The annual International Qur’aan Recital Awards (IQRA) successfully took place from 25- 27 October 2019 at Al Jaamiah Uthmaania Masjid, Bonteheuwel, Cape Town.
Organised by the South African Qur’aan Union, South African National Zakah Fund, Awqaf SA, and Madrasah Tarteelul Quraan, in conjunction with the Bonteheuwel Moslem Society Trust, the event is used as a platform to train upcoming local reciters for international competitions and to maintain high standards of recitation.
Preceded by various preliminary programs throughout the country, the four- day event is a culmination of months of hard work and preparation on the part of the participants.
Contestants in the male section, who consisted of individuals of up to ten different nationalities, were divided into four age categories whilst the female division comprised a single section.
The best performing reciters were as follows:
Shahieda Jabaar, Cape Town
Sameera Nanabhay, Johannesburg
Yasmeen Dante, Cape Town
Under 15-year category:
Imdaadullah Jeebhai, Pretoria
Abdul Qaadir Nackerdien, Cape Town
M. Talgha Allie, Cape Town
Under 18-year category:
Uzayr Eshaq, Pietermaritzburg
Ammaar Hoosen, Cape Town
Abduragmaan De Roos, Cape Town
Under 23-year category:
Raeez Nackerdien, Strand
Abdul Haq Essack, Newcastle
Ismail Moolla, Springs
24 years and over:
Muhammad Hossen, Mauritius
Irshaad Ahmed, Cape Town
Ubaidullah Abowat, Estcourt
In the special feature, known as the ‘Champ of Champs category’, winners from the previous competitions were engaged in an open- aged recital challenge. These contestants were required to recite from an unprepared, randomly selected, portion of the Qur’aan. Tanzanian national, Muhammad Harun Hasan, was adjudicated the top reciter in this section, followed by Muhammad Abdul Aziz from Pietermaritzburg and Zaid Kara from Johannesburg.
The recitals were judged in accordance with strict international standards by a panel of qualified and proficient Qur’aan recitation experts. Sheikh Igsaan Davids and Sheikh Ismail Berdien from Cape Town evaluated the sections of Tajweed. Both scholars have done advanced studies in the sciences of Quran recitation and have taught many students to their credit. Prominent Pakistani national, Qaari Muhammad Binyamin judged the section of voice whilst the Malaysian Qur’aan master, Doctor Anuar Hasin was responsible for the section of Presentation. Also serving on the adjudication panel were, Qaariah Maghmoodah Taliep and Qaariah Isra Cummings, as well as Sheikh Mahdie Nackerdien and Sheikh Zahier Kamaldien. Among the many ulama present, an Egyptian delegation represented the renowned Al Azhar University, whilst Sheikh Ally Muhammad Saleh represented Khidmatul Quran Foundation of Tanzania.
The programs were directed by Moulana Moosa Ngubani, a lecturer at Madrasah Tarteelul Quran in Pietermaritzburg. The scholar focused his presentation on the issue of social justice, which was also the theme of the event. All participants recited verses pertaining to the theme. ‘Social Justice’ is the theme of the annual South African National Zakah Fund (Sanzaf) diary. The verses recited by the contestants were carefully selected by the world-renowned Qaari, Sheikh Ahmad Naeena.
During the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the South African Qur’aan Union and Khidmatul Qur’aan Foundation. Khidmatul Qur’aan Foundation is actively involved with Qur’aan events among east African countries and is the host of the annual All African Qiraa’ah competition that takes place in Tanzania. The two organisations committed themselves to explore avenues of cooperation with the intention of furthering Qur’aan activities on the continent. This includes the hosting of Qur’aan reciters in their respective countries. In his address, head of Khidmatul Qur’aan Foundation, Sheikh Ally Muhammad Saleh, commended the organisers of the IQRA on an excellent event. Impressed by the level and quality of the IQRA, he expressed his eagerness in developing the standards of events in his homeland based on the South African experience.
Further programs with the international guests were held at the Rondevlei, Rondebosch East, Belhar, Elfindale, and Strandfontein, mosques on the side-lines of the event. A workshop was also held to develop and harness the talents of upcoming reciters.
Founder member and head of the organising committee, Sheikh Muntahaa Kenny, considers the event successful in its aims by which it hopes to recognise local talent and develop it to international standard. The inclusion of international reciters continues to bring a different dimension to the program, he believes. With contestants coming from Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritius, and Turkey, etc., it broadens the development and experience of local and international Quráan reciters whilst adding to a continued high level of healthy competition among the youth. Whilst this year’s event did not attract the same number of female participants as in previous occasions, he is hopeful that prospective female reciters would continue to take advantage of the event and use it as a platform for their development.
The IQRA 2019 was supported by Sport taxis, Sawants creations, Park Avenue stationers, Israa Travel and Tours, Channel 4 SA Production, MRM Sound hire, Bagazio Promotions, and RP Printers.
The organisers (being South African Quraan Union, South African National Zakah Fund, Awqaf SA, Madrasah Tarteelul Quraan, and the Bonteheuwel Moslem Society Trust) expressed their thanks and appreciation to all the role players that contributed to the success of the event while at the same time underlying the need for greater support for future projects of this nature. The organising committee, under the leadership of Sheikh Muntahaa Kenny, invites other institutions to partner or support them in preparing for next years IQRA.
Visual recordings of the event are available on the South African Quráan Unions FaceBook page whilst audio recordings will be uploaded on various platforms over the next few days. For further information regarding the event, Sheikh Muntahaa Kenny may be contacted on the mobile number, +2783 377 3216 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words: Sheikh Muntahaa Kenny