A calligraphic handwritten Holy Quran weighing over 30 kilos is turning heads at the ongoing 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

Jaleena, who spent more than a year working on the one-of-its-kind edition containing all 114 surahs spread across 604 pages, says this was her way of paying homage to Islam’s holiest writing.

“I always wanted to memorise the Quran and never had the opportunity to do so previously. So, I got involved by writing it using calligraphy, something that I had to learn as well from scratch,” says the 46-year-old woman from India’s southern state of Kerala.

“And soon it became a passion thereafter as I began enjoying my combined quest for knowledge, art and spiritual gains,” she adds.

Once a rubber plantation worker who taught Urdu to school children in later life to make ends meet, Jaleena says she now wants to focus on her newfound love for calligraphy especially after getting recognised by entities like the Arabian World Records and the India and Asia Book of Records.

“These [awards and recognitions] mean a lot to me personally but the biggest encouragement for me came from visitors here at the festival,” says the mother of one who’s been exhibiting the book in Hall 7 of the Sharjah Expo Centre where the 12-day festival is being held until November 12.

“Their outpouring of love and affection for me and their keen interest in the art and all the hard work that went behind this shows how much people value creativity here,” adds Jaleena who took the help of her husband and son, a final year medical student, in applying final touches to the Holy Quran that was written on ivory cards and comes with a casting made of teak wood. “Even the design on the Holy Quran cover is by me and it was so intricate that it eventually needed to be carved out by a carpenter,” says the artist who is unwilling to put a price tag to her magnum opus. “It’s surely not for sale at the moment because it’s priceless for me and I would like to hold on to it for myself and my family.”

Measuring 28.5 x 22.5 x 4.5 inches in volume, the book weighs 54 kgs along with its cover that is completely handcrafted.

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