About past Competitions…
The Sixth Annual Central Virginia Quran Competition
The Sixth Annual Central Virginia Quran Competition was held at the Islamic Center of Virginia (ICVA) on March 19, 2011. In what has evolved over the past six years as a widely anticipated event among the children in the area, the competition drew close to 200 participants, bringing inquiries from as far as Pennsylvania. The category ranges were from the lowest “Tots A” (4 years of age and under, comprised of some of the shortest “surahs” (chapters) from the Quran) to Category 6 (which required memorization of 5 “juzz” (sections) of the Quran). Participants underwent preliminary testing a week beforehand, leading to the selection of 24 finalists for the March 19 event, from which the first, second and third place winners for each category would be chosen.
After Dhuhr prayer and announcement of the finalists’ names, an opening speech was made by the Imam of ICVA, Imam Ammar Amonette, in which he emphasized that every child was a winner through his or her participation in the learning of the Quran. This was followed by lunch and recitation of the Quran by Dr. Rifaat, a “hafidh” of the Quran, a graduate of the Al-Rahmah Quran Academy in Baltimore, MD, in 2009, and a new resident of Richmond. Dr. Rifaat spoke about his lifelong wish to memorize the Quran and how he was able to complete this monumental task in 2 years, alongside his PhD studies in Electrical Engineering.
“It is never too late, whatever the age,” advised Dr. Rifaat. “ Make the “niyaah” (intention), and put the effort and Allah will reward you with the best.”
This was followed by the keynote speech of the event by Imam Safi Khan, director of Dar-us-Salaam in College Park, MD. Imam Safi spoke in detail about the concept of “haya’a” (modesty, shyness or shame) in Islam, from its basis in the Quran and sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“To have shame is to not do things displeasing to Allah,” said Imam Safi. “Haya’a is moral conscience. It is staying away from any foul conduct. If you have ‘haya’a” in your heart, it means you have a heart that is alive. The higher your “imaan” (faith), the higher your sense of “haya’a”.”
Imam Safi then elaborated on the different kinds of “haya’a” which included shyness with Allah, with His angels, shyness from each other and shyness from one’s own self. Shyness with Allah involves not doing anything displeasing to Allah and being always conscious that Allah is aware and watching every thing one does. Shyness from the angels also involves a similarly heightened level of awareness that the angels are around oneself, recording and witnessing all that one does. Shyness from people involves being conscious of one’s conduct towards others, and shyness from one’s own self is comprised of abstaining from wrong actions even when alone.
Imam Safi ended his speech with advice on methods one can use to acquire more “haya’a” such as renewing one’s “imaan”, reading the Quran, studying more about Islam, never missing a prayer, taking the Prophet (peace be upon him) as one’s role model, keeping good company, being true to Allah, being aware that Allah is watching, and staying far away from anything that distances oneself from the pleasure of Allah.
Shaheen Kazi and Shagul Hamid, former residents of Richmond now living in Reston, Virginia, have been attending this event with their young children for the past few years.
“We find it beneficial for us and our children and we feel it is a blessed gathering due to the recitation of the Quran and the remembrance of Allah,” they said. “I really liked the talk by Imam Safi Khan. It is one of my favorite topics and one not covered much,” said Kazi.
The keynote speech was followed by testing of the finalists by Shaikh Muhammad Nahavandi, a teacher at Dar-us-Salaam’s Hifdh school. Participants were asked to recite from a surah from their category in front of an eager audience and were judged on the quality of their memorization, “tajweed” and “tarteel”. All the finalists received a certificate, trophy and cash prizes. Certificates and gifts were given to every participant in the competition and trophies were awarded to all participants who obtained a minimum of 85% in their total score on the testing.
Shaikh Nahavandi also shared some closing remarks with the audience.
“It is heartwarming to see these young boys and girls reciting the book of Allah and loving Allah and His book,” said Shaikh Nahavandi. “It (the learning and memorization of the Quran) will be the healing of the hearts of our children. It removes any doubts about Allah, any arrogance and misguidance. How can the disease (of the hearts) resist the words of Allah?”
Shaikh Nahavandi praised the parents for encouraging their children towards the study of the Quran, saying it is the best thing they can do for them.
“This Quran brings “shifa’a” (healing) to the heart and body, and “rahmah” (mercy). We want our children to be showered with mercy and to be guided. It is in this Quran that there is guidance. We want our children to have peace and tranquility in their hearts, by the remembrance of Allah. When you send your children to learn Quran, you are sending them to a garden from the gardens of Paradise.”
The Third Annual Central Virginia Quran Competition
…Donzella Muhammad commuted from neighboring Farmville, about 75 miles away from Richmond, with her husband and three young children to enable them to participate in the Quran Competition for two years. “I would urge all Muslim parents to enter their children into the Quran Competition. It can foster a love and understanding for the Quran earlier in a child’s life. We left with a stronger urge within ourselves to continue reading the Quran in Arabic and to learn more surahs. It was a fantastic event for the whole family,”she says.
Mujahid Haneef Wahhaj, age 10, is a home schooled student who has been participating in the competition for the past two years. He has made it to the final round both years and this year he won first place in his category. Being unable to read the Quran has not hindered Mujahid from his dedicated resolve to memorize the words of Allah’s Holy Book. He listens to the recitation of the Quran and memorizes from what he hears. His mother, Muslimah, says, “Starting from when he was much younger, I would play the Quran for him, day and night – in the car, at home, when going to bed and he just started copying the reciters as children love to copy.”
“Then, as he got older, I would have him sit down everyday, as part of his schooling, with one of the many Quran reciters online and just have him listen and repeat.” Recently, Mujahid has finally been able to get access to teachers who are willing to instruct him on reading the Quran. Muslimah is very thankful to Allah for this event which has allowed her son to be a part of a positive experience and has left him with many good memories. “Winning or losing has not been the focus. Just being with other Muslim children who aspire to memorize Allah’s word has placed something in his heart and now he wants to memorize the whole Quran. He even dreams of meeting the Imams of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and leading the prayer there someday!” she says.
Our gratitude and appreciation to organizing team
aMashaAllah the Central VA Quran Competition continue to make positive strides each year and we are proud of all our children participant of the program and we make duwa for their continued success and higher achievements in deen through quran and guidance and garden of paradise, inshaAllah, ameen. On behalf of the many members of our community in Central VA, we extend our gratitude to the organizers of the program, speakers, volunteers and the many brothers/sisters administering the testing as well. Overall very memorable event with great presentation. Also, great idea to recongnize all participants and goodie bags with a very nice book of duwa’s presentations in addition to recognition of 24 finalists winners. A couple of suggestions for future events: 1) consider keeping the program length to 2 hrs. max. (outside of lunch/salat time); in an effort to keep both children and audience actively engaged. 2) The article above is very well written, kudos to the author, Sr. Rana Khan…suggest mentioning of IQRA Academy of Virginia would have been good compliments as nearly 50% of attending children are students at IQRA Academy in Richmond. Great work everyone — lets keep it up inshaAllah,
Community member – Great Work CVQC!!!