Parrots are now taught to recite the Quran and perform prayers; a trend taking place in Saudi Arabia with big money to be made.
“Teaching parrots Quran is not new, it goes back to eight years ago when people started teaching parrots to sing, and then the trend to teach them Quran caught up,” said Abd Al Rahman al-Arwan, one of the amateurs raising parrots.
“Now when people know that someone has a parrot, the first question the parrot owner will be asked is whether the parrot has memorized some verses from the Quran, if the answer is no, they will reply promptly that the parrot does not deserve a high price,” al-Arwan added.
Aya is the shortest division of a Quranic text into a phrase or a sentence, while a Sura is the division of the Quranic text into a chapter or part, set apart from the preceding and following text.
If the parrot memorizes Ayas from the Quran with pellucid clarity, the price range will be around 12-13 thousand Riyals, and if the bird has Suras stored in its intelligent memory, its price will go up to 20 thousands, however the price can go much higher if the bird can recite Suras and ham it up with performing prayers, and uttering the calling “Labyak Alahuma Labayk” that the Muslim devotees utter aloud when performing Hajj, one of Islam’s five pillars, which means literally “at your service Allah”. al-Arwan said.
“It comes gradually each day I teach the parrot one Aya, and so on for the following days, until it memorizes the whole Sura. At times I teach the parrot by comparing with my replies, I can ask the parrot “who is your god?” to teach him to say Allah, and I repeat the question, or the parrot asks me the same question and I answer “Allah”, he added.
Old and young parrots have glaringly different abilities in learning. The young birds can start with simple words such as “Hello” or “Baba” (Arabic for Dad), while the old birds can start up with Ayas and long sentences.
Also, the best time to teach this intelligent bird vocabulary and speech is early morning, catching up with the bird’s peak in vitality, and alertness, explained al-Arwan, addiing that the bird is extremely loyal and sensitive.
“The parrot knows his owner even if the owner changes location, and if the parrot notices that the owner is not speaking to one particular person, the bird will follow suit. The bird can also stop from speaking if meals are changed,” he said.
The highest price paid for a parrot so far is 40,000 Saudi Riyals or around $10,600.