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The Muslim Link
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Islamic Knowledge and the Deaf Community PDF Print E-mail
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Community News - Community News
Written by Wafa Unus, Muslim Link Staff Reporter   
Friday, 20 January 2012 23:28

“They have to know Islam and it is our duty to teach them. After all, how would they know if someone doesn’t teach them,” said Dr. Yahya Alvi, Project Advisor for Global Deaf Muslims, an organization that seeks to spread awareness about the needs of deaf Muslims around the world.

Dr. Alvi teaches a weekly class on the basics of Islamic practice at a local masjid  for the deaf Muslim community. Through an interpreter he teaches everything from the concept of the oneness of God to the details of Hadith and Qur’an.

Just a few years ago, Dr. Alvi himself was unaware of the need for teaching Islam to the deaf community. Now, he finds himself a vocal advocate for regular interpreters at Jummah Khutbah’s and Islamic classes.

Many of his students, though adults, entered his class with no knowledge of how to pray or of the basic tenants of Islam. Through they grew up Muslim, Islam was inaccessible to them until classes like the one Dr. Alvi teaches started to become available as awareness in the hearing community began to grow.

“We need to realize that there is a community out there, deaf people, who need our help, we need to go to them and tell them what Islam is all about and if we do not we are responsible for their ignorance and whatever their subsequent actions that come from that ignorance,” he said.

As he’s learned about and connected with the deaf Muslim community, he has realized not only the disadvantages that the deaf face in the Muslim community but the advantages that the hearing Muslim community often take for granted.

“The hearing community must understand that when they go for Jummah, there are people there who see the the man giving the khutbah but they do not know what he said and that is not their fault at all,” said Dr. Alvi.

At the same time, he continued, there are many there who can hear but their mind is elsewhere. They simply chose not to hear.

A physician for 53 years, Dr. Alvi’s love for teaching motivated him to volunteer his time each weekend and provide a service that many in the deaf community have been searching for their entire lives.

This however, does not come without its challenges.

A wide range of students, at different levels in terms of knowledge, age and ability create a unique classroom. On top of that, translating Arabic terms into American Sign Language has also been a challenge.

While Dr. Alvi still grapples at finding the best way to convey the Islam to those in the deaf community he sees it as a responsibility, not simply an opportunity.

“If Allah has given us the faculty of hearing, we need to do some sadaqa of this hearing and take the message of the Qur’an to those who are deaf. How we do that? We have to find out how to do that.”

The greatest challenge perhaps, is the perceptions of the hearing community on the deaf community.

“There’s a belief that if someone gets a deaf child its a punishment,” he said, “This is not a punishment of God, this is a test of God, not just for the parents but for the community.”

Comments (9)
  • Marwa  - MashAllah
    It is wonderful to find out about all these wonderful things that Muslims are doing for their community. May God bless Dr. Alvi, and all those who help our Muslim brothers and sisters!
  • fardowsa  - mashallah
    this beautiful and your right the deaf has the right to know their religion, mashallah its good to teach each other what we know
  • Sauda  - Teaching Islam to the Deaf Muslims
    MashaAllah I read the topic and it really brought tears in my eyes how we take our blessings for granted may Allah keep guiding u Dr.Alvi for the good work and may many more follow your steps InshAllah.
  • hajer
    salamu ala ykum.....iwanna to teach me islamic more than as iknew please..
  • Dr. Mohammad Y. Alvi
    JazakumAllah khair for your comment. It will be a great pleasure for me to share my little knowledge in Islam with you and to learn from sincere people like you as well. Please feel free to write at any time. QBest regards......................Yahya
  • Nuha  - Great article
    Great article! As a revert I have never thought about others who have it even harder to learn Islam. But how can anyone think, that a deaf or a dumb child is a punishment - audhubillah! May Allah protect those brothers and sisters and may He reward Dr. Alvi for his great work!
  • Khadijah  - An amazing job!
    This is a wonderful job you are doing my brother and it is also a great reminder to those of us who can hear and tend not to be grateful to Allaah and also not paying attention to those our brothers/sisters in our community that need our special attention. I asked Allaah to crown your effort with success in this world and grant you, your family and all the muslims the highest paradise.....ameen.
  • Carmelita aka Fahtimah  - May, ALLAH BLESS Y-O-U InshALLAH
    Ahsalam alakem (wrb) Thank you brother my ALLAH BLESS YOU in your indovers! Masalamah
  • Mutebi farouk  - May ALLAH show us the way
    its a great job done and may ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY show us the way to do the same job by all means cause we are all responsible.
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