The handicapped hope to marry [Archives:2005/813/Community]

February 3 2005

A handicap is a disability in either the body or mind. Handicapped people have the same human rights that other people have to marry, have children, and live a normal daily life.

There are many wonderful examples throughout history of people who were handicapped yet attained high positions with their great abilities. They did not merely reach prosperous postions but the lived much more successfully than those who are not deformed. Being handicapped was not a psychological hindrance in the way of the dreams; Al-Quraiti, Kushk, Beethoven, and Roosevelt, to name but a few.

Handicapped people in deformed societies:

In many backward communities that are suffering from the lack of development, handicapped people are denied certain human rights, such as the right to marry.

Communities often look down on disabled girls, considering it impossible to accept her as a person with all normal rights and duties. Therefore, young people are less likely to marry someone with a handicap. The Yemen Times asked some young people at Taiz University how they look at people with disabilities.

Mohammed Ahmed A. Ghaleb, 22, Faculty of Sciences, said: “The kinds deformity are different from one to another. They are deformities in sight, listening, and mind and those caused by accidents and burning which are not natural. I consider the latter is not harmful because they are not to be inherited to children. So, I frankly say that I accept to marry a deformed girl on the condition that her deformity is partial.”

His friend showed his willingness to marry a handicapped girl, Abduraqeeb al-Ganadi, 21, Faculty of Computer Sciences, said that “I would marry a deformed girl only because I sympathize with her but she would be a secondary wife not the main one.”

“It is not the end of the world to marry a crippled girl that can do her duties excellently. It's not logical to be limited to looking on the deformity of either a boy or a girl since marriage in this case is not deformed,” Mohammed Ahmed Shuja'addin, a 23 year old student said. He confirmed that a disabled girl is like any other girl: both have feelings that should be taken into account. “Therefore, there is no objection to marry a deformed girl, but rather it's a great honor,” however, his economic status prevents him from doing so.

Hamid Al-Nihari, teacher, an MA student of Islamic Education, Faculty of Arts, said that, “the Islamic rules give specific references to a disabled person including marriage of handicapped people. This thing can't be conducted but by a sacrificing person. I think a few number of men can do so. They are of those who want to have more than one wife and are able to be fair. The man who has the abilities to make the disable girl live a normal life can marry her then. It's worth mentioning that many handicapped people with great determination could challenge and defeat their disabilities.”

We also asked women from the university how they would feel marrying a handicapped man. Eman Abdu Ahmed Ghanem, Faculty of Arts, pointed out that: “a handicapped is a human being with all rights of which marriage is one of them.” She said she does not mind marrying a handicapped man. “Disability is not a psychological block in front of the handicapped, because he can achieve his dreams but other people should stand by him. Disabilities can be found even in the healthy people,” she added.

Meada Jalal al-Shaybani, Computer Sciences, 19, said: “Yes, I would accept marrying a deformed man if his deformity was physical not mental. Physical handicaps do not harm the marital life, but mental handicaps do because they can be inherited by the children.”

Sadiqah Ali Saeed, 21, Faculty of Medicine, had another viewpoint, saying “I would a marriage with a handicapped man even though I know that many handicapped people made history like Taha Hussein, Al-Baradoni, and Beethoven.” She said she feared shouldering all financial responsibilities alone if the man was not able to work.

Jihan M. S. a 22-year old single officer, who declared that she could never marry a deformed man because she is 'like other girls, hopes to marry a healthy man like her. The disabled man can't be blamed for his disability, but marrying a handicapped man is a decision which requires a lot of courage.”

A group handicapped people have campaign to ask the Al-Saleh Establishment for support from the official authorities to help them get married. Some members of this group also showed concerns over their official treatment, treatment by the community and NGOs.

The Yemen Times conducted several interviews with the members of the Disabled Training Society, to see their views about marriage. Fares Ali Al-Rae'e, 25, secondary degree and some technical and vocational qualifications holder, talked to us cheerfully about his attempts to get married all of which were in vain. He said that: “I tried to break celibacy five times and more than ten times were destroyed before going to the first step. In 1996, I proposed to a girl but a TNT explosion affected me and doctors decided to cut my leg off. As soon my fiance's family heard that, they called me while I was still in the Al-Thawrah Hospital to break the engagement.”

“My second attempt was when a girl rejected me when she realised that I am crippled.

The third try was when I engaged a girl for a long time, her father called me telling me to forget the matter without any explanation. My fiance's neighbors played a key role in convincing her that I was disabled, and would therefore have to be a beggar. My fourth attempt was with a girl from Taiz. She was happy when I proposed to her, her family they told me to pay 300,000, which I was compelled to agree to. That was in order to let me reconsider this idea. Friends of mine informed me that what I paid was returned and I was asked to cancel everything.” Fares said he does not get depressed at all and he will try a thousand times.

Ahmed Mohammed Hussein Al-Ghaithi, a 22-year-old disabled man, said the main reason behind marriage difficulties for handicapped men is the fathers of girls who refuse to marry their daughters to a disabled man even though they realize that any man can be injured in an accident. He proposed to a girl that loved once but saw that her family was so unconvinced. He withdrew his proposal to study instead. Ahmed advised the families that have handicapped members to train them in training centers to improve their skills and to be confident.

In the Blind Training Center, we met Saleem Mohammed Al-Hassani, 25, who said that he relied on himself collecting a sum of money without waiting for others' help. He decided to get married to a girl not from the same society but to one who was also blind, her family refused saying that blind men either sit at home or beg in mosques. The second time was a success his wife's family insuring that he was able to walk and work therefore they accepted his proposal. Saleem said that he loved his wife so much because she understands his status and stands by him.

Disabled girls look at marriage from different prospective. Some of them consider themselves not qualified to be wives, but some think of it a normal.

Kefayah Mahyoub Al-Khulaidi, 24, who joined the Disabled Society eight years ago, could not complete her study. Many men have proposed to her and every time she refused because she thinks that healthy men who propose to handicapped girls sympathize with her or target the salary she receives from charitable societies.

Khairyah Ali A. Othman, 20, Taiz University, says that she is engaged to a young man working for the society and they are preparing for their marriage. She suffers from a slight deformity and she blames the society that still discriminates between handicapped and healthy people. She said it happens that deformed men marry healthy women while the opposite rarely happens.

Ashwaq Abdullah Ahmed, 21, with her visual deformity said: “In reality, the society looks down on the handicapped and it is rare to find a young man thinking of marrying a disabled girl. Personally, many men proposed to me. I refused because I feel that they would only sympathize with me, which hurts me.”

Yasmin Ali Nassir, psychologist, said: “the social attitude towards the handicapped is getting better, but when talking about marriage, it is still inferior for many reasons of which the family's fear about the transfer of the deformity to children is one. This is not true of course.”

Mawadah Mohammed Saeed, Social worker in the Disabled Society, said that it is normal for the handicapped to get married but some families believe that handicapped people are. They do not expect that they may be creative and successful in life. The right of marriage is a human matter and a blessing from Allah to anyone.