Occupational Therapy at the Mosque

Today was not a good day! I usually feel really high on the confidence scale, but occasionally, I crash back down and have a hard time keeping my head up. Today was one of those days. And you know how you have one negative thought, and then a million more follow, and your life seems to be in shambles, whereas in reality, alhamdullilah everything is alright?!?! Crazy how the human mind works (and Shaytan!). Anyway, my day was completely turned around by a girl at the mosque...

So I decided to go to the Northwest mosque today for Taraweeh, and had the privilege of hearing the nephew of Abdul-Baasit recite sura Ar-Rahman, my absolute favourite chapter of the Qu'ran. It was amazing, I should have pulled out my phone and recorded a 'voice note' ha!

Anyway, back to the story! There was a girl sitting against the wall, very pretty with wearing a sparkling blue hijab, and I noticed she has Down Syndrome. The OT in me kicked in automatically, and between waiting for the next part of the prayer to progress to during the recitation of the Qu'ran, we found ourselves communicating through eye contact and smiles. I offered my hand and said 'salaamalaikum' and she mouthed the same but didn't smile. In fact, she didn't smile back until I pretended to fall asleep while standing for prayer! That caught her attention :) I know, I know, I should have been focused on the prayer, but my thoughts were wandering to if she knew how to pray, if she was physically able to (lots of bending and kneeling and getting up required), and how AWESOME it would be as an OT to teach the cognitive and physical steps to performing prayer! I so badly wanted to talk to her mom and ask her, but then again, I didn't want to come across as a know-it-all or nosy. The funniest part was that right at the end of the prayer, she opened her purse and started pulling out items (a fancy red scarf, hair scrunchie, lol)! It was cute :) I'll be there every night until the end of Ramadan, so I hope I catch her there again.

Oh yes, so my point is...? It is so easy to get caught up in being selfish about one's supposed 'problems'. It happens to all of us, and usually so fast that we barely have time to stop it from happening! When I saw this girl at the mosque tonight, not participating in prayer but evidently content with watching other women and trying to catch my eye (!!), it made me want to cry. Not at all because I felt sorry or pitied her. But rather because of how selfish and caught up in myself I was today. It's Ramadan, after all, and we're supposed to be working towards being the best Muslims we can be. And this reminder hit me hard in the face today, and I am so thankful to the young lady in the sparkling blue hijab :)


  1. Masha Allah...very nice sister. I have been thinking of pursuing a degree in OT. Would you advice it?

  2. Hi, you might be surprised to know this is the ONLY OT and Islam related item that I can find that mentions both OT and your Faith.

    I'd love to write my dissertation on OT and Islam. I'm not of the faith, but find it fascinating that Islam is missing from most OT literature when it's the 2nd biggest religion in the world..

    1. Hi Vivian, that is a little surprising...but then again, not many Muslims are OTs and it depends on how you'd want Islam and OT to link together? I happen to work in a somewhat OT capacity within the Muslim community, so I'm very much engrained in things. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about the direction of your dissertation! My email is sameeraq@gmail.com if you'd like to get in touch with me! I'll only leave this post up for a day or so since I don't want my email address out there :)

    2. Hey would you mind if I could personally message you for advice?
      I am planning to go into the OT program and was thinking if this was islamically okay?
      I am kind of not sure of what all goes in the program. I initially wanted to do physical therapy but I found out that the classes required disrobing and a lot of (bodily) interaction with male students which the administrator told me that it would be hard to avoid as we have to palpate every type of body in order to get a thorough understanding and etc.
      Does the OT program requires anything of this sort as well?
      If you could please answer my question it would help me a great deal in deciding if I could pursue this career or not.

      Thanks/JazakAllahu Khairan


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