SHARJAH, Dec 20 — Deaf and non-Arabic speaking Muslims will now be able to better understand their faith after UAE’s Sharjah religious authorities announced their plans to offer Friday’s sermons in five languages, along with translating them into sign language, Khaleej Times reported.
“The department, geared up to meet needs of all segments of society, has hired and dedicated 48 mosques to give the Friday sermon in Urdu, Malayalam, Pashto, Tamil, and English languages,” Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Chairman of The Department of Islamic Affairs in Sharjah (DIAS), said.
In cooperation with the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, the department will hire sign language experts to translate sermons for the deaf worshipers.
“Such a service, the first of its kind in the country, is being offered at Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal Mosque for the benefit of people with hearing impairments,” Al Qassimi added.
The Sharjah mosques’ initiative to serve deaf Muslims is not the first. Last June, a mosque in Moscow started offering courses for hearing-impaired people to translate the holy book into sign language, fulfilling the dream of deaf Muslims to read and understand the Noble Qur’an.
Earlier in December 2012, Global Deaf Muslim (GDM) launched a new campaign to translate the holy book into American Sign Language.
Muslims believe that being disabled is a test from Allah in this life, and therefore can be a blessing in disguise. Every disabled person should be patient and live up to this challenge.
Islam also instructs Muslims to offer people with special needs due respect and attention. They should be cared for and all their needs should be fulfilled and they should not be isolated as they are an integral part of the society.
Serving Sharjah Muslims, the Department of Islamic Affairs runs more than 1,000 mosques, 685 of them are affiliate to Sharjah emirate.
“These are added to 430 private mosques for which the department picks a qualified Imam out of those nominated by the philanthropists who run the mosque,” Al-Qassimi said.
“We have also been asked to manage 15 new mosques this year so far, whereas 64 are under construction.”
To accommodate hundreds of mosque in Al-Sharjah, DIAS has appointed 698 Imams and muezzins. Al-Qassimi added that DIAS has sponsored 1,431 public lectures during 2013 so far, along with 572 specialized classes and 48 scientific courses.
“Staff Imams and preachers have also presented 200 on-air TV and radio programs for enlightening people and giving authentic answers to their queries,” Al-Qassimi added.
It has also issued four volumes of fatwas replying to the most common public questions to boost the Islamic awareness.
Social networks were also deemed a new filed for da`wah work after the department launched several accounts at the major social networks websites.
“We are posting audio clips of staff preachers so that people can easily learn and find answers to their queries anywhere and at any time,” Al-Qassimi added.