Rana Amr Adly Hamdy - Master of Arts (Theology) Student
I did not know any other college or university in Ontario that offers a concentration in Islamic Studies, where my passion is, that specifically relates to both my profession in sign language and my spiritual growth.
“This is what I want to do! This is what I was looking for!” Rana Hamdy discovered the Islamic Studies concentration in the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program when she worked as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter at a conference sponsored by Huron. “I did not know any other college or university in Ontario that offers a concentration in Islamic Studies, where my passion is, that specifically relates to both my profession in sign language and my spiritual growth.”
The unique specialization structure within Huron’s MTS program, which offers students seven possible concentrations, allowed Rana to analyze Qur’anic scriptures and applications of the Sunnah, improve her Arabic language with Dr. Yahya Kharrat, and develop an informed understanding of Islamic spirituality. “Learning and studying sign language from a theological perspective helps me speak the same language when talking about access to Qur’anic texts and prayers,” she says. This reflects the Faculty of Theology’s commitment to provide all students with a context-driven approach to theological education. Rana’s volunteer work with Muslim Deaf communities alongside her studies inspired her to keep asking important questions of faith and practice: “how can we provide equal access to daily prayers (Salah) for those attending but are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
Rana tells us that many ASL interpreters working in Mosques are not familiar with the rich theology of Islam. In some cases, she explains, faith gets lost in translation: “a lot of content would be missing because there are Islamic and Arabic terms that a non-Muslim interpreter would have to learn.” Under the supervision of Dr. Ingrid Mattson, and supported by Huron’s interfaith Faculty, Rana completed one year of the Huron MTS and transitioned into our Master of Arts program, a two-year research degree offered in partnership with Western University. Empowered by Huron’s commitment to prepare graduate students for their professional goals, Rana now explores creative solutions with the community through qualitative research in Islamic ethics and hermeneutics, the theory and practice of interpretation.
Rana also teaches at George Brown College in the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies program. She looks forward to working with other professional ASL interpreters to enrich translation practices within Muslim communities.