Rare Centuries-Old Quran Copies on Display in Singapore Mosque
Publish Date: 9/24/2016 Code: 53611

Rare Centuries-Old Quran Copies on Display in Singapore Mosque

Inside a mosque in Singapore, there is a sanctuary of rare Quran copies dating back to the powerful Ottoman Empire in the early 15th century.


Meticulously crafted and handwritten in Turkey, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China, the copies of the holy book have been progressively stored in a small room in Masjid Balawie for more than three decades, Habib Hasan Al-Attas, the mosque’s Imam, told Yahoo Singapore.

One Quran from Turkey, belonging to Habib Muhammad Al-Attas, the Imam’s late father, is 600 years old, with the borders of each sheepskin-made page intricately drawn in gold. The other Quran copies in the mosque at Lewis Road were also made using various unique materials.

"It is more than just a display of the Quran as it also tells the story of the holy book (where it is from). The Quran (copies) were produced using different type of materials, some were written on sheepskin while others were written on mulberry leaves,” said Habib Hasan.

The holy books written on mulberry leaves were made in China and Mongolia while those written on sheepskin were mostly from Saudi Arabia, he added.

The task of ensuring that the books are carefully preserved in three tall glass cabinets in the mosque is undertaken by a group of curators.

"They are doing it pro-bono and each of the display cabinets is treated with chemicals to ensure that the books are well-maintained. They also come down regularly to check on the condition of the books,” said Habib Hasan.

One of the curators, M Razali Mahat, said he has been working with Habib Hassan on the rare Quran collection over the past 10 years. "I hope that the Quran exhibit will benefit the next generation,” he said.

Rare Islamic manuscripts

Apart from the Quran copies, there is also a collection of Islamic manuscripts housed in the mosque. Habib Hasan pointed to one manuscript from Turkey that was translated from Arabic to Jawi. Another manuscript from Indonesia was written on tree bark and made 350 years ago.

Most of the Quran copies and manuscripts were from the private collection of the family of Habib Hasan while the rest were donated by local and overseas visitors to the mosque.

Habib Hasan said that his late father, who is the founding Imam of Masjid Ba’alawie, loved to read and was an avid collector of books. In the early 1980s Habib Hasan decided to move some of his father’s books, including the Quran copies, to the mosque so that people can learn more about them.

The Imam said he has a deep appreciation of the religiously devoted writers who had painstakingly written the holy books and manuscripts over the centuries.

"Unlike today, they did not have the capability to print out the pages but had to write the Quran by hand, which was something that required a lot of patience,” Habib Hasan said.

Source : iqna.ir/en