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May 25, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9983

Saudi Journalist: We Should Invest In Facilities For People With Special Needs, Not In More Mosques

May 25, 2022
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 9983

In his March 23, 2022 column in the Makkah daily, Saudi journalist and doctor of organizational psychology Yaser ‘Omar Sindy addressed the urgent need for facilities for people with special needs in Saudi Arabia, and called for cooperation between the government and the private sector in this sphere. He stated that helping the disabled in society is a greater act of worship than building another mosque.


Yasser ‘Omar Sanadi (Source: Makkahclub.org.sa)

The following are translated excerpts from his column:[1]      

"We are still in March, which is Social Services Month… Two weeks ago, as part of a social initiative, I met with professionals in the special needs sector, who care for people with various types of disabilities: those with cognitive-communication impairments, both light and severe; the sight- and hearing-impaired, and those missing some or all of their limbs. In our conversation we discussed the pressing need to support these groups [in society], which are dear to our heart, and who require assistance and provision. The King's government spares no effort in extending various types of assistance [to the disabled], direct and indirect, material and psychological [through] the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Education Ministry, which provide care, special equipment, medicines, materials and [other kinds of] help…  

"But the steadily growing number of people with special needs in our society means that there is now need to extend more assistance, and to increase the involvement of various [other] elements that have social responsibilities, [including] institutions, companies, banks and businesspeople, so as to integrate the assistance provided by the governmental and the private sectors.  

"Fortunately, I was invited to participate in an event [organized by] a friend of mine, which was also attended by a businessman who expressed an interest in philanthropic activity, and mentioned that he had an idea to buy a large plot of land for building a mosque. I said to him that our society does not need [more] mosques as much as it needs to formulate a social approach, and that it is better to seek the greatest divine reward by focusing on humanitarian projects.

"Our society is an Islamic one, and the state is [also] Islamic, thank God. One of Allah's graces to the Prophet and to the Islamic nation is that, as the Prophet said, ‘the [entire] earth has been made for me as a mosque and a place for purification. Therefore a Muslim can pray [everywhere] when the time for prayer is due.’[2] This is an advantage and a unique characteristic, which [enhances] our wellbeing. But it is also a call to assess how we can draw closer to our Creator by helping the oppressed, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and  comforting the depressed, for 'whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity' [Quran 5:32].

"Our society must care for all living souls, and restore the spirit and the vitality of all those whom shame prevents from [requesting help], and I am referring to those with special needs, who are humble in their demands and requests. Our society must build apartments to house and care for people with special needs and substantial disabilities, who require supervision and expert care, such as those with cerebral palsy, mental illness, cognitive impairment, those on the autistic spectrum, those with Downs Syndrome or Alzheimer's as well as people who need dialysis. [We] must engage in any kind of [activity] that yields religious and material reward so as to benefit society and honestly [fulfill our duties] towards Allah…  Our society must pool and coordinate the efforts of all the philanthropists in order to meet all its vital needs and demands. It needs the [kind of] construction that the Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy, spoke of. [That is, it needs us to] strengthen each other so as to achieve the kingdom's goals according to Vision 2030, namely a society that prospers thanks to its [high] quality of life.[3]      

 

[1] Makkah (Saudi Arabia), March 23, 2022.

[2] This is a Prophetic hadith included in Bukhari.

[3] Makkah (Saudi Arabia), March 23, 2022.

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