By Hanis Sufiyah Mahamad Yazid
“It was because of a cassette tape and that enchanting voice that I unexpectedly fell in love with the Quran and the mastery in Tilawah…” cited from Muhammad Asfandyar Dilawar Khan’s general commentary speech, in which he discussed his background before entering the Tilawah field. It was humorous while also captivating a young Muslim’s mind and soul because in order to improve, we must have the will to fight.
IIUM Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran 2023 was a two-day event from March 11 until March 12, organized by MRC Mahallah Sumayyah 22/23 and MRC Mahallah Bilal 22/23 in partnership with Centris and the Tilawah Division, CELPAD. Participants from all over the university, both local and foreign students were welcomed to compete and display their talents in tarannum, tajweed, fasohah, and voice.
Hanis Sufiyah, the program manager of Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran 2023, affirms that Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran 2023 was the first program of its kind to fully demonstrate the correct tilawah and full commentary in every aspect of tilawah Al Quran to IIUM students and beyond. Prior to the start of Ramadhan Kareem, it is also being executed to foster the culture of tilawah and tadarus. The aforementioned event began at 9 am in the Main Auditorium of the IIUM Gombak campus.
Our assistant program manager, Ain Aqilah, is happy to report that despite receiving numerous official invitations to participate, which had to be sent to all Islamic societies in the IIUM, clubs, and universities throughout KL and Selangor, she was able to enroll 20 participants, including two international students from IIUM and one from Marmara University, Turkiye, as an exchange student, in our cherished Garden of Knowledge and Virtue. Islamic organizations or clubs at the IIUM, like i-Masjid, also responded favorably by sending a representative on their behalf. Furthermore, to enliven the musabaqah, Abdul Hazim, the second Assistant Program Manager, was successful in inviting three judges of distinction: Mujahid Bin Ahmad Lutfi, Ahmad Amirul Ashraf bin Mohd Rusdan, and Muhammad Asfandyar Dilawar Khan. All of them are CELPAD lecturers who are experts in the Tilawah Division. In addition, without financial support from Tabung Infak Jariah Umat Islam Selangor (TIJARI) under the direction of Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), our musabaqah will never be regarded as prestigious.
We only pick judges who meet the highest standards because we live in a society that values excellence and virtue. Sponsorship is primarily used to contribute to the prizes awarded to the winners and to pay the judges’ honoraria so that, even if the winners lose to other competitors, they will still feel proud of themselves because they were evaluated by honourable and knowledgeable judges. They will never go home empty handed.
On day one, every single one of the 20 qari and qariah is evaluated and listened to. Each entry was excellent as the competitors took the stage in front of the judges and audience members. As representatives of Mahallah Sumayyah and Mahallah Bilal, respectively, Sr. Nuha bt Najib and Br. Izzat bin Mohd Alias, served as the programme’s wonderful emcees. On day two, when the closing and award-giving ceremony took place, it was the Musabaqah’s highest point with the theme “Arabian Nights”, which combined the color black with glistening gold, the stage gleamed with beauty.
Our VIP invitation included speeches from Dato’ Hamidon Abd Hamid, Director of CENTRIS; Dr. Shamshina, Principal of Mahallah Sumayyah; and, Ustaz Muhammad Abdullah, Principal of Mahallah Bilal, to wrap up the day. As time permitted, the Head Judge, Muhammad Asfandyar Dilawar Khan, and the other two judges provided their comments regarding the first day’s performance, emphasizing that tajweed is the primary factor in every tilawah and should not be taken for granted despite the beautiful voices bestowed by Allah on the participants. The judges were satisfied with the results overall and encouraged more people to participate if the musabaqah were to be held annually in order to further strengthen the tilawah culture among IIUM residents.
One of the spectators who attended the day’s events, Suhair Amani, expressed her satisfaction with the Musabaqah’s Closing Ceremony because she thought it was intriguing and new. The organizer’s decision to include a tadabbur session of the particular verse that was made casual and full of ibrah after the champion has been recited was refreshing. Further remarks were made by Nur Busyra Bt Mahjub, the female category winner, who was quoted verbatim as saying, “Alhamdulillah, thank goodness I found a platform in IIUM to hone my talent. Thank you to Mahallah Sumayyah and Mahallah Bilal for organizing the IIUM Musabaqah Tilawah Al Quran. Thank you to those who contributed and all those involved directly or indirectly in running this programme. My hope is that this programme can attract the interest of students who love the Qur’an and foster the spirit to always improve the reading of the Qur’an. May IIUM become an institution that makes its students love Al Quran and practice its content. Maybe after this, the organizers can advertise more widely about this programme because the the audiences at that time were few in a large hall. Nevertheless, it is a good programme on the opening of the month of Ramdhan.”
This musabaqah is a small step in the direction of a better rahmatal lil alamin, as we work to instill in young people alongside the qari and qariah. Mahallah Sumayyah and Mahallah Bilal’s pairing was the best decision because, despite our differences in academic specializations or backgrounds, we can still achieve great things for our deen. Surprisingly, given that it was a groundbreaking musabaqah, it was well-received. As a result of the overwhelmingly positive response, Dr. Shamshina, the principal of Mahallah Sumayyah and the Programme Manager, may include this event among the triumphant occasions in the list of programmes Mahallah Sumayyah and Mahallah Bilal that have been conducted, as it was an effort to encourage one of the highly recommended Sunnah of the beloved Prophet pbuh to practice the proper recitation of Al-Quran and may it continue to be awaited annually, in future.***