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Malaysian University Develops Qur’an App for Deaf

NILAI – A group of researchers from the Faculty of Qur’anic and Sunnah Studies at the University Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) is working on developing a software to enable hearing-impaired people learn Qur’an.

“People with non-typical levels of ability were often left out of religious education,” Norakyairee Mohd Raus, head of Ibnu Ummi Maktum (UMMI) cluster at USIM told New Straits Times on July 25.

He continued that: “the development of the project takes into account the use of Android platform to make Qur’an accessible at the fingertips of persons with disabilities and hearing impairment.”

The features of the smartphone application include sign language interpretation and interactive video of Qur’an text and transliteration.

Raus informed that the new application, part of ‘Wakaf Qur’an Isyarat’ project, is an extension of its sister project, i-Sign QurANIS, which won a gold medal at the 28th International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

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“The Wakaf Qur’an Isyarat project is in its early stages. It needs more funds from USIM’s Centre for Waqf and Zakat, UMMI research unit, Yayasan Faqeh Foundation of Quran Education for Special Children, and Negri Sembilan Deaf Association (Nesda),” the project’s head hopes.

“Since the beginning of 2018, we identified eight Qur’anic verses and are currently recording videos with the help of a sign interpreter. We plan to make the app available through the Google Play Store,” he elaborated.

USIM launched its religious education initiative for people with special needs in 2006 when it embarked on a research on Braille Qur’an studies.

To look into inclusivity in religious education, the UMMI cluster was formed at the faculty as a platform for research and services involving the special needs community.

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country where Islam is professed by 19.5 million citizens or 61.3% of the total population, according to 2013 estimates.

Islam was introduced to this far Southeast Asian country by traders arriving from Arabia, China, and the Indian subcontinent. It became firmly established in the 15th century.