For nearly 20 years, starting in 2001, Dr. Shabir Ally has been sharing information about Islam to his fellow Canadian citizens. As well, he is a counsellor here on AboutIslam. When the show “Let the Quran Speak” first began, Dr. Ally would speak with other imams about misconceptions about the religion in Canadian society.
Four years in Dr. Ally’s daughter, Dr. Safiyyah Ally, joined to host, and the show began filming at Islamic Information Centre, with a small group of volunteers. In 2013/14, the show got a makeover.
The conversation shifted to bring to light the different experiences of Muslims in Canada. Exposing viewers to Canadian Muslims from different lifestyles, includes imams, to activists, to mental health professionals, writers, artists and so many more guests. This not only provided information to the non-Muslim audience, but to the Muslim one too. This was a great aid to Muslim in search of resources in their local communities.
Conversations steered back to Muslim audiences, addressing questions both non-Muslims and Muslims have about the religion. Topics included: women in Islam, divorce, famous Muslims, and other issues addressing crises of faith that Muslims face.
This year, 2020, after nearly 20 years in existence, “Let the Quran Speak” received The Silver Creator Award from YouTube, having reached 100,000 subscribers to the channel.
“Alhamdulillah, I praise God… and I thank him for bringing us this far and I thank all of our viewers and supporters and our amazing team”. Dr Shabir Ally said upon receiving the YouTube award.
One thing that sets this show apart from others about the lives of Muslims in present society, are the hosts. For eight years, until Dr. Safiyyah Ally left in 2014, she was the host of the show alongside her father, Dr Shabir Ally. This was unique and refreshing, enjoying the interaction between father and daughter discussing Muslims issues and finding solutions to them.
Often times there is a generational and cultural gap within Muslim families, more visibly in immigrant families. The older generations are adhering to the traditions of ‘back home’. The next generation is caught between the new cultural landscape of where they are raised, and their parents’ traditions.
With this father-daughter show, there was a notable effort to bridge that generational and cultural divide. Not only was the space provided to put forth the issues at hand, but these issues were acknowledged, as being the lived realities and experiences of Muslims in Canada, but both generations were given air to discuss their points of view.
Letting a Muslim Woman Speak
“Let the Quran Speak” is one of the first shows of its kind, being produced in Canada, on YouTube, accessible to a global audience. A big notable was that there was a female host. At that time, in the mid 2000’s, it was very uncommon to see a woman like Safiyyah in the Muslim media landscape. Especially not for an English speaking audience.
With little to no presence of Muslim women on screen, the sight of a visibly Muslim woman, asserting herself, asking questions and clearing misconceptions, was indeed a welcomed one. It still remains so to this day, which is commendable to the team at “Let the Quran Speak”.
When Dr. Safiyyah Ally left in 2014, she was replaced by another female host.
Aisha Khaja stepped in and the show continued to increase its scope, showcasing Canadian Muslims in different areas of society.
The Legacy Continues
In 2019, when Safiyyah Ally returned as the host, now as Dr. Safiyyah Ally, the show had grown in popularity. Now in 2020, it has surpassed 150,000 subscribers, which is quite a feat for a show having been around for nearly 20 years. It continues to gain popularity and interest, pointing to the general public and Muslim community service that this show fulfills.
“It’s a wonderful award and we are humbled and honoured to receive it.” Dr. Safiyyah Ally says while unboxing the award from YouTube. Both Dr. Allys express gratitude to viewers, and the production team for the work done to make the videos. This award serves as an impetus to continue the work that “Let the Quran Speak” is dedicated to, and to produce better quality videos, to better serve the community.
There are plans to improve the show with support from viewers by moving to a permanent location, upgrading production equipment and increasing the production staff.
You can support the efforts of “Let the Quran Speak” directly by visiting the site quranspeaks.com