The job title “Reader”-'Al- Qaari'- appears only in Egypt as the reader is a person who memorizes the Quran and can read while applying its rules- Tajweed' with a beautiful sound. There are many famous Egyptian readers like Al-Husary, Mohamed Reda’at and Abd Al-Basset Abd Al-Samed, and also many non Famous Women Readers of Quran.
However, not only men are good readers of the Quran but also women can read it too; this was the subject that the modern and ancient history professor Sahar Hassan in her research during a seminar entitled “Egyptian Reading Country for Readers” held in National Library of Egypt.
[caption id="attachment_55044" align="alignleft" width="300"] Egyptian Reading Country for Readers[/caption]
Hassan said during the seminar that the popular neighborhoods were full of females’ reciters endowed with melodious voices; they would appear in various Islamic occasions, funerals and were famous in reading the verses in radio stations.
But at the end of 1930's, most of females’ readers started to disappear as the Egyptian radio station decided to prevent them from reading because the women’s voices are considered as illegal if she is among non-relatives.
[caption id="attachment_55040" align="alignright" width="259"] Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Tablawy[/caption]
She also added that in 2009, one of the leading reciters Abo Al-Eneen Sheeshaa called the concerned officials to allow the return of women’s voices in radio stations; he got support from famous Cleric Sheikh Mohamed Al-Tablawy and the former president of Al-Azhar University Ahmed Omar Hashem.
She continued, "Female readers' history dates back to Mohamed Ali reign; the most famous reader at this time was Umm Mohamed who was reading verses of the Holy Book in parties especially in Ramadan. Then the sultan sent her to Istanbul to be the palace reader. When she died, he ordered officials to bury her in Imam Shafei tombs."
[caption id="attachment_55041" align="alignright" width="183"] Karima Al-Adlya[/caption]
According to Hassan, the reader Karima Al-Adlya became famous in 1920's through Quran radio, she fall in love with the Arabic music professor Ali Mahmoud. Karima was praying Al-Fajr- dawn prayer- at Al-Hussein Mosque to hear Mahmoud’s voice while calling Muslims for prayers. He followed her everywhere to hear her beautiful voice while praising the Prophet (PBUH). Later, they got married and work together in the Egyptian radio.
Sheikh Mahmoud is considered as the teacher of Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Refa’at, Asmahan, Mohamed Abd Al-Wahab and Zakarya Ahmed.
[caption id="attachment_55035" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mounira Abdo[/caption]
Another renowned reader Mounira Abdo started reading Quran aged 18 years in 1920. While working at the beginning with the radio, she was charging 5 pounds at the same time that Sheikh Refa’at was charging 10 pounds.
She disappeared after calls were raised saying “Women voices is part of "Awrah" – meaning women's voice should not be raised among non- relatives” As a result, Paris and London radios stopped to broadcast her CDs as they were afraid of upsetting the elder Sheikhs.
Nabwya Al-Nahas was the last woman reader of Quran in public events in 1973.
Contributed by: Menna Seliem