It was a very beautiful day this Friday. Sun was out and temperature was just perfect. In a good mood I was walking towards the masjid for the Juma prayers. I noticed a guy in a wheelchair in front of a Korean Restaurant. He looked at me and mumbled something. I stopped and took out my wallet hoping that I would have some change so that I don’t have to part with my $20 bill that I knew was in there.
Realizing what I was doing, and before I could take out the money from the wallet, the man in the wheelchair said, “Can you open the door?”
I looked at him horrified.
Why did I automatically assume that just because he is in a wheelchair, he is asking for money? So today’s topic is on disability and how we assume that just because a person is disabled in one function automatically means that he is unable to survive in this world.
In a way, we all are disabled in one way or another but that doesn’t stop us thinking that we are normal. May be our disability is not visible or may be the technology has improved so much that I can function like a “normal” person. E.g. without my eyeglasses, I will not be able to function very well in this world. Is that not a disability?
Organizations like Equallyable are doing great work to raise awareness about this issue. Also there are organizations that provide services to blind and deaf Muslims. Efforts like these need to be supported.
Finally, I reached the masjid and realized that our masaajid are far from being accessible to all. The masjid that I go to has a flight of stairs to climb up to the men’s section and women have to climb down. There is no way anyone in wheel chair can come and pray in this masjid. Come to think of it most masjids that I have seen are not wheel chair accessible. Something that needs to change soon.