CAIRO - A US Muslim student group in the university of Notre Dame will be hosting Tuesday, March 6, a session about the art of Qur'an recitation, a move aimed at promoting interfaith understanding and dialogue on campus.Muslim prayer is five times a day and they recite some part of the Qur'an in each of the prayers, and they want to do so in the most beautiful voices," Aamir Ahmed Khan, coordinator of the event, told The Observer on Monday, March 5.
"If somebody wants to become successful or skillful in this art, he has to train also, and there are many very famous reciters in the world that are excelling in this field," the first-year graduate student added.
It basically requires the mastery of the up and down of the voice, also using several of your muscles in the mouth or throat to correctly pronounce Arabic.
Organized by Notre Dame's Muslim Student Association, the event comes as a part of the Prayer Around the World series; a program started approximately eight years ago to promote interfaith understanding and dialogue.
In previous years, Campus Ministry's Muslim prayer services featured PowerPoint presentations that explained prayer posture and the basic pillars of Islam.This year, Priscilla Wong, associate director of cross-cultural ministry for Campus Ministry, said the MSA chose to focus on the art of Qur'an recitation.
"We thought that we need to bring people together, and sharing how we pray is welcoming people into our faith and culture," Wong said.
"We work with people from that faith community and it's a way that they can hold discussions and also have questions and answers."
The event will host Rasoul Rasoulipour, a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Theology, who will discuss the significance of the prayers and will recite part of the Qur'an, a fundamental part of Muslim daily prayers.
He will also share examples of other people's recitations.
The event will host another speaker, Abdul Rashied Omar, as well as a review of the book "The Art of Reciting the Qur'an" by Kristina Nelson followed by a question and answer session.
"The book review we are doing [is] just to highlight the scholarship that is going into researching and learning about reciting Qur'an," Khan said.
"There are books about it and we chose this book especially because it is by an American professor, so the general audience can connect to it."
Setting a new episode of interfaith relations inside Notre Dame's campus, the event won plaudits for helping connect cultures in interfaith understanding and dialogue.
"The more we can invite other people into our prayer, into our faith, not converting people, but just [inviting] them into it, it really helps us understand each other or embrace each other," Wong told The Observer.
"And I personally believe that is how we, as humanity, are tied together."
These events, Wong added, help students learn about other faiths as well as their own religion.
"They're entering this way of communicating with God and they make their faith life better," she said.
"So the intention is not to try to convert people, but to help learning by [comparing] and [contrasting] so that we embrace our own [faith] more dearly."
Sharing a similar view, Khan said these events were not new to MSA, which consists of 20 to 30 graduate students and slightly more undergraduates.
MSA celebrates Muslim festivals and helps new Muslim students adjust to attending a Catholic university, Khan said.
"Because Muslims have to pray five times a day, we also gather occasionally for afternoon prayer at [the Coleman-Morse Center]," he said.
"So these services are basically for Muslim students on campus, but the event like this â¦ is [a] kind of outreach."
Yet, this event was different; connecting Campus Ministry and MSA in different forms of prayers.
"I think this will be very helpful for people of the Catholic community and also other religions that don't have an idea about how Muslims go about their prayers," he said.