The Qur’an has a total of 604 pages and 6,236 verses, and committing them to memory is usually achieved by repetition and recitation. In Turkey, thousands of Qur’an schools exist for this purpose and most of them are for girls. The ages range from eight to nineteen years old, and most take three or four years to complete the task that requires discipline, devotion and focus.

Magnum nominee Sabiha Çimen, who herself attended a Qur’an school with her sister, is documenting the devotion of these young students, showing not only their journey to become hafızes, but also how they retain the dreams and adventurous nature of young women their age.

A plane flies low over students riding a train at a funfair over the weekend. Istanbul, Turkey, 2018.

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