Archive of ‘Culture’ category

Access Services

author:

My name is Shey Jaboin and I’m the parent of a child with disabilities.open door

If you are a parent and don’t know how to speak English well, it’s hard asking for help.  When you are a Parent and have a child with disabilities, it can be difficult to find services for your child.

We want you to know that there are a lot of places that want to help:

  • You can call your doctor to ask for help.
  • You can call the doctor of your child.
  • He can give you telephone numbers to call for services.

In Massachusetts,

  • They have different family support services.

You can call them. They can come to your house to see how to help you.  They will ask you questions. They will give you papers to sign before they start helping you.  Sometimes, these people have to send papers to your doctors before they help you. Don’t be scared.

  • These people are there to help.

Sometimes, a nurse from the agency will come to your house to check your child before they give you services.

  • Please remember that you are not alone.

They are parents and other people with disability who needed help too.  They are helping others now.

  • They are disability advocates.

They are making life better for people with disability. When you think you are ready, you will be helping other people with disability too. Connect with other parents who have children with disabilities.

  • Remember to connect with other disability advocates. They are great. They help people like you and me.

For information on Parent Resources

Black and Disabled: A Death Sentence

author:

Sign disable black lives matter too

Violence against people of color has been in the news a lot. Police are using too much force against them. This is even worse for people of color with disabilities.

This fall, police killed Keith Lamont Scott. He had a brain injury. Charles Kinsey helped people with disabilities. He was taking care of a patient with autism. He was also shot. More than half of people hurt by police have a disability. This should cause us to worry.

We do not know enough about disabilities. People in charge do not either. This puts people at great risk to be hurt by people in charge.

People in charge should:

  • Know how to spot disabilities
  •  Not jump to conclusions
  • Know that many disabilities cannot be seen
  • See their own racial biases

Every human has the right to feel safe. They should feel safe within their own skin. No matter what it looks like. No matter who is inside.

References:

Chokshi, N. (2016, October 17). Keith Lamont Scott was killed by two gunshot wounds, family autopsy finds. Retrieved October 17, 2016 from The New York Times

Harrell, E. (2014, February 25). Crime Against Persons With Disabilities, 2009–2012 – Statistical Tables. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Neyfakh, L. (2016, July 21). Charles Kinsey did everything he possibly could not to be shot by police. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from Slate

Disability in Islam

author:

Young boys on wheelchairs praying side by side with other people in a mosqueAs a Muslim doctor who treats all children with different abilities, I ask myself: how does Islam look at people with disabilities?

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. There are around 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.

Both religion and common beliefs are important. They shape the way we see things.

Islam’s main books are Quran and Sunnah. Quran is the Muslim’s holy book. Sunnah is what the prophet Mohamed said or did.

In the Quran and Sunnah, there is no mention of the word ‘disabled.’ These resources used the word ‘disadvantaged.1

The Prophet Mohamed advised Muslims to care for people in need.

The Muslims built the first home and hospital for people with cognitive disabilities1.  They coupled a caregiver to each person with needs. It is the society’s duty to take care of the people with disabilities.1

The Prophet Mohamed stated that the disability is in the way Muslims view things and not in the physical loss.  ‘The visually impaired is not the person who lost sight of his eyes but who lost sight of his heart’ Hadith

The prophet himself visited and prayed at a visually impaired man’s house. At that time, people did not want to be seen around anyone with a disability. They believed that it affected their social status.

Allah Burdens not a person beyond his scope…Quran 2:286.

Rights of People with Disabilities:

The right to be taken care of:

{And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.}2 Quran 4:5.

The meaning of the Arabic translation for ‘Weak minded’ is either children or people who are lacking decision-making skills, emotional strength, or intellectual capacity. This is Islam‘s first step to building ‘guardianship for individuals with disadvantages’: It means we should care for them until they can make their decisions. It means we should be kind to them.

The prophet Mohamed visited sick, visually impaired people and other people with disabilities. He encouraged his followers to do the same. The prophet meant to lower their suffering. He did not want them to be alone.1

Allah gives some people wealth and asks them to pay their duties. Islam encourages donations (Zakat). Muslims can spend the Zakat on “people with disabilities” as well as on the poor. This zakat is to ensure social justice. One of Allah’s titles is {The Just}.

The right to be protected:

Islam is against doing harm to people with disability. This harm can be physical or emotional.

{Believers, let not a group of you mock another. Perhaps they are better than you. Let not women mock each other; perhaps one is better than the other. Let not one of you find faults in another nor let anyone of you defame another. How terrible is the defamation after having true faith? Those who do not repent are certainly unjust}3. Quran 49:11

The right to be educated:

{He frowned and then turned away from a blind man who had come up to him You never know. Perhaps he wanted to purify himself or receive some (Quranic) advice which would benefit him}4. Quran 80:1-4

We understand from this story that a person who is visually impaired has the same right to learn. This person should receive equal treatment. Islam promotes learning for everyone.1,5

The right to marry:

In early Islam, there was a person named Julaybib who had a deformed face.  People at that point did not want to be around him. One day, the Prophet asked him why he is not married yet?  And Julaybib replied: ‘No woman will accept me.’ The Prophet sent him to propose to a girl from a well-known family. Her father refused the proposal and sent him away. When the girl heard the news, she insisted on meeting Julaybib. She agreed to his marriage proposal when she saw that he was kind and has a good faith. This story indicated that Islam encourages the acceptance of ‘people with disabilities’ as part of the society. And it is important to get married and build up a family.1

Do people with disabilities have the right to marry? Can they carry on the responsibilities of a marriage life? To love and to be loved is a natural need. Sexual needs are basic needs. These needs are present in people with disabilities. They have the right to have a partner. In certain cases, such relationship may need to be supervised by a guardian.

What is the general Muslim’s view on disability?

Muslims’ public view on disability is based on their faith. Allah had created us and our destinies. If it is meant to happen, it will happen. Life is a test, and it is up to us to pass it or fail it.

Islam teaches us:  if we do ‘an atom’s weight of good’ we will be rewarded. And if we do ‘an atom’s weight of evil’ we will see it. Taking care of people with needs is rewarded in this life and the afterlife.

Some Muslim parents feel guilty about having a child that is not ‘normal.’ They feel that they are punished for something they did. This feeling can delay seeking help. This guilt has led to shame. Families tend to hide their children with apparent disabilities to avoid this shame.

It is fine to believe in destiny and search for treatment. ‘Allah has not sent down a disease except that He has sent down its cure ‘6

People feel ashamed when having a child who is different. They think they were envied (Hasad or evil eye). Having seizures can be looked at as ‘Jinn Possession’ or even black magic.  These are common beliefs with no clear Islamic roots for them. In the Quran, it states the power of Hasad. We can protect ourselves by having faith in Allah.

The Muslim in modern time:

Nowadays, there is an increased awareness of the special needs of people with disabilities.  There are more mosques now accessible to people with physical disabilities.  Quran recital is recorded and can be read in Braille (Saudi and Malaysian versions). Sign language interprets Friday’s khutbah in some mosques. In Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) there are distinct paths to do ‘Tawaf’ around Kaaba using wheelchairs with the help of volunteers.  There is a recent application that a group of Malaysian researchers is working on to teach children with autism how to pray.

We are hoping for a brighter future. There are more Muslims with disabilities asking for their rights. They are seeking to get their needs met. We hope that the religious institutes will help them in getting what they need.

I hope that we find the cure for all illness {And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me}7 Quran 26:80

Resources:

  1. Islam and the cultural conceptualization of disability, Hiam Al-Oufi, Nawaf Al-Zyoud and Nobayah Shahminan, Page 205-219, published online 15 March 2012, https://eis.hu.edu.jo/Deanshipfiles/pub110133790.pdf
  2. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=4&verse=5 Sahih International translation
  3. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=49&verse=11 Muhammad Sarwar translation
  4. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=80&verse=1 Muhammad Sarwar translation
  5. Disability in Islam: Fully Enabling Our Community, Shad Imam, 18 December 2013, http://almadinainstitute.org/blog/disability-in-islam-fully-enabling-our-community/
  6. http://tibbenabawi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=97
  7. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=26&verse=80 Yusuf Ali translation

For more readings: