Daisy Fahm Al-Quran
2012 has brought with it the unveiling of an exciting new product, a product, the usefulness of which knows no bounds when it comes to addressing the concerns of those with visual disabilities. We at Kitaba are thrilled to see a product like Al-Hudah’s, Daisy Fahm Al-Quran on the market and believe it to be a precursor to many breakthroughs in making Islamic texts more accessible to the visually impaired.
So what is Daisy?
DAISY is an acronym for Digital Accessible Information System. It is a media format which combines Audio and Text in order to create the world’s most widely used assistive technology for reading. Daisy books are superior to normal audio books because normal talking books are read out linearly whereas Daisy books allow the listener to move through the text and to listen to specific points quickly and easily. Though especially developed for the Blind community, its benefits can also extend to sighted users.
What’s so exciting about the Daisy Fahm Al-Quran?
Daisy Fahm Al-Quran is the “Talking Book” version of Fahm Al-Quran, the series of lectures upon Quranic Tafsir already available in audio, given by Dr. Farhat Hashmi of Pakistan. Although Arabic Daisy Qurans have been on the market for some time now, Al-Huda’s brainchild, the Daisy Fahm Al-Quran is the first of its kind and according to a dedicated Kitaba spokesperson is a particular source of happiness as Kitaba had been attempting to undertake a similar project, that of producing a Daisy Quran with English translation. Unfortunately this project could not come to fruition owing to resource constraints.
So what’s so special about Daisy?
One might well ask, with hundreds of audio Qurans and lectures available on CD, what precisely is the hype about the D word! Upon asking another Blind sister from Kitaba, this is the reply I received: “The really important point for me is that now, those who cannot read Braille will have access to the Qur’an. This may include older people who have lost their sight, or those who are losing their sight gradually. Either way, the point is that they will now have access to the Qur’an in manageable chunks which will give them both the pleasure of listening and more control over what they’re hearing, as well as the ability to navigate with ease. This has not happened before and mediums such as CD versions of the Qur’an don’t provide this kind of functionality. This is invaluable to everyone, but now, those who don’t read Braille can also enjoy it.” Moreover, another member points out, the ability to navigate to particular lines or Ayahs could mean that life becomes easier for those wishing to memorise the Qur’an without the use of Braille.
We hope and pray that with initiatives such as these, we will be able to minimise the casualties of the information age, which may have increased the ratio of computers to people, but still leaves millions without recourse to information accessible to them.