Building A Better Tomorrow With MUHSEN
Salaam Magazine The 1st Islamic Children’s
Magazine in the USA
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Building A Better Tomorrow With MUHSEN

BY Salaam Magazine

Building A Better Tomorrow With MUHSEN

Salaam alaikum Brother Belal, can you introduce yourself to Salaam Magazine readers?

Wa Alaikum Assalaam, my name is Belal, and I work for the MUHSEN organization as the certification coordinator. My primary job is to help masjids become inclusive environments for those with special needs and their families. We have a three-tier certification program where masjids can take part to make masjids more accommodating for those with special needs and their families.

What inspired the start of MUHSEN?

Our co-founder’s sister Joohy Tahir and Sheikh Omar Suleiman met during Umrah/Hajj, where they had a conversation about special needs based on experiences from both of their lives. Sheikh Omar Suleiman’s mother (may Allah SWT have mercy on her) dealt with hearing loss and challenges in communicating with others, while sister Joohy has a daughter who is autistic. This was something found in the Muslim community to serve the special needs population, which was a community present even during the Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) time. MUHSEN was put together after this conversation, and Alhamdullilah, seven years later, we have seventy masjids certified. Multiple chapters are set up across the nation, and we’re global in some other countries as well!

What kind of services and/or activities do you guys provide at MUHSEN?

We have quite a few services, Alhamdulillah. Other than our certification program with masjids, we also facilitate trips to Umrah with families that have members with special needs. We have volunteers work more closely with a family, so they’re able to enjoy the Umrah. It’s very empowering and inspiring to see. 

We also do weekend schools. We have a special needs curriculum that we offer to our certified masjids, which allows children to have the same opportunities as those without special needs. We also have awareness events and support groups. 

We offer financial support for braille Qur’ans in masjids. We do closed captioning and ASL interpretation as well. 

We have a respite program where volunteers support a family in their home when they have to take care of errands but are worried about leaving their child at home. 

How can one get started with being a volunteer at MUHSEN?

We do offer volunteer training. Through our volunteer training program, which can be accessed on our website, you can sign up from there and get started. From there, we can pair up the volunteer from anywhere in the nation to volunteer at events and help those with special needs. We also have a one-on-one Qur’an program, where we link up individuals with special needs with someone that can read Qur’an with them weekly. We have a buddy program as well, in addition to the respite program. 

I’m sure there are many families that are looking for services like those MUHSEN provides. Can you tell us why we need to emphasize the importance of organizations like MUHSEN?

Parents that have kids with special needs are looking for an outlet, events, or things that they can do to feel involved in the community to accommodate their families in certain situations and get those (necessary) resources for them. Alhamdullilah, MUHSEN gives those families opportunities to enjoy things at the masjids, to have their kids enjoy events; but, also it gives families with special needs a chance to feel empowered for themselves and a community that is willing to help, to show that they aren’t alone. A lot of families feel like they’re isolated because they’ve been isolated in the community. MUHSEN helps bridge that gap and makes sure they do not feel like they are alone. 

How can those outside of the community be more inclusive and responsive towards individuals with special needs?

I think the first thing is giving individuals with special needs opportunities to feel empowered and to be inspired by them. To be an individual with an open heart that has compassion. These families do not want to be pitied and have people feel bad for them. They want to feel involved, be noticed, and feel like they are a part of the community. So, one way is to offer a welcoming and kind words and allow them to be individuals that feel inspired and empowered within their communities. 

JazakAllah brother Belal! 

To watch the rest of the interview, check out our YouTube channel: Salaam Magazine

To get started as a volunteer, or to contribute to MUHSEN, visit their website: