A Saudi and an Iranian have emerged as the big winners in the Otr Elkalam (Scent of Speech) contest, an international Quran recitation and azan (call to prayer) competition, Arab News reported. Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Sharif won SR2 million ($533,000) for finishing first in the azan category, while Iran’s Younis Shahmradi topped the Quran recitation category, receiving SR3 million ($800,000). Shahmradi, who is in his early twenties, attributed his recitation of the Holy Quran to the influence of renowned Arab reciters such as Mohammed Rifaat and Mustafa Ismail. According to Arab News, the jury praised Shahmradi’s recitation as “genius”, stating that he possessed a “masterful, balanced voice.” He was particularly motivated by his father, who had an impressive voice and taught him tajwid, mastered the maqamat, and delved into the science of the Qur’an. Despite not being fluent in conversational Arabic, Shahmradi’s deep love of Maqam Bayati enabled him to recite verses with passion and pronounce the words with distinction. He stated that his win would have a major impact on the lives of his parents and relatives and was a great honour for him. The final episode of the televised competition, called “Perfumed Speech”, aired on Friday, crowning this year’s winners.