Bearing the slogan "Poetry's Beauty Blossoms When Describing the Best of Mankind", the festival will conclude with the distribution of awards amidst the presence of honoured guests from Qatar and abroad.
During a recent press conference held at Katara to announce the launch the Prophet's Poet Festival, Katara's General Manager His Excellency Dr. Khaled bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti highlighted the different activities which will be present throughout the festival's five days. The festival will include opening and closing ceremonies, as well as seminars, lectures, and exhibitions throughout.
During the press conference, Dr. Al Sulaiti spoke of the manner with which the organising committee of the festival has prepared a comprehensive programme that will run parallel to the importance of the awards distributed and the festival's overall objectives.
The Arab World reacted favourably to the launch of the festival by submitting 828 poems prior to the deadline of 31 December 2015. Poems were submitted across the Arab World and beyond, with poems originating from Oman to North Africa. Most participants hailed from Iraq and the wider Levant region, as 250 poems were submitted from these nations, while Egypt and Sudan joined the effort with 236 poems. The remaining North African Arab states provided 184 poems, 145 poems came from the GCC and Yemen, while 13 poems arrived from non-Arab states. Of the submissions 60 were contributed by women.
Katara has dedicated a number of distinct awards which reflect the significance of the event, collectively totaling USD 675,000 and to be distributed as follows:
- First place: USD 300,000
- Second place: USD 200,000
- Third place: USD 100,000
- Fourth place: USD 50,000
- Fifth place: USD 25,000
Katara will furthermore honour the poets by publishing the winning poems in an anthology for future generations to read in the years to come.
Dr. Al Sulaiti also announced the support that the festival is receiving from the Messenger Satellite Channel, Katara's strategic partner for the event. This cooperation stems from Katara's role as a creator of opportunities which create expertise exchanges across the field of literature and culture in the Arab World. He also pointed out that the sponsors of the festival will be conveyed in the necessary fashion at a later stage.
Dr. Al Sulaiti confirmed that Katara's awards process for the Prophet's Poet Festival adheres to the values of autonomy, transparency, and integrity. The shortlisting of candidates will be carried out by two different jury panels of professors, academics, and specialists in the Arabic language and poetry. The first jury panel will review all poems and then shortlist the best 30 poems. The final stage jury panel will then select five poets to be selected for awards over the course of the festival's five days.
A number of events will accompany the festival. Included are:
• The opening ceremony to be held 10 April 2016
• Playoff seminars amongst 30 poets
• Gift distribution on 14 April 2016
• "Complementing the Messenger Exhibition" by poets across all ages
• The Islamic Exhibition
• Arab Calligraphy (peace be upon him)
• Lessons about the love of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, for five days after Maghrib prayers
• The Human Prophet lectures, for three days after Asr prayers
A section of the festival, titled "Towards the Love of Prophet Muhammed" will include a number of competitions and activities for those in attendance. Several institutes and centres from Qatar and abroad will take part in this event, itself lasting throughout the festival.
The general supervisor of Katara's Award for the Prophet's Poet, Khaled Abdul Rahim Al Sayed, affirmed that the organising committee is striving to present the Prophet's Poet Festival with the appropriate level of esteem. This respect is warranted as the festival is perceived as the biggest cultural and Islamic event in the Arab World.
The festival seeks to encourage people to preserve poetry. Poetry helps to instill Islamic values in the minds of many, preserving heritage across generations. Poetry may also be utilised to exhibit the peaceful message of Islam whilst defending it against the vicious calls of those adamant to distort the true image of the religion.
Furthermore, the festival aims to create a profound love for the Prophet Muhammed amongst the youth who are surrounded with ideologies which seek to divide them from the right path. Poetry has long had a strong impact on the youth and their emotions. Therefore, another aim of this festival is to sharpen the talents of the youth and walk them through this process by using their poetry for the service of Islam.
The idea of launching this award stemmed from the duty which Katara has in sponsoring cultural events. These aims are a part of the fivefold strategic plan of the Cultural Village Foundation that ultimately aims to enrich the cultural landscape.
The terms and conditions of Katara's Award for the Prophet's Poet stipulate that poems need to focus on the subject of complimenting the prophet and his traditions. Poems have to be written in standard modern Arabic and in accordance with horizontal syllabic poetry, as other forms of prose will not be considered. The submission process was open to poets 18 years old and older and welcome to individuals from all over the world. Poems should be between 30 and 60 verses, must be original works of art never before submitted to other competitions and the legal property of the individuals submitting the poems.
A key objective of Katara's Award for the Prophet's Poet is to assert the importance of poetry and the Arabic language amidst encouraging unity across the Muslim World. This objective exists in tandem with the creation of strengthening ties between the youth, society at large and Arab identity. Those attending the festival will in turn be introduced to new genres of poetry and the impact it has on our reality as delivered by the contestants. Contestants will aim to revive varying poetry styles of both classic and modern composition in a competitive and interactive atmosphere.