Marriages of the disabled : A social
paralysisArab News - Sunday 27 December 2009 (10 Muharram 1431)
Fatima is a 30-year-old Saudi woman
who suffers from polio. She has never
been married and spends her time working
for a charitable organization.
isn't easy to have special needs and
get married. It's socially difficult
and sometimes painful," said
Fatima. Many people have a very limited
view of disabled people, she explained.
said she is judged on the basis of
her physical appearance and deemed
unfit to marry, have children or be
an active member of society. "They
should know that not all disabled
people are crippled. Disabilities
vary from one person to another,"
for people with special needs is a
contentious issue in Saudi society.
Parents are typically responsible
for the care of a mentally disabled
child. Therefore, marriage is perhaps
seen as the only way of securing care,
love and attention after they die.
there are questions regarding whether
the mentally disabled should be allowed
to marry partners that are able-bodied
and also whether they are capable
of being husbands, wives and parents.
said that it is preferable for a disabled
person to marry disabled people. However,
they must be able to complement each
other so that they can manage their
marriage without outside help.
though life would be tough for them,
they ought to be given the choice
to marry or not," she said.
are no official statistics on the
number of marriages involving disabled
people in the Kingdom. Noura Al-Asheikh,
general director of women's issues
at the Ministry of Social Affairs
in Makkah, confirmed the lack of statistics
and said that such marriages are considered
to be a confidential family matter.
is a high rate of marriages involving
men and women who are deaf or hard
of hearing based on personal observations.
I also know of many physically disabled
people who are happily married and
have big families. It all boils down
to the disabled family's support,"
are many cases of mentally disabled
people who are successfully married.
has been in a government job for four
years and is happily married with
three children. Others, such as Aisha
(not her real name) have not been
so lucky. A mentally handicapped woman,
she has been married four times, each
time ending in divorce and a baby.
consultant for the mentally disabled
Shadia Al-Masri said that with the
mentally disabled at particular risk
from abuse, marriage is a means of
protection from the evils of society.
a mentally handicapped person is a
form of charity in itself and there
are many successful marriages.
Germany, the mentally handicapped
get married in special camps under
the watchful eyes of specialists who
help and guide them," she said.
stressed the importance of increasing
awareness among parents about the
best ways of dealing with mentally
handicapped children so they do not
become isolated from society.
official Sheikh Ahmad Al-Maabi said
there is nothing in Islam that prohibits
marriages between healthy and mentally
handicapped people as long as couples
agree to carry out their marital duties.
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