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Organized by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) North Luzon, the 2017 Regional Qur’an reading Competition seeks to promote the universal message of peace through the Qur’an, and aims to preserve Muslim culture and tradition in the Philippines. It was held in February 16, 2017 at Ninoy Aquino Ampitheatre, Heroes Hall, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

The theme for this year’s regional Qur’an competition in Pampanga was The Qur’an as the Universal Message of Peace.

There were eleven (11) females and eight (8) males who participated in the contest. These contestants came from different parts of north Luzon namely, Baguio City, Nueva Viscaya City, Bulacan, Tarlac City, San Fernando, and Angeles City.

It was a well attended event. The contestants’ relatives and families, staffs from both NCMF Central office and NCMF North Luzon, Muslim leaders from different associations, and the employees of City of San Fernando local government unit (LGU) filled the amphitheatre.

Among the guests who graced the event were Vice Mayor Jaime Lazatin and NCMF Planning Services Director Haidee V. Ampatuan MNSA. Both have expressed in their speeches how Islam is no different with other religion, specifically in the promotion of Peace.

The event not only showcased the talents of Qur’an reciters, but also the prowess of young cultural dancers. Pangalay, or the Sulu fingernail dance was among the Muslim folk dances presented along with Tinikling, and Sagayan, also known as the warrior dance of Maguindanao.

The following are the winners of the contest:

Male:

YAHIYA M. SANGKI (95%) Champion
EMRAN SARIPADA (94.5%) 1st Runner up
ABDULMALIK M. CABUGATAN (92.75%) 2nd Runner up
HASSANODIN UYAG (92.5%) 3rd Runner up

Female:

HANIYA P. ABDULMAJEED (95.5%) Champion
NORHODA O. RA-ALI (94.4%) 1st Runner up
ZOLAYNAH M. CABUGATAN (91.5%) 2nd Runner up
FATIMA SULEIK (91%) 3rd Runner up

The Champions will directly proceed to the National Qur’an Competition on April 2017 and compete with the other champions from the eleven regions.

Qur’an reading is an art form wherein portions of the Qur’an are read aloud with considerable style and accuracy in Arabic language. Apart from being a form of art, there is science in the Qur’an reading.  Readers strive to pronounce the Qur’an as accurate as possible, in conformity with the rules or the tajwid. The tajwid “covers the correct articulation of each Arabic letter, as well as various phonetic features that are unique to the Qur’an” (Saeed, 2011).

Meanwhile, the quality of the Qur’an reader’s recitation will be determined based on the clarity of words, proper delivery, and the performance style.

In addition, the difficulty in the mastery of the Qur’an not only brings honor to the reciter but also impart a sense of spiritual fulfilment according to research. H. Hasan Basri, master reciter, shared that:

“…represents one activity of dakwah that has its goal the bringing of the motivasi to the Islamic community and especially its young people so that they are impelled and stimulated with inspired enthusiasm always to study the Qur’an not only by reading [aloud], but also in comprehending it to the extent that they may fully experience and act on its teaching” (as cited in Gade, 2004).

The Qur’an reading contest is an annual event in the Philippines wherein the champions for each eleven (11) regions competes at the National Qur’an Reading Competition at Manila. The grand winners, one female and one male, will then represent the Philippines at the International Qur’an Recital Competition at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.