The Dubai International Holy Quran Award prompted memorisers of the Holy Quran to prepare well for the Award in order to be given the opportunity to compete in the international Islamic activity which attracts the best memorisers from all over the world.

By Eman Al Baik

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Published: Sun 23 Oct 2005, 12:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:10 PM

As well, the Award, the spiritual atmosphere it provides and the child participants created a strong motive to some young men to start memorising the Holy Quran.

Participants interviewed by City Times hailed the separation of test sessions to the afternoons and evenings, a practice adopted for the first time this year, because this gives an opportunity to score better.

Sylla Osman, an 18-year-old from Cote d'Ivoire, said that the DIHQA is an international competition of the highest level. The best memorisers of the Holy Quran participate in this competition annually. "I knew about the DIHQA from a friend of mine who participated in it last year. I knew about its high level after watching it on a video cassette given away last year to my friend. I found out that the level of the contest is very high and to be able to compete, I should revise again and again. The level of the contestants' memorisation and reading skills of last year's competition were really stunning."

"Even the level of the members of the Arbitration Panel was also very high. These facts have prompted me to challenge my capabilities and prepare for this competition," said Sylla who finished memorising the Holy Quran in about one-and-a-half year although he does not understand Arabic.

"I started preparing immediately after watching the video cassette. I wished to participate in it as I always dreamt of that. Thank God my dream came true and now I am here. During the year I increased the memorisation hours to be able to compete," said Sylla who won the first rank four times in local competitions, but this was the first international contest that he participated in.

Ahmad Bah, a 17-year-old from Sierra Leone said that he heard about the DIHQA from a Quran memoriser while both were participating in Al Fatihi International Competition of Libya early this year. One of the participants has encouraged me to participate in DIHQA, which until that time I was ignorant of.

He himself had participated last year but did not obtain a rank. "The participation in this reputed and high level competition is by itself an honour for the memorisers. The participant is subjected to preliminary tests to ensure the quality of the contest. At the same time the organisers of DIHQA have followed a practice of rewarding all participants, which has captured the hearts and gained the appreciation of the memorisers because their efforts and their hard work were recognised regardless of the results they obtain," he said.

"With all this information, I prepared myself very well and increased my daily recitation hours, which reached up to ten hours a day during the past few months," he said praising the division of the test session to afternoon and evening as this would help participants to score higher marks. Waseem Akram Sharif, an 18-year-old from Lebanon said that the contestants feel more comfortable during the afternoon sessions which are conducted at a small hall in the residential apartments of the participants.

"The audience comprises contests and their companions. Al though there is a TV camera, the situation is incomparable with that at the theatre of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry," he noted.

"At the Chamber's theatre the contests make more mistakes because of the big theatre, the large audience, television cameras and the huge stage," he noted adding, "Both the afternoon and the evening sessions are equally essential for the Award's reputation and for the contestants' welfare.

The Award, which is an international event and being broadcast via many satellite channels, should appear in an appropriate look and be held at an equally big place befitting its reputation, noted Waseem.

"Splitting the test session has helped the contestants to compensate for probable mistakes they may commit because of the circumstances of the evening test sessions," he said hailing the organising panel for this decision.

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