A smartphone application translates the Koran from Arabic to Bahasa Indonesia by scanning through codes at the bottom of each line, a technology that aims to encourage a younger generation of non-Arabic speakers to become more familiar with Islam's holy book. Jim Drury has more.
STORY: It's the Islamic month of Ramadan and millions of Muslims are spending their time in prayer and reflection. But in Indonesia - the world's most populous Islamic nation - some Muslims struggle to read in Arabic. So inventor Syarief Niskala created this smart phone app that allows non-Arabic speaking Muslims to read the Koran. SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Indonesia) 'SMARTQURAN' APPLICATION INVENTOR SYARIEF NISKALA SAYING: "We don't need to translate, nor go to the library. We can learn anywhere from a gadget that we carry everywhere. As I learned from the research, the gadget that is closest to us is a smart phone….Based on that I invented this application for smart phones which we always have close, so can always be read and heard." The app is used in conjunction with a specially printed Koran, costing 17 dollars, that contains a series of QR codes. Once registered, users scan their phone over codes positioned on each page. Bahasa Indonesia translations appear in seconds. Commentary from Koran experts and verse-by-verse histories are also offered. Perhaps predictably, opinion was split along age lines in this Jakarta mosque. SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Indonesia) WORSHIPPER RISKA SUCI UTARI SAYING: "There are comments on the verses and translations too, all features that make it easy for us to learn and understand." SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Indonesia) WORSHIPPER FADLI SAYING: "Although our era is now advanced technologically, older people like me who cannot understand how to use these applications and gadgets, find it easier to read or recite with a real Koran." But with millions of smart phone users in Indonesia, Niskala believes his app can help a new generation of Muslims stay in touch with their religion.