x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Exhibition of ancient Qurans reveals a timeless text in a variety of forms

Ramadan is the month when the Holy Book was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, and BurJuman shopping centre has a display showing its evolution as a book.

A Dubai shopping centre has teamed up with a cultural centre to detail the centuries-spanning journey of the Holy Quran.

Throughout Ramadan, at the main hall of the BurJuman shopping centre, Quranic Manuscripts Through the Ages will show the different formats the Holy Book has undergone in terms of style - not content.

"The Quran has a big history and with this exhibition we want to show a part of it," says Anwar Aldaheri from Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage, which co-organised the event. "We aim to show some of the stylistic changes the Quran took to get where it is now."

Ramadan is viewed by Muslims as the month of the Holy Quran, when the Prophet Mohammed first received the holy text, and a time when Muslims engage in more recitations of the sacred verses.

Chapter 2, Revelation 185 of the Quran states: "The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful."

While the Holy Book's wording hasn't changed, the presentation has, reflecting its different readership throughout the ages. The six items on display include manuscripts depicting the Quran in the old Kufic script as well as Persian and Turkish Quran manuscripts. One of the premier pieces is a 1,000- year-old manuscript by the Persian calligrapher Ibn Al Bawwab, from Dublin's Chester Beatty Library.

Aldaheri explains that the stylistic developments of the Holy Quran were essential in maintaining its accessibility. "There were so many different Muslim communities over time and the presentation had to be adapted," he says. "For example, there was the Kufi script and styles from Morocco and Turkey. These were made so everyone can read it and learn from the Quran."

The exhibition follows up on the success of the display of ancient Islamic medical and literary manuscripts at BurJuman last Ramadan.

Daily until August 16, 10am to midnight, BurJuman, Bur Dubai