reading quran on the iphone

a long time ago, when i got my iphone, i realized that it would be nice to be able to read the quran on my phone. what i wanted was a way to read the arabic text on the phone (page by page, not ayah by ayah). anyhow, i’ll outline the solutions i’ve found here along with my preferred solution and how to set it up.


since the first solution is straight forward and instructions for the second solution are available on the link above, i will here outline instructions on how to use pdfs.

first, i need to point something out - you technically don’t need to jailbreak your phone to view the quran pdfs on it - you could download one of the apps in the appstore that views pdfs and use it. however, i’ve tried several of the free ones, and was never satisfied with the speed and performance of any of them. the best pdf viewer i found for the iphone is safari itself. so in order to be able to access these pdfs without a connection, you need to have a webserver running on your phone… and that is why you need to jailbreak your phone :)

preview here are three screenshots of how it looks like: menu quran text quran text (wide).


  1. jailbreak your phone. on an older iphone, this is easy (install the newest firmware via itunes, then install and run quickpwn). for the 3g iphone, carefully read the instructions on quickpwn’s website, especially if you want your phone to be unlocked and/or are already using it unlocked.

  2. once the phone is jail broken, run cydia. install openssh. then install lighttpd.

  3. when you’re on a wifi network, go to your phone’s settings (from the main screen), click on wifi, and choose the network that you are currently connected to by pressing the blue arrow - note down the value of the ip address

  4. ssh into your iphone as root - in linux or osx, just open a terminal and run “ssh root@[your phone’s ip address]”. on windows, you can do this by downloading putty. the default password is alpine. keep this terminal open for the next step (recommendation - once you’re in, change your password. type passwd and choose something else besides the default. this is for security purposes).

  5. now you can set up lighttpd. download com.http.lighttpd.plist and scp it to /Library/LaunchDaemons (using mac/linux, just do scp com.http.lighttpd.plist root@[iphone’s ip]:/Library/LaunchDaemons). on windows, download winscp, log in (user name root, password is ‘alpine’ unless you’ve changed it in the above step), navigate to /Library/LaunchDaemons, and copy the file over). this file is what will set up lighttpd to start every time the phone is started, and to read the lighttpd.conf from the path below.

  6. download lighttpd.conf and scp it to /etc. this is the configuration file for the webserver.

  7. download the pdfs and web files. unzip them (you’ll get a web directory), and scp this directory to /var/root/Media (so that the files will be in /var/root/Media/web/*). note that if you change this path, you have to edit lighttpd.conf to reflect wherever you put this.

  8. finally, in the terminal you opened in the earlier step, type the following command (this command is what ultimately makes lighttpd start everytime the phone is started): launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.http.lighttpd.plist.

and that’s it… you should be good to go! open up safari and navigate to http://localhost/index.html and enjoy!

known issues

suggestions/additions/comments are welcome and appreciated.

update - i’ve been using batoul apps’ quranreader at the recommendation of a friend. it’s $1 in the app store, but well worth it.

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