KABUL - An Afghan calligrapher has created the world's biggest Qur'an in an effort to show the rich cultural heritage of his war-torn country.
"The cultural center is proud that it provided this opportunity for an Afghan artist to actually show his talent to the world, calligrapher Mohammad Sabir Khedri told Reuters Tuesday, January 27.
We have Afghan people who show the positive aspect of Islam."
Khedri worked for five years with nine students to create the world's biggest copy of the Noble Qur'an.
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The lavish book has pages 2.28 meters (90 inches) by 1.55 meters (61 inches) in size.
The previous claim to the title was for a 2 meter by 1.5 meter copy unveiled last year in Russia's Tatarstan region.
It also weighs 500 kg (1,100 lb) and its 218 pages of cloth and paper, bound inside an embossed leather cover made from the skins of 21 goats, cost half a million dollars to create.
Though the design was finished in 2009, it was not unveiled by the calligrapher until the room that would house it was completed.
The design of the new copy, which will be housed in the Kabul cultural center, combines gold script with millions of tiny colorful dots, forming highly symbolic decorations around the giant pages.
"I wanted to use as many tasteful colors as possible to make this holy book look beautiful," he said, standing beside his enormous creation in a room built specially to house it.
Designing the world's largest Qur'an was always a dream for calligrapher Khedri.
"Writing the Qur'an is one privilege, he said.
And...of course if you can make the biggest Qur'an everyone wants to do it, because they want to show the feeling they have, the biggest feeling inside their heart.
The giant Qur'an will be housed in the Kabul cultural center, which was originally founded in the 1980s, and once home to 50,000 books, a medical center, and schools for Afghan crafts such as carpet weaving.
All of that was destroyed in during the civil war that followed the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet troops, and the Taliban rule from 1996.
But its founder revived the center after the 2001 Taliban ouster by the US invasion and his daughter -- member of parliament Farkhunda Zahra Naderi -- now also helps support its work and manages a much smaller library.
Though he now has the world's biggest Qur'an, Khedri does not mind ceding his moment in the spotlight to an even larger Muslim holy book made by someone else."I will be happier if someone else makes a bigger Qur'an, it is serving Islam," he said with a smile.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net