Palestine: Gaza, besieged by Israel for the past decade which is still largely sealed off from the outside world, find solace in reciting Quran.
Many people have turned to the Quran to cope with the feelings of isolation and hopelessness that come along with being cut off from the world.
A 48-year-old Kareema Abu Shahma, says “I consult the Quran before I speak,”she added.“If I need to go somewhere, I study first and then I leave my house. If I’m feeling ill, I study.”
Abu Shahma was born blind, she encouraged herself and has turned her disability into a strength. She memorised all 6,236 verses Quran in braille over the course of five years, and holds the highly respected title of hafiza.
Abu Shahma leads a class of 25 young girls,hoping to help them achieve the same goal by the first week of September and also help, them perfecting their tajweed (pronunciation).
“I wasn’t strong in my life; no one accepted me, but when I memorized the Quran, people started to respect me as a blind person. Everybody knows now who I am and what I can do,” Abu Shahma said.
“The Quran is my strength. It will always be your guide and it will always give you the power to be whatever you want to be. If you want to have a strong character, you should memorise the Quran.”
She says memorising the Quran not only helped her feel closer to God, it also helped her feel more confident.
Though the besieged Strip deals with one of its worse electricity crises on record. The Gaza’s Islamic Waqf has recorded nearly 40,000 newly registered hafazet al-Quran since 2006.
Zakariya Alzemly, a professor of the Science of Quran and Comparative Religion at the Islamic University in Gaza said.“The Quran gives us comfort. We’re living in bad conditions, under pressure. The Quran teaches us patience.”
In Gaza, the Quran can be found almost everywhere, especially during Ramadan. It is played in grocery stores and small shops,its verses can be found scrawled on walls in graffiti, printed on street signs, and hung in offices with framed photos of Al Aqsa’s Dome of the Rock taped to the wall. Even the cab drivers tend to turn up the volume whenever it is recited on the radio.