Islam By Touch
On the surface, the word seems so mundane. Its spelling is not complicated, its pronunciation is not difficult, but upon reflection, its significance is full of depth and complexity. To have a choice means to have dignity. To have a choice means to have respect and equality. To have a choice means to have validation.
Through My Eyes
Assalamu alaikum. My name is Yadira and my husband is Nadir. I am completely blind and my husband is legally blind. We've been married for eight years and we have three beautiful children. I was raised Catholic, and I met my now husband a few years before I took my shahada. Coming to Islam has been the biggest blessing in my life. I found my husband, and along with him, came a wonderful family. My in-laws have treated me as their own daughter, and for that I am extremely grateful. Through Islam, I was blessed with my beautiful children. Alas, Allah's bounty and mercy has undeniably been immense, and I'm certainly humbled by this. Yet, I found that upon converting, I was at a loss as to where to acquire information on this incredible deen I had now embraced. I found myself asking to read an english translation of the holy Quran, books on the prophets, books on ahadith, or any books that could provide me with further insight on my new found religion. However, I was always told to simply listen to audio recordings of the information I was requesting. In fact, this response still rings true to date. Now, as helpful as my fellow Muslims were attempting to be, they did not seem to comprehend the importance of being able to offer literature on Islam in braille to the blind Muslim community.
A Priceless Gift
One of the greatest gifts we have been endowed with, is the gift of literacy. To be able to read, means to be able to encounter worlds beyond our reality and daily musings. Being able to read means to be able to expand our imaginations to unexplored Heights. Above all however, having the ability to read for oneself, means possessing the choice to fill our minds with limitless knowledge. Of course, it isn't to say that listening to books and lectures does not induce its own unique and enriching experience, but to be presented with a choice to read for oneself provides A chance for deeper reflection and connection to The facts and stories being absorbed. Enabling the blind Muslim members of the community the opportunity to read Islamic literature in braille would allow for the same choice to be held as every sighted counterpart. Extending this recourse would permit the opportunity at being engrossed deeply into Islam. It would give the chance to contribute to the community on a meaningful and profound level. The availability and accessibility of Islamic texts would solidify blind Muslims as validated members of the Ummah, and that is exactly what my husband and I are striving to facilitate for all our blind brothers and sisters in Islam.
We would love to launch a nonprofit organization called Islam By Touch dedicated to producing and distributing braille copies of the Saheeh International translations of the holy Quran and other islamic literature free of charge. Initially, we intend to circulate braille copies of these books to mosques, Islamic centers, libraries, and organizations for the blind across the United States. However, our ambition is to eventually make these transcriptions attainable worldwide. Currently, to our knowledge, there are no Braille copies of English translations of Islamic literature available to the public free of charge. We feel there is a tangible need to donate braille copies of these texts. We want to provide every blind Muslim and every individual searching for information on Islam the choice to be able to read for themselves. We all know that seeking knowledge is a God given right, and we want to offer blind individuals an option on how they follow their pursuit of enlightenment. Allah blessed all human beings with the right to dignity, respect, equality and validation, and we want to help to ensure that blind individuals feel that the Muslim community fully acknowledges this fact.
In order to commence our nonprofit organization, we need $20,000. I understand that this amount may seem vast, but the cost of transcribing print into braille is extremely high. We need to cover expenses including but not limited to start up costs, materials such as paper, bookbinding, book covers, and labels. However, the $20,000 we are asking for would be applied towards covering the cost of one braille embosser. Acquiring this single braille embosser would send into motion an amazing change that would positively influence the Muslim community as a whole. $20,000 would allow us to get started in the right direction. It would allow us to lay the foundation for a platform where the unheard voice of the blind Muslim community could reverberate with the echoes of dignity.
We hope you find our mission to be as important as we do. This project is very near to our hearts and we appreciate any support you can give. We truly hope you'll take the time to donate to our cause. Together, we can give blind Muslims a choice. Together, we can stand tall and give our blind brothers and sisters respect and validation.