The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs recently announced that it will hold the international competition for memorizing and reciting the Holy Quran.
The ministry also announced a series of tenders to help the Ministry with its needs to hold the event such the decorations, audio-visual equipment, furniture, halls, brochures, books and photo albums.
This is in addition to waste of money on the tickets for the participants, their companions and guests, young and old, booking of hotel rooms for them, renting cars and drivers for them and prizes to be awarded to almost all the participants, and everybody will return home without adding anything to our life or solve our problems which are many.
The Holy Quran was revealed 1,400 years ago, will remain forever and its survival is not due to the memorization and recitations contests. The international competitions and hundreds of competitions that proceeded did not help address the subject of understanding the Quran which are aimed only at memorizing it by heart. I really want someone to explain the usefulness of holding such festivals and competitions for our people who are already backward in every field. I think, and I may be wrong, that the only goal is to achieve material benefits.
Almost everyone agrees that we have not made any significant progress in the past five years in any field from the increase in the number of memorizers among us, and increasing differences at the same time among us at least on the meanings of what was memorized. We need to focus more on reading and understanding, not memorizing.
We really need children who think, invent, and create new scientific ideas not just memorizing texts. We need to understand why most clerics oppose any other readings in various fields of science and do not encourage reading other than religious books. The controversial Sheikh Mohammad Metwalli says that in thirty years he has read nothing but religious texts. We need to build mosques, even most beautiful and most luxurious and the largest, but we need more to find work and a source of livelihood for tens of thousands of beggars around these huge and luxurious mosques.
We need to build thousands of hospitals in our countries because diseases and epidemics destroy sons of Muslims in dozens of poor countries. We need to build tens of thousands of schools, colleges and institutes, even half of them scientific, because illiteracy has outdone the Muslims and shattered spirits, humiliated them and taken them to the doorsteps of other countries to seek safety, food and shelter. They escape from the hell of our countries, even at the cost of their lives knowing half of them have perished in their quest of their desire.
They believe access to the Hell of the West to escape the Heaven of the East is a worthy adventure. Those who participate in such competitions often come from poor countries, just to win cash prizes. If institutes, schools and hospitals were built for them in their own countries, they would hold competitions in their homelands.
Therefore, it is better to spend the money in fulfilling the needs of those countries and inviting them to memorize the Holy Quran in their countries instead of spending millions on travel and hospitality where everyone loses but some of the organizers of these competitions have their big share, and the crumbs – as I think – go for the few winners.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf
e-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail .com