Mobile Quran learning for the deaf

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) is on a mission.

It aims to enable those with hearing disabilities learn to read the Quran via software and application on a mobile platform, and is ramping up its Wakaf Quran Isyarat project to do so.

People with non-typical levels of ability were often left out of religious education, said Norakyairee Mohd Raus, head of the Ibnu Ummi Maktum (UMMI) cluster at USIM’s Faculty of Quranic and Sunnah Studies, which is helming the project.

Hence, innovative use of technology can help those with hearing impairment utilise their strengths and different methods of learning partake in religious studies and awareness.

“Quran learning should be up to par with the latest trends, such as virtual learning. As such, the development of the project takes into account the use of Android platform to make Quran accessible at the fingertips of persons with disabilities.”

Norakyairee said the project, which featured cash waqaf of RM1,000 per page as its concept under the supervision of USIM’s Centre for Waqf and Zakat, was the first of its kind in the world.

The UMMI research unit, in collaboration with the Foundation of Quran Education for Special Children (Yayasan Faqeh) and Negri Sembilan Deaf Association (Nesda), acts as the platform to visualise this charitable cause.

“This project involves many experts in Islamic education, special education, information and communications technology and sign language interpretation.

“The application’s unique features include an interactive video featuring Quran text and makhraj transliteration, making it highly accessible to the deaf community. The deaf community acts as the evaluator in ensuring the effectiveness of the content and product,” said Norakyairee.

Norakyairee said the Wakaf Quran Isyarat application was 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.

i-Sign QurANIS is an interactive courseware for the deaf to learn basics of the Quran and ibadah (worship). The courseware features information on selected Quran chapters and basics of ibadah (wudhu’ and solat) with a new transliteration method, Malaysian Sign Language (BIM) interpretation video and Quran translation for the deaf.

Various software were chosen in the development phase of i-Sign QurANIS, such as Articulate Storyline 2, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Sony Vegas Pro 12 and NCH Suite. This courseware, features a degree of uniqueness and sustainability whereby the content can be distributed in stages.

“The Wakaf Quran Isyarat project is in its early stages. The project is in need of waqf funds amounting to RM604,000 to cover the whole Quran. The plan is to start with short Quranic verses, followed by selected verses and long verses.

“Since early this year, we have collected RM20,000. We have identified eight Quranic verses and are recording videos with the help of a sign interpreter,” said Norakyairee.

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