Upcoming talent on show as Quran award gains importancen

DUBAI — The Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) — 14th session started on Wednesday night at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce with seven contestants from Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Lebanon, Philippines, Qatar, Chad and Bosnia.

Of the 78 Holy Quran memorisers, seven were set for tests on Thursday, while seven others will be tested today.

Ahmed Al Zahid, Head of Media Unit, said all participants need to clear initial qualifying tests to check on their memorisation and performance. “They then sit for final tests in two shifts, at 1.30pm and 10.30pm.”

The head of the five-member judging panel, Shaikh Sameeh Athamnah, said the award is one of the best ways of showing respect to the Holy Quran. “The competition has become a major event for Muslims around the world with almost 80 memorisers under20 years of age.”

Meanwhile, contestants felt that DIHQA has become one of the most important awards in the world and some countries prepared their representatives for one full year to win the honour of just participating.

Nine-year-old Cyusa Abdullahi from Rwanda is the youngest ever participant in the 14th session.

Though Abdullahi does not know a single word of Arabic, he showcased an outstanding performance andhis tuneful voice attracted the audience. “I started my one-year journey with the Holy Quran when I was six, and finished at the age of seven. My father used to encourage and reward me,” he said, adding that his only sister is also memorising the Holy Quran.

Abdullahi has participated in just two local competitions. However, his accurate memorisation backed his nomination. “I cannot do without the Holy Quran; I am doing well in my studies, and people respect me as if I am a grown up man — all thanks to Allah,” he said.

The Philippine participant, Talha Alimoden, memorised the Quran in one year. “It was the dream of my mother; she wanted me to be a memoriser of the Holy Quran.”

The story of Alimoden’s memorisation started even before his mother got married. “At her engagement time, she dreamed she would be the mother of a Quran memoriser. When she got pregnant, she used to listen to the Holy Quran on CDs.

Contestant Issa Hamid, from Chad said he started his six-year journey with the Holy Quran at the age of seven and finished at 13. “I used to memorise small and easy chapters, and then began learning two pages per day with the help of my father who has also memorised the Holy Quran in full.”

“My grandfather and two of my seven brothers and sisters have learnt the Holy Quran by heart,” Hamid said, adding that he participated in the international Holy Quran awards in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, apart from local competitions in which he used to secure the first place.

Hamid said the Holy Quran has a significant impact on his life. “Memorising the Holy Quran is an honour in life and the Hereafter. It changed my life for the better and wins me people’s love and respect,” he said.

Qatari contestant Omar Janahi, an engineering student, said he kept memorising one to two pages of the Holy Quran when he was 10 until he finished memorisation it at the age of 13, at a centre for Holy Quran Studies in Doha. “Such a dream would not come true without God’s help. Then comes a deep motivation and firm will.”

Janahi’s family support was also very critical. “They used to encourage me, and push me to follow the steps of my two brothers who have fully memorised the Holy Quran,” he said.

Though DIHQA is Janahi’s first international award, he used to participate in local competitions. “Memorising the Holy Quran has helped improve my behaviour, and I have far excelled my classmates in school.”


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