ISL Software Corp, Silver Spring, MD.
This software provides access to the Qur'an and includes English and Arabic script, Arabic recitation, Hadith and Islamic Law (Fiqh). A vast array of Islamic subjects are covered in addition to historical and biographical information, an Islamic terms dictionary with a "look-up" and "search" that was very easy to use and comprehensive, as well as photographs of Islamic images and art.
The program loaded quickly, then opened with a lovely Qur'anic recitation in the premier window. It then goes directly into the main window with a "Did You Know" tips window. You can close it or ask for more tips. I liked this feature because as you use this software, your proficiency increases. It makes exploring the huge expanse of information fun. The "Welcome to the Alim" window provides the following subject titles within easy clicking...
Qur'an in Arabic & Recitation
Qur'an Comparison & Recitation
A. Yusuf Ali Qur'an Translation & Commentary
M. Picktall Qur'an Translation
Maududi Surah Introductions
ISL Qur'an Subjects
A. Yusuf Qur'an Subjects
Hadith & Fiqh
Hadith & Subjects
Sahih Muslim Hadith (Abridged)
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith (Abridged)
Sunan of Abu-Dawood (Abridged)
Fiqh-us-Sunnah & Subjects
Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon
Introduction to Islam
Islamic Images & Pictures
Islamic Terms Dictionary
Islamic History (Chronology)
A sidebar window allows easy access to the same subjects but under the title of "Books". There are so many well thought out features to this program that I found myself studying Qur'an subjects much longer than I had anticipated just by having so much information right at my fingertips...mousetips?
The Alim lets you study the Qur'an in Arabic along with multiple translations simultaneously. You can link translations and study them in parallel, comparing, and contrasting verses and their interpretations. A really great feature allows you to hear the Holy Qur'an being recited in Arabic as you read it on the screen (this is a great for new Muslims studying Arabic). You can begin with the beautiful Fatiha and recite all the way to Surah Al Nas (Mankind). The Arabic script is artistic and vivid.
Commentaries of noted scholars help explain hard to understand ideas and interpretations. Detailed introductions (including primary subject matter, time, and circumstances of revelation, and important themes) accompany each Surah (Chapter) of the Qur'an.
You can search and study through thousands of the authentic Hadith (sayings and traditions of the Prophet [SAW]) from any of the six different Hadith databases for any questions you may have on any topic discussed in Hadith. Searches can also be done by content, narrator, or subject. You can even find the name of a sahabi (companion of the Prophet [SAW]) when all you might remember is that he was blind!
Both traditional and contemporary Islamic jurisprudence issues can be contemplated with The Alim's Fiqh-us-Sunnah.
Applying Islam to your daily life is attained from stories of the people who lived with the Prophet [SAW]. A chronological history of Islam provides historical information from the birth of the Prophet [SAW] to the modern 20th century.
Searching through the databases whether English or Arabic is fantastic. You can search under a word, phrase, or multiple combinations of words and phrases. Another surprising feature that I admired was the ability of the application to conduct a search for text in a single database, multiple databases that you choose, or all the databases at the same time! This is so well put together that The Alim will even let you start on what it found while it goes on searching behind the scenes for more. The Alim is definitely a tool to build and enhance your understanding of Islam whether you are a convert to Islam or born into it. With the "copy & paste" capabilities you can directly transfer text without re-typing, avoiding errors, and maintaining accuracy. A zooming feature allows you to see the Arabic characters with precision. There is even a bookmark icon that allows you to quickly tag selected text or articles.
I found The Alim to be very well constructed, easy to use and move around in, replete with information and references, inexpensive, and containing little 'extras' that make a program well-used and enjoyed. I definitely give it a 4 STAR rating!
The program comes from ISL Software Corporation in Silver Spring, MD.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186