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Biography of Ali Barrak
Ali Barrak, a Quran reader who doesn’t know the impossible
The late Tunisian Quran reader Ali Barrak was born in 1899 in Kairouan. He is the owner of one of the most special voices in the Arabic and Islamic world. He was born blind, yet he was able to confront his difficulties and surpass the obstacles to become a famous Quran reader. Sheikh Ali Barrak is known for mastering the “Seven readings”, “Tajweed” and “Tarteel”. He also had the privilege to launch the official TV broadcasting in his country in 1938. It is noteworthy to say that he has a giant collection of recordings in the local radio and television stations. Taha Hussein said about him the following: “His voice brings us back to the first time when the holy Quran was revealed, when the Arabic civilization started.”
While growing up, Sheikh Ali Barrak didn’t have a problem with his disability. On the contrary, he considered his blindness as a motivation and incentive to succeed and to excel in the field of Quran reading and “Tilawat”.
Since his young age, Sheikh Ali may Allah’s mercy be on him was frequently attending Quranic gatherings in order to memorize the Quran, to learn its rules and to reflect on its meanings. Also, he admired the Sufism and he was attending their gatherings occasionally to listen to the “Madih” and to their chants. The first educational Institution he ever went to was the book of his city, which is called “the Quranic School”. And it was there when he first memorized the holy Quran, closed it with the “Tajweed” and with all the “Seven readings”.
At the beginning of the thirties of the last century, and after a successful journey in the memorization of the holy Quran and its rules, Sheikh Ali Barrak followed a Sufi method. He enjoyed listening to its chants and he liked its approach. During the same period, he joined the Tunisian radio channel in which he worked for a long time, and he had inaugurated it with a beautiful recitation of “Al Fatiha”. The listeners used to enjoy his Quranic reading, his heartfelt voice and his special style of “Tilawat”. Yet, these readings weren’t recorded because the “magnetic tapes” and the “CD’s” were not available at that time.
Fortunately, Sheikh Ali Barrak continued working in the radio station until the sixties of the last century, and he was given the opportunity to record a video of his sweet voice, which coincided with the establishment of the Tunisian TV in 1966.
During his life, Sheikh Barrak was able to perform pilgrimage twice, in which he earned the appreciation of the pilgrims especially when he recited the Quran in the two holy mosques in 1950 and in 1963.
After a long journey between the arms of the holy Quran, Sheikh Ali Barrak passed away on the fourth of December, 1981, leaving behind him a Quranic legacy and a story that deserves to be told.