Allah informs us in the Noble Quraan ”ALLAH KNOWS WHAT EVERY FEMALE BEARS.” (Ar-Ra’d-8) Every handicapped child that comes into this world is but through the command of Allah. In no way we could avert destiny. Thus, in the event of having a handicapped child, we at once become sad and lose all hope. What we fail to realize is that Allah is the best of planners and that all of His commands are followed by fountains of wisdom.
It was the morning after Eid-ul-Fitr 2005 Fajr time Allah blessed our home with yet another baby, Muhammed Zabihullah was our fifth baby. He was born a beautiful healthy baby in every aspect even though his birth weight was only 1.75kg, infacthe breastfed immediately after birth. A week after the birth of Muhammed Zabihullah his dad said to me he thinks something is wrong with his eyes. As a mum of five children I could see the difference in his eyes but I refused to listen, the truth is, I was in denial. I could not bear the fact that something could be wrong with my son. I would look at his eyes everyday examining it and eventually I asked my mum if she could see any differences in his eyes since she was mom to seven children & granny to twelve more. We came to the conclusion that he was quite fine, just that his eyes were a little different. After this episode I became very conscious about my sons eyes. I would often take notice whether people were staring or not. Parents usually make duafor children but from this moment my duasbecame intense for I knew and firmly believed that parent’s Dua’sare readily accepted.
Four months later he became sick with a severe chest infection and Muhammed Zabihullah was taken to local doctors. When they examined him they examined his hands as well. I wondered why I complained of his chest and they carefully observed his hands. Although he was not diagnosed by any local doctor I was eventually referred to JHB GeneralHospital. The doctor on call examined our son and she too looked at his hands, feet & head and she concluded that he was DOWNS! In total anguish, I began crying, all those nagging thoughts became a reality in one single moment. She, the doctor was quite insensitive and began shouting at me, saying “DO YOU WANT TO THROW YOUR SON AWAY? WHAT ARE YOU CRYING FOR?” After some time my husband asked the doctor how does she know that my son has ‘DOWNS?’ She said his features, the slanted eyes, wider gap between the big toe and second toe and slightly flattened appearance of the back of the head was the reason, but he will need a blood test to confirm if he is Down syndrome or not.
Shukar to Almighty, my husband encouraged and supported me thus I was able to see through that evening. The weeks that followed involved a blood test, Thyroid- test etc. Down syndrome babies are not diagnosed only on the basis of physical characteristics, but a confirmation through chromosome analysis is necessary. This is a special type of laboratory test performed on a sample of blood from the baby.
All MuhammedZabihullah’stests were completed and he was diagnosed with a single disability which was Trisomy21 (Down syndrome).I must however admit, that coming to terms with the fact that our son was going to have a lifelong disability was most difficult.
I, as the mum went through intense depression and everytime the issue of my son was brought up I cried, I remained silent about my sons condition, I even hid it to some extent. My father, (of whom I am the only daughter) totally refused to listen to anythinghe visited my home daily to see Mohammed Zabihullah he was in total denial. It took time but with the grace of the Almighty Allah he came through with such a positive attitude, which has done us all tremendous good.
By that time I had already conceived our next baby and I was studying Islamic studies. Just the fact that my son sat with me through lessons pertaining to Allah and his beloved Nabi (peace be upon Him) every day gave me consolation and I am convinced that this will prove to be beneficial throughout his life. My love for Mohammed Zabihullah is somewhat complicated, yet intense, it scares me.
To my dear parents,especially my father on whom this was the most difficult, beloved husband, family and friends, may Allah reward you all in abundance for your “uncompromising” support. Having a child with special needs has made us realize how many things we have taken for granted. The year 2006 became special for it was a year of sadness but even more happiness, difficulty but even more endurance, frustration but even more patience, hopelessness but even more believe. Muhammed Zabihullah attended classes regularly with me. Just a few days before my graduation (BukhariShareef) my son was hospitalized with a severe chest infection. The most difficult day of that year was the day of my graduation in which two beloved people my mum and my son were not present as my mum had to see to my hospitalized son. Truly, Allah Subhanahu-wa-Ta’alais all wise, it was on that very night that everyone raised there hands and made special duafor our son, the duasthat were so significant to his life.
By this time our son was already receiving therapy (speech, occupational and water therapy age 1yr). With the grace of the Almighty Allah I was fortunate to be guided by family members, the T.M.I. Doctors and therapist’s from JHB General with regard to our son’s condition. As we looked around us we realized that the support structures were inadequate viz; Islamic education, outreach, parent support and therapy in early stimulation, as a matter of fact they were non-existent. It was then that we decided to use the services of professional therapists and to Islamicallyeducate our communities, regarding those that are challenged, physically, intellectually and socially. Many people from the community helped and our first meeting was held on 31-08-2007 at a local hall. Not long thereafter we were fortunate to open the AL-ZABIH Centre on the 10th of Muharram 09-01-2008.