Ramadan: Quran award is not just about the prize
AYOUB SAGHRAOUI- MOROCCOSupplied photo
Dubai - "It is actually an honour to have the Quran in my heart and speak its miraculous verses, the words of God, day and night."
While some memorisers participated in the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) for its lucrative rewards, this was not the case for others, including Moroccan, Nigerian, and British contestants.
Twenty two-year-old Ayoub Saghraoui from Morocco learnt the holy Quran by heart to enjoy the company of angels on the Day of Judgment as promised by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
"It is actually an honour to have the Quran in my heart and speak its miraculous verses, the words of God, day and night, as always reminded by my mother who used to encourage me to complete this sacred mission," said Saghraoui.
Saghraoui's mother, a housewife, was of great help not only for him, but also for his elder brother, 27, and younger sister, 16, who have memorised the Quran in full. "She used to remind us that the crown of dignity shall be placed on the head of Quran memorisers and their parents."
Starting his journey with the holy Quran at the age of 13, Saghraoui said he memorised the Quran in full when he was 15. "My first Khatma (full Quran memorisation) took me two years, but in Morocco we have to memorise it anew four times to tighten our memorisation."
He said it was not an easy job. "We have to write each of the 6,236 verses of the Quran on a wooden board with a wooden pencil to engrave the same deeply in our hearts."
This was not everything. He used to learn and memorise one page a day, and revise 2.5 parts, almost 30 pages every day. "This also sharpens our memory and significantly helps us forget nothing."
Twenty one-year-old Nigerian memoriser Kasim Zaria Rufai said he also wished to honour and please his parents, show them respect and honour them with the crown of dignity in the Hereafter.
"My two brothers, seven sisters and I, who are all persistently memorising the Quran, have dedicated our lives to this sacred mission which is a guarantee of happiness and salvation in life and after death."
In just three years, Rufai managed to complete his journey with the Quran. "I started at 11 and finished at 14 at the Islamic School in the state of Kaduna, Nigeria."
Though alerted four times by the DIHQA arbitrators for slight mistakes, he was sure of scoring high in the competition. "I forgot nothing, and managed to quickly correct myself."
Amazingly, Rufia said he can perfectly and tunefully recite the Quran, but speaks little Arabic. "That's why I am studying Arabic these days to develop myself and have full command of the Quran recitation and interpretation."
Showing exceptional performance in town, state and nationwide local Quran contests, Rufia has been nominated for participation in the 20th edition of the Award this year.
Miraculous by memorising
For 17-year-old Uthman Aqeel Lone, from UK, participating in the award to coming and see Dubai; his "dreamland" have always been his dream. "I have heard much about this prestigious award on TV and on the internet."
For Lone who wishes to be a preacher, memorising the Quran meant that the miraculous words of God have entered his heart. "I myself have become miraculous by memorising the Holy Quran."
Dedicating himself to the Quran, the British contestant, who is originally from Pakistan, finished the job in two years. "I started at the age of 11 and finished at 13 at the Islamic School."
Both parents were a great help to Lone and his four brothers and sisters who are all memorising the Quran as well.
"Though Arabic language is quite a challenge, he managed to learn the Quran by heart."
Showing exceptional performance in a local competition in UK, Sole has been nominated for this award, which is an all new experience for him. "Memorising the Quran has won me people's respect, and is a good chance to improve my Arabic language."
KASIM ZARIA RUFAI- NIGERIA