Welcome to Kalamna, the student blog of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Introducing the “iQuran” (Yes, you read that right.)

So I recently came into possession of a new Apple iTouch mp3 player and have basically spent nearly every moment of the last week playing with its variety of features. Not gunna lie, it’s probably the best toy I’ve ever had. But in downloading a variety of applications for use on the device, I found something that made my jaw hit the floor as soon as I laid eyes on it. Boys and girls, there is, in fact, an iQur’an application for download from the Apple store. Let that sink in: there’s an app for that. The application is a digital representation of the Islamic holy book in original Arabic with an English translation right alongside.
I could not help myself and simply had to have it. The app, created by a website known as GuidedWays.com (http://www.guidedways.com/index.php) opens with a user-friendly breakdown of the Qur’an divided first by sura, then verse, then line to easily find any particular quotes you may be looking for. Additionally, an audio recitation is available from the popular Shiekh Husary. I was so thoroughly intrigued by the creation of this application that I looked up Guided Ways, and found that the iQur’an is merely one of an array of Islamic software apps for Apple products and PCs. Others include the iZakah, Prayer Times for PCs, and the iSubha for a digital representation of Islamic prayer beads.
Now I’m sure there are a number of purists out there that may object to the digitalization of sacred Islamic texts and religious symbols, but for me, I find this to be a laudable example of the potential and thorough reconciliation of tradition and modernity that is so often the subject of study for academics in our field. Take that and chew on it for a while, orientalists. The people at Guided Ways have found a great way for modern Muslims to interact with their faith in a fast-paced and ever increasingly technological world (not to mention, a handy reference for students of Near Eastern studies…). So if any of you out there happen to have an iTouch or an iPhone, search out some of these apps and give ‘em a try and see what you think for yourselves. If nothing else, whatever your faith is, it’s always interesting to see religion and technology feed off one another.

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