Dubai International Quran Awards (DIHQA) has inspired thousands of young men to start memorising Holy Quran, says Hamit Al Bachair from Cameroon, one of the top contestants this year.
The 15-year-old mesmerised the audience with his impeccable performance this week and is considered by his fellow participants as among the favourites to win the coveted prize.
“Dubai International Quran Awards is a big hit in Cameroon and in many other African countries. Looking at the success of some of the African participants before, boys are getting inspired and thousands have taken up Quran memorisation,” said Al Bachair, who hails from the small town of Kousseri, near the border with Chad.
Third of the ten siblings, Al Bachair comes from a family of Quran memorisers and committed to memorise the entire Quran at the age of 10.
“My father is a Hafiz (memorised the entire Quran) and elder brother is also a Hafiz. There are hundreds like me in my town and it’s a blessing of Allah that I got this chance to come here and perform,” said Al Bachair, who won the national competition before entering DIHQA.
Last year, Al Bachair won the fourth prize at the King Abdul Aziz Holy Quran competition in Saudi Arabia.
Like Al Bachair, Netherland’s Bilal Al Emani, 24, is also one of the favourites for the top prize.
Al Emani has been among the top ten in several international competitions over the last few years and he feels extremely luck to be in Dubai.
“I never thought I would be here but Allah had other plans. I am 24 and the cut-off age until last year was 21. I had given up on taking part in Dubai, which was my dream and then this year the cut-off age was changed to 24. So I feel extremely lucky to be here,” said the electrical engineer from Rotterdam.
Another top contestant is 14-year-old Aden Shahid from the United States of America, who has won more than 23 international and local competitions so far.
He has staked his claim for the top prize of Dh250,000 with his soulful renditions of the Quranic verses.
Curtains came down on the 20th edition of DIHQA with the last session of performances on Wednesday. The announcement of the winner will be made on Saturday, when the Islamic Personality of the Year Award also will be presented.
Emirati scholar Shaikh Mohammad Ali Sultan Al Ulama has been named the Islamic Personality of the Year.