From earliest copies of Holy Quran to first photos of Kaaba at Sharjah Book Fair

  • Khaleej Times
  • 3 November 2016
  • Afkar Abdullah

Sharjah. - Are you a book lover who loves antiquities, too? You are in for a great treat at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF)!

Antiquariat Inlibris has returned to the fair with a new set of antiquities including rare books, maps, photographs, drawings and manuscripts that celebrate 12 centuries of Islamic culture and history and geography of the Arab world.

Hugo Wetscherek of the Antiquariat Inlibris said the SIBF is among the top book fairs in the world that attracts not only institutional customers but private collectors as well.

"The UAE has become quite important during the past one decade. We visit the top 10 book fairs across the world, and the SIBF is one of them," he said.

The rarest exhibit, perhaps, is the only surviving fragment of one of the earliest known copies of the Holy Quran, possibly from the Ummayad Caliphate. It is supposed to be produced between 95-125 after Hijri.

Another important item on display is a copy of the Holy Quran's translation in English. This is supposed to be from the first edition of the first English translation of the holy book.

Also on display is a set of five of the earliest and best photographs of the two holiest sites for Muslims - the Kaaba located in the holy city of Makkah and the Prophet's mosque in the holy city of Madinah. The photographs are beautifully preserved as silver gelatin glass plates, including the first photograph of the Kaaba.

The exhibitor has also brought the first two Arabic books ever printed - an Arabic dictionary containing 30,000 entries, which is accompanied by a grammar book.

Hugo Wetscherek said: "This is a fine copy of what is undoubtedly one of the rarest and most important books related to the Arab world. We also have the first Arabic dictionary printed in the Arab world, documenting the turning point in the history of Arabic thought."

Collectors of such antiquities can also acquire the famous 'Hamburg Quran' which is currently on display at the fair.

"Although it is not actually (as it was long considered) the first printed Quran ever, undoubtedly this one is the first 'accessible' printed edition of the Arabic text," he added.