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Memorisers: Don't know Arabic, you can learn Quran though.

The 17-year-old grade-12 student has mesmerized the Quran audience with his perfect and beautiful recitation.

Hamsa Muhyadin Rage Afrah

Dubai -- 'I do not know Arabic, but this was not a problem.' This was the confident answer given by the competent young memoriser of Kenya when asked about his journey with the holy Quran.

"It is as affirmed in Verse 17/54 of the holy Quran in which Almighty Allah said: 'We (Allah) have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember, then is there anyone who will remember (recollect or receive admonition)?" said Hamsa Muhyadin Rage Afrah.

The 17-year-old grade-12 student has mesmerized the Quran audience with his perfect and beautiful recitation at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry late at night.

Yassine Al Kharrat, Consul General of Tunisia to the UAE

"So far I have learnt very few Arabic words, but I had decided to take the challenge and started memorising the holy Quran at the age of nine and finished when I was 13."

Afrah's exceptional performance would not have been possible without his firm will and determination to finish the job and "be eligible for God's mercy, blessing, and reward in life and the Hereafter."

His parents were the backbone of his journey with the holy Quran, he underscored. "They used to frequently encourage and reward me and my little brother with money and gifts to win this honour and be part of the shiny procession of Quran memorisers."

The Islamic Affairs department concerned in Kenya has nominated Afrah to the Dubai International Holy Quran Award this year due to his excellent memorisation and tuneful recitation.

"Though I participated in so many local contests and seized advanced positions, this is actually my first international challenge, and I am happy about it. It was really a sweet dream for me and all family members to be here."

Nonetheless, 19-year-old Abasi Ahmed Ali, who represents Tanzania in the Award, speaks Arabic well. "It was difficult in the beginning, but I did it with firm will and determination."

Ali started his journey with the holy Quran when he was ten, and finished at the age of 14. "I am currently studying at the Ibn Al Jazari Institute for Quran Sciences and Studies in Tanzania."

Wishing to join the college of medicine, Ali said he studies hard and never wastes his time. "The holy Quran has sharpened my memory and made academic performance much easier and more fruitful."

Showing an outstanding performance in local contests, Ali has been nominated for participation in the Award by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Tanzania. "I have far excelled all competitors back home to be here in Dubai, and it is really an honour for me and a dream for many memorisers back home."

Meanwhile, up to 55 contestants have so far sat for the final examinations of the international Quran competition - the main branch of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA), which started at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday night, June 24, at 10.30pm.

Ahmed Abu Rahima, Vice-President of Government Relations at du, said the award does not only encourage memorising the Quran, but also urges memorisers and non-memorisers to study its verses, follow its advice and behave well. "It is really inspiring to see this big number of young memorisers. This truly reflects the award success and expansion in every nook and corner."

Fascinated by the well-organised Award, Consul Abdulrahman Raafat of Egypt said such stunning big effort is something normal and familiar to the government of Dubai and the UAE as a whole.

"Hosting this big number of 80 young contestants from around the world is an evidence of the Award popularity and high ranking position as compared to other international Quran awards."

Dubai has always been a leading hub for the past and the present, originality and modernity in all aspects of life, he added. "The UAE people are known for their deeply-rooted conservative traditions, and therefore this grand award takes place."

Wishing the Egyptian competitor Abdalrahman Ashraf Elsayed Abdalhady all the best, Consul Raafat said Egypt was present in all the previous editions of the award. "This is the fruit of the relentless effort and leading role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in boosting Quran memorisation and recitation," he said.

He then paid tributes to naming Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak the first female Islamic Personality of the year this edition, considering it a well-deserved honouring. "It is truly sort of creativity and innovation."

Yassine Al Kharrat, Consul General of Tunisia to the UAE, said he has been very keen to attend the activities of the ever-developing global competition for five years so far.

"The award, shining all the time, is heavily supported by the Dubai government and that reflects how the UAE prudent leaders give special attention to teaching the Quran and raising new generations on the genuine teachings of Islam."

Seeing this big number of Quran memorisers from different countries is so moving, he noted. "The Award shines over Dubai on these blessed days and adds to its originality and modernity."

Consul Ismael Simamembo of Uganda to the UAE, said the award is introducing something new every year while the performance of the young memorisers is so exceptional.

"The global competition encourages young Muslims around the globe to memorise the holy Quran, and opens the door for running similar multi-category international well-organised awards in other countries."

It is really a miracle to see those competent young memorisers who are all below 20, he pointed out. "However, they perfectly memorise and recite the holy Quran as is the case with the nine-year-old contestant of Burundi who seamlessly recites the Quran."

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jul 2, 2015
Words:965
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