CHENNAI: You will rarely find a hall full of literary scholars and veterans giving a standing ovation to a teenager. Hafiz Muhammed (17), a diffabled teenager from Kerala, got such an applause on Wednesday evening for his Quran recital skills. Arabic scholars from across the world and President medal awardees were at the International Arabic Seminar held in the city.
Hafiz has been diagnosed with ‘Williams Syndrome’ (a neurological disorder that delays development of motor skills) from an early age but he learnt to recite the Quran without any formal education.
At the end of the session, Hafiz Muhammed enthralled the audience with his skills. Dr. Nasr Eldin Ibrahim, Arabic Professor, International Islamic University, Malaysia honoured him with a standing ovation after which others followed suit.
“When he was three, doctors told us that his brain had suppressed fluids. He began to walk and talk quite late,” A.Fazeela, Hafiz’s mother told Express.
In 2001, Hafiz’s father Assim Hussain left for Haj and returned home with audio discs of the Quran recitals by the famous Imam Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais.
“He used to listen to the recitals all the time and when we switched off the audio, he would cry and throw fits. The doctors advised us to let him be,” recalls Assim. Assim Hussain is an advocate who is also the gram panchayat president of the coastal town in Tiruvananthapuram.
Over time, Hafiz started to recite the verses by heart. “He also began to continue from where the verse stopped. Eventually, he also learnt the Malayalam and English renditions of the Quran. He cannot read and write Arabic though,” Assim said.
Hafiz, Assim says is a local sensation in his hometown. “They (local newspapers and the public) refer to him as the miracle boy.” Hafiz is invited to most of the religious gatherings in the state where he recites verses and quickly responds with the names of chapters when someone names the chapter number and vice versa.
On Wednesday too, he was put through a similar routine to which he responded promptly. Assim Hussain carries newspaper cuttings from Malayalam dailies about his son and has a special mention for a photograph of Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy honouring his son during the International Quran recital competition held at Trivandrum in 2010.