When I was in primary school, we had extramural classes we used to attend in the neighbourhood after school. There, I met this boy who was my brother’s friend at the time.
I often viewed him with curiosity and awe because he had one normal arm and one shorter arm which looked like a stump to me. I often greeted him from afar but this day, he and my brother were having a discussion by the roadside so I finally asked him what happened to him.
He kindly explained to me that when he was even younger, living in the rural community, he had fallen from a tree and kept it to himself until he could no longer hide it. Eventually, his uncle found out and by then, it was too late to reunite the bones so he had to have the arm amputated above the elbow. It was a sad story but I had more questions brewing in my mind that I was mentally debating whether or not to ask. Then he touched me with the arm and…
I shrank back in revulsion, screamed and ran all the way home!
Honestly, I was totally horrified that such an appendage could move! The poor boy kept laughing at my retreating back!
People with deformities or impairments can seem like ‘freaks’ to the ‘normal’ population but it definitely doesn’t stop them from being human. Allah created us all as He wished and permitted some unfortunate incidents to happen to some of us that altered our normalcy but He knows best why these occurred.
I have no doubt that we will all be reunited in Al-Jannah as better versions of ourselves with the definition of ‘normal’ being broader than what it is on Earth. The imperfections we possess would certainly not matter as much in such a beautiful accepting world.
The Prophet (SAW) was said to have berated his companions when they made jest about Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (R.A.) because of his spindle-like legs and he was also close to Ibn Umm Maktum (R.A.) who was visually impaired. These were people who were outliers in the Arab population but they had the ears of the Prophet (SAW) and were appreciated for their contributions to the growth of Islam.
From the people with Down’s Syndrome, autism, dyslexia, cerebral palsy and a myriad of rare unpronounceable syndromes to those with injuries that have left them deformed, they are simply humans with human needs like you and me. They deserve to be shown love, kindness and respect (unless otherwise proven).
Could it be a failing on our part that to assimilate them into our lives that makes us label them ‘abnormal’? Is it because we think that we fall within the average human population that we make this conclusion? Perhaps, we would be the ‘abnormal’ ones if we took a census of all the people with oddities and rarities (like freckles, moles, big noses, scanty hair, short stature, overweight, squint, bad skin etc.) irrespective of colour or gender only to realise that they outnumber us. Or, we could actually even find ourselves among them!
There is no reason for people to be ostracized based on their physical or mental qualities over which they have little to no control. We should simply make room for them to live habitably with the rest of the population.
Lastly, if you do have a blemish or the other, remember that it does not matter to Allah. What matters is what your hands put forth. So, love yourself and keep your chin up!
May Allah forgive us for all our shortcomings for we are all in need of His forgiveness.