0801-Impact of Sensory Disorders on Religious & Social Obligations

Background reading material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 2 Semester 2 PPSD session on Wednesday 16th January 2008


A blind person is not obliged to attend Friday prayers, salat al jama'at, congregational prayers, salat al jumu'at, and pilgrimage, hajj. if he has no guide. He can be a caller to prayer,  muaddhin, only if someone can tell him the correct time. He can also be the prayer leader, imaam. He can be a public leader if the visual impairment does not impair performance of leadership functions. He cannot be a judge because of inability to see witnesses and assess their demeanor. He can be a scholar or a mufti.


A blind person can testify in court if the evidence does not involve sight. He can marry if measures are taken ensure enough mutual knowledge of the future spouses based on other senses or on information from third parties. He can be the guardian who gives away the bride, wali, if he knew the spouses before getting blind and can recognize both using other senses. Selling and buying by a blind person can take place in transactions where fraud is unlikely. Blind persons can offer professional services if there is no possibility of harm due to their lack of sight.



A deaf person is obliged to attend Friday prayers, salat al jumu’at, if others hear the call to prayer, adhan, and inform him. He can be a caller to prayer, muaddhin, if he can tell the correct time. He can be the prayer leader, imaam. He can follow the prayer leader by watching what the imam does although he cannot hear. He can teach Qur’an but it is preferred he does not do so because he cannot hear and correct mispronunciations by the pupils. He is not obliged to return greetings, salaam, because he cannot hear but is obliged to respond to greetings by sign language.


Deafness reduces competence as a leader but is not an absolute contra-indication. A deaf judge will not be able to discharge duties fully. A deaf person can be a scholar and can give religious rulings if he can read the questions and answer by writing or by sign language. He cannot be a witness over matters that required perfect hearing. He can contract a marriage by use of reading or sign language. He can declare divorce. He can buy and sell as long as he understands the transaction and can communicate in writing or by sign language. It is forbidden for a deaf person to engage in any professional work for which hearing is necessary. In vestibular disturbances standing up in salat or tawaaf may require support.



In hyposmia the victim may not be able to smell flatus and thus may continue praying with an invalid ablution, wudhu. Hyperosmia and parosmia may results in unnecessary concern about presence of filth, najasat, where it is insignificant.


The halitosis associated with fasting is due to reduced oral cleansing action of saliva. It can be reduced by increased oral hygiene. Halitosis due to disease or poor oral hygiene may make social intercourse difficult. It is especially offensive in the mosque.


Impairment of the taste sensation may reduce enjoyment of food. It may also impair ability to discriminate dangerous things and avoiding swallowing them.


Use of perfume to control body odor in public places like the mosque is mandatory to avoid annoying others. Body or oral odor may cause so much distress in a marriage that it may lead to divorce.


Impaired smell may make transactions involving perfumes invalid because the buyer cannot identify what is being bought. Similarly impaired smell may lead to buying of rotten products without knowing their true state. Court evidence based on smell may not acceptable in situations of olfactory disorders.




If taste is defective, it will not be possible to tell that water is polluted and is not suitable for use. Enjoyment of food decreases when the sense of smell is defective. Dangerous food may also be consumed if it cannot be tasted.


In selling food and drinks, the buyer may use taste to make sure the product is wholesome. This is not possible when the sense of taste is defective. Evidence in court based on taste of products may not be accepted in cases of a defective taste sense.



Loss of tactile sensation does not affect ablution,wudhu, and prayer, salat. It can lead to ingesting rough and dangerous materials. It impairs sexual sensation may lead to stresses in marital life.


Loss of tactile sensation may be a cause of accidents at work.


The integrity of the tactile sensation is considered when assessing certain types of court evidence.


An impaired sensation of temperature may result in unnecessary exposure and heat stroke in the hot desert climate of Hejaz during hajj.


Hot and therefore harmful food may be eaten when temperature sensation is impaired.


Inability to adjust to extreme climatic conditions may be grounds for divorce if a promise was made in the marriage contract that the spouse will not be taken to another country.


Workers must not be exposed to extremes of temperature.


Extreme pain may prevent concentration in prayer, salat. Pain may cause insomnia. Chronic pain due to PID and other causes of dyspareunia may create marital stress. Chronic pain may lead to psychological stress. Severe pain may lead to criminal behavior.


Salat is delayed in cases of extreme hunger and thirst sensation. Loss of the hunger sensation is dangerous to life. Inability to extinguish the feeling of hunger with food intake may lead to loss of appetite control. Children may be severely undernourished when they do not feel hungry and refuse to eat food. Extremes of pain may lead to crime.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. January, 2008