The movie follows the 2009 competition, which had 110 contestants ranging in age from 7 to about 20, and was broadcast live around the Arabic world as it is each year. The children compete on the pronunciation, recitation and perfected memorization of the hundreds of pages of the Koran. The three stars are a 10-year-old from Tajikistan named Nabiollah, who memorizes the Koran in Arabic, which he does not otherwise speak or read and while he is functionally illiterate in Tajik, his own language; Rifdha, a girl from the Maldives, who studies advanced science and math, speaks several languages and yearns to be an undersea explorer; and Djamil, an imam’s son from a poor village in Senegal who travels to Cairo by himself as a representative of his entire nation.
After the film, M. Ali Chaudry, President of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, will be on hand to discuss the subject and answer questions. An original handwritten manuscript of the Koran along with some 15-20 original calligraphy pieces by the same artist will be on display at the library a few days before and after the film screening.
“Koran By Heart” came to Bernardsville Library’s collection as part the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf grant awarded to the library earlier this year by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf consists of twenty-five books, three feature films, a one-hour collection of short films, and a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies online. This collection of materials aids the library in its mission to connect the community with trustworthy resources and tools for engaging in discussion.
There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at www.bernardsvillelibrary.org and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.