Nervous but hopeful, three young South African huffath departed for Saudi Arabia on Monday to compete in the King Abdul Aziz International Quran Memorisation Recitation competition. The contest, which will be held on Wednesday, will see 160 participants from more than 55 countries judged on their memorization and pronunciation of the Quran led by renowned Saudi scholars.
Cape Town once again proves it has a plethora of Qira’ah talent with Adeeb Harneker and Ighsaan Basadien representing the city, along with Muhammed Bhamjee from Nelspruit. During the South African leg of the competition held at the Nizameye Masjid in Midrand in June, Harneker came up tops in the full Quran category, while 11 year old Basadien took first place in the 5 Juz and Bhamjee winning the 10 Juz categories.
“They will be competing purely on the memorization and recitation of the Quran. Many different sheikhs and the Minister of Saudi Arabia will be at the event which is held in the Haram,” says Maulana Muhammad, the South African coordinator of the competition.
Participants will be contesting in the main section of the three day competition after making it through from the preliminary round. The students will be moving around Makkah during a two week programme.
“Students will be taken for ziyarat around Makkah and Madinah,” said Maulana Muhammed, adding that the winner will be awarded 1000 riyals.
Students are under immense pressure as they will be judged on their confidence and pronunciation of the Quran.
“The confidence and their strength of their memorialisation of the Quran is what they will have to overcome at their competition,” says Maulana Muhammad.
For the esteemed judges, quality is better than quantity.
“Understanding and reciting the Quran correctly is important for the future of Qira’ah. Much emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of the recitation,” said the alim.
While there has been some criticism of the idea of a Quran “competition”, Maulana Muhammad said the initiative is simply a means to encourage Muslim youth to recite and foster a love for the Quran. Its greater social benefits were immense, especially in an age where youth have fallen into the trap of negative ills.
“Parents are encouraged to tell their children to beautify and perfect their recitation of the Quran. We want mothers to encourage their children to recite the Quran.” VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)