Non-profit hosts iftaar for Muslims with disabilities in Ramadan


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Neshmia Malik and Gaynor Hall

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A non-profit Muslim organization hosted a Ramadan celebration in Naperville for families with special needs during the month of Ramadan.

The non-profit organization, Muhsen (Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs), was founded to help establish a more inclusive environment for Muslims of all disabilities. 

The Arain family has found community and support through Muhsen for their oldest daughter, Serena who has cerebral palsy.

“We have so many things working against us. We’re Muslim, she’s female, we have special needs, and this is a place where we feel safe,” Serena’s mother, Saba Arain said.

At the Islamic Center of Naperville, the umbrella non-profit hosted a special iftaar dinner for people with disabilities.

“Ramadan is a month of fasting we don’t eat from dusk to dawn we get up early in the morning to have a meal then we break our fast which is called iftar at sunset,” Special Needs Community Lead Farhan Shah said.

Ramadan is a time where Muslims around the world connect with faith, oftentimes through community – and this iftaar allows Muslims with special needs feel the spirit and inclusion during the blessed month.

Shah says Muhsen was founded 10 years ago to fill a gap in critical services for Muslims with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Muhsen offers a variety of programming including respite care, day programs and weekend school along with working to make mosques more accessible.

“Muhsen was a calling I was made to be a part of this organization and I think a lot of volunteers who give their time to Muhsen feel the same way,” Shah said.

The Arian family says they feel gratitude, especially during this month of fasting a reflection to have an inclusive community to celebrate their faith.

“It gives us hope for the future it makes us optimistic that she’ll be ok. We have a community of people to help take care of her. It’s been really life changing for our family,” Arian said.

To learn more about the nonprofit organization, visit: Home – Muhsen | Awareness | Accommodation | Acceptance

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