How I won Qur’anic recitation competition – Police officer | Dailytrust

How I won Qur’anic recitation competition – Police officer

SP Mahi Ahmed Ali
SP Mahi Ahmed Ali

SP Mahi Ahmed Ali, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Takai in Kano State, emerged the overall winner of the recently conducted maiden police officers Quran recitation competition. In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, he spoke on his journey to this victory and how his story has changed many people’s negative impression about police officers in Nigeria. 

How would you describe your background?

I was born on March 17, 1980 at Gyaranya, Takalmawa area in Gwale Local Government Area of Kano State, to the family of Sheik Ahmed Modibbo, a Khalifa of Sheik Saminu Koro. I grew up in that area, where I was enrolled at an early age to start Islamic education at Mallam Mahmud Barnoma School, situated in the Sanka area of Dala Local Government Area. 

I started learning Arabic and other things, up to the time I had my Quranic graduation. I had done about four different types of Quranic graduation before I moved to Sheik Mallam Rabiu’s school, situated at Ja’en Quarters, where I had more Quranic graduation twice before I moved for western education.

Consequently, our school later metamorphosed into a western education institute and I had primary education there. I also attended Aliya Secondary School, Shahuci and later obtained a diploma in Quranic Science at the Aminu Kano College of Legal and Islamic Studies, all in Kano. After my diploma, I got a foreign admission to Sudan, where I bagged a degree in Arabic Linguistics.

When I came back to Nigeria, I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme in Kebbi State. After my NYSC, I taught for eight months at Gidan Malamai Secondary School, as well as Barkum in Bunkure Local Government Area.

When did you join the Nigeria Police Force?

I applied in 2009 and was eventually shortlisted amongst the candidates who were trained in 2010.

How did you join the Quran recitation competition?

When a Quran recitation competition was organised by the Kano State police command last month, under the leadership of CP Samaila Dikko, I was informed that whoever was interested should so indicate. Many people declared interest to participate in the competition, including me. A date was fixed and I prepared myself and went for it. 

I started Quran recitation from my early age. I did my first memorisation of the holy book when I was 13 years old, so it has become a part of me, such that I feel somehow bored and disturbed if I didn’t do it.

How do you strike a balance between your job as a police officer and Quran recitation?

In every situation I find myself, I recite the Quran, especially when I am on a journey. Even when we were employed into the Nigeria Police Force and posted to Lagos for training, I was still very serious with my recitation at the training camp. Despite the fact that the training involved different exercises, I found time to continue my Quran recitation. I also recited the Quran before I assumed duty as a police officer.

In every opportunity I get, I do my recitation. In one hour you can recite at least five Hizbs (parts of Quran).

In all the different capacities I have worked, even when I was at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, nothing ever stopped me from doing my Quranic recitation. I have been able to manage my time and balance it with work and my recitation. 

I prefer to do my recitation in the morning, after Subhi (dawn prayer). However, I do it during every free moment I find myself.

How frequently do you recite the Quran?

Usually, for several years now, I do a complete recitation of the holy book weekly. However, sometimes it takes me more than a week because of some activities.

How do you feel as the overall winner of the competition?

Initially, I went there to just recite since it was a religious activity. I intentionally refused to sit at the place reserved for participants in the competition. I sat with the audience, but surprisingly, I was announced as winner. I never thought I could win because many others who were very sound in Quran recitation participated.

What advice do you have for fellow police officers on how to improve their Quran memorisation skills?

Every Muslim, not only policemen, should never play with their religion. They should create time to recite the holy book. One needs not memorise the whole Quran before reciting it. As a Muslim, as far as one can read, one must recite the Quran and be rewarded.

Also, people should listen and pay more attention to Quranic exegesis so that they could understand the message of Allah clearly in order to impact on their behaviours and relationship with people.

What is your main take-away from the competition?

My biggest joy is not even in emerging the overall winner in the competition, but how my story changed the fate of three people who are willing to join the Force. These people I am talking about have been attempting to join the police for long, but their parents/grandparents kept denying them the opportunity, arguing that policing is not for ‘good’ people.

They changed their minds when they heard that a policeman (DPO) memorised the Quran. This, to me, means everything. I am glad I became the bridge.

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