Qari Abdul Basit
عبد الباسط عبد الصمد
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عبد الباسط عبد الصمد
Qari Abdul Basit ‘Abd us-Samad r a (1927–1988) (عبد الباسط عبد الصمد), was a renowned Qari (reciter of the Qur-an). As such, many modern reciters try to imitate his style. He is the only Qari to have won three world Qirat competitions in the early 1970s. ‘Abd us-Samad was one of the first huffaz to make commercial recordings of his recitations, and the first president of the newly formed Reciters’ Union in Egypt. He is best known for his recitation of Sura Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Qur’an, and a key sura in the five daily Islamic canonical prayers.
In 1950, he came to Cairo where Muslims in many mosques were captivated by his recitations. On one occasion, he was reciting verses from Sura al-Ahzab (The Confederates), he was requested to recite for longer than his allotted 10 minutes by his audience, and continued to recite for over an hour and a half; his listeners were captured by his mastery of pitch, tone and the rules of tajweed (Qur’anic recitation).
‘Abd us-Samad travelled extensively outside Egypt; in 1961, he recited at the Badshahi Masjid, in Lahore, Pakistan. In 1987, whilst on a visit to America, ‘Abd us-Samad related a story from one trip he made to the Soviet Union, with then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
‘Abd us-Samad was asked to recite for some leaders of the Soviet party. ‘Abd us-Samad recounts that four to five of his listeners from the Communist Party were in tears on hearing the recitation, although they didn’t understand what was being recited, but they cried, apparently touched by his recitation. Abdul Basit cites the event as a miracle he had experienced during one of his travels, reminiscent of other accounts in Islamic history of Meccan converts from recitation.
Indira Gandhi, an Indian prime minister and political leader always felt touched by his recitation and would stop alongside to appreciate his recitation. ‘Abd us-Samad died in 1988, and is survived by his three sons (from oldest to the youngest): Yasir, Hisham, and Tariq. Following his father’s footsteps, Yasir has also become a “Qari”.