MAKKAH: The 43rd King Abdulaziz International Competition for the Memorization, Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur’an continues at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The competition, which began on Friday, is organized by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, represented by the General Secretariat of the Local and International Holy Qur’an Competition.
Contestants from 117 countries are participating in the competition, which runs until Sept. 6. A total of SR4 million ($1.07 million) will be awarded to the winners.
The number of people who have recited during the contest in the first phase reached 58, as 22 contestants recited the Holy Qur’an on Monday. The jury listened to contestants from Tajikistan, Libya, Mauritania, Jordan, Zambia, Syria, the US, Malaysia, Singapore and Uzbekistan.
In the first phase of the contest, a total of 166 participants will recite the Qur’an, according to the ministry.
The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, said that the contest encouraged Muslims to memorize and recite the Qur’an, while also promoting the development of a generation that followed the holy book, the Sunnah, and moderation.
He added: “The Kingdom’s most prestigious contest shows the right way, as it motivates Muslims and inspires them to memorize and understand the meanings (of the holy book) and does not teach them exaggeration or extremism, but moderation as the Qur’an is guidance, righteousness and graciousness.”
Al-Asheikh said that since its establishment by King Abdulaziz, the Kingdom had placed significant emphasis on the Qur’an and Muslims. This commitment has been upheld by subsequent kings, including King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had played a pivotal role in promoting and teaching the holy book through its publication and dissemination.
Al-Asheikh said that the competitions motivated young people to memorize the Qur’an and restored the prestige of scholars and readers, and facilitated the connection between the youth and the scholars and reciters. He wished all contestants success.
Abdullah Idosov, from Kyrgyzstan, is one of the most distinguished contestants participating in the competition. He has memorized the entire Holy Qur’an, including the surah numbers, verses, the end and start of the pages, and the place of revelation of each surah, proving to be a shining example of the reciters of the Islamic nation.
Idosov, who had memorized the entire book by the age of 17, earned his nomination for the competition through his participation in local competitions. He began by competing in villages and cities, gradually advancing to national level, where he consistently secured first place in competitions.
He said: “The King Abdulaziz International Competition for the Memorization, Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur’an is the dream of anyone who memorizes the Holy Qur’an, as it takes place in the land of the Two Holy Mosques.”
He emphasized his readiness to participate in the finals and highlighted that the competition fulfilled his wish to visit the Grand Mosque.
Contestant Khalid Ali, from Russia, could not contain his joy on seeing the holy Kaaba while performing Umrah rituals for the first time in his life. Ali’s dream came true as he had the opportunity to participate in this contest and visit the Grand Mosque.
Abdul Jabbar Saleh, from Burkina Faso, said that the competition reflected the importance that the Kingdom placed on the holy Qur’an, while contestant Moaz Khalid, from Germany, expressed his pride in representing his country at the competition.