Maria Ulfah

Hajjah Maria Ulfah (born 21 December 1955) is an Indonesian qāriʾah (reciter of the Quran) and manager of the Central Institute for the Development of Quranic Recitation.[1] She is the winner of two Indonesian national Qur'an recitation contests and is internationally recognized as one of the world's master reciters and teachers of recitation.[2][3][4][5] She is also a lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Qur'an and at the National Islamic University in Indonesia,[3][6] as well as the first woman to win an international Qur'an recitation award in Malaysia in 1980.[5] She's considered an internationally significant figure in the field,[7] and has been referred to as Southeast Asia's premier female reciter of the Qur'an.[8]

Maria Ulfah
Born (1955-12-21) December 21, 1955 (age 64)
Lamongan, East Java, Indonesia
Known forQāriʾah (female reciter of the Quran)

Personal lifeEdit

Ulfah was born in Lamongan Regency, East Java, on December 21, 1955 to Haji Mudhoffar and Hajjah Ruminah.[9] She was the ninth child of twelve. In 1981, she married Mukhtar Ikhsan, a pulmonologist and respiratory physician and lecturer at the medical school of the University of Indonesia. She has three children: Ahmad Nabries, Mohammad Labib, and Rifky Mubarak.[10][11]


Ulfah was introduced to Qur'an recitation by her father, Haji Mudhoffar, who taught her that she was equal to any man or woman. He staged Qur'an reciting competitions in their hometown to give his daughter experience.[12] She began training at age 6, with instruction from her older sister. Her interest in the art grew as she attended an Islamic boarding school that encouraged her to pursue recitation.[4] Since the 1980s, Ulfah has been an internationally popular and respected figure in Qur'anic recitation.[13][9] Ulfah is a scholar of the history of Qur'anic recitation in the Indonesian archipelago, as well as a lecturer at the Institute for Qur'anic Studies in Jakarta.[5]

Ulfah's recitation was featured on the companion CD to Approaching the Qur'an by Michael Sells,[3] and she has toured Malaysia, Egypt, Australia, the United States,[14] Canada, and several European countries.[15] During her 1999 tour in the United States for which Ulfah was accompanied by Anne Rasmussen,[14] her trip was hosted by the Middle East Studies Association of North America.[16]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Special Talk and Recital "The Sacred Book in Islam, the Holy Quran, and its Recitation" Archived 2016-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, National Institutes for the Humanities, Kyoto University Yoshida Campus. Accessed May 9, 2016.
  2. ^ David D. Harnish and Anne Rasmussen, Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia, pgs. 123 and 343. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780195385427
  3. ^ a b c Sells, Michael (1999). Approaching the Qur'an. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press. ISBN 1-883991-26-9.
  4. ^ a b Useem, Andrea. "In Islam, a Vocal Exercise of Faith". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  5. ^ a b c Kathryn M. Coughlin, Muslim Cultures Today: A Reference Guide, pg. 87. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. ISBN 9780313323867
  6. ^ Durkee, Noura (May–June 2000). "Recited from the Heart". Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  7. ^ R. Michael Feener, Islam in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives, pg. 209. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004. ISBN 9781576075166
  8. ^ Anne Rasmussen, The Juncture between Creation and Re-creation among Indonesian Reciters of the Qur'an, pg. 75. Taken from Musical Improvisation: Art, Education, and Society. Eds. Gabriel Solis and Bruno Nettl. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2009. ISBN 9780252076541
  9. ^ a b DeLong-Bas, Natana J. (2006). Notable Muslims: Muslim Builders of World Civilization and Culture. Oneworld. p. 322. ISBN 978-1-85168-395-6.
  10. ^ Ulfah, Maria. "Basic biographical information". Dra. Hajjah Maria Ulfah, MA. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  11. ^ Shepherd, Harvey (2002-10-25). "All invited to Koran renderings". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec).
  12. ^ Glionna, John M. (2006-12-17). "Her Koran recitals say a lot". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Joseph Chinyong Liow and Nadirsyah Hosen, Islam in Southeast Asia, vol. 3, pg. 322. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2010. ISBN 9780415484787
  14. ^ a b Anna M. Gade, Perfection Makes Practice: Learning, Emotion, and the Recited Qurʼān in Indonesia, pg. 279. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004. ISBN 9780824825997
  15. ^ Shepherd, Harvey (2002-10-26). "Reciters of Koran tour Canada: Team from indonesia and kuwait. Muslims are urged to read the holy book and 'embellish the Koran with your voice'". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec).
  16. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Disparity and Context: Teaching Quranic Studies in North America, pg. 106. Taken from Teaching Islam. Ed. Brannon M. Wheeler. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 9780195348514