x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sermon focuses on virtues of reading the Holy Quran

Reading the Quran brings peace to the heart and clarity to the mind, worshippers were told during a sermon on Friday.

ABU DHABI // Reading the Quran brings peace to the heart and clarity to the mind, gives healing and mercy to those who believe, and will open the door to heaven, worshippers were told during the sermon on Friday. "God has facilitated the Quran so that it can be learnt and memorised, and He has instructed Muslims to find the right path through the Quran, and follow in its light, and find solace in it. Our Quran has descended upon us as a charity to our souls and clarity for our minds, and a manifestation for people to understand all meanings of humanity and all its high virtues," said the sermon.

The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments issues every week a sermon on a specific topic, and expects all mosques to preach about it, although individual imams can customise it to suit their congregation. At the Mariam bint Sultan Mosque, Imam Jihad Hashem spoke to his congregation about the virtues of reading the holy book. "God said, 'and We send down from the Quran that which is a cure and a mercy for those who believe'."

The authority sponsors courses for children to memorise the Quran, especially over the summer. There are numerous awards and junior competitions for young children who manage to memorise it in its entirety, and who can recite any verse on cue. Professional reciters are schooled in various aspects of Islamic studies, most importantly the Tajweed, which teaches them to stress certain vowels and intonations while reciting Quranic verses to an audience. Occasions when it is customary to have professional recitations of the Quran, which can be taped, include the time of day during Ramadan that leads up to sunset, which is when Muslims break their fast, certain holy nights in the Islamic calendar and at Muslim funerals. But anyone can listen to a professional recitation of the Quran at any time, and nowadays such recitations are available on elaborate, interactive DVD. When the Quran is recited, it is customary for all present to fall silent and listen. Worshippers were also urged during Friday's sermon to co-operate with a government survey that is assessing the needs of residents in remote areas.

A notice attached to the weekly sermon issued by the Government said the survey, by the Ministry of Economy, aimed "to understand the realities of remote areas, establish statistical data, provide the needed services and determine the geographic data, including distances between different places". "We ask all nationals and residents to co-operate with the researchers in this survey so as to ensure its success and ensure that decision-makers will have the data and information they require," said the notice.

It is not uncommon for government departments to attach notices and public announcements to the weekly sermon, which is an efficient way of communicating with large numbers of nationals. According to a study carried out by UAE University, the sermon is attended by more than 97 per cent of adult male Emiratis. Last month, worshippers were reminded to co-operate with a first-of-a-kind survey, by Abu Dhabi's Department of Planning and Economy, of families of all nationalities living in the country. The objectives are to assess employment trends and establish a clear picture of the UAE's social, economic and demographic make-up.

Many experts complain that studies of statistics have not kept pace with the speed of growth, leaving decision-makers in the dark when developing policies or business plans. @Email:relass@thenational.ae