[Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum hands over the award to Mohammad Tariq Al Islam, winner of the 21st Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) (Gulf News photo)]
Dubai: 13-year-old Mohammad Tariq Al Islam of Bangladesh has been declared as the winner of the 21st Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA). Tariq Al Islam was conferred with the award along with Dh2,50,000 on Thursday when the organisers announced the names of winners.
Tariq Islam, who also got the fourth prize in the ‘beautiful voice’ category, walked away with the first prize of Dh250,000, according to Gulf News.
Islam performed on the ninth night of the annual Quran competition, leaving the packed auditorium at the Dubai Chambers awestruck with his powerful renditions from the passages of Quran.
Having topped several national competitions in Bangladesh, the Dhaka boy justified his tag as this year's favourite, leaving behind 89 other contestants.
Participating in his first international competition, Islam couldn’t believe his luck as his name was announced in a tense countdown.
“I just can’t believe this has happened. I knew I had done well by the grace of Allah, I thought I will be among the top five, but winning the top prize is just unbelievable. I thank my parents and teacher for helping achieve this milestone,” said the only son of a Dhaka-based imam completed memorising the Quran last year.
Currently studying the traditions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Islam memorised the whole of Quran in just 12 months.
“I would like to study the Quran further and pursue a degree at the Islamic University of Madina. As I grow up I would like to work in spreading the Quran’s message of peace and harmony,” he added.
American contestant Huzaifah Siddiqui, bagged the second prize of Dh200,000. Huzaifah had also won the the top position of the most beautiful Quran recitation, a side contest of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award.
The 20 year old was the third American in a row to secure the second prize at DIHQA. Last year, 14 year old Adeen Shahzad from New York was joint second, while in 2015 Hamza Elhabashy secured the second place.
The third place was held jointly by Modou Jobe from Gambia, Abdul Aziz Al Obaidan from Saudi Arabia and Tunisian Rachid Allani, sharing the Dh150,000 prize.
A record 103 contestants participated in DIHQA this year, with 13 candidates being disqualified due to poor quality of their performance in the preliminary round.