It is now official. Female winners of the prophet’s family and companions’ competition are to be rewarded with Umrah trips in Ramadhan instead of Hajj (pilgrimage). This was announced by Sheikh Muhammad Muaz Nadwi, Principal of Blantyre Islamic Mission and country supervisor of the competition, at a prize presentation ceremony for the winners of the 8th competition held on Friday, 30th September 2016 at Blantyre Islamic Mission.
The competition, organized by the Committee for Dawah in Africa based in Saud Arabia, dates back to 1431 H / 2008 AD. It is held concurrently in many African countries under a different theme for each year with the 8th competition’s theme being: Confronting deviant ideologies.
The main objectives of the competition include: – Enlightening the targeted participants on what the Quran and the Sunnah say about the Family of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions. – Sensitizing Muslims about the correct belief regarding the Prophet’s family and companions (may Allah be pleased with them), as well as correcting the misconceptions propagated against them.
To win, a participant must answer at least 18 of the 20 questions – which are usually in form of multiple choice – correctly. Once the competition questions arrive, they are instantly distributed to all the corners of Malawi. When the answered question papers have been submitted, the Committee for Dawah in Africa sends a sample answer sheet to the local organizing committee for the marking exercise. Names of all the participants who had correctly answered 18 questions and above are sent to the headquarters of the Committee for Dawah in Africa in Riyadh where names of 10 lucky winners are selected through an electronic raffle draw.
There are different prizes earmarked for the lucky winners of the competition. The first and second winners are rewarded with Hajj trips, on condition that they should not have won the Hajj prize through the Committee in previous years. The third and fourth go away with brand-new laptop computers. The fifth, sixth and seventh get state-of-the-art smart phones, while the eighth, ninth and tenth are given digital Quran devices plus a cell phone each.
In the past competitions the first and second prizes (Hajj trips) have been reserved for male winners. If, for example, winners of the first and second prizes turned out to be females, they were automatically shifted to the third and fourth positions. The competition organizers’ stand is that it is not easy to properly look after female participants during Hajj rituals. However this trend did not go down well with female participants of the competition who have been pressing for the Hajj prize or at least an alternative prize closely equal in value.
The plea for a Hajj prize or an equal alternative for women did not fall on deaf ears as, during the just ended Hajj, it was announced by the organizers of the competition in Makkah that female participants who claim the first and second positions are to be rewarded with an Umrah trip in Ramadhan. Indeed there could not be an alternative prize more equal, for Allah’s Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj (i.e. in reward).”
Looking at the list of names for the winners of the 8th competition, it becomes clear that female participants received the lion’s share of the prizes. Out of the ten prizes six went to female participants. Following is the list of all the ten lucky winners of the 8th competition: 1 – Sidick Kalembo 2 – Evance Sanileki 3 – Alefa Jiwao 4 – Chibibi James 5 – Shamimah Fundi 6 – Halima Imedi 7 – Ismail Abdulrashid 8 – Sakina Mwamadi 9 – Junaidi Maiti 10 – Alefa Sailesi.
If any female participant happens to win the first or second prize in the forthcoming competitions, it will automatically mean a double win for her. This will be the case simply because she will need someone to accompany her on the Umrah trip as she cannot travel alone. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A woman should not travel except with a Mahram (her husband or a man with whom that woman cannot marry at all according to the Islamic Jurisprudence).
It should be mentioned emphatically here that answering the questions correctly does not turn one into an instant winner of the competition, as there is need for a bit of good luck as well.