Monday, April 15, 2013

Physically Disabled, or Enabled for Paradise?

Those suffering from mental illness or extreme physical ailments are often treated shamefully by fellow Muslims. Many times, they are overtly excluded from being a part of the Muslim community; whether it's looking at them askance, avoiding talking to them, or not making an effort to make our masaajid and Islamic centers wheel-chair friendly, our behavior is in direct contradiction to the Sunnah of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

We tend to use the term "disabled" to describe people who have been tested by Allah in terms of their physical or mentally health - yet what we don't realize is that in many cases, they are actually far more "enabled" than the rest of us are. Our brothers and sisters in Islam who are experiencing these trials in their lives often display levels of patience and strength in the face of hardship than most of us, who enjoy good health throughout our lives, do.

Umm Zafar, better known as 'the Abyssinian woman' who suffered from epilepsy in the time of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was such a person. Though epilepsy was, at the time (and still is, in many parts of the world), considered to be something severe, strange, and even shameful, she bore her test with a strength, patience, and dignity equal to that of any mujaahid on the battlefield.

Ibn `Abbâs once said to `Atâ b. Rabâh: "Shouldn't I point out to you a woman of Paradise?"

He replied: "Indeed. Do so."

Ibn `Abbâs said: "Do you see that black complexioned lady? She approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: 'I suffer from epilepsy and during a fit, my body becomes exposed. So please supplicate Allah on my behalf.'

"Then the Prophet said to her: 'If you choose, you might rather bear it patiently and you will attain Paradise on account of it. Or if you like, I will beseech Allah to cure you.'

"She said: 'I will bear it patiently. But my body gets exposed, so please beseech Allah that my body will no longer be exposed.'

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) beseeched Allah for this.
" [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5652) and Sahîh Muslim (2576)]

As a result of what many of us would consider her "disability," Umm Zafar was blessed with the greatest ability of all: the ability to enter Paradise.

The next time we see a fellow Muslim who is suffering, whether from a physical or mental ailment, don't treat them as inferior or as though you're afraid that they're contagious. Don't talk down to them, don't assume that you are better than them, and don't think that because of their illness, that they are inferior to you.

Yes, they are 'different' - not because they are "sick," but because so many of them have met the challenge that Allah has placed before them with such strong emaan, patience, and strength, that they may be amongst those guaranteed Jannah.


1 comment:

Asiyah Fatima said...

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatu sister,

may Allah subhana wa ta'ala reward you for this article.

Not often you find articles that take in consideration our brothers and sisters with disabilities.

My husband suffers from a muscular disability since about 5 years ago, it's something very difficult for Muslims to understand and accept his situation, it's like they think that my husband still can do same things that he used to or like he can choose not to be disable, he has stopped going to the masjid because it's not easy for him and from people he knew very few may be 2, 3 or 4 call him to check how he is doing or visit him, most of his muslim friends don't have the time of doing it or I guess they just don't care. It seems like people would think it is contagious so I won't visit him or they are too weak to deal with it, I don't know, Allah knows best, I come from a non muslim family since I'm a revert and they were way more understanding and caring towards my husband disability that his Muslim family and friends.
We as Muslims need to work a lot on our care towards our disable brothers and sisters, they are part of our communities and we have a responsibility towards them, visiting them and caring for them.

Jazakallah khairun for your article, I will share it today with my husband, in shaa Allah he will love to know there is Muslim people like you showing disabilities in this beautiful way of enabling you to enter paradise, certainly, it is so, I have seen how my husband iman just got positively affected since his disability started, alhamdulillah for everything, Allah puts khair in everything.