Sponsor a Braille Qur’an
“Aa ee oo, ba bee boo, ta tee too…”
Basically, that was what our childhood Qur’an recitation classes sounded like. For many of us, our Qur’an teacher had a cane and/or was very generous with their epic pinches as well. We had to learn what the different weird-looking characters were called, where their sound is supposed to come out from (makhraj) and later, the proper recitation methods (tajweed). We had notes, books and diagrams of tongues and lungs to assist us in our revision.
Did we ever think about how the visually-impaired learn how to read the Qur’an?
A few months ago, I was alerted to a fundraising effort by BAPA to sponsor Braille Qur’ans for the visually-impaired community in Singapore and in the region. I was lucky to be able to ask a few questions to the Program Manager for BAPA (Badan Agama & Pelajaran Radin Mas), Ustaz Zahid Mohd Zin who was spearheading the efforts.
Watch their promotional video here.[divider]
Muzlimbuzz: How did BAPA get involved with Raudhatul Makfufin?
Ustaz Zahid: We were searching for Braille Qur’an learning and printing centre. Raudlatul Makfufin appeared in the 1st three pages of our Google search. Curious of the attention given to them, we decided to contact them but to no avail. So with the address we got through the internet, we set on a journey to find them in Jakarta.
With Allah’s help, a few minutes before we departed from the airport, an email came with a handphone number and a new address. (We had left a few messages at some of the Indonesia’s Muslim visually-impaired community blogs.)
So Alhamdulillah we managed to contact them and arrived at the foundation safely.[/box_dark]
Muzlimbuzz: How was the visit and what were some of the lasting images or memories from that visit?
Ustaz Zahid: The centre was not as big as we imagined. It was a very simple house, not heavily furnished. It was also located quite far from the main road. They were at a different premise where they rented from the government but the current location is a Waqf area donated to them.
We were welcomed by Ustaz Nurkholid, the Chairman of the foundation, a few staff which included Ustaz Abdul Hayy (wearing white shirt in the video) and Ustaz Ismail (wearing red shirt). They are both blind and are part of the teaching staff.
After introducing ourselves and getting an introduction to the foundation, we were given a live braille qur’an reading demonstration by Ustaz Abdul Hayy. I can still remember the shocked expression on the faces of my friends, close to tears.
What’s more surprising is up to date, they have translated more than 10 books to Braille, such as Fiqh, Hadith, Ajrumiyyah (Nahu), Burdah AlBusiri and Mawlid Diba’ie.
We are still motivated by their strong will and them repeatedly saying, “One that is blind in the world shouldn’t be blind about the Hereafter.”[/box_dark]
Muzlimbuzz: Is BAPA holding classes for the visually-impaired? If so, how many students are there and how often are the classes?[box_dark]Ustaz Zahid: Yes, our class for the visually impaired is on every Saturday, 1pm-230pm. Now, we have around 15 students ranging from teens to adults.[/box_dark]
Muzlimbuzz: In the history of Singapore, how has the visually-impaired gotten their religious education? Were there any organisations that specifically looked into it?[box_dark]Ustaz Zahid: In the early 80s till late 90s, BAPA used to run full-time classes for the disabled community at Radin Mas Mosuqe. We had more than 200 students in our database, but the service had to be temporarily ceased because of funding. We are now embarking on our journey to give a service to these blessed souls.[/box_dark]
Muzlimbuzz: What other activities or programmes are BAPA involved in/organising?[box_dark]Ustaz Zahid: We have SURM (Sekolah Ugama Radin Mas) Full-time Tahfiz and Part-time Madrasah, Tradisi Halaqah (Traditional Kitab-based teaching for adults) and PMD (Program for Muslim with Disabilites) – for this unit we are working to provide Islamic learning programs for the different groups of disability. Our challenge for now is to provide trainings for teachers and asatizahs as each of the group needs special attention and methods. Hopefully we will manage to run a good program for them by early next year.[/box_dark]
The Quran in Braille comes in 30 volumes, printed with special machines on specialised papers for the visually handicapped persons to be able to read. Each Braille Qur’an costs about $215 each (excluding cost of delivery) and for most of the visually-impaired, the cost is too much for them to bear.
To find out more about the fundraising project and to donate, please visit: http://bapa.org.sg/Sponsor-A-Braille-Quran-Project.html.
Muzlimbuzz thanks Ustaz Zahid Mohamed Zin, the Program Manager at BAPA for his time and for the picture above. We pray that Allah blesses their efforts in helping this special group that is oft-neglected by the wider community, and reward them most generously. Ameen.