UAE emirate launches Quran website
"Our goal is to educate Muslims about teaching and values of the
Holy Book of Allah," Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chairman
of Ajman municipality department, said.
New Delhi: The digital
revolution is spurring a slow transformation in the spiritual
classrooms of one of most conservative bastions of faith. More and
more Muslims in India, South Asia and around the world are logging
on to the internet to read the Holy Quran, which is moving to the
digital domain keeping in tune with the proliferation of e-books.
The node of all Quranic translation activity in Saudi Arabia, the
"King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qura'n" - a Quran
printing and translation factory in Medina - is reaching out to
new readers in India and South Asia with digital and voice
translations of the holy book in Urdu and English for greater
people-to-people cultural understanding.
At the seven-day World Book Fair in New Delhi that began Feb 4,
officials at a sprawling book stand of the Ministry of Higher
Education of Saudi Arabia flaunted computer applications of
digital downloads of the Quran in translation to curious
"It is nothing short of a slow transformation in the young Islamic
world," said a spokesperson for the "King Fahd Complex for the
Printing of the Holy Qura'n".
Since Islam became the official faith of Saudi Arabia in the 6th
century CE and spread across the world, reading the Quran has been
a traditional ritual.
The student or the reader usually sits on a prayer rug on the
floor and opens the book on an elevated pedestal where it can be
flipped without the risk of desecration or creasing. The book has
always been identified by its fine calligraphy, artistry, heft,
high production quality and sacred status.
The tradition is now making away for instant reading in at least
six languages on the Internet: Urdu, Hausa, Indonesian, Spanish,
French and English. The translated downloads are accompanied with
voice recordings in Arabic.
A radio translation in Oromo caters to the Oromo people of Islamic
faith in Africa, most of whom do not understand Arabic.
"The complex has hired translators from around the world to create
language editions of the holy book. The texts are constantly
revised. We have uploaded free translations in six languages on
our website with voice recordings in Arabic," a senior official of
the training department, representing the complex, told IANS.
The official said that "the digital downloads of the Quran were
popular among children, young adults and older readers, who did
not have access to Islamic texts in non-Islamic nations".
The sound recordings were meant for old readers, whose sight was
failing or those who were illiterate, he said.
"We are looking to India to increase readership even among
non-Islamic readers with the digital translations," the official
said, and aded that "his children read the Quran on the Internet".
The translations can be read on smart phones as well, he said.
Former Jamia Millia Islamia professor and writer Zubair Ahmad
Farooqi admits to a change in the reading pattern of the Quran
with inroads made by the Internet.
"Computer makes the Quran easily accessible, making reading more
social. It is accessible to anybody who wants to learn and has
become more relevant in the context of the recent misleading
propaganda about Islam, stoking controversies in countries like
India," Farooqi told IANS.
The "propaganda appears to have a silver lining because it is
fuelling curiosity to acquire correct and authentic knowledge,
presenting the text in a new light," he added.
He said "English translation of the Quran was in demand in India
but hard copies were in short supply".
Estimates by the Quran Complex say it has 55 translated editions
of the Quran, that includes 24 in Asian languages, 12 European
languages, 14 African languages and one in the Gypsy language for
the gypsies of central Europe.
It has created more than 90 editions of the holy book in over 165
Translations of the Quran in Sindhi and Malayalam languages are
almost ready, a spokesperson for the complex said.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at email@example.com)