Aspiring young qaris from across the country will get an opportunity to showcase their talents against international opposition between the 10th and 13th September, when the 10th edition of the International Quran Recital Award (IQRA) competition makes its way to the city. The event is hosted by the South Africa Qur’aan Union (SAQU), and differs from the recent SA National Quran Memorisation Competition (SANQC) in that a core focus is place on tajweed and quality of presentation. Winners and competitors who impress will be recommended by the SAQU to represent the country on an international platform.
Preliminary rounds for Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal have already taken place between May and June, and the best reciters thereof are expected to participate in the upcoming finals. Foreign and Western Cape contestants, as well as those from other provinces will participate in their own preliminaries which will take place simultaneously with the main event.
The last three years of the competition has seen the inclusion of both female and international competitors, with 80 reciters from eight different countries taking part in 2014. SAQU chairman Muntahaa Kenny hailed the steady progress and growth of the competition since its inception.
“There has been an increase in interest amongst the youth with regards to Quran recitation. With that the proficiency and standard has risen tremendously,” he said.
“Three years ago we had 60 contestants from seven different nationalities, and last year it was eight nationalities and there were a total of 80 contestants.”
In terms of this year, organisers are hopeful of another turnout of around 80 contestants. The amount of countries to be represented is still unclear as international applications have just about concluded.
Contestants will be judged in terms of their tajweed, manner of recitation, and the pace in which their recite. There are no requirements to be hafith al-Quran, and competitors will be given an open Quran from which to recite. There will be a total of six categories including the male U15, U18, U23, and 24 years and over, as well as the female categories. This year will also see the introduction of a new ‘Champs of Champs’ category.
“Winners of previous competitions will get to challenge each other in an open aged category. What makes this different from other categories in the competition is that they will be given an unprepared piece to recite from the Quran,” explained Kenny.
The deadline for application outside of the Western Cape is this Friday, while regional hopefuls will have until the 4th September to submit their application. KZN and Gauteng entrants need be counted among the winners of their regional preliminaries in order to gain entry.
The events take place at the Ahmedi Masjid, Grassy Park. Thursday the 10th will see the female category and U15 preliminaries take place, while Friday will be the turn of the U18s. Saturday Morning sees the U23 and 24 and over sections, whilst the U15 and U18 finals are scheduled for later that evening. Sunday morning features the U23 Final and 24 and over finals, and the Champ of Champs category and overall winners announcement takes place after thur.
For more details on the event and full breakdown on how participants will be judged, download the accompanying application form. Entry forms and guidelines can also be downloaded at www.awqafsa.org.za or www.quranunion.co.za. For additional queries SMS 083 277 3216. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)