The African art of reciting Islam’s holy book of Qur'an
There has been a revival in unique African styles of reciting the Qur’an, and a voice from Sudan has come to exemplify what the continent has to offer in the recitation of Islam’s holy book.
When Nourin Mohamed Siddiq recited the Qur’an, people around the world described his tone as sober and soulful.
His unique sound made him one of the Muslim world's most popular reciters. As a consequence, his death at the age of 38 in a car accident in Sudan in November was mourned in many countries.
"The world has lost one of the most beautiful [voices] of our time," tweeted Imam Omar Suleiman of Texas.
Hind Makki, a Sudanese-American interfaith educator, said Siddiq’s voice had a hard-to-describe quality.
"There is an African authenticity that people point to even if they are not able to articulate exactly what it is and they like it," she said.
There are many approaches to reciting the Qur’an, and Siddiq's recitations and untimely death brought greater attention to a traditional African style.
He learned recitation of the holy book while studying in a religious school in his village of al-Farajab in the mid-1990s. When he later moved to the capital Khartoum, he led prayers in a number of the city's main mosques.
The internet and social media have brought
renewed attention to, especially from a younger generation, to traditional recitation
of the Qur’an.
In the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his successors, much emphasis and blessing has been placed on the recitation of the Qur'an, especially with a nice voice.
Prophet Muhammad said in a narration that whenever there is frequent
recitation of the Qur'an in a home, its goodness and blessings increase, and
that house shines for the people of the heavens as the stars of the sky shine
for the people of the earth.
The Prophet also said that the human heart rusts like iron and reading the Quran removes the rust from heart.