People, who are mute or have hearing impairment in the Saudi city of Madina, have the chance to follow the Friday Sermon in sign language with simultaneous interpretation, a privilege they only enjoy in a few places.
“When deaf and mute people used to come to the Holy Mosque, they sat passively without receiving any information, but now they are benefiting from every single experience. In the past, some deaf and mute did not see the benefit of attending the Friday sermon and others refrained from coming to the mosque out of laziness. But now, they have their own place inside the mosque and are equal with other worshipers,” Khalid al-Thakir, a sign-language translator said.
The hearing impaired and the mute were unintentionally marginalized from Friday sermons and other lectures in mosques however; the Holy Mosques officials offered an experience that could be replicated locally and globally.
“Praise to Allah, it is a beautiful place, I first asked about it and came here and felt very comfortable. The administration took a valuable initiative to provide simultaneous sign language interpretation to the deaf and mute; we are benefiting from this service,” al-Thakir translated one attendee.
“In the first 10 days of Ramadan we host a festival for deaf and mute people coming from Syria, Denmark, France, Saudi Arabia, the Medina and other parts of the world,” al-Thakir translated another attendee.
Normally, one cannot portray the effect of the Friday Sermon on the faces of worshipers, but in this room, you can see the interest with which the worshipers follow the Friday Sermon; probably because the preacher’s sermon is grasped with the eyes.