1034 GMT August 24, 2019
Situated in the historical heart of Sharjah on the Majarrah waterfront, the museum is housed in what was once a traditional Middle Eastern souk. It was initially in the city’s Heritage Area when it opened in 1996 under the name Sharjah Islamic Museum until it was relocated in 2008.
Curator Entisar al-Obaidli said the museum has more than 5,000 artifacts, many of which are rare. The collection is arranged according to themes and spread over seven galleries showcasing aspects of Islamic faith, science, discoveries, culture and Islamic art.
Galleries on the ground floor include the Abu Bakr Gallery of Islamic Faith, the Ibn Al-Haytham Gallery of Science and Technology and the Al Majarrah Temporary Exhibition Gallery along with the Islamic Coins Display in the atrium outside.
The museum has a large and important collection of early Islamic coins, including a large number of Umayyad and Abbasid dinars and dirhams, thearabweekly.com reported.
On the first floor are the four galleries on Islamic art arranged chronologically, from the earliest period up to the 20th century.
The Abu Bakr Gallery of Islamic Faith presents an introduction to Islam and the Qur’an. The exhibits are arranged to explain the five pillars of Islam and provides a fascinating account of the hajj (annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia).
Outstanding artifacts include sections from the Kiswah, which covers the Kaaba (a building at the center of the Great Mosque of Mecca), rare historical Qur’an manuscripts as well as models, photographs, presentations and important facts about mosque architecture from around the world.
The Ibn Al-Haytham Gallery of Science and Technology Gallery showcases the achievements of Islamic science and the contributions of Islamic scholars to world civilization.
Sophisticated 3D models, audiovisuals and extensive information panels chart some of the most outstanding discoveries, inventions and theories developed by Islamic scholars in such fields as astronomy, medicine, geography, architecture, mathematics, chemistry, military technology, marine navigation and engineering.
In the Islamic Art Gallery 1, a wide range of artifacts, including pottery, metalwork, woodcarving, manuscripts and textiles made in the Islamic world from the seventh century through the 13th century can be seen.
The Islamic Art Gallery 2 displays important Islamic artworks dating from the 13th-19th centuries. Among the objects displayed are some that date to the days following the Mongol invasion of the eastern Islamic world in the 13th century. The gallery presents a wide selection of fascinating objects from Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal lands.
The Islamic Art Galleries 3-4 are devoted to showcasing Islamic arts, crafts and weapons used in the 19th and 20th centuries.
During this period the region flourished economically and attracted interest from the Europeans, which promoted cultural and artistic exchange and the increasing influx of European ideas and products.
“Twice a year, we organize exhibitions of international standing in collaboration with other museums and institutions across the world like the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin,” said Obaidli.