The last day of the Abdul Aziz International Quran Memorisation Competition has arrived. With the last few contestants reciting in front of millions of spectators from around the globe, three South African students await the final announcement on this year’s winners.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently abuzz as live coverage of the international Quran competition takes over both TV and radio broadcasts both nationally and internationally.
Cape Town qari Saleem Gaibie said the competition has been tough for the South African contestants however, they have shown the most strength and courage as they went up against the best reciters of their age in the world.
“While the actual competition began on Saturday, following the preliminary tests, our students have gone extremely far,” Gaibie said.
The three South African students, taking part in three of the four categories have already received positive responses from the Saudi community. The youngest of the three, Ihsaan Basadien, currently in the category of the five Juz recitation was swarmed by Saudi locals as he stepped down from the podium after his beautiful recitation.
“So many families here in Saudi have invited him to their homes. He won the hearts of many through his beautiful recitation. All three have done extremely well in their respective categories. However, we will only know of the winners on Wednesday, when the competition comes to an end,” Gaibie added.
During the preliminary tests, the two older South African contestants felt the pressure and magnitude of the competition.
“Both Mogammad Bhamjee in the 15 Juz category and Adeeb Harnekar in the Full Quran category were overwhelmed by their surroundings. But they did so well during the test period,” Gaibie said.
Now, the students will be treated to a tour around Makkah and then two days in Madinah. They are expected to return home on Monday, Gaibie said, adding that the overall experience is one of inspiration for youth in South Africa. He explains that many of the young students in Saudi Arabia have to go through about five competitions before head into the international competition, while the SA students only go through about two in their home country before making it to the Kingdom. This experience is important to the students.
“We should take on this system back in SA. I think beginning on a grass root level where communities come together and have competitions amongst themselves before going on to a provincial competition, then onto a national competition and finally, those winners will then move on to the international competition. Having gone through such a process will in fact allow the student to develop themselves and inspire other young hopefuls to take on the memorisation of the Holy Quran and do it to the best of their abilities,” Gaibie explained.
Now, the students take a rest before the official conclusion of one of the most recognised international Quran competitions in the world. Regardless of the outcome, the South African students will come out of this experience victorious in their plight to develop themselves through the recitation of the Holy Quran. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)