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View Full Version : Deaf Muslims-Resources for

04-22-2007, 01:30 PM

As my hearing keeps failing this has become more of a concern to me. As a result I've been doing some searching to see what is being done world wide for our hearing impaired Brother's and sisters. The beauty of the Qur'an Recitations and the Nasheed's is such a big part of Islam, have you ever thought of what is being done to share this beauty with our hearing impaired?

Very Much is being done.

I am very much impressed with what is being done. Here is one of the first sites for the Deaf I found.


What I found especial beautiful is about half way down the page.

Watch or Listen, Imam Abu Kadeer Al Ameen deliver the English Khutba. Interpreted by Sister Carmen for Eid-ul-Adha Prayers at Henry Kaiser Center in Oakland, California.
Islam in amsign retains it's beauty. Amsign actually has no language barrier. It is not the same as finger spelling and it is a flow of thought expressed by hand and face gestures. Free from language barriers.

This is an area that Muslims around the world are not neglecting.

Accessible Mosques
Some mosques provide interpreters. At least three mosques in Cairo, Egypt had interpreters as of the year 2000. More efforts to increase accessibility for deaf Muslims can be read in the Azizah Magazine article How Inclusive of the Disabled is the Muslim Community?, originally published in December 2000. This article notes that there is a shortgage of Muslim interpreters, and makes the point that deaf Muslims need Muslim interpreters in order to get the proper understanding of their faith.

In addition, efforts to make Islam accessible to the deaf are increasing around the world. In early 2004, the Risala charity of Cairo, Egypt began offering training to deaf students after the organization discovered that deaf students could not say their prayers or read the Koran (Qur’an). Jordan already provides interpreters at mosques.
Personal Insights
Janel Muyesseroglu's web essay "The Deaf Muslim Experience: Education and Islam" has interviews with Gallaudet University students who are Muslim. Muyesseroglu's essay also describes the difficulties that deaf Muslims have in learning their faith due to either lack of access or lack of understanding. (This page was created for a Gallaudet course, EDF 730: Multicultural Foundations of Education and may disappear. It is mentioned here because of the insight it gives into the deaf Muslim community.)

Another personal insight can be found in the World Around You (Winter 2001-2002) article "Muslim in the USA: Double Pain." In this article, Gallaudet University professor Dr. Mohammad Obiedat describes being deaf and Muslim in Jordan.
For Children
The Adam's World series from Soundvision.com has an episode (episode 7), "Born to Learn," that includes a character using sign language to teach deaf Muslims about Islam. Although the program is aimed at hearing children, it may benefit deaf children too. In the Netherlands, concern that deaf children and their parents could not communicate about Islam led to the development by Effatha (Royal Effatha Guyot Group?) of Dutch signs for Islam.


Here are a few more sites I found to be very informative.

The young lady that has this first link is amazing. Stop and think, how on earth would a young Christian Deaf Girl revert to Islam?

About Me

My convert to Islam

My name is rima , Since I was born deaf , I was Christian for 15 years I grew up with good family as Salvation Army ... that I was 13 , I went to high school, I see Muslim girl who wore the head scarf and my deaf friend said to me " it is too hot!! why they wear like that!!" I said to my friend "shut up!! it their culture!!" because I grew up where I lived next door Muslim neighborhood , I remember those days , I had seen so many ladies who wear hijab, I wonder how they worn... I was embraced Islam for 8 years. I was studying the other reglions,I tried to do it but didn't worked, I can't think of Islam some friends laughed at me, because I was looking for Islam and I trying to become Muslim,
they think I 'm crazy but I'm not. I went to mosque at Lakemba
I had My shahadah then become muslim, this issue , when I was new muslim , I was scared to wear hijab it might be spat on me

I wore hijab and jilbab , that time I worn that hijab make me "protection" my parents suprised me I was become muslim, they accpet me. my friends was shocked I was muslim. they look at my clothes I wore. I learnt wudu and salaat,

Now , one year, those deaf Christian trying push me because they think Allah was moon-god or another god, I told them "no god but allah,muhammad(pubh)the messenger from god." but they disbelieve me, I thank Allah protection me

. another day, some deaf people ask me so many question about hijab , they say like: what colour your hair ? or do you wear black or what?? or why you cover up?? but I wonder that they give me big question I explained to them . deaf people don't understand about Islam as much...

when they asked these question about hijab but I was
thinking "what 's wrong with my head??? or why they
ask me so big question?? but too many question for me
I felt happy to explain about Islam . alhamdulillah, my iman growth like flower and I had learnt about hijab , Allah guide
me to right path ameen!!

Some more links

(KSL Kuwaiti Sign Language very similar to amsign)


( a deaf Muslim Math professor in US)


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- Qatada -
04-22-2007, 01:34 PM

Maasha Allaah that's really kool! :) May Allaah bless that revert sister, all the muslims and guide us all in this life and the next, ameen.

'Abd al-Baari
04-22-2007, 03:22 PM

Mashallah nice post thumbs_up
Jazakallah for sharing
May Allaah bless that revert sister and all the muslims in this life and the next,

04-22-2007, 03:34 PM
I only personaly know one Deaf Muslim. but that person was not a revert.

I have several Deaf cousins and for several years as a child I lived with them. As a result I grew up knowing how to communicate with deaf people. But, what I am curious about is the absolute miracle when a Deaf person reverts to Islam. This has to take place on a very internal invisible level. In my on feeling I envy the closseness to Allah(swt) a Deaf Muslim feels. Can you imagine being able to pray with no distraction?

Oddly now that my hearing is going I see it as the greatest blessing Allah(swt) has bestoweed on me. I am just hoping that I can memorize the Qur'an before I finish loosing it.

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04-22-2007, 04:28 PM
Now returning to topic. I'll try to keep on topic and avoid going into reasons why I am interested in this:

Here is a very helpful site:


- Qatada -
04-22-2007, 04:31 PM

No you should continue :) it keeps the thread alive and interesting maasha Allaah.

04-22-2007, 05:31 PM
Ok Brother you talked me into it.

Deafness has always been of interest to me. I guess that was a result of having grown up with deaf cousins. Back in the 1950s Deaf people were often called "Deaf and Dumb" although at one time that was an accurate term as dumb meant mute and many deaf people did not speak and were mute. However by the 1940s the term was well established as being derogatory and related to intelligence. As a result I had a curiousity about finding out about Deaf people and hard of hearing.

The one who first amazed me was Beethoven. Although he was a prolific Music writer, he never heard a single bit of music he wrote. It is believed that he wrote his music based on mathematical patterns. Oddly although he is called a music genius he was actually a mathematical genius.

Thomas Edison had a severe hearing loss, but he managed to invent the phonograph.

And of course Helen Keller. Keller was still alive and active when I was a kid. My cousins were students at ASD American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT. She visited there occasionally and it was always a big thing and of course she always drew a big crowd from the area. She did help bring about public awareness of the deaf.

As a kid growing up one thing I was aware of Deaf kids seemed to have absolutely no interest in religion. That is something I can not explain. but, in some ways I can understand it, to a very large extent religion is spread by the spoken word. That is one reason why it amazes me so much when I hear about a deaf revert.

Deaf people have a long history of being discriminated against. This article from the history of Deaf People in Africa really hit me with the compassion of Muslims.

Francophone, Saharan and Mediterranean Africa

Patterns of early evidence for deaf people in Francophone, Saharan and Mediterranean Africa have some apparent differences, and there is certainly much more in Arabic sources within Africa than has yet been brought to light. Nachtigal's observations above suggest that some 19th century Saharan deaf people were known locally, their status depending largely on that of their families. They were sometimes in demand specifically for their deafness. Those of powerless background might be collected and sold into slavery, servanthood or marriage. The Turkish and Arab destinations, arduous and dangerous though they were, probably gave some deaf Africans a higher standard of living than in their home village, and sometimes also participation in a deaf signing community. The region has major coastal cities of great antiquity, with populations large enough to make it likely that deaf men knew one another in informal groups, and sometimes in particular trades (e.g. tailoring) or cottage industries, and maintained SLs of mutual intelligibility at a basic level across large areas. [20]

Most of the region was earlier under Arab or Turkish rule for many centuries, so Islamic law and custom penetrated deep into the interior, though sometimes in mutated form. From the 9th century CE, Muslims in the Middle East had laws recognising the well-known signs of deaf individuals as valid in some legally important situations, such as marriage and commercial contracts. [21] It is not surprising that the earliest named deaf person in the present study should appear casually in two residential property sale contracts drawn up at village Tutun in the Fayyum province of Egypt in 962 and 963 CE. The southern boundary of the houses was in each case described as "the residence of the heirs of Munah the Deaf" [Arabic: al-Asamm] (Frantz-Murphy, 1981). Being thus described might suggest that Munah had been known as a deaf person for a significant part of his life. The sole information given about him, i.e. that he had "heirs" living in property sufficiently well established as to delineate a boundary in a written legal contract, suggests a man of some significance in the local community. The data should not be pressed too far, yet it seems legitimate for Deaf people in the African Middle East to take pleasure in the record of this Egyptian deaf man's name, place, property, heirs and presumable period of life in the first half of the 10th century.

Interest in signs and gestures has been sustained among Muslim scholars not only by the Qur'anic incident (Sura 19, 1-11) where Zakariya, temporarily mute, "told them by signs / To celebrate Allah's praises" ("Holy Qur'an", revised trans., Ali, 1989, p. 746; cf. the parallel biblical story in Luke's gospel, chapter 1, verses 5-23, 57-66), but also by accounts of hand signs or gestures made by the prophet Muhammad in various situations. For example, Muhammad was in the mosque on one occasion when "a man whose head and beard were dishevelled entered, and God's messenger pointed his hand at him as though he were ordering him to arrange his hair and his beard", so that the man retired and came back with a more orderly appearance (Baghawi, trans. Robson, reprint 1994, II: 938). Some further symbolic finger or hand signals by the prophet are described a little more closely (Baghawi, I: 594, 622, 628; II: 856, 913-14, 959-60, 1031-32, 1032, 1035, 1108, 1125, 1336. See also "Ishara", 1978; Goldziher, 1886, and digest in Bousquet, 1961, 269-72).

Nachtigal's interest in deaf people, mentioned above, may have been stimulated by Abd el-Ati, "a wandering scholar" whom he "had for some time as a companion" from 1871. This man was good-natured and "not only poor, but also half-blind and hard of hearing" [halb-blind und schwerhörig]. He lived by teaching children, writing letters for those who needed a scribe, and chanting the prayers (Nachtigal, II: 344-46). This broad social communicativeness of Abd el-Ati, whose impairments, in another man, might have led to a secluded and depressed existence, would surely have interested some Maghrebian writers in the 1970s and 1980s who had plenty to say but struggled to communicate across the barrier of the blank page. Eric Sellin (1988) depicts the Moroccan writer Abdelkebir Khatibi (born 1938) returning "time and time again to the theme of the orally and aurally handicapped and relat[ing] their handicaps to the creative process, while Nabile Farès from Algeria uses "mute Siamese twins", a "dumb interlocutor", and other symbols of communication difficulty in his books. The sight of two deaf people in a cafe at Damascus ("They were holding a dialogue in sign language. Their hands were dancing") inspired Khatibi with the "somehow compelling alternatives to conventional speech and writing".
That was taken from a historical writing and not from a pro-Islamic site.

Source: http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles2005a.html

- Qatada -
04-22-2007, 05:48 PM

Wow maasha Allaah! that was great. So does that mean the loss of hearing gene is in your family?

I never thought about that act of Prophet Zakariyyah that way before.. it's quite clever :)

04-22-2007, 06:32 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah

Wow maasha Allaah! that was great. So does that mean the loss of hearing gene is in your family?

I never thought about that act of Prophet Zakariyyah that way before.. it's quite clever :)
My hearing loss is the result of my early career as a pilot. Although my regular plane was the F-86 and a loud rascal, I always had ear protection around it. But, there was another plane I flew often and that was the T-39 trainer. Which was not very noisey. Quite a few of us did not realize the danger that quiet bird posed. It emitted an inaudible high frequency whine. That caused massive nerve damage which did not start being noticible until I was about 30 years old. It has been a gradual process, slowly removing my ability to hear specific tones. The first to go was the sounds of most music instruments. Didn't actually go, but the sound of any music became excruciating painful. Even now all tho I can no audiably detect music if I am around it I will get a very sharp pain in my ears and in a few minutes a blinding headache. As years went by other sounds were lost. Oddly, maybe not so odd, I can still hear and enjoy Qur'anic recitations and most nasheeds. My current hearing range is pretty much limited to the spoken human voice. Although some people I can not hear and I often can not hear over the telephone.

Trivia about the T-39 it was designed to improve pilot proficiency and an economical way for us to get in our required flying hours each month. I know I was flying it in 1959 but I can not recall the year it was introduced to the USAF.

Finaly in 1977 the USAF released this report:

Title : USAF Bioenvironmental Noise Data Handbook. Volume 97. T-39 Aircraft, Near and Far-Field Noise.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,


Personal Author(s) : Powell,Robert G. ; Farinacci,Nick A.

Report Date : MAY 1977

Pagination or Media Count : 98

Abstract : The USAF T-39 is a pilot proficiency trainer aircraft powered by two J60-P-3A turbojet engines. This report provides measured and extrapolated data defining the bioacoustic environments produced by this aircraft operating on a taxiway for four engine conditions. Near-field data are reported for six locations in a wide variety of physical and psychoacoustic measures: overall and band sound pressure levels, C-weighted and A-weighted sound levels, preferred speech interference level, perceived noise level, and limiting times for total daily exposure of personnel with and without standard Air Force ear protectors. Far-field data measured at 19 locations are normalized to standard meteorological conditions and extrapolated from 75-8000 meters to derive sets of equal-value contours for these same seven acoustic measures as functions of angle and distances from the source. Refer to Volume 1 of this handbook, 'USAF Bioenvironmental Noise Data Handbook, Vol 1: Organization, Content and Application', AMRL-TR-75-50(1) 1975, for discussion of the objective and design of the handbook, the types of data presented, measurement procedures, instrumentation, data processing, definitions of quantities, symbols, equations, applications, limitations, etc. (Author)


Subject Categories : STRESS PHYSIOLOGY

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
I won't bore everbody with the specific details but they finaly figured out, it wrecked our ears.

The Deafness of my cousins appears to have been genetic. They were the Children of my Mother's Sister. Her husband was deaf. She had 4 Children 2 were born deaf, the other 2 became hearing impaired later on.

- Qatada -
04-22-2007, 06:46 PM

Alhamdulillah you can still hear people speak atleast :) can anyone sue them for giving that kind of aircraft earlier on?

04-22-2007, 06:54 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah

Alhamdulillah you can still hear people speak atleast :) can anyone sue them for giving that kind of aircraft earlier on?
I don't believe so. It is virtually impossible to sue the military unless you can prove damage was deliberate. The USAF provides those so disabled with service connected disability compensation.

I get that, but for other injuries.

04-22-2007, 07:01 PM
this topic should be a ''sticky'' thanks uncle wood for expanding my view(myopic) of the Islamic world:)

04-22-2007, 07:49 PM
It should be noted that as stated above Deaf people had a recognizable legal sign language in the Islamic world by the 9th Century CE. But, in the rest of the world education of the deaf did not begin until much later.

Pedro Ponce De Leon, 1520-1584, Catholic monk, established the world's first school for the Deaf at the Monastery of San Salvador near Madrid, Spain where he taught till his death. "He taught the Deaf mutes from birth to speak." Peter of Ponce first taught them "to write while showing them with his finger the object which was named by the written characters; then drilling them to repeat with the vocal organs the words which correspond to these characters." He was the inventor of this art and each pupil reasoned very well. He kept records of his methods and results but were destroyed in a fire. "In spite of his success and the favorable publicity of his work, at his death it seemed to die with him."
Source: http://members.aol.com/deafcultureinfo/deaf_history.htm

Historically Deaf people were often considered to be insane or of very low intelligence. Often treated more as beasts of burden than as humans.Please read this part carefully.

A few hundred years after Aristotle, the Roman poet Lucretius (c. 99-c. 55 BCE) summed up ancient attitudes in a couplet in De Rerum Natura (On the nature of things): "To teach the deaf no art could ever reach,/No wit inspire them, nor no wisdom teach." St. Augustine (354-430 CE) taught that the deaf could not reach heaven, on the grounds that they could not hear the word of God, citing St. Paul: "So then faith...

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