Kitaba’s First Umra Trip for the Blind
Kitaba with its partners in Scandanavia, Dirasa, are pleased with its first Umra trip for the Blind. It was a great success. One of the participants summed up the feeling of many when she said, ‘the umrah trip was an amazing experience for so many reasons and I will always cherish the very fond memories from those eleven days. From start to finish, the experience has been a blessing for both Dawud and me on so many levels.’
The group consisted of sighted, Blind and visually impaired Muslims from Denmark, Norway and Britain. The pilgrims met in Istanbul and travelled from there to Makkah via Jeddah. The organizers have run several trips to Makkah but this was the first time they incorporated people with visual impairments. They needed to adjust their teaching programmes to accommodate the varying needs. Two preparatory classes were run over skype which included lessons on how to perform the Umra and a history and description of the Ka’ba for those who are unable to physically see it. One of the sighted attendees commented that he ‘learnt a great deal’ and was ‘particularly happy to find out about the interior of the Ka’ba and its history.’ Although tactile maps were prepared, the full benefit wasn’t really found until the pilgrims were actually in the precinct of the Holy Mosque. One of the Blind participants commented, ‘it got me more engaged and I began looking forward to the trip.’
After performing the rites of the lesser pilgrimage, daily classes on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad were conducted in the hotel and sessions on Quran reading were offered in the Holy Mosque. The notes were distributed before the trip in audio and html formats with tactile maps and excel charts as an alternative to the Power Point charts used by the sighted students.
The group went on several excursions where classes were taught at significant spots such as the Cave of Hira, where the first revelation took place, the birthplace of the Prophet, upon him be peace, and the site of the Boycott against the Muslims and the clans of Banu Hashim and Banu Mutalib.
The group were joined in Madina by a local resident Khala Nur who facilitated access to the area of the Prophet’s mosque known as the Rawda.
The teacher, Abdul Aziz Ahmed, said it ‘was a great learning experience. I learnt a great deal in preparing the material and planning the inclusion of people with visual impairments.’ He said that before running the trip next year, he intends to consolidate what he has learnt and develop the training of sighted guides and the teaching programme for visually impaired Muslim through a trip to Spain to study Andalucían history and heritage. Anyone interested in attending should watch for further information on our news section or express an interest through email@example.com.
We hope to post some blog entries, photos and comments in a new section on the website very soon.
May Allah accept the Umra of all that went to Makkah . Amin.