Americans With Disabilities, the Most Righteous Among Us? 11:24
”The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”
“These two types of people can be compared to the blind and deaf and those who can see and hear. Are they equal when compared? Will you not then take notice?”
I hear someone saying that these verses are not in fact referring to individuals with physical disabilities, but instead are referring to people individuals with mental or spiritual deafness and blindness.
They are right, well partially.
Take Quran 11:24 for example. If this verse was not referring to physical deafness and blindness at all, would not the verse then read as if the spiritually and mentally blind and deaf were being compared to the spiritually and mentally blind and deaf? For this analogy to work, does not the spiritually and mentally blind and deaf need to be compared to the physical blind and deaf?
Still, for years I have misunderstood Quran 11:24 as somehow suggesting that those with disabilities like deafness and blindness were inferior to the hearing and seeing because when God asks in this verse, “Are they equal when compared?”, I consistently answered “No, the seeing and hearing are better”, merely because they do not lack sight and hearing.”
But the truth is, individuals with disabilities seem to disproportionately fit the description of the virtuous ones who Allah speaks of in the preceding verses; those possessing virtues like humility, gratefulness, optimism, honesty, and patience. And furthermore, each time I close my eyes as if I were blind, and sit in silence as if I were deaf, I am more at peace than when my eyes are open, and sound is all around. And these are the moments I feel most connected to these virtues.
So perhaps the verse is, among other things, revealing what people with disabilities too often find themselves having to remind us of; that there is truly no reason to feel sorry for them. In fact, we should look up to those of us with disabilities because of their exceptional character.
What do you think? Post a comment.