(MENAFN - Arab News) A renowned Pakistani Qur'an teacher has praised the Kingdom for its extensive promotion of the holy book.
Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali, who is here on Umrah, is considered a pioneer of Qur'an learning programs on Pakistan Television (PTV). His program has been running successfully since its inception in 1992. He is also the official Qur'an reader at every inaugural parliamentary session of the nation.
He praised Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for promoting the Qur'an throughout the world including printing the holy book in different world languages.
"The scheme will bridge the gap between different Muslim communities. The Saudi authorities are boosting the message of peace with much enthusiasm. Allah will give them reward for this," he said.
Qari Sadaqat has promoted Islamic studies for over 30 years and is now working on a project to help "spread the message of the Qur'an throughout the world in a more effective way."
"I'm planning to introduce Qur'an DVDs with a new touch. The compact discs, containing chapters from the Qur'an in an audio-visual format, will attract people, especially the youth, more effectively than traditional applications," he said.
He rejected the common perception that it is impossible to memorize the Qur'an and acquire a modern education at the same time. "After school I attended a Qur'an memorization class, and tajweed and qiraat sessions in the evening. I completed all these courses successfully without any major problems. It's your will that allows you to do this," he said.
Qari Sadaqat said the Qur'an has helped him in many ways. "I went through several positive physical and mental changes. I felt as if my memory was flourishing in a dramatic way. Apart from learning my Qur'an lessons easily, I would also memorize other sermons, related to our curriculum, earlier than other kids," he said.
He started taking part in local and international qiraat competitins at a very early age and has now participated in over 200 contests. In 1966, he became a member of the official Pakistani Radio team. In 1971 he was promoted to the national broadcast channel. "I was the youngest among all the other staffers," he said.
He moved to the United States in 1975 where he continued his work. In 1988, he returned to his native country and joined the provincial Punjab Assembly. He praised the Pakistani government for listening to his advice and promoting the Qur'an. "I'm satisfied with the government's plans in this regard, but there is still more to do. All Muslim countries must follow the steps taken by Saudi leaders in supporting the noble cause," he said.
"We must serve the holy book as much as we can. We can start up an institution such as the Qur'an University at Al-Azhar. Or establish an organization running under a trust, which must not be the property of a single man or family. We can introduce several subjects such as qiraat, Qur'an translation, Hadith, Fiqh and Islamic calligraphy. We must make Arabic compulsory in non-Arab countries to enable students to understand the meaning of the Qur'an and encourage them to work according to its teachings," he said.
He said qiraat is as old as Islam itself, with experts outlining 10 different dialects in which to recite the holy book. The dialect associated with the Al-Hafs tradition is considered the most famous way to read the holy scripture, he said.
"I once asked the legendary Egyptian Qari Sheikh Abdul Basit (Abdus Samad) about which dialect he prefers. He told me to adopt the dialect that was more familiar with the natives of a country. This, according to the sheikh, would provide more delightful moments for listeners and a deeper insight into the meaning of the Qur'an."
Qari Sadaqat said he imitated Abdus Samad during the early days of his career. He said the most memorable moment in his life was meeting Abdus Samad in the United States in 1985.