ABU DHABI // Ahmad Murshed did not speak a word of Arabic when he challenged himself to read and learn the Quran cover to cover.
Six years later, the 18-year-old Indian high school student was named winner in the annual Quran Memorisation Award run by the Islamic Affairs Authority & Endowments (Awqaf)
“My father is an imam and he started teaching me the Quran when I was 12, and two years ago I went to a teacher to study its tafsir (interpretation),” said Ahmad who came in first place in the male expatriate category.
The years spent memorising the Quran were not difficult because the goal was so rewarding, said Ahmad, who now plans to continue his Islamic studies as well as engineering at university.
“Seeking Allah’s pleasure is the biggest gain and after I memorised the Quran many of my friends said they also wanted to start learning. It is not something to neglect.”
Ahmad was among 141 winners, including prisoners serving time in jails in the UAE, who attended an award ceremony held on Sunday night at the Armed Officers Club.
The award has seven categories, including memorising all 30 parts of the Quran. The overall winner received Dh30,000, with Dh25,000 for second place and Dh20,000 for third.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, praised the winners for their dedication, and even posed for selfies on stage.
After being impressed by nine-year-old Reem Al Hammadi’s skills in learning and reciting verses from the Quran, Sheikh Saif invited the youngster and her family to perform Haj this year.
“Maybe when he saw her on stage he was impressed by her character,” said her mother Ameena Al Hammadi.
Sheikh Saif met Reem backstage along with Dr Mohammed Al Kaabi, head of Awqaf, and asked her to recite the dua’a after discovering she had done so during the Zayed Humanitarian Day event held on Friday last week.
Mrs Al Hammadi said she was surprised her daughter was chosen to take part in the event as just two days before she hadn’t fully learned the dua’a.
“They asked her if she could memorise it at home and she said yes. I was scared we couldn’t do it, especially since it is a big official event, but she was braver than me,” said Ms Al Hammadi, adding the family are looking forward to performing haj.
“We were not planning on going on hajj this year and we were delighted.”
(via The National)