Cape Town architect Gaarieth Williams is in Malaysia this week representing his country with dedication and passion, at the 58th International Al-Quran Recital and Memorizing Assembly 2016 in Kuala Lumpur being held from 2 – 7 May 2016. Gaarieth is in the finals on Friday and South Africans can watch it live at 14:30pm by livestreaming at https://www.youtube.com/user/tvjakim
For more than a half century, Malaysia has been the host of world’s oldest Al Quran recital assembly, with 2016 welcoming the 58th edition of the mega event, which every year gathers internationally renowned reciters to Kuala Lumpur. Gaarith has won the South African National Qirah competition in 2005 and 2008 respectively; and has also participated in international quran competitions, in both Iran and Egypt.
A prerequisite for this particular Malaysian competition is to apply the quran melodies known as maqamaat in a 10 minute slow paced, rhythmic and melodious recital. All rules of tajweed must be adhered to and judges also look at where the reciter stops and continues within verses, so as to not distort its meaning. The quran portion to be recited is given to the reciter on the same day that he and she is due to recite in public. Preparation time therefore is minimal.
Qari Gaarieth started reciting quran at a very young age; having as his first quran teacher Sheikh Ganief Moos of Wynberg. He later graduated from Darul Uloom Zakariya in Johannesburg where he completed his hifth under Hafith Farooq Mansoor Sahib who currently heads up the Hifth School at Darul Uloom Zakariya.
At the age of 16, shortly after his return from Johannesburg, young Gaarieth’s father, Naseem Williams, his role model, died due to sudden illness.
Qari Gaarieth’s mother, who was very dear to his heart and always motivated him to learn quran, passed away in 2013. He taught hifth and led Taraweeh prayers for a number of years at Surrey Estate Masjid under the guidance of Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams. Thereafter he studied tajweed and mastered the maqamaat guided by Sheikh Ismail Londt.
In 2008 he was invited to lead Taraweeh prayers in Mauritius and in Turkey in 2014.
Qari Gaarieth furthered his tertiary studies and holds a degree in architecture. He is an Architect by profession and currently runs his own private practice.
He is married and has three young sons.
Qari Gaarieth Williams’ advice to young students of quran is to “strive to perfect their quran recitation and never stop studying the many sciences and arts of the quran. Always respect the quran, stay focused and do not develop pride through its recitation.”
On the Malaysian competition, he says: “All praise is due to Allah, my parents, my teachers; and my family who supports me in all my endeavours. I am honoured and excited to participate in this illustrious event which is the oldest and biggest event of its kind in the world.”
Qari Gaarieth adds: “The countries who have consistently won this competition over the years since its inception are Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Iran. I humbly request dua from all, that Allah grants me the strength to represent our country to the best of my ability, in shaa Allah.”
The organisers of the annual International Al-Quran Recital and Memorizing Assembly is Malaysia’s government agency, JAKIM.
The hashtag for the event is #MTHQA58