Thursday, September 9, 2010
Thousands of devotees gathered at the Mahim dargah on Wednesday night for the annual exposition of the nearly 600-year-old Koran Sharif, believed to have been written by the Sufi saint Makhdum Ali Mahimi.
At 10pm, the Koran, which is considered a calligraphic masterpiece, was brought out from its resting place to the outer hall.
During the rest of the year, the holy book is preserved in a silver box in the Asthana or the shrine’s inner sanctum where the saint’s tomb is. It is open for public viewing only for one day during the month of Ramzaan for a span of three hours. The ceremony is called the ziyarat of the Koran Sharif.
Devotees ascribe the book’s pristine condition to the saint’s miraculous powers. “If you keep any book in a cupboard for a few years, the pages turn yellow and the writing fades. But, the Koran has been untouched by the ravages of age,” said Noor Parkar, librarian and researcher at the shrine, adding that the pages are well preserved and the ink still looks fresh.
Sohail Khandwani, trustee of the Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust, which manages the shrine, said the saint had written each page one by one. “His disciples must have collected the pages separately till it was put together as a book. It was bound into a volume around a century ago,” he said.
Measuring one-and-half feet by two-and-half feet [cm 46 x 76], the 300-page book weighs about 5 kg [11 lbs.].
Apart from a few black pepper corns that are dropped into the box to deter pests, no preservation techniques have been used to protect the book. However, the shrine trust has appointed a firm to micro-film the pages.
[Picture: Makhdoom Ali Mahimi Dargah in Mahim. Photo: Wiki]