Learn the Holy Quran through sign language on YouTube

Quran Indonesia Project makes videos translating surahs into sign language
May 09, 2019
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP A group of Indonesians with hearing impairments teamed up with a local Islamic organization on a project to produce sign-language videos, translating all 114 surahs of the Holy Quran. The initiative, called the Quran Indonesia Project, released its first video on YouTube before the start of Ramazan. So far, they have produced four more surah videos and one of the azaan, the Muslim call to prayer. Every year, as Ramazan approached 25-year-old Surya Sahetapy and his close friends would start to feel depressed since they wanted to help more Indonesians study the Holy Quran. In Indonesia, many Muslims learns all 114 surahs by listening to audio recordings. However, it became a challenge for the deaf community. Related: Muslims face tight Ramazan curbs in Xinjiang “My deaf friends and I felt depressed because we didn’t have any way to help other deaf people to access Islam,” he said in an interview to the New York Times, accompanied by a sign-language interpreter. The Quran Indonesia Project started with celebrities reading verses from the holy book in 2015 but has moved on to include videos of sign language translations. “While many deaf Muslims in Indonesia can read and memorize some scriptures, they have little access to Islamic scholars who can communicate with them,” said Surya. They are also planning to release an educational board game about the basics of Islam as well as 10 sign-language DVDs explaining some prayers. The initiative is to help deaf Muslims not just memorize verses but understand their meaning. Related: Eating in public during Ramazan can land you in jail “The videos also have their own message: If you want deaf Indonesians to learn Islam, they must learn sign language. Islam is not limited to what you read, but much more what you understand,” said Surya. The idea for a sign-language Quran began in 2017 when Surya met Archie Fitrah Wirija, founder and executive producer of the Quran Indonesia Project. “It was like the Quran was not cool enough,” Wirija said, explaining his decision to use celebrities and create a Quran smartphone app. The Quran project has become one of the few educational resources for deaf Indonesians. There were 2.9 million deaf citizens as of 2015, according to the Central Statistics Bureau, although activists believe the number is actually much higher. Follow SAMAA English on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.



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