I went to a conference today. A conference where I thought I would know at least one person there as a native product of this city. A conference where I did not know one person besides my hubby who accompanied me. A first for me. A first for the conference. The first of its kind. And it was centered around a book. But not just any book. The Book. An Islamic conference centered completely around the Qur’an. The DC Hidayah Conference.
At first, the same qualms I have about a lot of big gatherings of Muslims nagged me. It was the dreaded lack of respect of time. Whether you call it Muslim time, Arab time, or People of Color time (and I am a person of color, so I can say this), my being on time was more being early. And I had an hour and 15 minutes to spend before the rest of the DC muslimeen would catch up to speed.
So as with any conference that I attend, I perused the bazaar, sampling chocolate ma’moul (who knew such a wonderful thing existed?), tasting the purest honey I’ve ever tasted (mash’Allah), smelling oils and incense, and letting my fingers grace the pages of scholars and luxurious textiles from all over the world. But what I was about to stumble upon at the Hidayah Conference was an experience to behold.
The One Touch Mus’haf Teacher.
(and yes, you should read that in a booming, deep, announcement voice)
Or as I like to call it, The Talking Qur’an. This, ladies and gentlemen, is like a Leap Frog talking reading book, except it’s a Qur’an. It’s a personal Qur’an reading teacher. It comes with this talking pen that has a USB port (so that you can download the translations, commentaries, languages, etc. that you need), and you use the pen to touch different symbols on the Quranic page to access recitations in the 10 qira’at, translation, tajweed rules, commentary concerning revelations, hadiths related to certain verses, and grammar rules. You can also record yourself reciting Qur’an with this pen and compare and evaluate your recitation with the qari you’ve chosen. There were translations for the Qur’an in Malay, French, and some other languages, and if they didn’t have your language you could always download it from their website. Mash’Allah, the inventors of this technological product must have known how much I, as well as others, struggle in trying to learn Qur’an, especially when one cannot access the qualified teachers. I mean, having this Qur’an is like having Sudais or Shuraim in your house. I mean, for real. There’s this tajweed lesson in Juz Amma and you have to find the “nun” that extends its sound, or the “nun” on the page that sounds like a “meem”, or the “nun” that doesn’t sound anything like a nun because it takes on the characteristics of the next letter. You know what I’m saying. Anyways, if you don’t find the right one, it says, “la, la akhi” (we were listening to the Arabic audio, and I was in the brothers’ section. It’s okay, my husband made a little niche for me cuz the cool table of audio products was on their side) and it doesn’t let you repeat the same answer so you have to find another example of that tajweed rule on the same page. All that to say, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is better than the Kindle and better than the iPad (gasp!) for the one who seriously wants to read Qur’an. Through its interactive capabilities, it helps the Qur’an come alive for us who didn’t realize that the Qur’an was already living and without it, we’d be dead.
Which brings me back to my main point. The Conference wasn’t about being fascinated with The Talking Qur’an. It was about being fascinated with a living Qur’an. The Qur’an that you and I both have. The Book that is our user guide and GPS to navigate our lives. The Book that interacts with us during our ups and downs. The Book that educates us. The Book that is a literary miracle. The Book that is a sign that even non-Muslims agree can’t be imitated as it is neither poetry nor prose. The Best Words. The Best Speech. The only Speech that really matters. The Book that is largely ignored by the ummah. The Book that some countries are trying to ban. The Book that everyone should understand. The Book that a lot do not understand. The Criterion by which to judge our lives. The Book that means business. The Book of the Best Values. The Book that has rights on us to believe in it it, read it, reflect on it, understand it, follow it, share it, and memorize it. The Book that challenges us. The Book of guidance for all of mankind. The Book that is largely ignored. The Book that often sits on our shelves and looks pretty while gathering dust instead of being taken, read, internalized, used. The Book that has a cure for every disease. The Qur’an, which I, like most, have taken for granted.
Hidayah means guidance and advice. The Qur’an is a hidayah, and this conference was a hidayah for me. It is all to easy to be complacent with the Qur’an, and rely on what we must know for rituals (i.e. Al Fatiha and a couple of other short surahs here and there with some special power). But what would the Qur’an do for us if we knew all of it? What kind of special power would the whole package wield over our hearts, minds, bodies, souls?
I tell you what, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be a hafiz, but I have hopes that insh’Allah I will memorize a good portion of That Book that Lives, Speaks, and Talks to me whether or not I have an electronic pen in it or not, whether I’m listening or not. And the first thing I’m going to do is turn that blasted TV off that is distracting me, and I’m going to sit down and READ. Insh’Allah. This Ramadan. 2010 CE. 1431 AH. Alhamdulillah.
Jazahum Allahu khair to the DC Hidayah Conference. I’ll be throwing out my Swiffer dusters soon, insh’Allah, or perhaps just using them on the TVs.
You can read more about the One Touch Mus’haf Teacher here. Oh, did I mention that it is bound in leather? What a way to appeal to my aesthetic sense…Mash’Allah…
ADDENDUM: Since posting this, many have asked how to purchase the One Touch Mus’haf Teacher. In addition, my “review” of this product has been posted on the company’s website, whoo hoo! I was also offered the opportunity to sell this product for a modest commission, so I’m going for it! Please contact me using the form to the right (in the widget sidebar) if you would like to purchase a One Touch Mus’haf Teacher. The small size (about the regular size of a Qur’an, but small enough to fit in a medium-large purse) is $165. The large size (slightly larger than a regular size Qur’an) is $200. And that’s without any markup, my friends.