Late last year when Nigeria Abdu-Kabir Abubakar beat even the Arabs and other nationals and won the first prize in the first category of World Quran Recitation Competition, not many saw the glory the young Muslim brought to the nation.
The event itself was not reported in the media, perhaps because many thought it was not a national affair, but rather strictly, a Muslim affair.
The King Abdul Azeez competition, as the mother of all international Qur’an contests, witnessed over 6000 participants from all over the world and where a Nigerian came first with the coveted prize money of SR 100,000.
The success story has placed Nigeria on record, not only in Saudi Arabia but also all over the world. Unfortunately, not even a Presidential handshake was offered.
Meaning and interpretation
One of the benefits to the society includes proper learning and internalisation of the meaning and interpretation of the Quran as revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) by God.
With that, we will have less of those who congregate themselves killing fellow human beings, slaughtering children and other innocent people and telling the world what Islam is not.
The truth is that in the face of misconception and mis-interpretation of the word of God by dare devil elements in the society, when we have more youths dedicating themselves to the precision and correctness of the reading and meaning of the Quran, they will be kept away from violence and extremism. Nobody will gouge them into doing what is not contained in the scripture.
We will have appreciable number of them who will teach even the up-coming generation the right attitude and culture of Islam.
The national competition that produced Ustaz Abubakar was last weekend concluded in Dutse, the Jigawa state capital. In the competition that lasted seven-days, Ustaz Suleiman Saleh emerged the 2014 winner of the National Quran reading Competion. He will have the honour to represent Nigeria in Saudi Arabia to defend the title later this year.
Suleiman Saleh, from Ikara LGA, Kaduna state scored 95.8 percent in the male category, while Wasilah Haliru from Sabon Gari LGA also in Kaduna State scored 94.5 percent in the female category; both were tested in Memorisation, Tafsir and Tejweed of the entire Quran. While Saleh was turbaned and decorated by His eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, Ustaziah Haliru was decorated by the wife of Vice-President, Hajia Aishat Sambo.
Cash gifts running into millions of Naira were splashed on them including cars and multiple scholarships to any academic institution around the world.
The Jigawa state government alone donated 12 cars for all the male and female winners in the six categories alongside fridges, sewing machines and computers as consolation prizes for other contestants with N5 million going to the foundation; Center for Islamic Studies, Othman Danfodio University, Sokoto which organised the competition.
Among personalities who doled out gifts to the winners and all contestants include the chairman of the occasion, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos; Niger state governor, Dr. Aliyu Babangida; Kaduna State governor, Ralman Yero; Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako;, Speaker of the National House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; the Shehu of Borno; the wife of the Vice President, Aisha Sambo.
What else can be more rewarding both in this world and the hereafter! It means you can gain the world effortlessly through the knowledge of the Quran; that alone is a big achievement in the life of any young Muslim. This will open doors for other opportunities.
Sometimes, when we ask for Hasana in dunya, we think of all the good things, materially which we desire to use to better our lives.
These are rather beckoning on the winners with lots of gifts and opportunities just as the preparation for the journey to the hereafter is set on a sound footing; to be able to receive glad tidings from angels, to be granted easy reckoning and the favour of Allah. I wish I was Saleh; I wish I was much younger to seize another opportunity to contest for this glorious event.
Besides, this will encourage Muslim youths not only in the day-to-day recitation of the Glorious Qur’an, but also forge unity and Islamic brotherhood among the ummah and intensify learning of the correct recitation of the Holy Qur’an and all its sciences in the manner it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). It will also enhance the quality of learning Tajweed and sciences of the Holy Qur’an in schools and colleges throughout the country.
Apart from winners in all the six categories, all the finalists were outstanding because non of them scored below 92 per cent. No fewer than 139 males and 127 females from 27 states took part in the competition.
Congratulations to all winners!