Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Rajab 1424 H
September 2003
Volume 16-09 No : 201
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Trends and Traditions


A Priceless Heirloom
SMS-ing- A Lifeline!

A Priceless Heirloom

Owner of a one and a half inch copy of the Holy Qur'an hopes to sell it to help family.

By Qadijah S Irshad

Alawuddeen Abu Talib had always noticed his grandmother carrying a cloth pouch tucked into her sari around the waist. Being a typical boy, he cared little about what lay within.

One day when he was 15 years old, he discovered quite by accident, the tiny treasure that she had kept hidden from the inquisitive eyes and destructive hands of her many grand-children.

It was one of the smallest Holy Qur’an in the world. Hand-written, gold-plated and 300 years old, it has been handed down for 12 generations in his family, says Abu Talib. A priceless heirloom, he now wants to sell it to alleviate the poverty in his family.

“I still remember the day I first saw it, and the droning voice of my grandmother telling me its story,” recounts Abu Talib fondly holding the Holy Qur’an in the palm of his hand. “One of my ancestors was an ‘Aalim’ (religious scholar) during the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1687-1707). He possessed one of the most beautiful voices, and was famous throughout the country for his recitation.

“When the emperor heard about him, he requested my ancestor to come to Delhi to lead a prayer where the emperor himself participated.”

“The emperor was over whelmed with the beauty of his recitation and presented him with many gifts, one of which was this copy of the Holy Qur’an, treasured and passed down from generation to generation in my family.”

Abu Talib who hails from Naagur, a village in Southern India, never realized the value of this heirloom until that day in 1986 when he read a newspaper article about a small Holy Qur’an being sold in Bangalore for Rs. 300,000.

By that time, the family had fallen on hard times.

Abu Talib rushed home to compare his own Holy Qur’an with the one mentioned to find out to his amazement that it had the same statistics.

“I didn’t seriously consi-der selling it at that point,” he says

“But now the necessity has arised. There are seven unmarried young women in our family, I want to distribute the money among them so that they can get married. With the balance I hope to build a Mosque in our village,” says Abu Talib.

How do Abu Talib and his family feel about parting with this treasure?

“Well, my grandmother has passed away, and my mother has given me the discretion to do what I may with it.”

“To be honest, I feel very sad about parting with it. But it will benefit others if sold than just lying with me,” he says.

The first page of this tiny artifact contains 10 different miniature seals, according to Talib, they are the seals of different Aalims verifying the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an.

“My grandmother said that it was hand-written, and so did most people who saw it, I am willing to get it checked by proper authorities if anyone is interest in buying it,” he says.

Smallest Copy

One Holy Qur’an found recently in China is thought to be the smallest in the world. It is 1.9 cm long, 1.3 cm wide and 0.6 cm.

The Guinness Book of Records currently lists a copy owned by an Indian couple as the smallest, it measures 2 cm by 1.5 cm by 1 cm.

(Courtesy : Gulf News)

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SMS-ing- A Lifeline!

Short Messaging Service (SMS) has become the single-most
efficient form of communication for the Deaf and Dumb, says M. Hanif Lakdawala.

What’s so great about Haseeb, Sadik, and Tahir? They are highly successful inspite of being deaf and dumb. Society has discriminated against all three as they are deaf and dumb and has no place in our formal education system. A deaf-mute is generally considered as totally dependent on others for survival. But not these determined self-made and highly successful individuals.

Their determination and will to succeed is the motivating factor. One development, which is helping them in their growth and success is the discovery of the SMS for them, Short Messaging Service (SMS) has become the single-most efficient form of communication. SMS-ing has become a lifeline for them.

Meher Sethna-Dadabhoy, coordinator of the Indian Sign Language at the Ali Yawar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Bandra, says a mobile phone has become essential for the hearing-impaired, working people. “Once they begin working, their priority is not food or entertainment, it’s getting a mobile phone,” she says.

The popularity of the SMS is easily explained: text is short and understood even by those not used to the English language. It’s also quick and since most mobiles can be set on vibrator mode, the deaf user is easily alerted to a message.

“Once they start working, there is the need to use a mobile for communication. If they cannot afford to buy one, many try to at least share a phone,” Sethna-Dadabhoy says.

The non-hearing teachers at Jung institute all use mobile phones. Gopal Motwani, one of the teachers, indicates through sign language: “I use SMS for everything - for work or to contact friends.”

Sadik says he uses SMS to keep in touch with friends and clients. “Because of SMS, we are able to ‘speak’ to our friends around the country,” None seem to have found it difficult to adjust to messaging. Tahir says that after his brother taught him to message, he has had no problems. Even the fact that he doesn’t know much English does not hinder him.

“I only write and receive short messages, so it is easy to use,” he says. Chat and email are also extremely popular Haseeb, says with sign language that he spends all his free time on his computer. “If I am at home alone, I just SMS my friends, and we have a good time,” he says.

Haseeb’s cell phone bill is over Rs 2,000 per month. SMS is a lifeline for him. “Life is so much easier now. Any news can be communicated immediately,” Haseeb says. Every deaf person ought to have a mobile, he adds. There is, it appears, a massive SMS traffic happening in the deaf community. Most of them send nearly 20 messages a day, some much more than that.

Before the SMS revolution, even the simplest thing like re-scheduling a meeting was a Herculean task for Haseeb . “Earlier, if I was late for an appointment it caused so much worry. I would have to find a hearing person, communicate that I wanted to make a call, and then have that person pass on my message to another hearing person who in turn would have to convey the message to my deaf friend waiting for me. It was a tedious process and at the end of it you were not even sure if the correct message has been conveyed. Now all I need to do is send an SMS,” says Haseeb.SMS, he says, has tremendously boosted his sense of independence.

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