Quran Focus Blog

International Quran Recital Competition, Malaya

The International Quran Recital Competition or Tilawah Al-Quran is the international Islamic Quran recital event that is held annually since 1961 in Malaysia.

Tunku Abdul Rahman (first Malaysian premier) was a founder of the International Quran Recital Competition. The program was started on 9 March 1961 at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur and 7 countries took part in this competition including Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Sarawak and Malaya.


Annual UK Competition for Boys in the Hifz of the Quran

19th Annual UK Competition for Boys in the Hifz of the Qur’an 1435H/2014
Albirr Foundation UK hosts an annual competition in the Hifz of the Qur’an in order to encourage memorisation of the Holy Qur’an amongst young Muslims living in the United Kingdom.

Winners of the competition are rewarded with generous cash prizes and certificates of achievement presented in the Prize Giving Ceremony which immediately follows the competition.

19th Annual UK Competition for Boys

All entries must be received by 18 May 2014.
The competition will be held on Sunday, 7 September 2014.
Competition venue: Madina Masjid, Mount Pleasant Trust Purwell Lane Batley WF17 7NQ

There are 3 categories for entry into the competition:

Group A , Complete Quran - Hifz of complete Quran

First prize £5000
Second prize £3200
Third prize £2000
Runner Up 1 £1000
Runner Up 2 £1000

Group B , First 20 Ajza - Hifz of the first 20 Ajza

First prize £3700
Second prize £1600
Third prize £1000
Runner Up 1 £700
Runner Up 2 £700

Group C , First 10 Ajza - Hifz of the first 10 Ajza

First prize £2200
Second prize £1100
Third prize £800
Runner Up 1 £500
Runner Up 2 £500


Sunday 7th September 2014
08.30am – 01.30pm The Competition
01.30pm – 03.00pm Salatul Zuhr & Lunch
03.00pm – 05.00pm Awards Presentation

The contestants should not be over 22 years of age on the 7th September 14.
Refreshments will be served throughout the day.

Grand Mosque of Paris or Grande Mosquée de Paris

The largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe, the Great Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquee De Paris) is located in the Fifth Arrondissement, right in the heart of Paris. In fact, it is just a little more than a mile from Notre Dame.

The mosque was founded in 1926 as a token of gratitude, after World War I, to the Muslim tirailleurs from France’s colonial empire, of whom some 100,000 died fighting against Germany. The mosque was built following the mudéjar style, and its minaret is 33 meters high. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926. Ahmad al-Alawi (1869–1934), an Algerian Sufi, founder of the modern Sufi order Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Shadhiliyya, led the first communal prayer to inaugurate the newly built mosque in the presence of the French president.

Grande Mosquée de Paris.JPG



During World War II (when France was occupied by Nazi Germany), under its rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the mosque served as a secret refuge for Jews, providing them shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates.

Getting There

The Great Mosque of Paris is located at Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 5e, (5th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 administrative districts) in the Latin Quarter near Jardin des Plantes and the Institut de Monde Arabe. 

Guided tours are offered throughout the day without a prior reservation; however, the tours are in French. So, while they are quite informative, unless you speak French, you won’t get the full benefit of the guided tour. Saturdays tend to be the busiest so you might wish to avoid that day. If you go throughout the week, try and arrive exactly when the doors open, which is usually 9:30 a.m. 

Today, this Mosque plays an important social role for Muslims in Europe. According to the Institute of the Arab World’s registry of Mosques, there are only about 121 mosques throughout France, which is a very small number when you consider there are more than 5 million Muslims living in France.



Muslims Celebrate Canada’s Iconic Mosque

Considering it the center of their sizable community, Muslims in Edmonton are celebrating the diamond jubilee of Canada’s first mosque.

“We want to send a message to the whole community, to thank them for what they did for Al Rashid Mosque from the beginning,” Khalid Tarabain, president of the Canadian Islamic Center and Al Rashid Mosque, told Leader-Post on Tuesday, May 21.

Canada, mosque, Muslims, jubilee

“It was a hub, not just for Muslims but for the community. We used to have social dinners, and we want to bring that spirit back,” Tarabain said.
Muslims are celebrating today the 75th anniversary of the mosque in Edmonton, the capital of the province of Alberta.

The celebration will start with a lunch that brings together nearly 400 guests, including Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, Calgary Mayor Na-heed Nenshi and members of the city’s Christian and Jewish communities.

Several events will also be hosted over the next few months to celebrate the milestone, culminating with a gala in November.

Built in 1938 to serve first Muslim immigrants, Al Rashid mosque is Canada’s first Muslim worship place.

“People were congregating in somebody’s home or a hall that they could utilize, until the purpose-built mosque was completed in 1938,” said Sine Chadi, whose ancestors came to Canada from Lebanon in 1895 and were involved in building the iconic mosque.

By the 1980s, Al Rashid mosque had fallen into disrepair and the city was contemplating demolition of the site.

But in 1991, it was decided to move the mosque to Fort Edmonton Park at a cost of $75,000.

About a year later on May 28, 1992 it was reopened in the park to accommodate the more than 20,000 Muslims living in Edmonton at that time.

Muslims hailed efforts of Edmonton officials and members of other religious communities in helping raise funds for the mosque.

“If it wasn’t for the mayor of Edmonton, it would have been impossible for us to start it,” Tarabain said.

Muslim Hub

Though new worship places have been built across the city, Al Rashid Mosque still remains the center of the Muslim community in Edmonton.

“The mosque was, and still is, a centre for the community,” Chadi said.

“People come in and hold events there, whatever it may be. It could be a funeral, a wedding, a speaker coming, or it could be for prayer.”

Tarabain, opines that Al Rashid mosque remains “the mother organization” for 80,000 Muslims in Edmonton.

“We have 15 worship places across the city, but everybody always comes back to Al Rashid Mosque for the big services,” Tarabain said.

The services Al Rashid Mosque offers have expanded over the years to include the Edmonton Islamic Academy, a $23-million facility that opened in 2006 to serve students enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 12.

Yet, Tarabain wants to restore the original community spirit that first defined the mosque.

“It was a hub, not just for Muslims but for the community. We used to have social dinners, and we want to bring that spirit back,” he said.

“The culture of the mosque to begin with was to work with other communities and be together.”

He also hopes the mosque will continue to play an important part in the lives of Edmontonians, as it has for the past 75 years.

“It’s the center of mine and my family’s life,” Tarabain said.

“The mosque is not just a place of worship. It’s a cultural place, to connect with other communities. It’s an identity. It’s feeling and being good as a Muslim and as a Canadian, and participating in society.”

Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the north-American country.

A survey has showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.

Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College


American Muslims are creating a new model of higher education in the United States. Its cornerstone is Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California state.

A professor teaches students at a classroom in Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California state

MUSCAT DAILY EXCLUSIVE: The making of America’s first Muslim college

American Muslims are creating a new model of higher education in the United States. Its cornerstone is Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California state. Scott Korb takes a close look at this pioneering venture in his splendid new book, Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College.

Scott Korb is a New Yorkbased writer and editor.

He was educated at the University of Wisconsin; Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University. He is the author of The Faith Between Us (2007) and Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine (2010). Korb teaches writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts and New York University’s (NYU) Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Teacher at Zaytuna

A professor during a lecture at Zaytuna College

In his latest book, Korb writes about how Zaytuna College came to be – and what it wants to become.

It is a sympathetic portrait of a small community of faith on its journey to build an academic home in America. Korb’s immersion in this community helps us to understand the hopes, the struggles, and the joy of its members.

The motto of Zaytuna College is ‘Where Islam meets America’. It is based on the firm conviction that Muslims and America can be friends and learn from each other. For Zaytuna’s charismatic president – Sheikh Hamza Yusuf – this relationship should be a natural fit.

“America is the best model that we have to have a multifaith, multicultural society. It really is. In many ways, the Islamic civilisation was a precursor to that, because there was a lot of conviviality in the Muslim world.

The idea of peoples living together is really an Islamic thing,” he said. The story of Zaytuna College is a remarkable one. Korb illuminates this story for a broad audience of readers of any faith. Zaytuna College is a sign of vitality and progress in the American Muslim community. Light Without Fire is an invitation to see how it all happened. Scott Korb discusses his new book in this exclusive interview:

What was the inspiration for your new book?
Most basically, the inspiration for the book came from a student in a writing course I teach at New York University. In the years after high school, he’d studied with the scholars at the centre of the book – Imam Zaid Shakir, in particular – looking for ways to make Islam relevant to the big questions facing America. When he brought lessons from his seminary into my classroom at NYU, forcing me to see just how little I actually knew about American Islam in all its diversity, I took it upon myself to see where he’d come from. More people, I thought, need to know about Zaytuna and the people whose lives have been dedicated to creating an academic home for Islam in America.

Who are the founders of Zaytuna College?
Zaytuna College is an experiment in liberal arts education that grew out of Zaytuna Institute, which was founded by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf in the mid-1990s. Yusuf was joined in forming the college by Imam Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian.

What is their vision for the new college?
Zaytuna’s founders share the belief that the only way for Islam to create deep roots in America is through the establishment of Muslim institutions. This college is their effort – through a curriculum that blends the liberal arts with Arabic and Islamic law and theology – to prepare well educated and morally committed men and women to be the nation’s future Muslim leaders, along whatever paths these students travel once they leave the school. It’s not a seminary programme; nor does it situate vocational training in a central place. The current educational philosophy is based on a Great Books model and a unified curriculum.

What difficulties did the founders face in establishing the college?
One difficulty they faced was in moving from the community-based educational model of Zaytuna Institute, which was located in Hayward, California, and formalising a college in Berkeley. It meant leaving behind some longtime members of the community and consolidating the energy of the place into a four-year college with grand ambitions. Another difficulty was getting the first group of Zaytuna College students up to a certain level of Arabic proficiency; this was a real struggle during the school’s first semester. An ongoing difficulty is with funding. The founders are always fundraising from Muslim communities around the country. It’s an endless grind.

How is Zaytuna College preparing its students for ‘Muslim American citizenship’?
The founders believe that a deep training in the liberal arts and a dedication to seeking sacred knowledge in every subject is the best way to prepare students to participate in our democracy and the national project more broadly. First and foremost, the school and the scholars are a daily reminder that America is home.

Does Zaytuna College enjoy broad support from American Muslims?
It’s difficult to say just how broad the support is in terms of numbers. But I know that the founders can go to communities around the country and fill ballrooms with supporters who are held rapt by the lectures and sermons presented, most especially, by Hamza Yusuf.

Do you think Zaytuna College will become a model for future Muslim colleges in America?
My sense is that Zaytuna is more interested now in serving as a model for schools below the college level; they want to inspire Muslim elementary schools and high schools. It’s way too early to know whether other Muslim colleges will follow the path Zaytuna has forged. Alternative educational arrangements – distance learning, weekend retreats, seminary programmes, and so on – are also popping up around the country. What I find so promising is the diversity of approaches and the commitment to building institutions designed to help young Muslims find meaningful ways to engage the world they live in. In that specific way, Zaytuna might be a good model for any college or university.

By Joseph Richard Preville

[Joseph Richard Preville is Assistant Professor of English at University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia]

Holy Quran classes in Braille

Kozhikode: In a first of its kind campaign in the state and possibly the country, the Assabah Society for the Blind, Kerala, India is giving door-to-door lessons to the visually impaired  in reading  the holy Quran in Braille.

In a first holy Quran classes in Braille.jpg
The campaign is expected to benefit around 75,000 blind and visually impaired people across the state, who are incapable of reading Arabic in Braille.
P.T. Muhammed Mustafa, a teacher in the Meenchantha Government Vocational Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode and secretary of the Assabah Society, says the campaign mainly aims to help blind people who have not  learnt to read the Quran or are incapable of going to institutions to learn it due to lack of  assistance, physical disability or age.
The classes were inaugurated on Saturday by S.P. Mammookoya, a 73-year-old blind man, reciting the Quran with the help of Mr P.A. Abdul Kareem, a teacher in the Kolathara Calicut School for the handicapped in Kozhikode.
A teacher of the same school, P.T. Rasiyabi helped A.V. Tasleema of Mankavu, who went blind while studying in Class VIII,  recite the Quran in braille.
While  female teachers will hold the free classes for women , male trainers will do the same for men every Saturday and Sunday , making them competent in reciting the Quran in braille in three months, according to Mr. Mustafa, who reveals  that the association has so far received around 500  applications from the district.
“The braille version of the Quran is not printed here. We import it from the Gulf, ” he explained.

Islamic schools in England











Madinah boy wins Qur’an contest

A boy from Madinah has won the top prize in the Kingdom-wide Crown Prince Salman Prize for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an contest.
Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance Saleh Al-Asheikh announced the names of the winners yesterday.

quran contest.jpg

“Adel Gholam Al-Khair from Madinah won the cash prize of SR 70,000 for a first place in Category 1 (Boys Section),” Secretary-General Mansour Al-Sameeh said in a statement. The second place with a cash award of SR 68,000 went to Iman Abu Suleiman of Makkah and the third prize with a cash award of SR 66,000 was won by Omar Nabrawi of Riyadh.
Abdullah Al-Khalaf of Hail won the first prize in the second category of the contest, which carried a cash prize of SR 50,000, with Husam Khayyat of Makkah winning the SR 48,000 prize for second place. The third prize of SR 46,000 went to Qays Al-Qurashi of Madinah, Al-Sameeh said.
In the girls’ section of the first category of the contest, Ameenah Al-Saudi of Hail won the first prize of SR 70,000 while the second place with a cash award of SR 68,000 went to Mariah Kemal Hassan of Makkah.
In third position, and sharing the prize money of SR 66,000, were Ruqyah Somaili of Jazan and Ghaliyah Saleh of Riyadh.
In the second category, the first prize of SR 50,000 was won by Afra Al-Najrani of Madinah. Wajdan Al-Shamaimari of Riyadh won second place with a cash prize of SR 48,000, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Afnan Baksh of Madinah got the third position with a cash of SR 46,000.

13th Quran Recitation Competition Held In Tokyo

The 13th Annual Quran Recitation Competition in Japan was held at the Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo on Monday December 31, 2012.


The event started at 1:30pm and ended at 1am (1st Jan 2013). This event was organized by Japan Islamic Trust, Masjid Otsuka, with the cooperation of the Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo, and was sponsored by The Holy Quran Memorization Organization, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (بجدة لهيئة العالمية لتحفيظ القرآن الكريم ا رابطة العالم الإسلامي) along with some local businesses.

The basic aim of the competition was to strengthen the link among the Muslim community members in Japan with the Quran, to help increase the knowledge of, and love for the Quran, to help develop interest in the Quran recitation, to motivate memorizing, reciting and reviewing Quran, and to help develop skills in reading and reciting the Quran, and invite Muslims to engage in a great religious activity on the new year`s eve.

Although, the event has been taking place for the past 13 years, however, the number of participants this year, was incredibly huge. More than 134 children participated in the competition.  Last year, there were around 80 participants from all over Japan.


The Chief Guest of this mega event was the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Japan, Dr. Abdulaziz A Turkistani. . He lauded the efforts made by the kids and their parents and teachers to memorize Quran.  He further expressed the hope that more and more children will participate in the competition in the coming years.

Japan Islamic Trust (JIT) plans to hold even bigger events in the future as well.

Quran Reading with Tajwid

Literally, ‘tajwid‘ means improvement and perfection. If you do something with tajwid it means you are trying to do it with the utmost quality and in the most perfect way possible. The term is technically used to refer to the science concerned with correct recitation and pronunciation of the Qur’anic words and verses. The relationship is clear between the literal meaning of the word and its technical usage; the literal meaning revolves around perfecting an action or a performance, which is the recitation of the Qur’an as far as the science of Tajwid is concerned.

After the rapid spread of Islam in its early centuries, especially among non-Arabs, Muslim scholars deemed it necessary to put down a set of rules that serve as a reference for the Qur’an learners. So, Tajwid has been the reference for people who wished to recite the Qur’an in a correct manner. This, however, does not deny the fact that the Qur’an cannot be learned independently, without the assistance of a skilled teacher. The unique isnad-based system of learning Qur’an continued to be the recognized way for teaching students how to recite the Qur’an and for training them on Tajwid. In the isnad-based system, a student recites the whole Qur’an by heart, from the beginning to the end, fulfilling the rules of Tajwid to a certified Qur’an teacher, and then the student is certified by the teacher to be qualified to recite and teach the Qur’an. The certificate is called ijazah (license). A typical ijazah lists the teachers of the granting sheikh (the isnad or sanad , an unbroken chain of teachers that goes back to the Prophet).

Tajwid, according to the scholars’ definition, is all about “articulating (the sound of) each letter from its proper point of articulation, and ensuring the correct pronunciation of the genuine characteristics of each sound as well as the occasional ones.” Here, by ‘genuine’ scholars mean the permanent features of a sound without which the sound is never pronounced correctly. The occasional features are those affecting a letter sound due to certain occasional reasons such as the place of the letter in a word, its tashkil, the features of the letters coming before or after it, etc.

A typical Tajwid book starts with an introduction clarifying the significance and manners of reciting the Qur’an, the prerequisites of a correct recitation, the Islamic ruling of observing Tajwid when reciting the Qur’an and the types of recitation in terms of speed. The main body of Tajwid, as clearly stated in the above definition, is concerned with the correct pronunciation of the Qur’an. This is dealt with in the following basic topics:

  1. Points of articulation (Makharij Al-Huruf)
  2. Letters Characteristics (Sifat Al-Huruf)
  3. Other rules of Tajwid related to the sound changes of certain letters due to their places in the word or their surrounding letters, such as the rules of a non-vowel N and M (ahkam an-Nun wal mim as-sakinah) and the types of long vowels (mudud.)

Students of phonetics will find the above topics familiar and similar to what they study. The concept of idgham, for example, is similar to that of assimilation as far as the phonetics is concerned.

It is obligatory, according to the scholars of Tajwid, to observe its rules when reciting the Qur’an. Allah Almighty said, {…recite the Qur’an (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style} (Al-Muzzamil 73: 4)

The verse means reciting the Qur’an slowly with humility (khushu`) and reflection observing the rules of Tajwid such as lengthening the long vowels (madd al-mamudud) and shortening the short ones (qasr al-maqsur)… The command in the above verse indicates obligation as this is the original usage of the imperative form. There is nothing here to indicate otherwise. (Al-Marsafi, Hidayat Al-Qari’ ila Tajwid Kalam al-Bari)

Imam ibn Al-Jazari, one of the earliest scholars of Tajwid, maintained in his Tuhfatul-Atfal, a famous beginner-style Tajwid manual, that,

It is incumbent to observe the rules of Tajwid; those who fail to do so are incurring a sin because the Qur’an was revealed by Allah and transmitted to us with the rule s of Tajwid.

Some scholars, however, hold that it is recommended (mustahab) to follow the rules of Tajwid rather than being wajib(obligatory), as long as the words are pronounced correctly in terms of Arabic and no mistakes are involved of course. Nevertheless, it befits a Muslim to try his best to perfect his recitation. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honorable, obedient scribes (angles), and he who recites the Qur’an with difficulty and find it hard to recite will have a double reward. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Tajwid is just one of the manifestations of Allah’s protection for the Qur’an from any kinds of corruption. Going through books of the Tajwid shows the extreme care given to the minute details of the pronunciation of the Qur’an. All of this is to ensure that the way the Qur’an is recited fourteen centuries after the demise of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is exactly the same as how the Prophet recited the Qur’an. Besides, the isnad-based transmission of the Qur’an guarantees that the rules of Tajwid are fully put into practice in a way that ensures the highest quality and accuracy level when transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to another. Tajwid, after all, is one of a group of sciences created initially to serve the Qur’an and to guard it from corruption such as the Qira’at (science of the recitation versions) and the scripting of the Qur’an (ar-rasm wad-dabt.)

By Muhammad Fathi