I am Maryam Hasan

Oh, Allah-don’t test me again and again-I am tired now!

It was the second time in my life that I wasn’t able to hold back my tears that fell from a broken heart, helplessly

Despite having a marvelous patience level-despite reminding myself that ‘’Allah will surely, definitely test you so don’t weaken, and you will triumph if you are a true believer’’ I was weakening and almost losing sincerity in my faith

Shattered I collapsed to my knees on the floor on hearing the diagnosis of cerebral palsy for my daughter

‘’your daughter cannot be like a normal healthy child-you will need to struggle to make her independent ‘’Another journey, another challenge loomed before me

Oh Allah …what is my life ..what is my sin?

I withdrew into a quiet corner in my home and started to talk to my Lord, my Allah just as if I was talking to my closest friend all the while crying endlessly.

The first four years of my daughter’s life was a tough time for me

Was Allah testing me or those around me was a big question

My own life was the toughest. My relatives for whom I was earning money, looking, after all, their needs with respect for all the duties ordained for a wife and mother treated me and my child with a cruel, abusive behavior

I faced everything with grace, relying on my Allah to give me the strength and sensibility to focus on His blessings for me and to persevere despite everything for my child

Persevere just as my parents, my dear Amma and Abbo had- supporting and pushing me -an armless child -to excel at all my schooling and live as bravely and normally as possible

I recalled the first time that I had wept uncontrollably in my childhood was when I  realized the reality of having to endure a whole life minus my arms and consequently minus so many dreams and desires

Will my daughter be able to survive like I had-I kept questioning myself and my Allah -I cried and screamed – but nothing changed the reality of now -it seemed as if it was me, Maryam Hasan born all over again

-Tu ne kya ghazab kiya, mujh ko bhi fash kar diya

Main to Aik Raaz tha sinaa’ya kainaath main

Oh what a calamity that you did not leave me hidden

I was the only secret in the heart of the universe ….

Yes it is not easy to hold back your tears at times- not easy to long for a friendly hand, a touch, an encouraging smile, some support which even your relatives can’t give let alone the outside world

The word disable evokes an image which brings up exclamations of pity -bicharri-a poor unfortunate even when that disabled person poses no burden on them and is discharging all life’s function as ably as possible

We are given a name-Special

Are we special? Society’s attitudes towards us make us realize that indeed we are

So special that we cannot go out without inviting venomous looks, words, and actions

The way people put their hands to their ears saying Astagfirullah when they see us -making us feel as if we were responsible for our handicaps

Take your self-think for a while- what if some passerby stares at you and your kid who is not able to walk independently-or when other kids point their fingers at you and your child, saying weird things -giving you derogatory names?

Every day is a challenge for us -we need the courage to go out -it is not easy to live in this cruel society in which so-called Normal people make you feel that you should withdraw and isolate yourself

It is painful. Painful even to share the story of my struggle with disability. True Allah tests us all but far more trying is the attitude of society at large plus your relatives which makes us realize every passing minute that you are not as blessed as they are

I distanced myself from facing people -never anticipating or expecting compassion from others while doing everything for them -but they took my services for granted

I realized from my observations that everyone is invisibly disabled, having some faults some imperfections -which they can hide behind the mask of normality whereas a visibly disabled person is always seen and judged as imperfect no matter how perfect that person may be in the way he or she functions in life

So many of our dreams are shattered by those around us -making us barely survive not to live as others can

’Abblaa paa koi is dasht main aaya hoga

Warna aandhi main diya kis nay jalaya hoga ..’’

As my child with cerebral palsy reaches the twelfth year of her life I try to make her understand what I’ve experienced and learned …to say to her ‘’ my daughter doesn’t get hurt by people when they see you walk-we are not blessed by Allah like others so try and accept that people will behave differently towards us – but despite our deficiency, we need to survive even while many of our wishes cannot be realized. We cannot laugh and enjoy a normal mother-daughter relationship-or look as good as many others sound unkind but I need to give some armor to my child

No affordable schools for slow learners -no therapies. Everywhere, everything is commercial with money-making institutes playing with the emotions of parents

What is our Pain? Can anyone truly understand? Does anyone have the heart to understand the pain when your means do not allow you to afford the expensive fees which can properly help your child to gain the independence needed to live?

Being a handicapped working mother I spent a lot of money to afford the fees of schools -including some Islamic schools at the cost of cutting down on my own and my son’s expenditure -denying him his wishes – only to realize that those institutes did not deliver what they promised -only the very best can do that and those very best are reserved only for those who can afford them

Now I am trying to find a society that may not be Islamic in name but is Islamic in the real sense and can provide for the needs of the handicapped to lead a life of dignity.

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