Ramadan is Month of Quran Reading.
To many non-Muslims, Ramadan is about fasting, and later, feasting. But Muslims know Ramadan as the month of the Quran, a time when the book is recited, read and rehearsed.
Many Muslims attempt to listen to the Quran in its entirety during the month of fasting, either by attending evening prayers called “tarawih,” or more frequently by listening to CDs, podcasts and online software programs.
But in searching for a recitation from a female “qariah” or reciter, Jerusha Lamptey, assistant professor of Islam and ministry at Union Theological Seminary, found none.
So she launched #AddAFemaleReciter campaign on Twitter, directing her efforts at the popular QuranExplorer.com website and other Quran recitation apps urging them to add women reciters. So far, her online petition has received more than 175 signatures.
“This is an issue of representation and inclusion,” Lamptey said. “There’s nothing that bars females from reciting the Quran. In fact it is incumbent on all Muslims to learn it and recite it daily without distinction in gender. But many women don’t hear or see people who look or sound like them reciting the Quran.”
The sticking point, said Lamptey, was not whether women could read or recite the Quran but whether they could do so before a mixed- gender audience – in person or online.
Two years ago, the Islamic Society of North America – the largest umbrella organization for Muslims in the U.S. – caused a stir when Tahera Ahmad, a female chaplain at Northwestern University, performed a public recitation of the Quran at its annual conference.