Speaking to IQNA, Ayatollah Zarifi, who is competing for Russia in the memorization category of the contest, referred to Egyptian masters Muhammad Sediq Minshawi, Abdul Basit 'Abd us-Samad, and Mahmoud Khalil al-Hisri as the best Qaris of all time.
"I mostly listen to recitations of these Quran masters, especially Master Minshawi from whose recitations I learned Quran reading and Tajweed,” he said.
Zarifi, who lives in Moscow and is a student of theology there, further said he started learning the Quran at the age of 13.
He learned the Quran with his grandfather and a number of Quran masters and managed to memorize the entire Quran in two years.
He said he woruld spend five hours a day, and sometimes up to ten hours a day to learn the Quran by heart.
His father is a Quran reciter and all his four brothers are also memorizers of the entire Quran.
Zarifi noted that he has previously taken part in a number of other international Quran contests, including those in Algeria, Bahrain and Tunisia.
Iran’s competition is held at a high level and competition among the participants is very tight, he said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian memorizer hailed the motto of the contest, namely "One Book, One Ummah”, underlining the need for Muslims all over the world to enhance unity based on the teachings of the Quran.
Iran’s 33rd International Holy Quran Competition has been underway at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini (RA) Mosalla (prayer hall) since Wednesday.
Winners of the two categories of the contest will be announced and awarded on Tuesday night.