Generally competing with one another in acts of goodness is something praiseworthy in the Quran and the Sunnah :
… وَفِي ذَلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ ﴿٢٦﴾
“and let (all) those who want to compete, compete in that.”
The Lajnah ad-Da’imah was asked the following question :
Is competition in memorizing the Glorious Qur’an permissible or not?
There is nothing wrong with holding competitions for memorizing the Glorious Qur’an and its recitation, and offering prizes for that activity, as long as this is done without taking any money from the contestant students, because this helps people to memorize the Qur’an and seek knowledge.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’
Excerpted from the site: Alifta.net /English.
Ash-Shaykh Albany, rahimahullah, said :
الهدايا التي تقدم للمتسابقين سواءً في حفظ القرآن أو في الإجابة على بعض المسائل العلمية، هذا ليس سبيلا مشروعا،
“The gifts which are granted to those who are competing with one another whether it be in the memorization of the Quran or in answering some of the knowledge-based questions, then this is not a legislated method… ”
And he, rahimahullah, also stated:
أما المسابقات الدينية فلا تجوز، لأن هذا سيُنشئ جيل جديد لا يحفظ القرآن إلا طمعا في المال ولا يحفظ المسائل العلمية إلا طمعا في المال، فلن يصلي في الناس إلا مقابل وظيفة ولن يؤذن لله إلا مقابل معاش…
“As for the competitions made for religious matters, then they aren’t permissible. The reason being is that this will produce a new generation who won’t memorize the Quran except in desire of wealth nor will he memorize the knowledge based-answers except in desire of money (in return). So he will not lead the people in prayer except in return for being hired for a job position and he will not make adhaan except if there is a salary pay for it”
This is also the opinion of some of the shuyookh in yemen.
Ash-Shaykh Saalih As-Suhaymee states in the following video that it is permissible to partake in these events made for the competition of memorizing the Quran as long as it is not commenced in a manner containing innovations and oppositions to the Sunnah: