in the situation where even developed countries have started studying the possibilities of sexuality of such people as a result of the awareness that not only air, water and food are necessary for human survival, but also all other emotions and social interaction. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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