The “Talking Koran”

The Qur’an is the sacred text of Islam.  It was originally recorded in Arabic, and thus is a very lyrical text.  The Qur’an is the final revelation from Allah to the prophet Muhammad, written down as the teachings were being revealed.  It is the verbal guidance for Islam and can be used in many ways, such as to determine Sharia law.  As I was searching the internet for ideas, I discovered an article on the BBC News website by Amitabha Bhattasali.  This article explains a relatively new device on the market, the “talking Koran”.

 

This “talking Koran” is not a new idea, as cited in the article; however, this is the first device that is particularly customized for Muslims in South Asia.  This extremely advanced device can recite the sacred text in as many as 28 languages, most distinct to this region, but also in languages such as English, Spanish, etc.  Bhattasali explains that this device will be sold on the market in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

 

When I first came across this article, I have to admit I was a little bit skeptical.  It reminded me of those interactive books one would use as a child.  My initial gut reaction was that making this sacred text interactive seemed to devalue the Qur’an and was a somewhat unnecessary device.  It seemed to lessen the importance of actually searching through the ancient text and have a less hands on approach that attracts many, me included to reading a good book.  I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of getting lost in an excellent book the old fashioned way, as opposed to listening to it on tape, usually while stuck in traffic.

 

I debated this idea back and forth for a while when I finally realized that I was taking a fairly negative and skeptical view of the “talking Koran”.  Our society today places a high emphasis on technology and reaching as many people across the world as possible.  This was the main component I was missing.  Not only does this device deliver the sacred text of Islam, but it allows these words to reach huge groups of people.  This single “book” can recite the text in as many as 28 different languages!  This greatly helps facilitate the spread of Islam across the world and allows it to reach many more people due to language and/or literacy barriers.

 

Another component that I’m used to, as most Americans are, is the fast paced hustle of everyday life.  Americans are used to fast food, or ordering fairly quickly at a restaurant and going back to do work or quotidian activities.  I’ve noticed this practice is very different in Europe and other parts of the world.  You have to ask the waiter or waitress for a check, they do not continually check on you because you are supposed to take your time and enjoy a meal.  Americans live in such a fast paced society where many do not have time to sit down and read a religious text, unless we really are dedicated to carving out time for it.  Between school and work, I barely have time to read for personal enjoyment.  This “talking book” idea allows members of Islam to listen to the sacred text on the way home or while stuck in public transport.  It makes it simpler and easier to connect with one’s faith while conducting their daily chores of life.

 

Despite my primary skepticism of the “talking Koran”, it helps reach many across the globe and spreads the teaching of the Muslim tradition.  It is more practical than one would think in today’s fast paced world and can be translated into numerous languages, which is very convenient.  After attending the ceremony at the mosque near Brick Lane last week, I now have an appreciation of how diverse the Muslim religion is, and the vast realms it covers.  Therefore, f the main goal was spreading the word of Allah to as many followers as possible; this product helps to accomplish that goal.

 

Bhattasali, Amitabha.  “India Launches Multilingual ‘Talking Koran”.  BBC News India. 16 July

2012.  Web. Accessed 17 July 2012.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-18852386

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2 thoughts on “The “Talking Koran”

  1. Really interesting! I’ve heard of other interactive sacred texts before, but that this one was created specifically for South Asian Muslims is quite different. In the countries you say it’s going to be released in, you wouldn’t think that they would generally allow something like this to occur, as they are generally more traditional and I would think would be more inclined to staying true to what is normally done. I admit, I was a bit skeptical as well when I first saw this as a topic, but I’m very glad I clicked “read more” to hear about this new innovation. Nice job, Tess!

  2. This is an interesting debate, and I know another issue among Muslims is whether the Quran can be translated to other languages. Since Allah spoke only in Arabic, any translation would technically not be His words. It’s kind of an interesting idea, since I know it applies to Christianity as well. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, but the Gospels were written down in Greek, and based on this Greek translated into English. So the English bible is a translation based on a translation, two stages of human interpretation removed from Jesus’ actual words. Cool topic to write about Tess

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