Hafiz

hafez

hafiz

Hafiz [hah-fiz], literally meaning ‘guardian’, is an honorific used by Muslims in modern days for someone who has completely memorized the Qur’an. The Islamic prophet Muhammad lived in the 7th century CE, in Arabia in a time when many people were not literate. The Arabs preserved their histories, genealogies, and poetry by memory alone. When Muhammad proclaimed the verses later collected as the Qur’an, his followers naturally preserved the words by memorizing them.

Early accounts say that the literate Muslims also wrote down such verses as they heard them. However, the Arabic writing of the time was a scripta defectiva, an incomplete script, that did not include vowel markings or other diacritics needed to distinguish between words. There are numerous traditions of recitation. Most hafiz know only one version, but true experts can recite in several traditions.

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