In Doda district, a 13-year-old leads ‘Taraweeh’ prayers; recites whole Quran in first 27 days of Ramadan

By Raqib Hameed Naik,

Doda (Jammu) : The holy month of Ramadan can be a testing period for teenagers. But for Shahnawaz Ahmed, a 13-year-old boy from Koti Basti Village in Doda district of J&K, it is the time of the year when he spends his entire day in a local madrasa reading chapters of Holy Quran. And for good reason too: every evening, he recites the Quran while while leading the ‘Taraweeh’ prayer in a local mosque in the evening.

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Shahnawaz was 12 when he became Hafiz Quran after studying in Anwar-ul-Uloom Madrasa in Akramabad, Doda for four years.
Despite his age, Shahnawaz leads ‘Taraweeh’ prayers in Masjid Hamza, in Samalen locality of Doda. He takes 80 minutes to read one Juz (part) of holy Quran in 20 Rakats of ‘Taraweeh’

“Alhamdulillah, I feel so happy that Allah gave me chance to lead the prayers at this age,” says Shahnawaz.

Shahnawaz Ahmed

Asked if he doesn’t get tired spending the whole day in memorizing and evening in reciting Quran, he quickly adds, “Instead it refreshes me. It gives me peace at heart.”

He finished reciting the last chapter of Quran (chapter number 114) on the night of Lailat-ul-Qadr.

“On an average, I recite one Juz in 20 Rakats every day. Sometimes, it extends to one and a half Juz. I had made the schedule in such a way, so that I can complete the last chapter of Quran on the night of Lailat-ul-Qadr,” he said.

Shahnawaz was just a few months old when his mother died. As he grew up, affording school education was a distant dream as his father, a laborer by profession hardly earned enough means to meet the ends. He was admitted in Madrasa at the age of eight.

“Initially, I couldn’t settle in the environment of Madrasa, which was totally different for a village boy like me, who didn’t knew anything about Islam. But gradually with the help of my new friends and the realization of essence of Islam in the life of Muslim, I totally gave myself into the study of Quran,” he told
Even though he is happy at what he is doing, after joining an Islamic Seminary he also developed a desire to study in a school, where he could learn Maths, Science and most importantly, English.

“When I came to Madrasa, every morning, I see children of different ages in my neighbourhood in school uniforms waiting for their school buses. Those images would revolve around my mind for next couple of days and the desire of being one among them is still there,” he says and adds after a pause, “Still, I am happy with what Allah has given me, because he is the biggest planner.”

Shahnawaz Ahmed

He is very happy these days: the people in the neighborhood of Masjid Hamza collected money and bought him new clothes for Eid and gave him Rs 1,800 in cash, which he proudly carries in his pocket.

“This money will last almost three months,” he says.

He is going to stay in the madarasa for another year and then migrate to another madarasa in Jammu, where he plans to do a course in ‘Alamiyat’ for next nine years and another two years to become a ‘Qari’ (reciter) in a madarasa at Srinagar.

When asked about his plans after completing all his courses, Shahnawaz says, “I want to become a teacher and teach students in Islamic seminary,” he says.

After Eid, he will rejoin his madrasa and finish his remaining one year education, before he moves to Jammu to study there for almost a decade.