World | Afghanistan

Afghanistan unveils largest Quran

Calligrapher wants to show that country's rich cultural heritage and traditions are not destroyed

  • Reuters
  • Published: 00:00 January 18, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Calligrapher Mohammad Sabir Khedri (centre right) briefs Afghan officials about the biggest Quran during its inauguration in the Hakim Nasir Khosrow Balkhi library in Kabul.

Kabul: An Afghan calligrapher has worked for five years to create the world's biggest Quran, a bid to show the world that Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage and traditions have been damaged but not destroyed by 30 years of war.

The lavish book has pages 2.28 metres by 1.55 metres in size, and has been certified as the world's largest by the Afghan ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs, according to the Kabul cultural centre that houses it.

The previous claim to the title was for a 2 metre by 1.5 metre copy unveiled last year in Russia's Tatarstan region.

The Afghan Quran weighs 500 kg and its 218 pages of cloth and paper, bound inside an embossed leather cover made from the skins of 21 goats, cost half a million dollars to create.

Mohammad Sabir Khedri, the master calligrapher behind the project, worked with nine students on a design that combines gold script with millions of tiny colourful dots, forming highly symbolic decorations around the giant pages.

"I wanted to use as many tasteful colours as possible to make this holy book look beautiful," he said, standing beside his enormous creation in a room built specially to house it.

Khedri not only created the masterpiece, he managed to keep it a secret for over two years. It was finished in 2009, but the binding and room to house it were not ready until the start of 2012, when it was finally unveiled.

The Quran is housed in a cultural centre originally founded in the 1980s, and once home to 50,000 books, a medical centre, and schools for Afghan crafts such as carpet weaving.

All of that was destroyed during the civil war that followed the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet troops, and the harsh Taliban rule from 1996.

But its founder revived the centre after the 2001 ouster of the hardline government, and his daughter — member of parliament Farkhunda Zahra Naderi — now also helps support its work and manages a much smaller library.

"The cultural centre is proud that it provided this opportunity for an Afghan artist to actually show his talent to the world...We have Afghan people who show the positive aspect of Islam," Naderi told Reuters.

Comments (15)

  1. Added 14:59 January 18, 2012

    It's very good Job. Dear Friends please read the Quran with meaning ( Own language translation ) and follow accordingly.

    MAS Mansour, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:25 January 18, 2012

    This is very great job. Allah will give the people and country very peace full and good wealth. thanks for publishing Gulf News.

    TAS Rahamathulla, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:59 January 18, 2012

    Subhanallah Mashallah

    Ali Sher, Al Qouz, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:53 January 18, 2012

    Mashallah Great work.. A great Islamic achievement and History.

    Saleh Al Balooshi, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:38 January 18, 2012

    Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.... Subhanallah! Mashallah ! Really Good Work! Welln done! May Allah bless you with all Muslims in the whole world.

    Ahmad Wasiq Abdullah, Stockholm, Sweden

  6. Added 13:16 January 18, 2012

    SUBHANALLAH, Great work, hope every Muslim country have a similar Quran

    Shuhab Shaikh, Karachi, Pakistan

  7. Added 12:46 January 18, 2012

    This is beautiful and I also admire the fact that there is so much of creativity when it comes to Islam. What we project as a media makes a lot of difference to those who do not understand the people of Afghanistan.

    Wajeeha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:45 January 18, 2012

    Mashallah, It is so nice to hear about my country that we still have such hard working people.

    NAQIB SHARIF, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 12:38 January 18, 2012


    Tanveer Ali Haidery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 12:29 January 18, 2012

    This is great work because by writing & printing it is one of the way of preserving the Holy Quran from forgery & abrogation. Subhanah Allah. My Allah reward you Abundantly for this great work to the Muslim community all over the world. Ameen.

    Jamila, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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