Emre Gul / World Bulletin / History
82 years ago, Hafiz Yasar Okur made headlines for being the first person ever to recite the ‘Turkish Qur’an’. Muslims flocked to the Yerebatan Mosque in Istanbul after newspapers advertized the historic event on January 22, 1932.
The mosque was so packed that many worshippers had to wait outside in the courtyard under the pattering of raindrops. Hafiz Yasar Okur finally arrived at the mosque at 1:30pm with a police escort. A well-respected judge by the name of Kilic Ali and the writer of Turkey’s recently removed pledge of allegiance Resit Galip also accompanied him.
Beginning in the name of Allah, Hafiz Yasar Okur recited half of Surah Ya-Sin from the Qur’an in its original Arabic before switching his recitation to Turkish.
This was in fact part of a project started in 1932 by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to ‘Turkify’ worship. Mustafa Kemal had hired Hafiz Yasar Okur to recite the Qur’an in Turkish at a number of locations, with the first rehearsal performed at the Domabahce Palace in Istanbul.
A number of other notables who had memorized the Qur’an and had a good understanding of music, including the main muezzin (caller to prayer) of Istanbul’s Suleymaniye mosque, had also been summoned.
After they were presented the Turkish translation of the Qur’an, the group read and debated over its translation and practiced its recitation till the morning. They were then told that they had been assigned to familiarize the Turkish people with the Turkish Qur’an.
An official who had come out to greet them said ‘the Bible was first recorded in Aramaic but it was then translated to all the world’s languages. An Englishman reads his Bible in English, a German reads his in German. If everyone understood what they read, they would become more religious.’
The official then told his companions, ‘tell the newspapers, as of tomorrow the surahs will be read with its Turkish translation.’
Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2014, 17:30