The position of a person with a disability is great with Allah. And the reward for the person who aids a person with a disability is also great.
Loving Those with Disabilities
As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatah Qur’an Weekly, this is your brother Omar Suleiman.
I frequently ask people, what is a topic that you would like to see addressed in a khutbah or halaqa that you have never seen before? And I always hear, I have an autistic child, how do I deal with an autistic child? What about a person who has disabilities? What about caring for those who have disabilities? What’s the award for doing so? Is there anything in the sunnah about that? Even addressing some very backward, cultural views. I’ve heard some families that have children that are deaf, blind, or mentally challenged, that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an صُمُّم بُكْمٌ عُمْىٌ فَهُمْ لَايَعْقِلُونَ (summun bukmunAAumyun fahum la yaAAqiloon). That they’re deaf, mentally challenged, and blind. They’re deaf, dumb, and blind. They’ll literally say, deaf, dumb, and blind means if you’re deaf, blind, or mentally challenged, that’s what Allah is talking about. So you’re cursed.
We don’t believe that. We believe that these are tests from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallam told us that the believer is not struck with any form of stress, any form of anxiety, any form of illness, not even the prick of a thorn, except that Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala takes away some of his sins. So obviously this is a means of elevation, this is a means of a person being purified by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. How did the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallam deal with these things? Well we can see throughout the Qur’an, examples of people that were cared for. For example, Ayyub, the Prophet Ayyub (alayhi as-salam) was bed-ridden for over ten years, and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala praised the wife’s service of him. How his wife was in service to him and was taking care of him for all of those years as he was being tested by that illness.
At the time of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam), we find that there were sahaba that were blind. The other muadhin, other than Bilal (radiAllahu anhu), Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum (radiAllahu Anhu) was blind. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) made every effort to make him feel like he was part of the ummah in every single way so that he wouldn’t feel out of place or feel awkward. So the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam), when he wanted to fight in battle, and he obviously cannot fight because he’s blind, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) allowed him to carry the flag. There’s even a very well known hadith where Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum asked the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) if he has to come to the masjid because he’s blind and it might be difficult for him. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) asked him if he could hear the adhan. So the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) called him back and said when you hear the adhan, you have to respond to that call. Some of the ulema (scholars) said so that he wouldn’t feel like an outcast, so he wouldn’t feel any different. So this is not only a hukum that’s being established, a ruling that’s being established, that if you hear the adhan then you have to come, but this is actually a mercy from the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) that Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum should be a part of the ummah in every single way, just like all the other men.
We also find that there was a man named Amr ibn al-Jamuh (radiAllahu Anhu), one of the Ansar of Medina. This man was an old man who had a very severe limp. When he came to the battle, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) told him Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made it easy for you, He’s excused you, you don’t have to. And he said are you going to prohibit me from the reward of Allah and he Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) and perhaps Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grants me the reward of a martyr? Amr ibn al-Jamuh participated in the battle, and he was martyred, and the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “I have seen Amr ibn al-Jamuh strolling in Jannah without a limp.” So he was particularly referring to Allah gave him full command of his body once again and did away with the disability he had because of his dedication.
RasulAllah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) also made it a point to accommodate for sahaba that had those disabilities. For example, we find that a sahabhi by the name Arfaja who had his nose chopped off in battle. You can imagine how he looked not having his nose. This is a narration in Sunnah Nasa’i. So he made a nose of silver, and that silver had a bad smell to it. He came to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) and he complained of his nose made of silver, and he asked RasulAllah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam), “Would I be able to have a nose of gold instead?” The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Yes, of course.”
So RasulAllah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) accommodated for those companions, and many of the companions had issues later in their life. Hassan ibn Thabit went blind. We can find many companions. Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiAllahu Anhu). And the community took care of them. It was even a sense of competition to take care of those that were disabled, especially those that lived in the less accessible parts of Medina. Companions would try to go and serve those people and take care of them.
Now we go a step further. This is really where I want to try to bring it home. You know, when we’re talking about the reward of taking care of these people, number one, if you look at all of the ahadith where the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) talks about the reward of visiting and caring for the sick, they’re phenomenal. 70,000 angels accompany you on the way to and from visiting a sick person.
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said on the Day of Judgement, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will say to a person, “Oh, so and so, I was sick, and you did not visit me.” A person would say, “Ya Allah, how could I visit You? How could You be sick? How could I visit You?” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will say, “Didn’t you know that so and so was sick? Had you went to see him, you would’ve found Me with him.” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala only mentioned his being with the sick person. The hadith is longer than that, and talks about different people with different needs. But, particularly with the sick person, you would’ve found Me with him. SubhanAllah, when you went to visit him. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) encouraged this practice, and this is a practice that’s much rewarded.
If you have a person who is disabled, if you know someone who is disabled, there’s a reward in visiting that person, there’s a reward in caring for that person. Especially if that person is in your house. Let’s say that you have a child. Imagine, you’re getting that reward every single day. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is with that person. Particularly, I really want to address the parents in particular that have had to deal with a disabled child. Don’t you think that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sees your sacrifices? If Allah praises the sacrifices of parents of children that don’t have autism and don’t have disabilities and things of that sort, what about a parent of an autistic child? And Allah knows how much sacrifice you make. Don’t you think Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sees that and Allah will reward you for that? And understand, especially those who have someone with perhaps an even more serious disability, where the pen has been lifed for them, they’re not even accountable for their actions anymore. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given you a person from Jannah to care for. You have a person of Jannah, a person who’s sinless, under your care. Wouldn’t you love to care for that person, so that perhaps on the Day of Judgement they can intercede on your behalf? And say that my mother took care of me when no one else would take care of me, even though I couldn’t offer her anything in return. My mother, my father, my brother, my sister, so and so took care of me and loved me, and showed me compassion.
You have a person of Jannah under your care. What more do you want from this life than to have someone from Jannah under your care, that you can care for, and on the Day of Judgement, they can intercede on your behalf? But, certainly as a community we need to adjust our attitude inshaAllah towards this topic, and we need to start coming up with initiatives to take care of disabled people, and also try to battle some of those very, very, very insensitive and ignorant notions and stigmas that we have from different cultures.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to bless us, to have the open heart to care for those in need. And we ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to join us with those that are close to Him, and beloved to Him on the Day of Judgement, and make us amongst them. Allahhumma Ameen. JazakAllahu Khayran, wa salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatah.
Please note this transcript has been edited for readability purposes. If any of this information was good and true, know that it comes from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If there are mistakes we ask for Allah’s Forgiveness and Mercy.