News ID: 219641
Published: 0112 GMT August 10, 2018

World's largest wooden Qur'an amazes visitors

World's largest wooden Qur'an amazes visitors

The world has many giant copies of the holy Qur'an, but its only giant wooden Qur'an can be found in Palembang, the capital of Indonesia's South Sumatra Province.

Known as the largest wood-carved Qur'an in the world, it was made from wood of the tembesu tree (Fagraea fragrans) and measures 1.77 meters by 1.40 meters (5.8 feet by 4.6 feet).

Its creator, Shofwatillah Mohzaib, 43, said that he finished the production in the form of 30 Qur'anic juz — traditional divisions of the holy book — over the course of nine years. He said it took so long due to shortages of both wood and money.

"Fortunately, the production got private donations from several large donors, including former House of Representative speaker Marzuki Alie and the late chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly, Taufik Kiemas," Shofwatillah told AA.

Shofwatillah said the idea of making a giant Qur'an came in the year 2000, from a dream he had when studying calligraphy at the Great Mosque of Palembang.

A year later, he started to make its first page, containing the Surah Al-Fatihah.

Before carving them into wood, Shofwatillah wrote the verses out on cardboard. After that, he sought approval from Muslim experts, then made copies of the verses with tracing paper.

"It took a month to do one page of the Qur'an. The carving process took the longest," he explained.

He picked tembesu wood for the material as it is strong, durable and quite popular in southern Sumatra as raw material for carving or furniture.

A five-floor structure housing the massive Qur'an can be found at Palembang's Al Ihsaniyah Gandus boarding school, also the home of a museum showcasing Shofwatillah's work of faith.

In 2011, then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by a delegation of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (PUOIC) member states, inaugurated the giant wooden Qur'an along with the Al-Qur'an al-Akbar Museum.

According to Shofwatillah, since 2012 a million visitors have visited the museum.

It attracts both domestic visitors and tourists from countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, and Canada.

Shofwatillah also said he wants to build a movie theater to educate visitors about the miracles of the Qur'an.

Visitor Sarmin Gumay, 76, said he was amazed by the beauty of Al Qur'an Al Akbar, adding that he had visited the museum several times.

Amira Luthfiah, 16, came south from Lampung to Palembang — a nearly 300-kilometer (186-mile) journey — just to satisfy her curiosity.

Amira told AA that there is little religious tourism in Palembang, but she hopes the government will give it more support.

"I hope people can understand the holy Qur'an more," she added.

The museum has had a huge impact on local residents, as the area is now crowded with merchants. Not only tourists, but also sellers of clothes, food and drinks flock to areas around the museum.


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