Story of Rare 500-year-old Golden Qur’an

DUBAI – For every Muslim, the Holy book of Qur’an is an extremely precious object, but for Mohammed Haris the Qur’an is literally ‘golden’.

The Indian banker who works in Abu Dhabi, UAE, since 30 years owns a priceless copy of the holy book of Islam named the “Gold Tooling Qur’an”.

“The Gold Tooling Qur’an is a rare 28-set collection, with 19 to 20 plates in each set, of texts in Naskh Uthmani script,” Haris told Khaleej Times on Tuesday, May 30.

“They are 22 carats gold-plated; those sets are kept in 14 gold-plated boxes. I have one box while Ismail Kassim, my brother-in-law, in Malaysia has the rest,” he added.

Manuscript experts believe this golden copy of the Qur’an dates back to the Ottoman era; some 500 years ago.

Although considered priceless, based on comparative rates for rare manuscripts, the entire set of the Gold Tooling Qur’an is pegged at US$59 million.

Historians consider it to be a very valuable and special piece of Islamic art and heritage because of it rarity and uniqueness. It is an intricately priceless hand-crafted piece of art.

Haris is a native Muslim Malayali of Nadapuram in Kozhikode district of Kerala state in south India. However, his wife Aishah Kassim and three children were all born in Malaysia.

The size of the copy’s gold-plated tooling is between 10.5 and 11 cm in width, while its length is 16cm. The boxes of the copy are 23.5 cm in length, 17.5cm-wide and their height is 3cm thick.


According to Hajah Salmah Haj Ahmed, an associate professor from the Faculty of Islamic Studies at the National University of Malaysia, the Gold Tooling Qur’an is the only copy available worldwide of its kind after a long journey of survival.

“It’s believed to be written between the 16th and the 18th centuries,” Dr Ahmed informed.

“The Gold Tooling Qur’an was brought by an Arab Muslim citizen from the Ottoman Empire through a long journey to Uyghurstan, then to Yunan in southeast China and afterward to Malaysia,” the Malaysian professor explained.

According to Haris, the biggest testimony for the collection came from Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the 4th prime minister of Malaysia.

He wrote on November 12, 2009, “This is a most interesting artifact and it should be a worthwhile item for a collector of Islamic heritage.”

“It took me more than a year to get all required documents to bring it here from Malaysia,” he said, showing ownership certificate, safe deposit box document, approval letter for export, a report on Qur’an’s text and power of attorney.

“I had this in possession for five years now and this has brought prosperity to my family. This Qur’an has brought good luck for me at the workplace and in my family life,” Haris believes. “We may soon keep it at an exhibition at a jewelry shop because I only read it during Ramadan.”

“A Qur’an shouldn’t be sold but our aim is to open a center for Islamic studies and cultural heritage. I will part away with this collection only to realize my charity work and aim of promoting Islam,” Haris plans.