Dubai - The 21-year-old Kouja finished memorising the Holy Quran at the age of 17 despite his health challenges.
Listening to his full Quran recitation will leave you spell-bound. And when you come to know that the 21-year-old has only one lung, it will cement your belief that 'God manifests Himself in miracles'.
Meet Nader Mahmoud Kouja, who knows the Quran completely by heart and recites it with amazing perfection despite his health challenges.
The man has proved that if you remain undaunted by life's adversaries, nothing can stop you from beating the odds. He is representing Lebanon in the ongoing 23rd edition of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (Dihqa), Ramadan 2-14.
Nader - which means 'rare' or 'one of a kind' - lives up to his name. He is bestowed with an exceptional talent and is humility personified. Ask him about his achievement and he quips: "I know it is a big challenge to finish this 'sacred mission' with not just one lung but also respiratory issues, but to have the honour of memorising the words of Almighty Allah is one of a kind."
"By memorising the holy Quran, one feels safer, more relaxed, and inspired," he says. "Your spirit, heart and mind become more divine and closer to the great Creator."
It makes one happy and satisfied in both life and beyond, he underlines. "The Quran has significantly sharpened my memory, boosted my academic performance, and won me people's respect."
Nader stared learning the holy book at the age of 14 at a mosque where small classes were held on a daily basis. He finished memorising it three years later when he was 17, despite his health problems.
"My Quran teachers were of great help," he says, adding that his parents were also a big support for him in this 'mission'. "They have always encouraged me to pursue my passion which makes them happy as well."
Nader, who leads worshippers in prayers back home in Lebanon, studied Sharia or Islamic sciences in his hometown Tripoli. He wishes to continue his graduation in the same subject and "to be a competent scholar in the future".
"I do believe in and adopt what Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: 'The best of you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it to others'."
Though it was Nader's first international Quran competition in which he participated, his performance and beautiful recitation mesmerised the jury and audience at the Dubai Chamber.
"I have participated in three local Quran competitions and got good positions in all of them."
The Dubai International Holy Quran Award has become a great platform for full Quran memorisers from around the globe, he points out.
"It is a privilege and a dream to compete in such a prestigious contest, and meet such a huge number of full Quran memorisers - 90 in all this year."