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300-year-old gold-leaf Quran to be displayed at museum


Wednesday, December 23, 2009 03:01:38 PM, Asit Srivastava, IANS

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Lucknow: A 300-year-old ancestral 'Golden Quran', with its pages in the shape of gold leaves, the most prized possession of a Muslim family, may soon become the centrepiece of a national museum. But the family is not complaining about 'losing' the valuable document.


Expressing their happiness, Sajid Hamid, 55, the eldest in the family living in Jaunpur district, some 250 km from here, told IANS on telephone: ''I take pride and feel privileged as our ancestral Quran has been identified as a valuable manuscript and may get a place in a national museum.''


"Recently, officials of the National Mission for Manuscripts set up by the union tourism and culture ministry and district authorities, visited my home and told me that my 'Sunheri (golden) Quran' has a unique heritage value and that it could be acquired to enrich the manuscript wealth of the country,'' he added.


The main attraction of the Quran is its pages that are in the form of gold leaves. The holy scripture's cover and back cover are also made of gold and the intricate designs embossed on them are one of the major attractions of the book.


According to the family, the 'Sunheri Quran' has been with them for the last five generations.


"My father used to tell me that the Quran was prepared by a group of artists, who worked mostly for rich people or those belonging to royal families as they used to charge a hefty amount for their work,'' said Hamid, a resident of the Ruhatta colony in Jaunpur who teaches at a school there.


"My ancestors got this Quran prepared after one of their wishes came true. Though they did not have enough money, they decided to get it prepared by mortgaging several valuables, which I believe were later permanently acquired by the moneylenders when the ancestors could not pay back the loans,'' he added.


The 'Sunheri Quran' has become a centre of attraction for the people in not only the Ruhatta colony but across Jaunpur and its adjoining districts. Though Hamid permits everyone to see the Quran, he doesn't allow anyone, including the family members, to touch it.


"It's not that I don't want people to touch the holy scripture...The Quran is an ancient one and even a slight carelessness can damage it. As I don't want to take any chances, I don't allow anyone to read or touch it,'' he said.


Hamid's neighbours don't feel bad about it. "We know the significance and importance the 300-year-old Quran holds for Hamid. We want that the Quran should get a place in a museum and become a national pride,'' Abdul Ateeq, owner of a mobile phone shop in Ruhatta, told IANS.


Ahmad Raza, another local, said, "Specially during religious festivals, Muslims of the locality line up outside Hamid's residence to get a view of the holy Quran.''


India has a Muslim population of about 155 million, the third largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.


(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at







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