When his voice invaded the radio waves or the cassettes of Koran, everybody could recognize the identity of the respectable recitor. He became, after a long shining way, the boss of a school which concerned with the art of reciting the Noble Koran. Between his birth in 1917 and his decease 63 years after, He got attached to the acquisition of all sciences that have any relationship with the Noble Koran. He memorised several masterpieces of reference. The best moments of his life were the ones in which he used to read the verses of the quite revelation with his own knowledge.
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî was not only a recitor with a vibrating voice since there are lots of beautiful voices, but how many voices can leave an impact on the audience? According to him, reciting depends on rules and principles. Since his childhood, He was a lecture fan (‘îlm Al-Qirâ’ât) and became one of the preponderant figures who are concerned with this art and whose masterpieces are taught to students. He always kept in his mind the words of the messenger of Allah (PBUH): “the best among you is the one who learns Koran and teaches it”.
We are dealing with a reciting master, a person who contributed to the enrichment of literature and the Islamic library through many work pieces and lectures, and through several conferences that were done at the Egyptian, Arabic and Islamic Universities. He achieved the noblest mission which consists of protecting the Book of God from corruption or deformation. Indeed, he remained the head of all Islamic recitors during twenty years and became a researcher academic member among many great scholars of Al-Azhar.
His birth at Shubrâ An-Namlah:
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî was born in 1917 in Shubrâ An-Namlah, a village in the region of Tantâ. He learned by heart the holy Koran before the age of eleven at the Koranic School of his village. Then, he went to Ahmadienne Mosque which was the privileged destination of students who are seeking knowledge about the recitation of Koran under the supervision of eminent professors like Mustafâ Al-Murawwij. Sheikh Al-Husarî spent there many years before acquiring his B.A in reciting. He was then devoted to teaching lecturing sciences, law cases and the pre-reciting rules that accompanied the beautiful voice and the excellence interpretations that he used to give.
At Ahmadienne Mosque:
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî was influenced by his starting points at Ahmadienne Mosque in Tantâ, by reference to the memorial of the Saint As-Sayyid Ahmad Al-Badawî. The celebration of the anniversary of this latter, one of the greatest memorials in the country influenced several personalities of that region in a manner or another. Indeed, Tantâ organises an annual festival, during a whole week, where big writers and artists get together with the citizens. The ringing of such festival could last until the following year and enriched the citizens’ culture. All this contributed to the improvement and the fame of numerous talents thanks to their creative activities. Among those talents there was Sheikh Al-Hûsarî.
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî used to study at Al-Azhar University because, very soon, he was conscious that his role as a recitor and predicator should have been supported by solid scientific bases. Before tracing his own path among the famous recitors at that time, he was educated under the supervision of noble professors and scholars in Al-Azhar, and attended their meetings and symposiums of Al-Husayn Street, which was a place where Egyptian thinkers, artists and intellectuals used to meet. It was, also, a meeting point of inflow for recitors and creative hymnodists. He discovered in that place lots of secrets concerning Koran sciences and the art of reciting.
First price on the Radio:
Without any surprises, Al-Hûsarî was number one in the Egyptian radio competition in 1944. He forced the juries’ admiration to admit his success over the giants of recitation at that time like Sheikh Muhammad Rif’at, Sheikh Alî Mahmûd and Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Fattah Ash-Sha’shâ’î; all Ahmadienne recitors.
When his voice was broadcasted for the first time on the Egyptian radio waves he got a large appreciation for his unique style and his unmistakable respect towards the recitation rules. Only one year after his admission of the radio he went back to Tantâ to be praised by the minister of the good intentions, although he was just about to start his career as a recitor in Ahmadienne Mosque for years to seek knowledge.
People who used to rush to that mosque from the four corners of Egypt used to welcome him warmly especially during the annual celebration of As-Sayyid Ahmad Al-Badawî.
Reciting for Al-husayn Mosque:
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî remained the attractive recitor of Ahmadienne Mosque for ten years due to his exceptional fame as far as his age. Then, in 1955, the minister of good intentions named him as a recitor in Al-Husayn Mosque where he spent twenty nine years successively until his death. During that period, he confirmed his cleverness and his merit to that job he was given by famous recitors.
Boss of recitors and other responsibilities:
Sheikh Al-Husarî was responsible for many occupations in the Egyptian general institution of recitors. First of all, he became a recitor supervisor, then a worked as an assistant in the administration before becoming its chief in 1961. He became also a comity member concerning the codex correction of Koran in 1959, a director assistant in 1962, and later a director. He was an academic expert concerning Islamic researches for Tartîl affaires (quick Psalmody) at Hafs lectionary according to ‘Äsim in 1961 and, then at Warsh lectionary according to Nâfi’ in 1964, at Qâlûm and Ad-Dûrî lectionaries for the countries in which they are commonly used in 1968. In the same year, he recorded the Koran by adjusting to Al-Mushaf Al-Mu’allim pedagogical technique.
Masterpieces dealing with Koranic sciences:
It is true that every recitor (Qâri’) is a world apart which is provided with a pure sensitiveness that has an impact on his audience. Sheikh Al-Husarî is among the best and most experienced recitors in the world. He used to have a very broad knowledge about reciting; interpreting (tafsîr) the Hadîth. He wrote many works in the filed of Koran sciences which were published and handed out by the superior council of Islamic affaires. The sheikh used to have an exacerbated awareness concerning literature, thoughts and culture in broad terms, and specifically the literature of travelling since he had wrote plenty of works about his journeys around the Islamic world and even abroad.
Sheikh Al-Husarî wrote more than eleven books about Koran sciences, such as:
- Ma` Al-Qur’ân Al-Karîm (With the Holy Koran)
- As-Sabîl Al-Muyassar fi Qirâ’at Al Imam Abû Ja`far (The easy road towards Imam Abû-Ja’far’s lectionary)
- Riwâyat Warsh (The Warsh lectionary)
- Riwâyat Ad-Dûrî `an Abî `Amr Al-`Alâ’ Al-Basrî (Ad-Dûrî’s lectionary according to Abû `Amr Al-`Alâ’ Al-Basrî)
- Ahkâm Qirâ’at Al-Qur’ân Al-Karîm (The rules of reciting the holy Koran)
- Al-Qirâ’ât Al-`Ahsr (The ten lectionaries)
- Ma`âlim Al-Ihtidâ’ ilâ Ma`rifat Al-Waqf Wal-Ibtidâ’ (knowledge about pauses and
- Rahalâtî fî Al-Islâm (My trips in Islam)
On the preface of the first aforementioned book, Ma` Al-Qur’ân Al-Karîm, Sheikh Mahmûd Shaltût, the great Imam of Al-Azhar at that time, said about him: “God has given to many people the goods of this world and beyond, and granted them by giving them happiness in the two shelters through this right path, the path of the holy Koran. They learned it, recite it and honoured it as it should be. They struggled to protect it and found joy in it because it always guided them towards truth and the right path”. Sheikh Shaltût added: “Among those, I have known our son Sheikh Khalîl Al-Husarî. I have descoverd in him an excellent recitor who observes God with a huge fear in his recitation by following the methodology of our pious precursors in the reading of Allah’s Book, and never moved aside from it. His recitation fulfils the hearts with peace, security and calmness, and opens to his audience the gates of faith.”
Sheikh Mahmûd Khalîl Al-Husarî did not stop at that point; we owe him the recording of Koran on cassettes, according to Tartîl technique (quick cadenza), in the Hafs lectionary, in the Warsh, in Qâlûn and in the one of Ad-Dûri, for the countries where lectionaries were spread. Moreover, he realised a pedagogical recording of the Holy Koran (Al-Mushaf Al-Mu`allim) and a CD concerning the teaching of prayer. Since its foundation, the radio of the Holy Koran (In Cairo) exclusively broadcasted him for ten years to more than a Billion of Muslims in the world.
Divergence about his voice:
There is a disagreement about psalmody of this recitor and his interpretation. Even though his technique is unanimously known for its purity in the world of recitation of Koran, some people find that his melodic psalmody was not that academic and can elate the feelings of the audience. On the other hand, some others, especially in the Egyptian countryside, are transcended by his voice and reserve a particular admiration for him.
No to the sung interpretation!
Sheikh Al-Husarî was conscious of the blames he was facing and avoided carefully, however, the answering to these blames and the adjustment to the “chanted” interpretation of Koran. His recitation was about respecting conscientiously the famous and authorized scientific rules that were put by scholars and masters of recitation such as Hafs, Warsh etc…He could successfully escape and avoid the “chanting” style during recitations; the same style which leads sometimes the audience to excitement and loud acclamations due to emotional excess. Such excitement could indeed divert the spirits from meditation and the depth of the koranic message which requires a calm and peaceful receptivity. This was all about Sheikh Al-Husarî’s school where he reached the peak of mastery and received all honours.
Good technique for recitation
Sheikh Al-Husarî was known for his Tartîl (Quick Psalmody) of the holy Koran, a technique that, according to him, is the most correct and legitimate as it was confirmed by several scholars of recitation. He says about that: “The tartîl shapes every word with an evocative manner, a fact that cannot be produced during a pure “chated” interpretation where words are subjected to a certain musicality which can be opposing to the necessary sound print to reach the real meaning. And if we feel the melodic saturation during the “chanted” interpretation, we feel, on the other hand, calmness and introversion during Tartîl derived from the message of the holy Koran”.
In another opportunity, he defended his reciting style and said: “The tartîl puts us directly on the screen of the Koranic text. It puts us in an active listening position and makes the listener feel the responsibility of listen. However, “chanted” restitution borrows passages of introversion by an envelope of jollity; the Tartîl is more difficult because it reveals faithfully the meaning. The roots of tartîl deal basically with the koranic text and not the musical rhythms.”
So, Sheikh Al-Husarî was persuaded all his lifetime that tartîl is not only a set of recitation rules we learn by heart. The tartîl is not only a very complex and definite art but it requires deep studies in linguistics and ancient Arab dialects, and a good stress on the words when it is necessary. It requires also a very sensitive voice that can make the stamp nuances extremely thin. All this facts, dress Al-Husarî’s voice with beauty, with aura and ability to resituate the meaning of the verses that Non-Arabophone Muslims used to understand Al-Husarî and meet Koran through his voice. It was a divine gift that was attributed to that recitor which made him very famous in the whole world.
Medals and decorations:
All along his way, Sheikh Al-Husarî obtained various medals and decorations and was honoured by numerous Islamic and foreign countries which he visited. He was treated with a special care by leaders, kings and presidents. He received the medal of honour concerning Sciences and Arts from the president Jamâl ‘Abd An-Nasir in 1967 and was elected as president of the Islamic world league of Koran recitors. He had the chance to recite the holy Koran in front of the American congress and the United Nations. Thanks to his, God guided dozens of people during his journeys abroad. He remained, for the rest of his life, a researcher, a writer, a thinker and of course one of the biggest public figures in Egypt and in the Arabo-Muslim world. Sheikh Al-Husarî is one of the wise recitors who are very experienced in the art of reciting, and one of the best interpreters of Hadith. Thus, he got Al-Azhâr diploma of the tenth Koran lectionaries in 1958.
The testament of Al-Husarî
Sheikh Mahmûd Al-Husarî remained faithful to his initial mission: To get hooked to God’s Book through memory and action. In his death in 1980, he left then the third of his wealth to the subvention of building a mosque on Al-‘Ajûzah Street in Cairo. That mosque proposes various public services in terms of religion and medication and is managed by the Sheikh’s son, Dr Muhammad Al-Husarî, a reputed dentist. He also envisaged in his testament the expenses of the mosque he had built in Tantâ as well as the three Islamic institutes and the library of the holy Koran memorization which he left in the service of the public in his village Shubrâ An-Namlah.
God may be merciful towards him.