Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary was the first to recite the Qur’an at the UN, the White House, US House of Congress and Buckingham Palace in London. He was a pioneer of recording the Qur’an for global distribution. But it was the Senegalese, Sheikh Ibrahim Baye Niass, his friend, who first suggested to an international conference of Islamic leaders that the Eqyptian qari (a person who recites the Qur’an with the proper rules of recitation) be chosen to do it.
Sheikh Muhammad Niass is one of the sons of Bai Niass. In a recording he made as a biography of his father, he recounted: “There was a time, sometime in 1960, when the Jews started the idea of playing with the Qur’an and tampering with it. So Maulana Baye Niass upon hearing about this raised this matter up at the annual Conference of the World Muslim League in Saudi Arabia (an event of prominent world Islamic scholars), which he was a founding member and deputy chairman.
“So upon Allah’s inspiration, Sheikh Ibrahim suggested to the membership the idea of recording it and spreading it worldwide, so people would not be misled by the Jewish scheme and strategy against us. He therefore suggested the name of Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary and encouraged him to do so, (as he was his friend by then) by recording along with two other reciters. Sheikh Ibrahim even advised him to be going to recite the Qur’an at the Raudah [the demarcated zone of Prophet Muhammad – the space between his pulpit and grave, which he said is part of the gardens of Paradise] in his Masjid in Madinah on daily basis…”
Subsequently, Sheikh Ibrahim would carry with him these recordings whenever he would travel on his global da’awah mission. He would be listening to it and distributing it freely to others.
According to Imam Hassan Ceesay, his grandson, when Baye Niass was critically sick, to prevent him from trying to recite, he would take a tape to play the recitation, but Sheikh Ibrahim would tell him that that would not prevent him from reciting as he had memorised the Qur’an since infancy.
As a demonstration of Sheikh Ibrahim’s love for Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary, he wrote this beautiful poem with his own hand:
My breakfast whenever I wake in the morning is also my supper – Al Qur’an
Reciting the remembrance [Al Qur’an] with overflowing ecstasy
In Kaolack he is present reciting the Qur’an [via a recorder] while he is absent [at the same time]
The young man from The Land of the River Nile, Mahmoud Khalil my friend
A Book for us whose magnificence diminishes mountains into irrelevance
With it I hope to gain my triumph and the triumph of my team
May Allah, Almighty, The Inventor of creation shower His blessing
With abundance of gracefulness which is the mystery (secret need) of every friend
Hold firm on the robe of Allah, O followers of Muhammad
He has enlightened for the good people the best way
Sheikh Ibrahim also spoke to the then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to officially assign Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary to record his recitation on radio and must give an order for it to be recited daily, morning and evening all in a bid to sanctify the authenticity of the Qur’an.
Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary, to this day, is regarded as one of the best reciters of the Qur’an. He was born in Shobra al-Namla in Tanta, Egypt on 17 September 1917, entered Qur’ânic school at the age of four, was educated at Al-Azhar University in Egypt and died on 24 November 1980 in Cairo, Egypt. His audios have been downloaded millions of times and his videos have been watched on You Tube hundreds of million times.
As part of Sheikh Ibrahim’s love for the Qur’an, he was asked by the prominent scholars of Kano in northern Nigeria in the 1960s during one of his visits there about the permissibility or otherwise of recording and broadcasting the Qur’an, which the Izalah and the Wahabi scholars at the time regarded as bid’ah.
So he wrote a 71-page book as a response to this question. It is entitled:
The Profound Proof That Indicates The Permissibility Of Qur’anic Recitation On The Radio
The sheikh used his exceptional and extraordinary intellectual capacity by analysing the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic wisdom to answer the question. He mentioned the names of these scholars in an excerpt of the introduction to the book.
“I was asked by a group of scholars of Kano in northern Nigeria under the leadership of their honored royal king and great authority the champion of the religion, Alhaji Muhammad Al-Sanusi, may Allah protect and shield him and grant him his wishes here and in the hereafter. And the prudent and thoughtful author Alhaji Ahmed Dantata bun Alhassan. And great scholar Ustaz Alhaji Abubakar Atiqu bun Khadir, a great intellectual, the cerebral Alhaji Abdallahi Salaga. And valiant scholar Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ibn Usman [Zangon Baribari]. And Sayyid Alhaji Muhammad Sani Ibn Al-Hassan, Sheikh Alhaji Usman Al-qalansuwi [Maihulla], Sayyid Alhaji Mahmud, the Wazir Alhaji Muhammad Al-Munir and others among the learned scholars and the sources of pride of the religion of Islam. May Allah grant them and us success towards what he loves and pleases with. And may He cure the ailing hearts and guide us towards the truth and bless us to stand by it and guide us to know the falsehood and bless us to stay away from it…”