BY Huda NV
DOHA: After almost two decades of waiting, Qatar will today release the first editions of its print of the Holy Quran (Mus’haf Qatar), under the patronage of the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Once released, it will be the latest print of the Holy Book available in the Arab and Islamic world, prepared after one of the biggest international calligraphy competitions ever.
The idea of preparing Mus’haf Qatar originated in the 1990s and the project came to fruition after a decade, when it got approval from the Emir, in May 2000. With the assistance of a reputed Turkish research centre, an international competition of renowned international Arabic calligraphers was held in Doha in 2001 and two calligraphers were selected to prepare the new manuscripts in 24 months. After the comparison between the works of the two calligraphers, the work by Obaida Al Banki, from Syria, was selected.
The Mus’haf Qatar project included three phases — writing, editing and printing — supervised by a panel comprising experts from the Arab and Islamic world. The handwritten copy was to be thoroughly checked to ensure their full conformity with the original text of the Quran. The manuscripts were ready by June 2006 and they were submitted to the expert panel for the final selection. Qatar had set a budget of QR25m for printing of the Mus’haf Qatar.
The Qatari-print will be one of the foremost both in terms of artistic and aesthetic value.
Al Banki had used natural inks for writing and designing decorations. Alongside the launch, Qatar Islamic Culture Centre (Fanar) will launch ‘Aqlam Expo’ tomorrow, under the supervision of the Ministry of Awqaf.
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More than 22 artists have arrived in Doha, for the exhibition from March 10 till 15, which pays tribute to the Islamic art of calligraphy. The exhibition includes a number of live art workshops of calligraphy, gilding and Ebro that will allow visitors to observe great artists at work on fine artistic pieces, which is in itself a unique experience.
The Aqlam Expo features a unique and original collection of the different styles and scripts of magnificent Arabic calligraphy, such as the Thuluth script, the Naskh, the Ta’liq, the Diwani, the Thuluth Al Jali, the Diwani Al Jali. The exhibition also presents artifacts that represent the finest and most beautiful works of the art of gilding, and some of the exquisite Ebro (water marbling).
The exhibition presents a closer look at the development stages of the Mus’haf of Qatar from beginning to end. It presents the original copies of the 122 calligraphers who participated in the preliminary rounds of the competition before the finals, as well as a works of comparison between artists Obaida Al Banki and Sabah Al Arbili up to the final stages.
The exhibition will also include the original gilding copies of the Mus’haf, and finally visitors will be able to see the original copy of the Mus’haf Qatar for the first time. There will also be seminars, lectures and workshops about Islamic Arts held live in Fanar’s auditorium and ground floor.
Also, a specialised institute for the preparation and rehabilitation of young talented Qatari calligraphers will be inaugurated. There will be an attempt to record the biggest gilded painting in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records through Fanar.