Global Deaf Muslim (GDM) is doing a special project during Ramadan in which we visit 30 Masjids in 30 days to bring awareness about Deaf Muslims in the Muslim community. GDM only needs 10 to 30 minutes to make a presentation. It can be during Iftar time, before Taraweeh, or any of the other prayer times.

Often when people learn about GDM their first response is that they have never heard about GDM or the Deaf community's needs to understand Islam. There are several thousand Deaf Muslims in the US. Therefore, we decided that during this Ramadan, GDM would visit 30 random Masjids across the United States to spread more awareness of who Deaf Muslims are and GDM projects.

GDM not only wants to share what they are doing, about how the Ummah can help them grow as Deaf Muslims. They will talk for only 10 minutes, followed by a few minutes for questions and answers after that. This would greatly benefit the Ummah and the Deaf community. It will also benefit parents of Deaf children who may not know that such an organization exists.

GDM wants to discuss, during the presentation, their current and biggest project, translating the Qur'an into American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is the language used by persons who are hard of hearing in USA. GDM also wants to share how all Muslims can contribute positively to this project which will have an ever-lasting effect for Deaf Muslims for generations to come, Insh'Allah.

Several masjids have already responded and expressed their interests in being part of the “30 Masjids in 30 Days” during Ramadan. Send an email to contact@globaldeafmuslim.org about joining the campaign and having GDM come to your masjid. GDM will publicize your masjid on their website and social media.

All of these are part of a larger campaign that GDM is promoting. That campaign is called: Be one of the 114. 114 is one of important numbers in Islam. How many surahs there are in the Qur'an? 114! That is the number of surahs GDM wants to translate into ASL. GDM is also seeking donors to sponsor the translation of 114 surahs to open Islam to all Deaf people in the world that use ASL. Hearing people are not the only group who can have an understanding of Islam; Deaf people can get revelations from Allah through the messengers including Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

To conclude this appeal for support for 30 Days 30 Masjids, GDM strives to obey the appeal from Allah who said:

And whose words can be better than his, who calls (people) towards Allah, and performs good deeds and says: 'I am one of those who submit to Allah!'” [41:33]

Here is the link to the campaign on our website: http://globaldeafmuslim.org/index.php/programs/30-days-30-masjids-2/

Thank you.

3 Responses

  1. umaneesa

    GDM is awesome in Canada too along with CAMD.
    Imagine trying to pray salah using a spoken form of Arabic when your first language is sign language. How does one recite the Quran when one cannot hear it to begin with?
    In fact this challenge forces a Deaf Muslim to read it with understanding, which in this case would be American Sign Language.

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  2. Muhammad

    Wallahu ‘alam, but woudn’t it be better to translate the Arabic alphabet into ASL? I mean, once a person knows the sounds of the letters, he’d be able to recite it by moving his lips, right?

    It’s just my opinion, I don’t know anything much about ASL, etc..

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    • Aneesa

      Well, actually that’s an interesting comment. But think about it – many Deaf individuals may not have had the same access to Islam that the rest of us hearing people have had. This may be for a variety of reasons. Firstly, lectures and events are not generally made accessibly to the public. Secondly, there are some Deaf people do not have the same level of English as we do seeing as ASL is their first language, with a different grammar system, etc. So common articles, books, and other English resources that may be accessible for us are not for them because they could be written in a manner more complex than we realize. As well, many Muslim Deaf people in North America are immigrants – their first language would be the sign language of their country, followed by the spoken/written language of their country, followed by American Sign Language (which they may still be learning or perfecting, like hearing immigrants), followed by English. Therefore, interpreting the Qur’an into American Sign Language is not only giving Deaf individuals access to what was in a previously incomprehensible script, but is also breaking down the ayaat into a way that can be communicated in ASL and basically making them understand it, and hopefully make Islam a lot more accessible than it was before. Lastly, think about how odd it would be to have signs in ASL representing written Arabic letters (note that each Arabic speaking country has it’s own sign language, there isn’t really an “Arabic Sign Language per se, though there are popularized ones used in the Middle East). It would be like transliterating the Qur’an before translating it. Surely translation and understanding should come before mouthing sounds that they would not understand. Hope this helped you understand more insha Allah!

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