Islamabad: A Pakistani student has won a prestigious Quran recitation competition after besting participants from 25 countries. Hassan Ali Kasi, 21, a student of International Islamic University in Islamabad, secured the first place in the international Quran recitation competition (Siraj Al Kabeer) held in Afghanistan recently. Other Qaris who made it to the final round were from Iraq, Lebanon, Germany, Egypt and Afghanistan.
Talking to Gulf News, Hassan said that he was “happy and overwhelmed” with the love and respect he received after winning the contest. Hassan’s devotion to the Holy Quran and touching voice has earned him numerous accolades nationally as well as globally. “I have travelled to Germany, Turkey, Iran, Qatar to lead Taraweeh (prayers during Ramadan) and to represent Pakistan in several international Holy Quran competitions and programmes,” he said. Interestingly, the young reciter is fluent in four languages besides Urdu including Arabic, Pashto, English and German.
Family’s support and motivation
Hassan was just eight years old when he began to earn widespread recognition for his exceptional memorisation and recitation of the Holy Quran skills. Initially, “My father motivated me to begin Qirat as he was a great admirer of the legendary Egyptian Qari Abdul Basit Abdul Samad.” The talented young reciter learned the rules of recitation of the Holy Quran (Tajweed) from his father, Qari Syed Muhammad Basit, and other recitation styles from his uncle, Qari Muhammad Ibrahim Kasi, who is also a renowned Quran reciter.
Hassan Ali Kasi who is an inspiration for many young Quran reciters says the Qari who inspires him is Egypt’s Sheikh Shahat Mohammed Anwar. “I have listened to thousands of his recitations. His unique, beautiful and serene voice is an inspiration as well as a great learning experience”, he says.
After memorising the Holy Quran by heart at an early age, Hassan finished college in his hometown Quetta and later moved to Islamabad to continue higher studies at International Islamic University (IIUI). After his recent win, the institute said in a statement that “IIUI is proud of Hassan as he brought fame and honour to the university” and made Pakistan proud. The university Rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai and President Dr Hathal Hamoud Al Otaibi personally congratulated Hassan on this remarkable achievement.