Saudi inventor working to create digital Qur’an for visually impaired

Al-Harasani explained how the digital mus’haf would ease the process of reading the Qur’an for the visually impaired compared with their normal version of the Qur’an in braille. (Supplied)
Updated 12 June 2019

Saudi inventor working to create digital Qur’an for visually impaired

  • Al-Harasani is responsible for more than 50 inventions in various humanitarian and social fields

JEDDAH: The visually impaired face many challenges in their lives, even when it comes to religious practices such as reading the Holy Qur’an. 

With the help of technology, Saudi inventor Meshal Al-Harasani is working on creating a digital mus’haf for the visually impaired to facilitate reading the Holy Qur’an.

For the 30-year-old inventor, who is also an adviser at King Abdul Aziz University, this is the latest in a series of ingenious creations he has been making since he was 13 — he is responsible for more than 50 inventions in various humanitarian and social fields.

“It is an electronic board with 28 characters and each character has six braille letters, and the board page contains 28 rows,” Al-Harasani told Arab News.

“The visually impaired can read the Qur’an easily and navigate through the pages easily as the entire Qur’an is registered on the board,” he said.

Al-Harasani explained how the digital mus’haf would ease the process of reading the Qur’an for the visually impaired compared with their normal version of the Qur’an in braille.




Meshal Al-Harasani

“The visually impaired read the Qur’an in braille in six large volumes that make it difficult for them to reach the page, passage or Surah. Carrying them and storing them is difficult too because of the size.”

Al-Harasani was inspired to create the digital mus’haf when he visited the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah to participate in a Qur’an teaching seminar for those with special needs.

“I researched on Qur’an reading for those with special needs, especially for the visually impaired. And from there, the idea of creating a digital mus’haf for the visually impaired came to be.”

His invention is still being developed and is expected to be launched in a year.

“So far, the electronic board contains 28 characters and 28 rows to absorb the same number of characters as the pages of the paper Qur’an in braille. The idea is now in the development stage. My team and I are working on pursuing the work step by step and as soon as possible.”

Al-Harasani said that part of the team he is working with are visually impaired individuals.

“I work with a distinguished group of people, including visually impaired people, and this is what drives me to work harder, when I see the sense of amazement and happiness on their faces when pursuing this honorable work,” he told Arab News.

His previous inventions have included a mobile phone for the visually impaired, a currency for the visually impaired and a passenger seat to accommodate those with special needs onboard an airplane.


Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

Updated 6 min 37 sec ago

Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

  • Development will protect endangered hawksbill turtle, while coral research could help save the Great Barrier Reef

RIYADH: Key ecological targets are driving Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea tourism megaproject, its leader has told Arab News.

The development will not only protect the habitat of the endangered hawksbill turtle, but could also save coral reefs that are dying elsewhere in the world, said Red Sea Development Company Chief Executive John Pagano.

The project is taking shape in a 28,000 square kilometer region of lagoons, archipelagos, canyons and volcanic geology between the small towns of Al-Wajh and Umluj on the Kingdom’s west coast.

One island, Al-Waqqadi, looked like the perfect tourism destination, but was discovered to be a breeding ground for the hawksbill. “In the end, we said we’re not going to develop it. It shows you can balance development and conservation,” Pagano said.

Scientists are also working to explain why the area’s coral reef system — fourth-largest in the world —  is thriving when others around the world are endangered.

“To the extent we solve that mystery, the ambition would be to export that to the rest of the world,” Pagano said. “Can we help save the Great Barrier Reef or the Caribbean coral that has been severely damaged?”

 

ALSO READ: INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project to set ‘new global standards in sustainability’, says CEO