Afghanistan's humongous holy book
The world's largest Quran weighs 1,100 pounds and took more than five years to create.
â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Amid Afghanistanâ€™s seemingly endless war, one local calligrapher has endeavored to prove that his nation still has a rich, vibrant culture by creating the worldâ€™s largest Quran.
Measuring in at 7-1/2-by-5-feet, the recently unveiled holy book took more than five years to create. Its 218 pages are adorned with script and ornamentation that use real gold, and the bookâ€™s cover is fashioned from 21 goatskins.
The record-breaking Quran, which weighs 1,100 pounds, is now on display in a specially designed viewing area made of imported Italian and Turkish stones at Kabulâ€™s Hakim Nasir Khusraw Balkhi Cultural Center.
While the giant Quran is a point of pride for many in the devout Muslim nation, some Afghans are raising eyebrows at the price tag of the record-breaking book and its specially designed display area, a combined cost of more than $1 million.
â€śThis is just a heavy book in a case and no one can even use it,â€ť says Hassan, a cellphone vender who, like many Afghans, has only one name. â€śItâ€™s the holy book, but they should use the money in a good way.â€ť
Aside from the nationâ€™s ongoing security problems, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Less than a third of the population has access to electricity, and Kabul is the only capital city without a sewage system.
Syed Mansoor Naderi, a prominent member of Afghanistanâ€™s Shia Ismaili community, funded the project.
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