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Sounds of the Qur’an

Blue Mosque Prayer

Our calligraphy projects highlighted the importance of writing in Islam. As many consider the act of writing Qur’anic verses a form of worship, those who are especially gifted in the art of calligraphy are known as “scribe angels”. However, for my third blog post, I decided to focus on the idea of the Qur’an as an aural and oral text – something to be “listened to with the ear and experienced with the heart”. Originally the Qur’an, the literal translation being “recitation,” was solely an aural text, revealed to Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel and then recited to the community. It was not until long after the Prophet’s death that the Qur’an was put into writing.

Qur’anic recitation is so revered in the Islamic community that there exists a set of rules governing its pronunciation and rhythm known as tajweed. Reciting and listening to the Qur’an are considered a form of communion with Allah. As seen in the film “Koran by Heart,” Qur’anic recitation competitions are held across the globe with the most renowned event held annually in Egypt. Often times the competitors, some as young as seven years old, are able to recite the Qur’an in its entirety without being able to read or speak Arabic. Someone who has memorized the Qur’an is known as hafiz al-Qur’an, “Guardian of the Qur’an,” and is considered to have been especially blessed by Allah.

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