Dubai – Saudi Arabia’s Adel Bin Mahmoud won the 17th Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA), while Chad’s Al Haj Mohammad Jadah came a close second and Libya’s Abdul Bari Rajab ranked third.

The annual event saw participation from 90 countries this year, with the majority of contestants giving top-notch performances.

Prominent Islamic scholar Dr Zakir Naik was also honoured with the Dh1 million Islamic Personality of the Year Award.

Adel, who won the Dh250,000 top prize, was obviously elated and thanked Almighty Allah for the honour.

“It is a blessing and great honour from Almighty Allah. I never thought I would win because there were other contestants who had also performed well. But I’m really happy with the result,” said the Saudi boy.

Also in the top ten are Mohammad Bello Amada from Niger, who is ranked fourth, Amer Mohammad from Sudan who is fifth, Jamal Al Deen Al Kaiki from Australia is sixth and UAE’s Zaid Al Jaberi is seventh.

Ahmad Ali from Lebanon took eighth position, while Abdullah Oraibi from Algeria and Batul Wasil from France grabbed a joint 9th rank.

The second and third prize winner take home Dh200,000 and Dh150,000 respectively, while every participant at the annual event gets a cash award, with the minimum being Dh20,000.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DIHQA’s journey began in 1996 and it has since established itself as the most prestigious Quran competition in the world, with several programmes running throughout the year.

“We are pleased to say that DIHQA has grown immensely over the last two decades with support from every quarter. I would like to than [President]His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid for their continuous support to this noble cause,” said Ebrahim Bumilha, Chairman of DIHQA’s Organising committee, speaking at the closing ceremony.

The annual event also includes a series of lectures, Quran memorisation programmes for prisoners and the elderly. With the event moving to a new building in Al Mamzar from next year, the oganisers also have plans to begin programmes for women.

This year’s event will conclude with a lecture from Dr Zakir Naik on Tuesday night at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.