Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Russia’s Unique Present to Islamic World

Russia’s Unique Present to Islamic World
-- In 2006, the Moscow Mint of the Ministry of Finance of Russia, cast the only and exact copy of the manuscript dated to the 8th century “The Quran of Uthman.”
The copy represents 163 plates made of Au 999 gold. It took the Moscow Mint a year and a half to make the copy.
Then in a Jan. 25, 2007, press conference in Moscow, Professor D.V. Frolov, head of the Arab philology department of the Moscow State University, revealed the masterpiece of a manuscript to the world.
He said: “An eternal text perpetuated in the most precious metal is a miracle of the jeweler’s art and a sample of the highest skill of the Russian craftsmen. It will now be saved forever. This manuscript is very important for science. It represents an early stage of the text composition including the fact that ways of “handwriting” differ from modern writing.”
The work of art is of the highest quality and has no analogs in the world. It is impossible to fake or copy the work of art.
The press conference emphasized that the very existence of this most ancient manuscript confirms a very early origin of the complete text of the Quran. The press conference marked a museum quality of the work of art that was compared with masterpieces of the Great Russian jeweler Faberge.
The world’s most ancient manuscript is the property of the Russian Federation kept in St. Petersburg Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences (former Asiatic museum founded by the Russian Emperor Peter I).
For the first time “The Golden Quran” was exhibited in full in June, 2007, in Moscow in one of the best museums of the world — The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Several pages of “The Golden Qur’an” were displayed at the international exhibitions in Iran (2007), Bahrain (2008), Libya (2008), Russia (2009) and Egypt (2010) where it was given diplomas including the one of the Russian presidential administration.
It is symbolic that the exhibition “The Golden Quran” was held with the support of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Saudi Arabia was the initiator of the organization’s creation in 1969.
“The Golden Qur’an” is the work of art that has no analogs in the world and is the symbol of Russia’s respect to all nations of the world professing Islam and its values,” said M. Piotrovskiy, director of the State Hermitage.
This view was concurred by I. Antonova, director of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, who said: “The Golden Quran” is a new monument to the 21st century art and is of a high global cultural value.”
Others joined in the praise of the unique manuscript with Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, A. Saltanov, emphasizing that Russia is proud that it is the custodian of the golden holy text for mankind. “Russia is a unique country that connects the East and West, and provides the space which is comfortable for mutual existence of all religious confessions. We are proud that it is Russia that has kept the most ancient manuscript of the Quran for the mankind, and that it is Russian craftsmen that have cast its holy text in the most noble metal which will keep this text forever,” he added.
The litany of praise continued with T. Potapova, chief custodian of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, calling it “A priceless historical document that now exists in the form of an unsurpassed jewel, a monument to the 21st century art that corresponds to its time in a unique technology and perfect execution. Calligraphy and a rare kufic type of the 8th century were reproduced to the smallest detail.”
A page of “The Golden Quran” was also on display during the 24th National Festival for Heritage and Culture held in Riyadh. The manuscript was presented in Janadriya as a sign of respect to the historical initiative of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. One page of “The Golden Quran” was presented to him on March 2, 2008 at the interfaith dialogue by the Russian delegation that was headed by the minister of culture of Russia.
The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian company “WT” (the author of the project) are now in talks with the Ministry of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia to be the initiator of “The Golden Quran” exhibition to be held in the autumn of 2010.
“The Golden Quran” that has no analogs in the world and exhibited for the first time in full abroad will undoubtedly contribute to the growing cooperation between the peoples of the two countries. Organizers of the project hope that the exhibition would be held under the aegis of King Abdullah, which will certainly draw attention to the history and culture of Islam and contribute to the cooperation between Russia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples and also again show the world a high spiritual authority of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“We would be very glad to accept an offer from the Ministry of Information and Culture of Saudi Arabia or any other organization to exhibit ‘The Golden Quran’ in Saudi Arabia. It would be wonderful if we could get such an offer soon so that it would allow us to start preparatory work for the exhibition. We do hope that in the very nearest future people of the Kingdom will be able to see and appreciate this work of art,” V. Prusakov, director of “WT” company (, said.
“The demonstration of ‘The Golden Quran’ to the world would be a wonderful symbol of interaction between Russia and the whole Islamic world, one more evidence of a constructive and friendly dialogue and cooperation of all nations,” said V. Isaev, professor of the Institute of Oriental Studies.
His view was augmented by T. Metaxa, first deputy director of the State Museum of the Orient, who said: “It would be great if Saudi Arabia could see ‘The Golden Quran’ because this is the country where this work of art and its unusual significance can be appreciated at their true value.”
“The project has been implemented and presented beautifully. And regarding beauty there is a wonderful saying — hadith — ‘Eternal beauty inheres God and God loves demonstrations of beauty that come from people.’ In the given project such beauty does exist,” S. Aliautdinov, the imam of the Mosque on Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow, concluded.
Source: Arab News 
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