Their Humanity… Or Our Divinity?

Good health is one of God’s greatest gifts to His servants.


God has His own reasons when distributing His gifts. He might test His servant with shortage in that gift, and each one of us is exposed to becoming sick or handicapped overnight, we pray to God for you and ourselves to protect your health.


When a person becomes handicapped, he needs continuous mental and physical support from his family and society. The definition of “handicapped” is relative, as it indicates the existence of some sort of weakness in the person, such as the inability to walk “crippled” or see “blind” or hear “deaf” etc.


But if we look thoroughly into the definition, we will find that it is a superficial definition that does not show the person’s ability to benefit his society, and there are many examples of leaders, geniuses, inventors, poets and authors in our history and the history of nations in general, who might be listed as handicapped but served their societies and contributed to their prosperity, progression and success, in a way that their “healthy” counterparts were unable to do even partially.


One of these examples is right before World War 2, when the United States were going through the worst economy in modern times, as the number of unemployed people exceeded 15 million. One of the presidential candidates was Roosevelt, who was crippled since he was 3 years old after he caught Polio – which was rampant at the time. Newspapers then wrote, how does a crippled man want to become the president of the United States? Days passed, and Roosevelt won the elections for 3 consecutive terms until he died during his third term after being the president of the United States for 11 years. He was able to save America from the economic setback and facilitate its exit from World War 2 in a better shape than it used to be before the war. It was written after his death that “The man who could not walk was the man who helped his crippled country to stand on its feet and walk and pass other countries.” In the West, handicapped individuals are seen as an effective working group in society, and it is easy for them to find suitable professions with salaries equal to their non-disabled counterparts, among which are doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and experts in all areas of life. One of the rights of the disabled is to ease and facilitate their daily activities to live a normal life. Such facilities are apparent in all aspects of life, starting with the first step they take outside their homes until their return. Everywhere they go there is a method to ease their movement without the help of others, whether in government departments, markets, schools, universities, airports etc. They even have the priority a lot of times such as assigning special parking lots near the main entrance and special entrances the no one else is allowed to share. All buildings are provided with conditions to guarantee the rights of the disabled, whose rights go beyond that to include having main signs in public places with letters that the visually-disabled can read with their hands. And a certain number of TV shows and news is broadcasted with sign language for the hearing impaired. There are many other examples that we cannot list, but in our Arab societies, I can let the reader close his eyes, imagine, look around and ask himself questions. Talk about what obligates the Western society, especially in America, to not let go of these principles and hold on to them as it holds on to its constitution, for which it lives and dies: It is the principle of equality from a humane perspective. I am not asking where our humanity is in our interactions with the disabled, but I am asking: Where is our divinity, especially that we are divine people who fear God in all our interactions? If each one of us imagined himself in the place of the disabled person, then asked himself how he would like to be treated if he traded places, he would certainly rethink about the rights of the disabled, as it was narrated “You are given victory with your weak.”


Who knows, it is possible that the one we consider among the weak and disabled might benefit the nation hundreds of times more than those who we believe are healthy and strong while they are the real burden of their societies and nations.



OKAZ Newspaper – Tuesday 27 Second Jumada 1418 AH falling on 28 October 1997 AD