Channel: Yasmin Mogahed
This lecture was delivered at the 15th Annual MAS-ICNA Convention, McCormic Place on December 26, 2016.
I would have allowed him in a shaitana regime. smilla rahmanir rahim wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah Allah le Asahi, edge mine, rubbish, Ronnie sadri we are selling marijuana. Dr. Melissa Hokulea.
This is a topic that I, I've, I personally feel strongly about what my life kind of I actually learned quite a bit a few years ago about this topic. I mean, I think growing up, we've always sort of felt that
there are some people who are different than us. But I think that, for me, became more personal. Many years ago, when I met a friend of mine. At the time, I didn't know her but she was someone who came up to me in the masjid. And she told me her story. And ever since I learned her story, I've I've just been friends with her ever since. And it's just been something that's changed the way I've seen a lot of parts of life really. And usually I like to share her story because her story is very inspirational. But there's something I want to add about her story. And it's something that I hope that we can, it's something that you and I can actually take home and implement. So what she told me
that day when she met me was that she many years ago had a daughter. And when her daughter was I think around three or so she stopped talking. So she grew up, she was born, able to speak and able to do the things that you know, most children that age are able to do. But then what happened is around the age of three, she stopped talking and her teachers didn't know why she told them, you know, they told the parents, she took her to the doctor. And what she found out after some testing is that her daughter had a rare genetic disorder called MPs. And the doctor informed this mother that due to this disorder, her daughter would slowly lose her faculties. So she would lose her
ability to do things for herself, her ability to walk, her ability, even to sit up, eventually lose the ability to even swallow properly, her own saliva. And at this point, when this mother was telling me this, she was telling me that because of the inability to swallow properly. And this is something that just never even crossed my mind as one of the many lists of blessings that we should be grateful for. But our ability to properly swallow our saliva, saliva keeps us from choking to death. And we don't always realize this. I mean, how many times a minute do we swallow, but we don't say Alhamdulillah. Like ever, I never even thought about it. But this just this one blessing that
Allah has given us actually is keeping us alive, which is amazing. And she said that because of that inability she has to suction so that they don't choke. But she said that after she had a little bit later, she had a second daughter. And she started to they started to see some I think they may have gotten tested when they were babies. And she found out that the second daughter also had the same genetic disorder of MPs. And then she had a third daughter, and found out that her third daughter also had MPs. So now my friend was telling me that she had three daughters with MPs. And she's being told that this is what's going to happen to your daughter's there's no cure at this time. And you
should, you know, you shouldn't really you shouldn't expect your daughter to live even past their teenage years. And imagine a mother hearing this. And then she had a fourth child who with severe autism. I've never met anyone with with that kind of obviously that kind of strength to be given that kind of
challenge and that kind of blessing all in one. And I'll explain how she then dealt with it and what I learned from her. But what really struck me was a few points. And that is first. She was talking about her life and in her conversation about her life. She said, quote, I'm drowning in gratitude. And why that struck me so much is because
we can't, I can't we can't wrap our minds around, something like that hearing something like that. And yet we with our lives have trouble sometimes being thankful we have sometimes trouble being grateful, although we have, you know what would be considered complete ease in comparison to what she has and yet she was
saying she was drowning in gratitude. What that she taught me is that
ease and hardship aren't just about what you're given in life. But ease and hardship have to do with the state of your heart, and the state and no one's relationship with Allah subhanaw taala and the help that Allah gives. So the powerful lesson I learned from her life among many was that if Allah helps you, then you can handle even the greatest storms. And not only can you handle them, but to be able to be standing in that storm. And being grateful not only that you're surviving, but that you're thriving. That absolutely amazed me. And to me, that was a sign of Allah subhanaw taala. That, you know, as as there's a hikma that says, that, you know, there is nothing that is difficult,
if you seek a through a law, and there's nothing that is easy if you seek it through yourself. That reality was really shown to me by watching her life. But there's something else that I learned from watching her and from throughout the years that I've learned from her. And that is the absolute in the power of the community to either build these families or to completely cut them down. What I was amazed to discover is there was another woman who was her neighbor at the time, who had gone through a terrible tragedy, in which her she lost her son in a very painful way. And he died in a very painful way through an accident when he was very young. And I was speaking to both of these women,
these what I considered giants, and what they both told me and Subhanallah, I stood there, and I listened to both of them tell me the same same thing, which is that despite everything that they had gone through, and all of their challenges,
their greatest pain came from the way the community ostracized them, their greatest pain, and that blew me away. Their greatest pain came from the way the community treated them, and the way the community sort of alienated and ostracize them. And I was just amazed, because that is something that you and I can do. That's, that's such an easy test to pass. You see, everybody's given tests, right? everyone agree, everybody is given tests. Some people have harder tests than others, but everybody is tested. Now imagine that our test if we ourselves are not tested in that way. But our test is to support those who are tested in that way. That means your test is easy, right. And for us
to feel that test is something that I can, you know, that's I can't find an excuse for our only test to be to give compassion and support me, you know, because this social support, psychologists have found that it is absolutely invaluable, that the social support that that that that the effect of social support to help families with with special needs children, it can't even be measured, and yet the community failed in that test. And they did not only did they not support these families, but they even shunned them at times did not include them and ostracize them from the community. So the reason why I want to point that out, is that something everyone can do, regardless of your own
personal situation, regardless of whether or not you yourself, have someone in your family who has special needs. But what you can do is you can support those who do and then finally, I want to wrap up with this, something also that just shocked me. When she found out about
about her children. She shared with the story with me, she said that her husband was heartbroken. And she was obviously also it was a very difficult news to hear. But what her husband said to her at the time was, you know, in his, in his sadness, he said, I feel like I'm looking at three graves.
what, what she responded, it was something that I never forget and something actually her husband would never forget. And even to this day, he you know, I went recently to a fundraiser that they had put on for NPS awareness. And he stood up this was just recently a few months ago, he stood up and he said, I learned from my wife. And what he said was that when I said that, she responded and said, I see three doors to Jenna. And that's how she viewed it and Subhanallah that's so powerful, because that's exactly right. Allah subhanaw taala has a path for each of us. And Allah gives us different opportunities to reach him and everyone has a role to play.
I'm saying this because everyone has a role to play. There is a role that she has to play. And there's a role that we as a community have to play for these families. I ask Allah subhanaw taala to make it easy for all those who struggle I asked Allah subhanaw taala to make us that, that one body that she spoke about, where if one side of the body is in pain, the entire body responds accordingly. Heather was stopped for a lolly welcome. innovaphone Rahim. subhanak Hello become Dec eyeshadow en la ilaha illa Anta sakurako tooborac
spinomenal Rahim him.
So I got two questions.
I'll do my best. One of them asks, What's the call to action? What can we do? And how can we make sure that the families like this one you mentioned are more welcome.
I'd like to know what it is that we may be doing knowingly or unknowingly that we should stop doing? That's a great question.
In each situation, it will be different. But what I would say is, there's two things that I would suggest, one is reaching out personally to those families, individually to those families, and just just reach out and just ask them because I can answer the question for them of what they need for support, but just you reaching out will make a big difference to them. And just find out how it is that you can support them. Sometimes it's just by by being there for the caretaker, sometimes it's not like they need you to come take care of that. I mean, they're not going to
they're not going to hire you to come take care of their child, but what they need is maybe someone take care of the caretaker, because what oftentimes happens whenever there is someone in the family who's either special needs or sick, is that all the
the caretaker themself doesn't always take care of themselves, if that makes sense. And, and sometimes the caretaker needs taken care of. And that's, that's a huge
that's a huge, like action that you're taking to help support the one who's supporting the the one with special needs. The other question is about
ours special needs children adore to jednom example for the mother and father. Like for example, the death of a child miscarriages, and actually, there's a specific or more than one specific ahaadeeth about this case of a parent who loses the child and that there that child in one Heidi says that the child waits at the door of Jennifer for the parent and and that there's a special door for for those for those parents and their children to enter through Jenna, into Jenna. Oh, no, sorry, not a special door. But a special house is made for them in general. And that's something that the reward that's given to parents who have children who've passed away and of course, children with special
needs is very, very high. And that was the reason why my friend, you know, that's why she she saw it that way as three doors to Jenna. She recognized that this was a special path that Allah has Allah subhanaw taala had chosen for her in order to enable her to get to Jenna and, and honestly, that's exactly what it is any kind of challenge that we're given in life, and we respond to it properly it becomes it can become an opportunity. And in the case of losing a child, there's specific mention about that in the Hadith.