Indian National Museum Opens Qur’an Exhibition

NEW DELHI – In a first time of its kind, the New Delhi National Museum in India opens today, February 28, its first exhibition of the noble Qur’an.

“The display is unique as it showcases 13 unique and unseen copies of the Holy Qur’an,” said Dr. B. R. Mani, director general of the museum, Business-Standard reported on Wednesday.

The exhibition, inaugurated by former National Museum curator (manuscripts) and scholar Nasim Akhtar, will run till March 31 and will show a variety of scripted Qur’ans with diverse calligraphic styles from different eras.

The manuscripts of the exhibition explain the emergence and proliferation of various styles of Arabic calligraphy and scripts.

There are copies of the Qur’an inscribed in calligraphic styles such as Kufic, Naskh, Raihan, Thulth, and Bihari.

“The Bihari script is an Indian contribution to the world. Due to its stylistic appearance, this Qur’an occupies a rare position in history,” said Mani, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the National Museum Institute of the History of Art, Conservation and Museology.

Islamic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy, based upon the alphabet in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage.

The development of Islamic calligraphy is strongly tied to the Qur’an; chapters and excerpts from the Qur’an are a common and almost universal text upon which Islamic calligraphy is based.

Deep religious association with the Qur’an, as well as suspicion of figurative art as idolatrous, has led calligraphy to become one of the major forms of artistic expression in Islamic cultures.

The Qur’an is a revelation from God, the creator of the worlds, so He is the original author.

There is only one Qur’an which is in Arabic and many translations of the Qur’an in several languages.

There could be multiple translations by different authors in the same language such as English.

The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the archangel Gabriel who used to make the Prophet memorize the Qur’an and made him revise it every year in the month of Ramadan, the fasting month.