I have been asked many questions in my life but I am still waiting for someone, anyone to ask me the proverbial “If you were stranded on a desert island what book would you choose to have with you”. My answer would be paint-dryingly ecstatistic. But since I have never ever been asked the question I am now brimming to the follicles – the Qur’an! Without a doubt and a complete no-brainer. I can’t think of another book so filled with history, drama, passion, emotion, grief, pain, joy, great story-telling, lyricism, rhyme, music, insight, you name it the Qur’an has it all. Kind and wise words are my sandy beaches and blue waters. My stranded-on-a-desert-island days will be filled with reading the Qur’an, re-enacting Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and wondering why I was stranded on a desert island without even a gazelle to my name. Happy Shawal. Remember the 6-day fasting recommendation 🙂
It’s day 2 of Ramadhan 1431. Today’s Ramadhan recommendations are a few Qur’an apps and widgets that will get you started:
1. I use the free www.zoosware.com Mobile Holy Quran app on my iPhone that lets me download sura by sura, and include recitations by either Sheikh Ghamdi or Sheikh Husairy, or neither. This app is built specifically for the smaller mobile screen, allowing space for each ayat only. Recitation is synced with each ayat as it appears and you can read the Yusuf Ali English translation as you go along. You can choose to repeat ayat by ayat with their controls. Being Malay, I like that it also offers Malay translation! It also has ‘Notes’ that allows you to add your own notes for each ayat.
Zoosware have apps for everything – iPhones, Android phones, iPads, Palm Webos, as well as for non-mobile PCs and Macs. You can choose to donate to the company. I’ve never used it but their iPad Quran app looks fantastic. Do click on the image to check it out for yourself.
2. Paid apps – There are a lot of other Quran apps available, and if you search ‘Quran’, the iPhone apps store comes up with:
a. Quran Reader by Batoul Apps – £1.79 (as far as I can see the interface is more elaborate than my free zoosware ap)
b. YaSeen by Condetsoft – £1.19
c. Quran Urdu by Shaheen Soft – £1.19
d. Quran: Reading Plan for non-Muslims by Ian Vink – £1.19
e. AIMulk – The Sovereignty by Condetsoft – £1.19 (for the surah al-Mulk)
3. You can download the freeware Quran Cast Podcast Widget by Khaled Mohammad straight to your desktop/dashboard. I find it particularly useful as it’s handy if you want specific sura recitations and not the entire Qur’an. For some reason, though, the list of suras is reversed, so you have to scroll all the way down for Al-fateha. This is a podcast that you can subscribe to.
4. A more complete widget for your dashboard is the freeware Electronic Quran by Mohammad Umairi. It offers an endless list of reciters and you can pause it as well. My only grouse about it is that its scroll doesn’t work and you have to click on the arrows to move up and down the lists.
Give some of them a try and stick with the ones that suit you best! Ramadhan is the month of the Holy Qur’an – read, listen, think and in sha’ Allah act accordingly. Thank you to all the developers for your generosity and work. Blessings of the good month from my family to yours!
Ramadhan is coming up fast, and if you’re in the business of providing Islamic content you’re probably scrambling to prepare for the increased, heightened and intense demand that will no doubt come with the glorious month. As I prepare to leave the company and Egypt, my one and only “big project” for the Ramadhan schedule is the English translation reading and recording. This is by no means an easy task. The Qur’an itself is massive, and it will probably take a good 2-3 weeks to finish the job – only, of course, if we can actually get enough time in the recording studio, then go away to edit the material, putting the English translation reading alongside the Arabic recitation. But before we make our way into the recording studio, we first had to answer two pertinent questions:
1. Which English translation of the Qur’an?
2. Will management pass off a female voice reading the English translation? All the English translation readings that we found online were of male voices. We want to provide a “different voice”, and give women the opportunity to be included in this blessed endeavour.
I had initially selected Yusuf Ali’s translation. Compared with Arberry and Pickthall, it’s an easier read and a lot more “modern”. The sheikh at the company prefers Pickthall, because, as he said, of some of Yusuf Ali’s ideas, and because of Yusuf Ali himself as a person and scholar. As for a female voice for the English reading, the sheikh has no problems with female voices for the reading, but can’t our male colleague do it?
Needless to say, my perspectives on many matters differ with the (a lot) more conservative Islam and Muslim scholarship, and perhaps these issues will be tackled in this space in due time. So let’s start with this post. An attack ad hominem, (and for that satirical effect) and an attack ad feminem, perhaps?