Islamic Competition

Sign giving directions to Taman Rimbo and the former area used to conduct the Islamic competition MTQ

Sign giving directions to Taman Rimba and the former area used to conduct the Islamic competition MTQ

Close to the Jambi airport there’s sign on the road giving directions to “Arena Ex. MTQ.” Being curious about the sign’s meaning, we began asking around and this is what we’ve discovered:

Ex. MTQ facility close to the airport in the City of Jambi.

Ex. MTQ facility close to the airport in the City of Jambi.

Jambi Mayor (center) at the MTQ closing ceremony on Dec. 1, 2012

Jambi Mayor (center) at the MTQ closing ceremony on Dec. 1, 2012

What is MTQ?

MTQ is an abbreviation for Musabaqah Tilawatil Quran. The “Ex” on the above sign simply means the former area where this Islamic competition was conducted in 1997. The area is no longer used for these competitions.

  • Musabaqah—race; competition
  • Tilawatil Qur’an—reading the Qur’an

MTQ’s History in Indonesia

Since 1968 MTQ has been a national competition in Indonesia. It begins with local, regional, provincial, and finally national competitions. There’s also an international Qur’an reading competition.

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MTQ banner

MTQ Banner
44th Year–2012 City of Jambi

With the Theme: Implementing the teachings of the Al-Qur’an so as to build the community in faith and in the fear of God.
Conducted at: Raya Mgatasari Mosque
Location: Kecamatan Pasar Jambi

The competitions are conducted each year and the 44th MTQ competition in the City of Jambi was held from November 28th till December 1st (four days). The provincial competition is said to be held around the month of February, with the national competition to be conducted around the month of May.

Female competitor wins $135.00.

Female competitor wins Rp1.350.000
($135.00 USD)

The Competition

Both male and females of all ages are welcome to participate in these competitions and they consist of several categories:

  1. Tilawah / Tilawat*—this is a unique way of reading the Qur’an.
  2. Khattil / Khotil —writing the Qur’an using calligraphy.
  3. Tafsir—explaining (exegesis) the Qur’an’s verses (not translating).
  4. Hifzil / Tahfiz—being able the quote the Qur’an by memory.
  5. Tartil—this is a competition uniquely for children under 12 years old. It consists of reading the Qur’an.
  6. Barzanji—Telling stories or reciting Arabic poems that tell of the descendants, birth, character, and acts of Muhammad.
  7. Bazar—This is an exhibition, sort of like a fair, which every area (kecamatan) of a city or region (kabupaten) will make.
  8. Syarhil Qur’an—this is a team competition, wherein there are three members to a team.
Male competitor wins a $155.00 prize.

Male competitor wins Rp1.500.000
($155.00 USD)

MTQ opening ceremonies consist of a pawai ta’aruf (parade). People will build floats and march to the location where the competition will be conducted.

*There are no standards for spelling when it comes to translating Arabic to local languages in Indonesia. People will pronounce and spell Arabic words based on their local languages, and with more than 700 languages in Indonesia, standardization is a real struggle.

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