Al-Azhar uses technology for Qur’an memorization

Al-Azhar will help enable youngsters to memorize the Qur’an through what is being touted the “Electronic Book,”. (File/ Shutterstock)
Updated 29 September 2019

Al-Azhar uses technology for Qur’an memorization

  • The institute will soon launch a similar application for mobile users
  • The project was undertaken in three phases to serve primary, secondary and high school, students

Al-Azhar will help enable youngsters to memorize the Qur’an through what is being touted the “Electronic Book,” a computer program that enables students to remember the verses of the holy book.
The world’s oldest mosque-university and Islam’s foremost seat of learning, the institute uses the voice of one of the most prominent figures in Qur’anic recitation in the Arab world, Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil El-Hosary, for the program after obtaining permission from his family.
The project started a year ago. Fayez Nasr, head of e-learning at Al-Azhar’s Institutions Sector, said the program was designed and implemented by the General Administration of Educational Computers. He added that the program started operating a year ago in three phases. In the first, Al-Azhar Qur’an curriculum for primary school students was completed with Al-Hosary’s voice in addition to the simple interpretation of meanings of the Qur’an.
He said in the second phase, Al-Azhar Qur’an curriculum for secondary school students was also completed and sent to the Islamic Researches Complex for revision. Nasr noted that even though the remaining phase was initially designed for Al-Azhar high school students, it was available for download from the institute’s website to anyone who wanted to memorize the Qur’an.
Al-Azhar scholar Ahmed Tag El-Din says the Electronic Book is Al-Azhar’s latest attempt to help its students with the process of memorizing the Qur’an using technological devices. Tag El-Din said one of the program’s advantages was that it could be easily used by students. He added that Qur’anic verses were divided according to the curriculum of each grade, thus enabling the students to memorize the holy book by reciting verses more than once. Tag El-Din pointed out that the program also provided a simple interpretation of the Qur’anic verses. The Al-Azhar scholar emphasized that it could be operated on computers using various editions of Windows. One of its main features, he added, was that it operated without a Wi-Fi connection.
“We published video episodes entitled the Big Book were recorded by Sheikh Hassan El-Sakandary, one of the most prominent reciters in the Arab world,” Sayed Mahmoud Selim, one of the project’s programmers, told Arab News. “The episodes aim at assisting Al-Azhar students as well as other Muslims to memorize the Holy Qur’an.”
Selim added there was a plan to soon launch an application with the same purpose for mobile users.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”