LAHORE - Hafiza Qaria Rubina, Pakistan’s only woman recipient of Pride of Performance in Qirat, has urged the government to introduce Quran as a subject from the primary level to strengthen the younger generation’s attachment with the holy book and the divine religion.

Talking to The Nation on Saturday, she said at present people preferred English as the medium of instructions for their children, because of which Quranic education was not getting as much importance as it should. According to her, even highly educated people, including doctors in various subjects, could not read Quran with correct pronunciation.

Reading the divine scripture with right pronunciation is called Tajweed-i-Quran.

Qaria Rubina said while education in all spheres of life was important, Quran should get the highest priority in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

She was awarded Pride of Performance in Qirat in 1996 and was the first woman to receive the honour. Before or after that no woman has been given this award. An assistant professor, Qaria Rubina taught Arabic at the Kinnaird College for more than two decades and has been teaching the subject at the Cooper Road College for about eight years.

She took part in many international Qirat contests, some of them held in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

World known Qari Abdul Basit of Egypt was also all praise for the Qaria for her recitation of holy Quran.

According to her, while many parents wanted to teach their children Quran, competent teachers, especially female, who could teach the right pronunciation were not available in adequate numbers.

Qaria Rubina said although Qirat competitions were held at various educational institutions, not all participants could recite Quran correctly. Many participants, she said, could recite only certain verses of the holy Quran. But, she made it clear, a competent Qari or Qaria was the one who could recite any verse of the divine book.

In response to a question, she said world’s best male Qaris were available in Pakistan but the same could not be said of the females.

Qaria Rubina has taught Arabic and Qirat to thousands of students. She runs a seminary in Garhi Shahu where females of all age groups come to learn this art. Even a woman in her 50s has recently come to join a class, she said.

At the seminary, students also memorise the holy Quran. Normally, she said, a student memorises the divine book in a couple of years. However, she said, slow learners take a bit longer.

Qaria Rubina is the spouse of Mr Khalid Mehmud Hashmi, an assistant professor at MAO College who recites all 30 chapters of holy Quran every day in addition to performing his professional duties. This has been his practice for the past several years.