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  |      |      |   The Message of Islam:

The disabled can simply be defined as a person with a disability. This generally makes such a person unable to carry out certain things on his or her own due to the disability and thus would require some assistance by abled persons to carry out such activities perfectly.

Causes of disabilities:

Actually, deformities do occur due to road accidents, can happen within the battle fields, at work or even at home. Deformities could also occur due to several causes like excessive use of alcohol, drugs, medicaments, exposure to radiation, poison, medical faults during childbirth, premature labor, diseases that affect the fetus or the mother during pregnancy or might happen due to genetic causes. Most dangerous of all, is the deformation caused as a result of illegal sexual affairs.

Forms of disabilities:

Disabilities can take many forms. They can be mental, sensual (audio or visual), physical; concerning health, psychological (in the form of behavioral, communicational disorders, retardation or in any other forms).

According to the report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the year 2000, the number of those who suffer disabilities either mentally or physically are estimated at more than 610 million persons; about 10 % of total number of world population. The report expects a wide increase of such percentage in the following years. This is due to a notable increase in percentage of environmental pollution, accumulation of weapons of mass destruction, recurrent wars, continuous price flare up, in addition to spread of poverty, backwardness concerning medical care, especially in the poor and underdeveloped countries.

Is disability a curse?

Disability is not a curse. It is a right innate in the nature of Allah's creation. It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said: 

[إن الله جل وعز لما خلق آدم مسح ظهره فجرت من ظهره كل نسمة هو خالقها إلى يوم القيامة ... ثم عرضهم على آدم فقال يا آدم هؤلاء ذريتك فإذا فيهم الأجذم والأبرص والأعمى وأنواع السقام فقال آدم لم فعلت هذا بذريتي؟ قال كي يشكروا نعمتي].

[When Allah , Exalted be He, created Adam , He, the Almighty wiped  his back , and every person that He created among his offspring until the Day of Resurrection came out from his back … Then He showed them to Adam and said: 'These are your offspring". Among them were the mutilated, the leprous, the blind, and (people with) different illnesses. Adam  said: (O Allah!) Why have you done this  to my offspring? He, the Almighty said: “So that they will appreciate My favors.] ('Umdat At-Tafseer, 2/74). 

Hence, Allah the Creator, the All-Wise and the All-Knowing, has predestined that the offspring of Adam should include the able-bodied, the handicapped, the healthy and the ill, those who have sound senses and those who have sense disabilities. In such way, the able-bodied would perceive health as a bounty and praise Allah Exalted be He, for such bounties, and on seeing those afflicted, they would sympathize with them, try to come close to Allah by taking good care of the disabled, being charitable and benevolent towards them, as they are the creation of Allah.

Since Islam takes to this position regarding the disabled, it gives good consideration to them in the society. The teachings of Islam in an ideal Islamic society have so much for the disabled and their fundamental and secondary rights well taken care of. These teachings do not only cater for their rights, but also they do provide for them an internal felicity whenever they read and hear what await them from Allah as reward for bearing patiently such disabilities in this world. Below are some of what the prophet (peace be upon him) laid down for the disabled:

It was mentioned that Attaa Ibn Abi Rabah said:

[قال لي ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما‏:‏ ألا أريك امرأة من أهل الجنة"‏ فقلت‏:‏ بلى، قال‏:‏ هذه المرأة السوداء أتت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالت:‏ إني أصرع، وإني أتكشف، فادع الله تعالى لي قال‏:‏ ‏"‏إن شئت صبرت ولك الجنة، وإن شئت دعوت الله تعالى أن يعافيك‏"‏ فقالت‏:‏ أصبر، فقالت‏:‏ إني أتكشف، فادع الله أن لا أتشكف، فدعا لها].

[Ibn Abbass told me: Can I show you a woman among the people of Paradise? I said: Yes. He said: This black woman, she came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, 'I suffer from epilepsy and when it happens  my body get exposed, so make supplication to Allah for me.' He (peace be upon him) replied: “If you wish you endure it patiently and you be rewarded with Jannah, or if you wish, I shall make supplication to Allah to cure you?” She said, 'I shall endure it.' Then she added: 'But my body get exposed, so pray to Allah so that my body will not be exposed.'He the Prophet (peace be upon him) then supplicated for her] (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 5652).

Uthman Ibn Hanif (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

[أَنَّ رَجُلاً، ضَرِيرَ الْبَصَرِ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يُعَافِيَنِي ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ إِنْ شِئْتَ دَعَوْتُ وَإِنْ شِئْتَ صَبَرْتَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَادْعُهُ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَتَوَضَّأَ فَيُحْسِنَ وُضُوءَهُ وَيَدْعُوَ بِهَذَا الدُّعَاءِ ‏"‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ وَأَتَوَجَّهُ إِلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ إِنِّي تَوَجَّهْتُ بِكَ إِلَى رَبِّي فِي حَاجَتِي هَذِهِ لِتُقْضَى لِي اللَّهُمَّ فَشَفِّعْهُ فِيَّ].

[A blind man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! Supplicate to Allah to heal me.” He (peace be upon him) said: “If you wish I will supplicate for you, and if you wish, you can be patient, for that is better for you.” He said: “Then supplicate to Him.” He said: “So he ordered him to perform Wudu’ and to make his Wudu’ complete, and to supplicate with this supplication: ‘O Allah, I ask You and turn towards You by Your Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I have turned to my Lord, by means of You, concerning this need of mine, so that it can be resolved, so O Allah accept his intercession for me."] (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3578, and Ibn Majah 1385).

In these few mentioned hadiths, the internal happiness built in the mind of such a disabled person will know no boundary as he knows that the disability affecting him gives him a special reward from Allah if he patiently bears it in this world.

Some of the Rights of People with Special Needs in Islam:

1The Right of Care and Qualification:

Islam states that helping and taking good care of the handicapped and disabled is a communal responsibility. This means that few people can act for the whole community in carrying out the duty. Hence, the community will not be guilty. However, if no one carried the collective duty, the whole community will be guilty. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

[مَنْ نَفَّسَ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ اَلدُّنْيَا, نَفَّسَ اَللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ اَلْقِيَامَةِ, وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ, يَسَّرَ اَللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي اَلدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ, وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا, سَتَرَهُ اَللَّهُ فِي اَلدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ, وَاَللَّهُ فِي عَوْنِ اَلْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ اَلْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيه].

[Whoever  relieves a believer from one of the hardships of this worldly life, Allah will relieve him of one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever eases (the difficulty of) one indebted,  Allah will make it easy for him in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, and if anyone conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps His slave as long as he helps his (Muslim) brother] (Sahih Muslim, 1924).

The prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

[أحَبُّ الناسِ إلى اللهِ أنْفعُهُمْ، وأَحَبُّ الأعمالِ إلى اللهِ عزّ وجلَّ سُرُورٌ تُدخِلُهُ على مُسلِمٍ، أو تَكشِفُ عنهُ كُربةً، أو تَقضِيَ عنهُ دَيْنًا، أو تَطرُدَ عنهُ جُوعًا، ولَأَنْ أمْشِيَ مع أخِي المسلمِ في حاجةٍ أحَبُّ إليَّ من أنْ أعتكِفَ في المسجدِ شهْرًا…].

[The Most loved ones by Allah , Exalted be He , are those who are the most helpful to others,  and the deed Allah loves most is to bring happiness to a Muslim brother, to relieve his distress, pay his debts or satisfy his hunger. I would love  accomplishing a task for a Muslim brother rather than entering into a month seclusion in the Mosque…]. (Sahih Al-Jami', 176), See similar narations also in (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 2442, 6026).

2. The Right of being respected:

Believers should not deal with the handicapped and the disabled sarcastically, should not mock them or put them in low esteem. Allah Exalted be He says in the Holy Qur’an:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ} (الحجرات:11).

{O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent then they will be the wrongdoers} (Qur’an 49:11).


3The Right of having slight religious duties is determined according to the capacity of each case: Like canceling the duty of fighting in the cause of Allah, for the disabled. Concerning this issue, Allah, Exalted be He, says:

{لَّيْسَ عَلَى الْأَعْمَىٰ حَرَجٌ وَلَا عَلَى الْأَعْرَجِ حَرَجٌ وَلَا عَلَى الْمَرِيضِ حَرَجٌ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ يُعَذِّبْهُ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا} (الفتح:17).

{There is not upon the blind any guilt or upon the lame any guilt or upon the ill any guilt [for remaining behind]. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger  He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away He[Allah]  will punish him with a painful punishment} (Qur’an 48:17). 

4. The Right to a Human and  Brotherly treatment: Islam stipulates  that Allah, the Almighty is the Creator of  everything and that all human beings are from the same father and mother i.e. Adam and Eve ( peace be upon them) as Allah says:

{يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا} (النساء:1).

{O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer} (Qur’an 4:1).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed on the above mentioned meaning in his Saying:

[النَّاسُ كُلُّهُمْ بَنُو آدَمَ وَآدَمُ خُلِقَ مِنْ تُرَاب].

[All the people are children of Adam, and Adam was [created] from dust] (Sunan At-Tirmidhi, 3599).

From the above, we can conclude that every single thing that occurs in the universe is preordained by Allah, it happens according to His will and according to a Divine Wisdom, even that which we consider afflictions like deformities, genetic diseases, accidents that cause disabilities, epidemic diseases, wars,  violent winds, earthquakes, volcanoes and others, they are all ordained by Allah the almighty.


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