Ali Feizi from Iran takes part in the Dubai International Holy Quran Award competition Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: A 12 year old Iranian boy, who memorised the Holy Quran in 11 months, has raised the bar of competition with his impeccable rendition leaving the audience mesmerised on Sunday night at the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (Dihqa).

Reciting from five different passages of the Quran, which are randomly chosen by a computer software for each candidate, Ali Feizi had the listeners swooning to his booming voice.

The grade 6 student, who completed memorising the whole of Quran at the age of seven, is the winner of the Iranian national Quran recitation contest and is participating in an international competition for the first time.

By the look of it, he hasn’t done his chances of winning any harm and he knows it.

“By the grace of Allah, I think I have done well to be among the top five. I surprised myself with my performance tonight (Sunday night) and now we will have to just wait and watch because there many other real good candidates competing here,” said Feizi.

Feizi is among 103 participants this year competing for the coveted prize money of Dh250,000.

“I have been participating in national recitation programmes before but this is the first time I am taking part in an international competition and it is an honour to be here. The standards are very high and the competition is very tough. I am grateful to Allah that I could manage to get through all the five passages without any mistakes,” added Feizi, who wants to be a scholar of Quran when he grows up.

Sunday night saw seven other candidates demonstrating their skills with Lebanon’s Ebrahim Mohammad Al Sabra standing out alongside Feizi.

Al Sabra, 20, also completed memorising the Quran in a year’s time though he started late.

“I started memorising the Holy Quran after completing my secondary education. I took a break and finished memorising the Quran in a year before I started my degree in Islamic studies,” said Al Sabra, who is a student at the University of Tripoli.

Apart from two minor stutters, Al Sabra gave a smooth account of his recitation.

“I hope I have done well enough to be in the top 10, by the grace of Allah I am pleased with my performance, win or lose, I am happy to have got the chance to perform at this prestigious competition,” added Al Sabra.

Dihqa is an annual competition that takes place every Ramadan attracting candidates from across the world. This year the participation has gone up to 103 candidates, exceeding the 100 mark for the first time in the 21 year history of the competition.

“We are happy that not only the number of participants has increased, even the quality of performances have been great so far this year. This reflects the rising standards of the competition. The popularity of Dubai International Holy Quran Award has reached far and wide and more importantly we have very strong performers coming in as the national competitions in respective countries are also getting tougher,” said Ahmad Al Zahid, member of the organising committee and head of Dihqa’s media unit.

The competition will last till the 20th of Ramadan, which corresponds to June 15.

What: Dubai International Holy Quran Award

When: Daily till 20th of Ramadan (June 15)

Time: 10.30pm onwards

Venue: Dubai Chamber, Baniyas Road