Blind and visually impaired Muslims experience challenges when reading Quran copies in braille. They need to have up to six paper volumes to read the sacred 600-page book.
An electronic Quran is being introduced at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to help blind and visually impaired Muslims. The device is around six inches long and four inches wide. It allows users to move easily between pages using high-quality braille cells, Arab News reported.
“The visually impaired can read the Qur’an easily and navigate through the pages the same way as the entire Quran is registered on the board,” Misha’al Al-Harasani, who led the team that created the device, told Arab News.
Ghazi Al-Thubyani, from the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said special shelves were being prepared for the 100 electronic braille devices, according to Arab News.
“Each cell can accommodate six dotted points, as well as 10 digital keys that allow the users to enter the page number for swift navigation, as well as rotation buttons. They can also scroll the lines on each side of the texts in braille,” Al-Thubyani told Arab News. “This service will be provided very soon. We are nearly finished with preparing shelves for these devices to be at the reach of the sightless worshippers who visit the holy mosque.”
He said that the project’s first phase took nearly 10 months. The Grand Mosque will still offer paper copies of the Qur’an in Braille in addition to the new devices. “Each mus’haf (Qur’an copy) consists of six volumes. We also have booklets in braille tailored for blind children to help them learn about monotheism and the basics of Islam,” he told Arab News.
Blind and visually impaired Muslims experience challenges when reading Qur’an copies in braille. They need to have up to six paper volumes to read the sacred 600-page book.
In Egypt there is a printing press specialized in braille. It prints all educational curricula in braille for Egyptian schools for blind students. The braille-printed Quran is distinguished by the fact that it cannot be printed on small size papers like the standard Qur’an, as the braille method requires a larger area as well as thick and heavy paper of a certain type. The weight of one sheet ranges between 150 or 160 grams, so that the dots can be clearly printed on it to make the letters easy to read by fingertips.
The stages of publishing the Quran in braille begin with translating its writing on a tin board. The Holy Quran is narrated to a blind person who converts what he hears into raised letters in braille. The written copies are then entered into the printing machine, after which the bindings are collected and the volumes are sewn and varnished.
In Mecca in 2018, the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran completed the braille Quran of the Prophet’s city for the blind and produced 6,000 copies. The Saudi project to create a braille Quran started in 2014.
In May 2019, a Saudi team announced that it was able to create the first electronic Quran for the blind, a tablet device that stores the entire Holy Quran and converts fixed braille letters into vowels, formed according to a letter and a page. The team included a number of blind people. The device converts braille letters from fixed to animated forms electronically.
The second part of this article is a translation of a piece by Amal Smai first published in Masrawy.com.