We should all have a strong belief that Allah (ﷻ) shaped Nabi Adam (a.s.) and blew of His Spirit into him, and then later created for him a mate in the form of Sayyidatuna Hawa (a.s.), and that it was the Creator and the Fashioner at work. What He created and fashioned at the time was the first human being, the first one to be His khalifah on this planet. Both Nabi Adam (a.s.) and his wife had no physical or personality shortcomings, and neither did they have any disabilities. They were the first and also the best.
Over the centuries, through man’s own activities, serious shortcomings in both personality and in body and major disabilities occurred in their offspring. What Allah (ﷻ) has created was one thing, but what that creation did to itself is another thing. And so, eventually, large numbers of people came to suffer from a variety of shortcomings in their structures, with regard to the function of these structures, and the problems which arose in these structures. Just as today we sit in a world that is suffering major challenges because of the activities of human kind, in the same way these activities impacted on the physical and psychological structures of human beings. Today, large sections of humanity suffer under a variety of illnesses and diseases, and also a variety of physical and psychological shortcomings. Just as we have been messing up this planet, so we have been messing up ourselves. I want to come to another phenomenon. In many cases, certain human beings come to suffer under certain disabilities such as deafness or the inability to speak. Despite these disabilities, these individuals develop a high degree of sensitivity in other aspects of their personalities. Beethoven for example, one of the world’s greatest composers of classical music, became deaf and still produced some of his greatest works. Milton for example, one of the worlds greatest poets, either was or became blind. In the case of both of them, their deafness or blindness did not interfere with their development of other natural talents that they had been given. In fact, they did not allow it to interfere. I have come across others who, despite major physical disabilities, made major strides in different fields of knowledge.
I always wonder at this, how a blind person for example can pour forth lines of poetry that sparkle with different kinds of images; or how a person who is deaf, can compose of the greatest pieces of music. I only stand in awe at the work of my Lord. I stand in awe at how Allah (ﷻ) has compensated them in different ways for their physical shortcomings. I have come across blind people who became great scholars of Islam; deaf people who became great jurisprudents and others with physical shortcomings that instead of retarding them, encouraged them to live full lives and make contributions to other people’s lives.
Here in Cape Town was a khalifah who, when I listened to him for the first time, I could not understand what he was saying but large numbers of children passed through his hands. To me, one of the most amazing things was that his students understood him. I know of a Qur’anic reciter who stutters very badly when he speaks but when he recites Qur’an, the words flow over his tongue. These things surprise us but we don’t see the work of our Lord in operation. Even Nabi Musa (a.s.) could not speak very fluently and he used to get Nabi Harun (a.s.) to speak on his behalf. What I am trying to say is, that today there are countless individuals in the world, who despite their disabilities, have been able to make exceptional contributions to their own lives and the lives of others.
When we work in the Cause of Allah (ﷻ), we must put the Cause in front of us and our disabilities behind us. It does not matter the nature of the disability but if one can move and communicate, then one can work in His Cause. One should also not mention age. Shaykh Yusuf of Macassar was 68 years of age when he came to this county and he played a major role in the establishment and revival of Islam. He spent five years of his old age here at the Cape, calling people to the Shahadah of Islam.
I cannot always understand why we use our physical shortcomings or our ages as stumbling blocks in our work for Islam. These shortcomings should encourage one to work even harder and to make a contribution to Allah’s (ﷻ) Cause, wherever we are able to. If one is deaf, then this does not make one totally incapable. Neither when one is blind. Neither when one is old. We must look at the history of humanity, at the contributions large numbers of people had made to improving people’s lives or to help them to improve their spirituality despite any disabilities they might be suffering from. We ask Allah (ﷻ) to make us able to work in His Cause, despite our disabilities, amin.