The Al-Waagah Islamic Institute for the Deaf is breaking sound barriers in the local Muslim community by introducing interpreters to relay Jumuah khutbahs in different masaajid. The initiative will, for the first time in South Africa, make Jumuah khutbahs accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The chairperson of the institute, Cassiem De Wet says that they have been trying to figure out how they could make the Jumuah khutbahs accessible to the deaf community for a long time and that deaf and partially deaf individuals have not even had the opportunity to sit in a madrassa to learn about their deen until the establishment of Al-Waagah.
Introducing this initiative, De Wet explained that they experienced several challenges, including insufficient male interpreters. The idea was not well received initially, considering the level of response, but the institute was determined to make it work.
“We decided the best way to do it was for masaajid committees to invest, so we made a course available through the masaajid and they had to send an applicant to us for training and also pay for the course.”
“…we are planning to invite the masaajid committees, in conjunction with the Muslim Judicial Council, for our next course that starts in February Inshaa’Allah.”
De Wet says the Muslim community in South Africa is lagging behind other religious communities in the country as far as accessibility in religious spaces is concerned.
“We must make Islam accessible to the deaf… I invite everybody even remotely interested or wanting to assist to contact us,” he said.
“All we want is for the Muslim community to buy in.”
Those interested can contact: 021 638 3368 OR 082 461 8222