Apart from his cash prize of AED250, 000, Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah has distinguished himself as a Nigerian youth who knows his onions. RONKE SANYA looks at how he stood out among Quran recitation contestants from various parts of the world in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE), to bring glory to his country.
When gifted Nigerian, Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah, qualified for the annual Dubai International Holy Quran (DIHQA) recitation competition, little did he know that he would end up being the overall winner, among 78 skilled contestants from different parts of the world.
According to the official website of the award of the most gifted person to recite the Holy Quran, bestowed on Isah, www.sheikhmohammed.com, the event is held on an annual basis to “encourage young Muslims to memorise and understand the Holy Qur’an.”
It is also aimed at spreading the Quranic values of peace and love. The award is granted to those who memorise and recite the Qur’an, while the competition itself starts on the first day of Ramadan.
But the chairman of the organising committee and the Adviser to the Ruler of Dubai for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs, Ebrahim Melha speaking at 18th session of the event, held at the Cultural and Scientific Association, Mamzar, on Friday, July 18, pointed out that the award started with just two sections in 1997 and within an 18-year period, has branched out to 12 categories, with 160 countries as participants.
“This is basically due to the constant support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and ruler of Dubai. The ceremony, this year, coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, Godfather of all Emiratis, prudent leader, and noble man,” he said.
According to Emirates 24/7, the young Nigerian, Isah received the cash prize totaling AED250,000 (more than N11.5 million).
The second and the third positions went to Omar Hussain Baeisa of Saudi Arabia and Yemeni’s Mohammed Khaled Yaseen, respectively.
The other top 10 participants at the competition include Abdulaziz Abdulla Alhamri from Qatar, Abdul Rahman Alshuwaie from Kuwait, Mohammad Amdadulla Tajul Islam from Bangladesh, Anis Ali Al Fadel from Libya, Salem El Emjad from Mauritania, Mohammed Arif from the United Stated of America (USA), and Abdulrahman Abdulla Hasan from Bahrain-who all went home with cash prizes ranging from AED65,000 to Dh35,000.
The world class event had in attendance dignitaries and senior officials, including Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, 78 Quran contestants, and members of the public.
The top five winners in the ‘Most Beautiful Recitation’ contest were named before the grand finale, and they include Mouad Daouik (Morocco), Ally Mwalimu (Tanzania), Omar Baeisa (Saudi Arabia), Mohammed Khaled (Yemen), and Mohammad El Fawal (Lebanon).
All the contestants were recognised by awarding certificates and cash prizes of different amounts. Also honoured was the Islamic Personality of the Year, Dr Ahmad Al Tayyeb, the Grand Mufti of the Al Azhar religious institution in Egypt, who went away with the cash prize of AED1 million.
The event, which features reciting portions of the Holy Quran and viewing of videos about DIHQA’s history, according to Melha, recognises the best memorisers and reciters of the Quran from participating countries.
Melha stated that this year, 80 countries had confirmed participation but two contestants did not show up. Also, seven were disqualified for below-level performances.
Children and teens from non-Arab countries attend the event each year, and this year’s edition saw a prominent presence of contestants from Africa.