x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Another for the record books...

This is Mohammed, on the life and personality of the Prophet, has been officially pronounced the world's biggest book. It was made in Dubai which, of course, is no stranger to making big bigger.

Each page of This Is Mohammed, which is split into eight chapters, is 4.03 metres wide.
Each page of This Is Mohammed, which is split into eight chapters, is 4.03 metres wide.

DUBAI // This city is no stranger to world records. It is home to the world's tallest building, has the longest driverless metro system and even provided the longest line of sandwiches and largest shopping trolley.

Now it can add the world's biggest book to that list.

Standing five metres tall and spanning more than eight metres across, This is Mohammed was yesterday officially named the world's biggest book by Guinness World Records.

An official adjudicator spent the day measuring the dimensions of the towering tome, which focuses on the Prophet Mohammed's life and personality.

Hundreds of people, including foreign dignitaries, attended a ceremony in a specially converted hall at Dubai World Trade Centre.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce a new world record for the biggest book," said Vince Sharma, the official adjudicator.

The previous record holder was measured at 4.18 by 3.77 metres.

Each page of This Is Mohammed, which is split into eight chapters, is 4.03 metres wide.

The book weighs about 1,500 kilograms, is printed on high-quality recycled paper and is bound in leather.

"I would like to offer a special congratulations from Guinness World Records," said Mr Sharma. "It truly enhances the record and the beauty of the content makes it even more special."

The media company Mshahed International Group was responsible for making the book.

"I feel very proud," said Dr Mohammed Saeed Al Awlaki, the chairman of Mshahed.

"The aim of the project is to raise awareness about Islam and confront the distortion attempts facing the personality of the Prophet Mohammed by some of those who don't know the full facts about Islam's message."

The book was completed after three years of research by some of the leading Islamic scholars from across the Middle East and around the world.

It has 420 pages and took 100 people between 16 and 18 months to make.

A normal-sized version will also be available in bookstores.

"We have already printed an English version and will also have copies in Russian, Chinese, Italian, Uzbek and Braille," said Hossam Hamid, the president of international relations and marketing at Mshahed.

"This book is for everyone - not just Muslims but everyone, be they Christian, Jewish or Hindu.

"The main challenge for us was the paper and getting it strong enough so it would not get damaged either in the construction or when people turned the pages."

The ceremony to present the world record began with the recital of verses from the Quran by the former Imam of Mecca, Sheikh Adel bin Salem Al Kalbani.

Guests were also treated to a performance by the Arab singer Mohammed Abdu, who was accompanied by a number of well-known artists for an operetta.

The project was carried out under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

This is Mohammed will go on display at Ibn Battuta Mall.

It will then be taken on a month-long tour of the UAE before travelling the region, visiting Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, and then heading to Europe, stopping in the UK and France.

So far 500,000 copies of the normal-size version, which retail at Dh70, have been printed.

nhanif@thenational.ae