With the blessed month of Ramadhan just around the corner, I decided to commence my preparations with a gift for myself! (nothing frivolous though, I assure you!).
While surfing TV channels this morning as I ate breakfast, I stumbled across an interview with Aurangzeb Iqbal! I didn’t know who he was or initially, what he was talking about, however something about his light, passion and magnetism held my interest. Aurangzeb Iqbal entered the Muslim consciousness earlier on this year, when he recorded the first ever audio Tafseer of Qur’an, exclusively in English!
Of course, there are plenty of print translations of the qur’an, as well as Arabic CDs with mumbled translations following a group of Arabic verses, however this audio version is something new. Aurangzeb Iqbal has recorded a continuous running translation of the qur’an in English only, taken from the Yusaf Ali translation. Its not just that he has read the qur’an in English, but that he has adorned his recitation with the appropriate emphasis, respect, passion, emotion, love, anger etc. His deep connection with the qur’an is evident in every word, and there are many junctures in the recording where he simply dissolves in to tears!
I had something of a twilight zone moment while watching him on TV today, as I recalled how many times during my early days as a Muslim when I craved something like this! Braille qur’ans were unheard of back then, and while you could read it online, most of the sites used flash, or imbedded the text along-side the Arabic which made them totally inaccessible to the screen reader which I use. The Arabic/English CDs are, in my experience, impossible to follow, whether for Arabic learning or for English comprehension! As it is, I have a separate Arabic only CD set with minimal adornment, but good tajweed! This enables me to learn new suras with ease! As I’m on the move allot, I really wanted a portable English qur’an which I could continually study during the month of Ramadhan, wherever I happened to be; and mashallah I found it!
The TV show was very moving, especially when viewers began to call in, commenting on the translation they had listened to. So many of them had never even heard the translations of the basic suras they recite in prayer each and every day, 5 times every day!
While there is no substitute for studying/reciting the qur’an in Arabic, the Arabic its self is completely useless without real understanding of the words being recited. How can we even begin to apply the qur’an in our lives if we do not understand its meaning? We need to understand the qur’an in our native languages, but most importantly, we need to understand it in the language of our hearts. Aurangzeb Iqbal commented on the numbers of non-Muslims who have heard his recitation. They have been struck by the rich language and poetic stanzas and have been drawn to find out more. He has even signed a deal to supply hotels, cruise liners and public transport providers with audio English Qur’ans; what a wonderful opportunity for Dawah! Later this year, the audio qur’ans will be made available to purchase via Amazon, as well as via Itunes and aps suitable for the Iphone. May Allah (SWT) reward and bless this dear brother for his passion, hard work and innovation, and may all who hear his recitation be moved, blessed and transformed by the power contained within the sacred text.
If you would like to purchase yours, or find out more about the project, visit: www.hearthequran.com
Continuing the theme of preparing for Ramadhan, SR Masooma is re-launching the very successful group blog she administered last year during Ramadhan. To find out more or to join the blog’s writers for this year, Visit SR Masooma’s blog and sign up!