Beautifying the voice during the recitation of the holy Koran is considered as an art in which Muslims has shone since the birth of Islam and the start of the revelation. The noble companions have learned the Koran from the mouth of God’s beloved, the Messenger Muhammad; the words of the lord reached their soul. Some of the companions were distinguished by the beauty of their voice while the recitation of the Koran. The prophet, (PBUH), used to find pleasure in listening to recited Koran by heart felt voices of the companions. He says about Sâlim, the emancipated slave of Abû Hudhaytah, who was an excellent Koran recitor: “Thank God who brought up a man like that in my community”. The messenger showed his appreciation towards the recitation of Abû Musâ Al Ashiari, and said that Ubayy Ibn Ka’b was one of the best recitors of Koran in his community. What about the wonderful recitation of the noble prophet himself? Jubayr Ibn Mut’im says: “I have heard the Messenger, P.B.U.H, recite the prayer of sundown; surate At-Tûr; I have never heard such a beautiful voice and recitation before. Hen, when I heard him recite the following verse: “Were they created from the vacuum or they are themselves, the creators?” I have thought that my soul melt down and my heart was about to fly. Then, generation after generation, Muslims took after eachother the art of reciting Koran in terms of the famous rules of recitation of the prophet, framed in the Tajuîd science which is concerned with the correction of diction and perfection of reciting.
God wanted Egypte to occupy a brilliant area concerning Koranic recitation, especially the two last centuries. A lot of scholars, such as Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Al-Mitualli (died in 1895) or Sheikh “Ämir” Uthmân (died in 1988), devoted them selves to the service of Koran by composing various works dealing with sciences and the Koranic recitation. Other figures excelled at reciting the Koran thanks to the divine gift that had been given… so then, God has blessed Egypte and the Islamic world by some psalm masterminds as good as sheikh Muhammed Rif’at, sheikh Mustapha Isma’il, sheikh Abû Al Aynayn sh’aysha’, Sheikh Mahmûd Khalil Al-Husarî, Sheikh Muhammad Siddîq Al-Minshâwî, Sheikh Kâmil Yûsuf Al-Bahtîmî or Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Bâsit ‘Abd As-Samad.
Those great masters shone incredibly in the world of recitation. Their influence confirms the following well-known sentence: “the holy Koran had been revealed in “Mekka”, recited in Cairo and transcribed in Istanbul.” Birth and youth among the masters of recitation who used to have the hearts of all Muslims without any exception, is sheikh “Abd Al Basit Muhammad abd assamad. His star shone in the middle of the XX th century and his reputation has always been growing, even after his death. God gives what wants to whom wants.
This skilful recitor used to live in Armant village, attached to Qinâ province in the high-Egypte in 1927. Since his tender childhood, his heart got attached to Koran. He walked over kilometres to get to a neighbouring village where he could listen, sat in a café, the psalm of sheikh Muhammad rif’ât and sheikh ash-sha’ shâi transmitted Koran through radia to Cairo. The young Abd Al-Bâsit confessed to his father his willing of being devoted to the learning of Koran and its recitation rules. The elder brothers of sheikh Abd Al-Bâsit expressed take the way they have taken; learning Islamic sciences at the prestigious Al Azhar University. The father felt his son’s motivation and encouraged him by taking him to Tantâ, the lighthouse of delta Nile. Which is well known for its Wiseman and recitors. Before travelling, sheikh Muhammad Salim, a koranic recitation professor, had left the north of Egypt and stayed in a village of High-Egypt; closer to sheikh Abd Al Basset’s village. Sheikh Abd Al basset’s father helped his son memorize the Koran before the age of 10. Then, the following years, he learned from his sheikh the 7 lectures (al- qirâ’ât as-sab’). The professor’s heat got hooked to his brilliant and advanced student. He took him to all koranic ceremonies for reciting. He used to encourage him to recite in public inspite of his being only 14. This practice in public made sheikh Abd Al-Basit perfect his talent.
Sheikh Abd Al Basset’s fame began increasing thanks to the religious nights that took place in Ramadan in High-Egypt. Those nights used to gather a big crowd that came to listen to psalms and hymns.
The anniversaries of pious Wiseman were, as well, a rendezvous for great recitors of the region. The high-Egypt had already a significant weight concerning koranic recitation thanks Siddiq Al –Minshâwi, who was the father of the great recitors sheikh Muhmûd Siddiq Al Minshawi and his devout elder brother, Sheikh Muhammad siddiq Al-Minshawi, and the sheikh Abd Ar. Radi, sheikh A wadi Al Quîsi, lots of recitors who deeply influenced sheikh “Abd Al Basset”. The latter had been sensitive to the voices of great recitors of northern Egypt province such as Sheikh Muhammad Rif’at and Sheikh Mustapha Ismail.
The departure towards Cairo for the celebration of the birth day of lady Zaynab in 1950; numerous recitors of High-Egypt went to Cairo to take part in religious ceremonies organized by As-sayyidah Zaynab’s Mosque. The Masters of reciting ended by convincing Sheikh Abd Al Basset, who was about 23, to go with them to Cairo. It was the day of fame for the young recitor. Being disturbed by his young age and over whelmed by the presence of the greatest recitors of the country, sheikh Ali Subay, the Imam of the mosque at that time, used to know the young Sheikh and insisted on the fact of introducing him to public. He started his recitation with the 56th verse of sourate 33; Al Ahzâb: “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.”
The young recitor was blessed by being given a melodious voice always made people get surprised at the mosque and made them say: “why such talent was not known until now?” The fame did not come late. One year later, Sheikh Abd Al Basset sat for a very selective test which was broadcasted on the Radio of Koran in Cairo. The jury was evaluating sheikh Ad-Dabaâ; the president of the Egyptian recitors league, Sheikh Muhammad Shaltût, future recitor of Al-Azhar, and the great recitor sheikh Mahmûd Ali Al Bannâ. He passed the test on the radio of Cairo and as a result, his voice was broadcasted every week on Saturday evenings.
In 1952, he became the official recitor of the Imam Ash-Shafî Mosque. Then, he took after Sheikh Mahmûd Ali Al Bannâ in 1985 to be an official recitor in the Imam Al- Husayn Mosque.
Sheikh Abd Al Basset went on travelling with the Holly Koran, and welcomed by crowds and princes who felt being honoured by his presence until his last days. By the end of the year 1988, Sheikh Abd Al Basset abd A-Samad passed away, but even after his death he went on reaching the hearts of the believers who are faithful to the voice of the sky. May God lighten his tomb by the Koran, lift his rank to heaven and bless him by the company of our prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).