Dubai: The 22nd edition of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) begins on Thursday with a series of lectures that will continue till the sixth day of Ramadan.
According to DIHQA organisers, the lecture programme will have eminent scholars addressing the faithful for six nights at the Dubai Chamber, while the seven-night women-only programme will be held at Dubai Women’s Association.
Apart from the main lecture series, eight other lectures will be held in different languagues for expatriates, at the Shaikh Rashid Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum Indoor Sports Hall of Al Wasl Sports Club.
Following the lecture programme, the much anticipated Quran competition will begin on the seventh day of Ramadan, or May 23, with the participation of a record 104 Quran memorisers from around the world.
One of the biggest competitions of its kind in terms of prize money and participation, the annual contest has inspired hundreds of youngsters from around the world to take up memorisation of the Quran.
Spreading its reach further with every passing year, the competition this year has attracted 104 entries. Last year, 103 participants began the contest but 12 were disqualifed before the final round for not being up to the minimum standard.
A brainchild of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the award was established in order to encourage young Muslims to memorise and understand the Quran, and to spread the Quranic values of peace and love.
The competition involves reciting eloquently passages of the Quran from memory, with each contestant having to recite from five different passages randomly chosen by a computer software. It also has a segment for the most beautiful recitation.
“Each participant needs to have memorised the enitre Holy Quran perfectly and should also recite it eloquently from the passages they are asked to recite,” said Ahmad Al Zahid, member of the organising committee and Head of DIHQA’s media unit.
As usual, the popular annual event will be held at the main auditorium of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters.
According to the organisers, more than 500 questions have been prepared for the contestants this year and they will be put to the participants randomly through a software programme.
Last year, Bangladesh’s Mohammad Tariqul Islam won the top prize of Dh250,000, keeping up his country’s reputation of producing soulful reciters.
In the competition’s 21-year history, participants from Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh have bagged the coveted prize the highest number of times.
The second and third prize winners walk away with Dh200,000 and Dh150,000 respectively.
Another important segment of DIHQA is the Islamic Personality of Year Award, the candidate for which has not been annouced so far this year.
Last year, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz was named Islamic Personality of the Year for his relentless efforts in unifying the the Arab and Muslim world.
Over the years, the Islamic Personality of the Year honour has been won by several prominent personalities from around the world including Shaikh Sudais, the Grand Imam of Masjid Al Haram in Makkah, American Islamic preacher Yousuf Estes and UAE’s Mother of the Nation Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, who was honoured in 2015.