Saturday, September 15, 2007

Disability | Oppression- Ramadan Reflections Day 3

I have a friend who's sister is suffering from Rett's syndrome since the age of 3. She's about a year older than me now, and she's spent her life on a wheelchair getting seizures every now and then. Yesterday my friend told me she had a 45 minute seizure, and now the medication is going to make her sleep for a day. Everytime he talks about her, I feel so helpless. What can I do? He tells me, some have it worse- some have a 100 seizures/day, or a rod through their spine. "So may Allah make it easier on these Silent Angels". I admire my friend a lot, he loves his sister so very dearly, and truly exemplifies his being a brother.

In the summer of my third year, I worked as a student assistant for a quadruplegic student and now we're really good friends. I had written about him a lot on my old blog. Here's a snippet:

not being able to use your hands
or move your feet
having a dysfunctional diaphragm
using a suction pump to suck out the liquids from your body
a tube going through your neck
deteriorating body function
being stuck in a wheelchair for life
This is what my friend in the wheelchair has to live with, yet he's almost at the end of completing his degree. He's such a shining example of so many values- perseverence, positive attitude, determination, it goes on and on.

Disability is still not treated well in the Muslim community. I've heard people in mosques complain about wheelchairs getting in their way. I've seen people shun them as if they were a disease, not even once thinking, what if Allah (swt) had chosen this for them?

Would it not be nice, if people, would go up to these people- whether elderly, young or intellectually handicapped- and greet them? Ask them how they are? Bring them something they may need?

During Ramadan, it's truly a test for the many men and women taking care of these disabled people to continue their care. I'm sure they would appreciate someone coming in to take care of them for a few hours while they attend to their personal and or religious duties.

Let's spread some compassion today.

Today I came across the ayah in Surah Nisa, And how could you refuse to fight in the cause of God and of the utterly helpless men and women and children who are crying, "O our Sustainer! Lead us forth [to freedom] out of this land whose people are oppressors, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, a protector, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, one who will bring us succour!"

Can you hear the cries of the oppressed? Cries of the girls who are raped? Or those forced into prostitution? Or those left to die in the heat? Or those who are born with genetic mutations? Children of war? The abandoned orphans? Grandmother villages? AIDs victims? There's no end to suffering out there, but, are we will to fight for their cause?

But I wonder, if we will ever be able to hear them from the comforts of our home.


Faraz Ahmed said...

Disabled people need to be treated with the great mercy and kindness.

Just the other day, I read an article in the newspaper about a special Olympics team in which the athletes were referred to as 'mentally retarded.'

Very Sad.

Anonymous said...

On that note ...

Would it not be nice, if people, would go up to these people- whether elderly, young or mentally retarded- and greet them?

Not quite politically correct: "intellectually handicapped" is the more appropriate term for someone with a mental disability.

Humairah Irfan said...

Thanks for letting me know! I was so sleepy typing it.. and I knew there was a better term, but I wasn't aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post! Yes, we as a community need to be more tolerant and inclusive of the diversity present in our society, be it at a level of ability, gender, race, age or status.

Btw, what are grandmother villages? Never heard of the term!

Humairah Irfan said...

Grandmother villages basically exist in places like Africa, where AIDs is prevalent. An excellent book that covers this is Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis.
What happens is that, the parents die young, children infected with the virus, and you have all these grandmothers left to take care of the children, if the live...
[This is an oversimplified version of the real story just to get the point across]