Al-Anvar is a free, open-source application for studying the Quran, Islam's holy book. It's suitable for beginning students and top scholars alike, and it's also equally suitable for daily devotion as much as for scholarship. Users can download numerous plug-in resources, including translations, different versions, and reference works. Advanced searching and indexing features, audible readings, online and offline modes, and other specialized features set Al-Anvar apart from the other Quranic study tools we've seen. This free tool is suitable for all versions of Windows from XP to Windows 8; in fact, it's one of the first apps we've seen claiming Windows 8 readiness. We tried it in Vista and Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Al-Anvar's user interface presents a lot of complex information in an efficient layout marked by an attractive Islamic-style border on the main window and a navigation sidebar for searching, sorting, and displaying the Quran, including a customizable tree view of Topics. Tabs let us display Chapters, Sections, and Hizbs. The program opens at the beginning, with the 7 verses of the first chapter. Each verse displayed links to Topics, Commentaries, and My Notes; an Audio button; and the verse in Arabic script. Rotary buttons made quick work of selecting specific chapters and verses. Most of the controls that typical users will need are right on the toolbar and the menu bar, starting with the File menu. The Tools menu accesses the program's Preferences and backup feature, but the Add-ons menu and icon let us quickly download and install a huge range of Quran translations and commentaries, as well as Arabic language translations and Help files. We could save pages and data in several forms, most notably as PDF files via a toolbar icon.
Al-Anvar's advanced search and indexing features, scholarly resources, and numerous optional plug-ins, including many editions and translations of the Quran, make it not only the most comprehensive Quranic research tool we've yet seen, but also the most sophisticated. That's partly due to the software's open-source origins; open-source projects are labors of love, but Al-Anvar is also a labor of faith.