Koran recitation apps need female voices, says theology teacher

Modern Muslims are turning to apps to listen to the Koran during Ramadan - but not one offers a female reader

Click to follow
The Independent US

A Muslim woman has begun a campaign for Koran listening apps to include female voices, as currently the only recordings have been done by men.

Jerusha Lamptey, like many Muslims observing Ramadan, attempts to listen to a reciting of the entire Koran within the month. In recent years, people have turned to apps like Quran Explorer, which makes digesting the book easier for those who cannot attend evening prayers each day.

But after combing through the selection of Koran reader apps available Lamptey realised that there were no recordings of a woman reading the book. So, she started a petition online and the hashtag #AddAFemaleReciter which has been gaining traction among female Muslims.

Lampety, who is assistant professor of Islam and Ministry at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, told Religion News that “this is an issue of representation and inclusion.”

She explained that “many women don’t hear or see people who look or sound like them reciting the Koran.”

Schools of thought in Islam differ surrounding whether a woman’s voice is considered “intimate” and could sexually arouse men, Slate reported. Observing Ramadan does not only mean fasting and taking in the Koran, but also abstaining from sex during fasting hours.

“What kind of view says that men can listen to a woman’s voice and not be inspired toward God, but only inspired toward lust?” asked Lampety.

Quran Explorer responded to Lampety’s tweet and asked her to “provide us with some links to audio of female reciters so that we can evaluate it.”

Reciting the Koran is generally performed through chanting known as Tajweed. The pronunciations and rhythm is notoriously difficult and so listening to it being done is important for those wanting to learn the holy text.