The Great Reciter of Alexandria Part I

This is a special three-part series translated from an Arabic article by one of our sisters. Stay tuned and enjoy!

Translator’s Note

In sha’Allah, this message finds you all in the best state of health and iman. A long time ago, I was told of a great qari’ah, whom even men would travel for miles to hear her recite, learn from her and obtain her ijazah in one of the 10 qira’ahs. It was only mentioned in passing by the shaykh who was giving the lecture, and I tried, but failed to find out more about her. Now, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala put her story in front of me without my looking. It was so beautiful, I wanted to share it in the hopes it will inspire you to strengthen your relationship with the Qur’an.

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Umm Al Sa’ad Al Askandariyyah (of Alexandria)

After Umm Al-Sa’ad completed her memorization of the Quran at the age of 15 she went to the Shaykha Nafeesa bint Abu Al-Alaa, who was known as “The Shaykha of her time” to request from her to learn the 10 Qira’aat (recitations). Nafeesa agreed on a peculiar condition; that Umm Al-Sa’ad never marry. She used to refuse to teach girls because they would marry, become busy, and neglect the Quran.

What was even more amazing was that Umm Al-Sa’ad accepted the condition from her Shaykha who was known for her strictness and harshness against those whom she did not feel were proper for this honorable task. But Umm Al-Sa’ad was encouraged by the fact that her Shaykha herself had never married, even though there were many of the great scholars who had sought her hand, and she died in that state while in her eighties, having secluded herself to the Quran!

Umm Al-Sa’ad said,

“It is from the blessings of my Lord that anyone who has obtained an ijaaza in the Quran, in any Qiraa’ah, in Alexandria either received it directly from me (munaawala) or from someone whom I had given an ijaaza to. “

And what proved her unique status was that she was the only woman to whom reciter and huffadh of the Quran would travel to receive ijaaza in the ten qira’aat.

Umm Al-Sa’ad Ali Najm,age 77, is considered to be the most well known woman in the world of recitations of the Quran. The only woman to specialize in the ten qira’aat, she has spent over fifty years granting ijaazas in the ten qira’aat.

Waves of people could be seen entering and leaving her humble apartment, students who dreamed of memorizing the Quran, comprised of different age groups and both genders.

Classes for the women and girls would begin from 8 AM until 2 PM after which the classes for men and boys would start until 8 PM. Umm Al-Sa’ad would continue all day with no breaks except for salah and a light meal to sustain her.

The following passage was translated from a longer Arabic article found on Islamonline.net.

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