Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
Muhammad Mus`ad Yaqut
Forgiving the Fool and the Ignorant
The beloved Prophet's (peace be upon him) mercy toward those with special needs, his forgiveness to the ignorant and his forbearance toward the fool did most evidently emerge in the battle of Uhud (Shawwal AH 3/ April 624 CE). It is reported that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) headed along with his army toward Uhud, intending to pass by a farm owned by a blind hypocrite, the latter insulted the Prophet (peace be upon him). The blind man picked a handful of dust and insolently said to the Prophet, "By Allah, if I am certain that none but you will be affected by it, I will definitely throw it at you." The Companions of the Prophet were about to retaliate against that blind person, but the Prophet forbade them, saying, "Leave him alone"1.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not capitalize on the fact that the blind man was weak; he did not order that he be killed or even harmed, though the Muslim army was on its way to battle and the situation was critical and their nerves were tense. Despite this, when the blind man stood in the army's way and said what he said and did what he did, Allah's Messenger refused but to forgive and pardon him, as it is not becoming of Muslim fighters, let alone the Prophet, to attack or harm those who are handicapped and disabled. It was his approach to behave kindly toward them, take a lesson from their condition, and supplicate Allah to cure them.
It is reported on the authority of `A'ishah,
"I heard Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) say, 'Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, revealed to me that whosoever takes a route of seeking knowledge, the route to Paradise will be made easy for him, and that I (Allah) will reward the one whose two dear things (that's his eyes) were taken away from him with Paradise"2.
The Prophet (peace be upon him), addressing all who have illnesses and disabilities, said,
"No Muslim is pricked with a thorn, or anything larger than that, except that a good deed will be recorded for him and a sin will be erased as a reward for that"3.
There exists in these Prophetic texts and Divine Sayings comfort and glad tidings for everyone with a certain disability; if they exhibit patience at their adversity, being content with the trial Allah has afflicted them with, anticipating the reward from Allah alone for their disability, Allah will recompense them with Paradise.
`Amr ibn Al-Gamouh was a lame man. However he insisted on participating with the Muslims in the battle of Uhud where he was martyred. The prophet passed by his body and said, "As though I could see you walking with this leg of yours, being heard, in Paradise" 4.
It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah left Ibn Umm Maktoum twice as his successor in Madinah to lead the prayer, though he was blind.
And it is reported on the authority of `A'ishah that Ibn Umm Maktoum was appointed to call the prayer by Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) though he was blind.
It is narrated via Sa`id ibn Al-Mosayyab that when Muslims would go on their expeditions, they used to leave those among them who were chronically ill, submit the keys of their doors to them, saying, "We have made it lawful for you to partake of our houses' food".
Thus was the Prophet's (peace be upon him) society, a society that was marked by mutual support, cooperation, and unity in consoling, honoring, and respecting those with special needs. For all of this, the course of the merciful Prophet (peace be upon him) was the role model in dealing with those who have special needs.
Visiting the sick in general, and the disabled in particular, was legislated by Islam for the purpose of relieving their suffering. A disabled person, compared to a sound one, is closer to withdrawal, isolation, a pessimistic view, and psychological illness. So, neglecting the disabled in social occasions, such as visits and marriage, is wrong.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to visit the sick, pray for them and console them, instilling confidence in their souls and covering their hearts and faces with happiness and joy. He could once go to someone in the outskirts of Madinah particularly to answer a simple need of his or hers or to pray in the house of an afflicted one, as granting of his or her request.
Praying for Them
The mercy of the Prophet of Islam toward people with special needs was manifested as well when he commanded people to pray for them as a way to encourage them to endure afflictions. He desired to create a strong will and build resolve in their souls.
A woman, who would usually have epileptic fits, came to the Prophet and said, "I do have epileptic fits that, as a result, cause parts of my body to be revealed. So, pray to Allah for me."To this came the reply of the Prophet, "If you will, be patient and Paradise will be your reward. And if you will, I shall supplicate Allah to cure you."She said, "I choose patience." Then she said, "But parts of my body to be revealed, so pray to Allah that this will not happen." And the Prophet prayed for her5.
1. Reported by Ibn Kathir
2. ( Reported by Al-Baihaqi and authenticated by Al-Albani)
3. ( Reported by Bukhari and Muslim).
4. (Authenticated by Al-Albani).
5. (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
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