Kuala Kubu Bharu (AFP) - A small community of blind students in Malaysia is attempting to learn the entire Quran, a formidable task that requires them to read each page of the holy text up to 40 times.
It may be the fasting month of Ramadan but the group of eight students in the central state of Selangor show no sign of fatigue as their fingers race across thick copies of the religious book.
The students, who were all born blind, are among a group of 1,000 at the Darul Quran school learning and memorising Islam's holy text.
They depend on made-in-Malaysia copies written in Braille, which come in six thick volumes.
"They must try to memorise one to two pages a day. You usually have to read a page 30 to 40 times to help you memorise," Quran teacher Ahmad Qusairi Mat Zizi, who is also blind, said.
The students, aged between 19 and 21, are currently in the midst of a four-year course, memorising the holy text as well as studying Arabic and other Islamic subjects.
"My motivation to come here, first of all, is for my family and for myself, and because I like to memorise the Quran, and that is one of my ambitions," said blind student Nur Basyirah Azhar.
Once they finish their course, they can opt for further Islamic studies at university level.
Teachers at the school said there were other Malaysian institutions offering classes with the Braille Quran, while similar Braille copies can also be found in countries such as Indonesia.
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told local media this week he hoped the country would have 125,000 people who had memorised the Quran by 2050, saying this was key to building harmony and prosperity.