The Dubai International Holy Quran Award, held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, concluded on Monday night with the selection of the five best Quran memorisers with the most melodious recitation.
Italian contestant Abderrahmane Toukane, 20, has come first in the ‘Most Melodious Recitation’ contest, a branch of the 11-category Award, and won Dh5,000. “Toukane, originally from Morocco, is the first Western contestant ever in the 16-year history of the Award to win this contest,” said Ahmed Sager, Head of the Competitions Unit of the award. The second and third positions were secured by Tanzanian competitor Omary Abdallah and Kuwaiti contestant Yassine Ben Hassoun respectively. They were awarded Dh4,000 and Dh3,000 as second and third prize.
The fourth and fifth winners, Hamza Lazar from Morocco and Mohamed Boochahba from Belgium, were presented Dh1,000 each.
The top 10 winners from the 79 contestants are to be announced in the final ceremony of the award’s 16th session on Wednesday evening at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The ceremony is to feature one documentary covering the award, the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Mushaf, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Rare Quranic Manuscripts. Meanwhile, Dr Shaikh Yusuf Estes, named Islamic Personality of the 16th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award, arrived on Tuesday to be honoured at the final ceremony on Wednesday and receive the Dh1 million prize. The renowned American scholar, born in 1944, is often featured as guest presenter and keynote speaker at various Islamic events. He frequently appears on various Islamic satellite TV channels, in addition to his personal websites yusufestes.com and islamtomorrow.com.
“The Dubai International Holy Quran Award, choosing an Islamic personality every year, is an honour and encouragement to all scholars and preachers to exert their utmost for the service of Islam and Quran,” he said. “It is really interesting to see this big number of young memorisers of the Holy Quran from across the world at one place,” Dr Estes said in reply to a question about his impression on the Quran Award.
Dr Estes is to give a lecture in English on ‘Bridge to faith as a way to salvation’ on Thursday at 10.30pm at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.