Somali-British contestant among top performers in Quran Awards

Tuesday May 29, 2018
By Shafaat Shahbandari

15-year-old of Somali origin took seven years to complete memorising Quran

Dubai: Khalid Abdul Nasir Ahmad began memorising the Quran at the age of five under the guidance of his father, but took a long time to complete the process of memorising the entire holy book of 114 chapters.

What normally takes on an average of three to five years took Ahmad seven years, but the longer duration with the holy book seems to have left him in a good stead.

Participating in his first international holy Quran competition, Ahmad showed the world how he is as he turned in an impeccable recitation from the passages of Quran on the sixth night of the 22nd Dubai International Holy Quran Awards (DIHQA).

“I have worked very hard to reach this far. I took longer to finish memorising but now the verses of Quran are etched in my memory. I thank Allah for his help and for making me able to perform in this beautiful competition,” said Ahmad, who is among a handful of participants so far who have managed a perfect performance.

The competition requires each participant to recite from five passages from the Quran, picked by a computerised randomiser. Each participant has to perform twice, reciting from two passages at the hotel where the contestants are residing and three passages at the Dubai Chamber auditorium, where the competition is officially being held.

Ahmad, 15, is the second of five brothers, who have all completed memorising the Quran.

“My father has been a great guiding force for all us and we homeschooled under him for many years, but right now we are all in Egypt pursuing higher studies in Quran,” said Ahmad, who is currently studying along with his four brothers at the Islamic College of Al Azhar University.

A British national of Somali origin, Ahmad was born and grew up with his brothers in north London.

When asked about his performance, Ahmad said: “I think by the grace of Allah, I have done well, but I am not the one to judge myself. There are no winners and losers in Quran, and I believe on the path of Quran we are all winners.”

Giving Ahmad stiff competition on Tuesday night was Malaysia’s Mohammad Amir Al Anwar, who also gave a near-perfect performance.

A student of Islamic law, Al Anwar took up memorising the Quran at the age of 13 and, remarkably, completed it in nine months.

“I was in high school when I got interested in memorising the Quran and I took it up and started attending a Quranic institution in Selangor and with the grace of Allah I managed to finish it in nine months,” said Al Anwar, who hails from Kuala Lumpur.

The 22-year-old has participated in several international competitions over the last few years, but believes DIHQA is the best by far.

“I have participated in many competitions including in Jordan, Iran, Indonesia and Egypt, but there is nothing like Dubai. This is the most amazing and best organised competition and I am proud of having participated here,” said Al Anwar.

The 22nd edition of DIHQA has a record 104 participants from across the world with the contest running every night till June 4. The winners will be announced in an awards ceremony on June 5.

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