The house of Quran

Heritage museum

The house of Quran

The Quran museum in Bhatkal tastefully showcases an invaluable collection of Qurans. Aftab Husain Kola throws light on its precious legacy.

Some of us have read and seen how libraries, museums and academies throughout the world preserve old copies of the holy Quran, a book of guidance for humanity. It is a daunting task to collect these old copies or manuscripts that are rare to find, and extremely expensive.

To see these copies of the Quran wonderfully calligraphed by hand-printing during different eras, one had to go to places like Mecca, Yemen, Damascus, Iraq, Cairo and other places. But not any longer.

For, there is a small, albeit interesting, Quran museum called Darul Quran (house of Quran) in the Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi Academy, Bhatkal, Uttara Kannada district, that one can visit.

Opened in 2004, the Darul Quran is housed in a separate, well-lit hall inside the imposing Academy building on Jali Road in the picturesque town of Bhatkal. Says Moulana Ilyas Nadwi, general secretary of the Academy, “The museum contains translations of the holy Quran in 55 languages, including Indian and international languages. It also contains a unique and priceless collection of the holy Islamic book.”

Darul Quran has a priceless and rare collection of Qurans. The purpose of the display is to illustrate the history and development of Islamic calligraphy, which grew rapidly, from insignificant beginnings into a major art form, the beauty of which is unsurpassed.The display also throws light on how the holy book was produced using different writing styles. Arabic calligraphy comes in several styles and has long been regarded as one of the highest Islamic art forms.

Among the rare Qurans is the 1,000-year-old one scripted by Ibn Al-Bawwab, dated 413 Islamic Hijri (currently we are into 1435 IH), a prominent calligrapher who created a freer naskhi style.
Then there is the Quran with every middle line gilded in gold. Another rare one, just an inch long, is one of the smallest in the world. It is 150 years old and comes from Egypt.

There are many other rare documents in the museum. Besides the Quran collection, there are interesting manuscripts like verses on banana plantations, Iqra verse (the holy book’s first revelation) on leather, Hazrat Ali’s and Hazrat Imam Husain’s hand-written verses on leather and other historic Quranic texts.

Along with these, there are several translations of the Quran. A frame on the display which contains the entire Quran written on a single sheet is quite the eye-catcher.

Says Ilyas, “This good assembly of work was accumulated through the years. The multitude of samples of the works of well-known Islamic calligraphers together form a precious legacy.

Another remarkable item is a piece of copper containing the Quranic chapter (Surah) Yaseen and this is supposed to be a part of the 500 kg brassware which contained the full Quran.”

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