During the Thanksgiving Ceremony for His Majesty's Birthday last Thursday, His Majesty was presented with an extremely huge Quran weighing 225 kilograms (about 495 pounds for the metric-challenged readers). It took 6 men to carry the Quran into the Plenary Hall where the function was held and another 3 to put the Quran into the huge rihal (for keeping the Quran in place while reading it). I thought this was probably one of the largest if not the largest Quran in the world.
The Mushaf Nurul Iman as it was later known is apparently not the first of that size to be made. According to the accompanying guidebook that came with the Quran, it was the fifth that has been made. It was actually made by an Indonesian group (not sure what to call them), named Pondok Pesantren Al-Asyariyyah based in Wonosobo in Jawa Tengah. It was the idea of their imam Muntaha Al-Hafiz or better known as Mbah Mun who had since passed away. He died at the age of 93.
He had this idea of making huge Qurans and 4 were already handwritten and placed at various places in Indonesia. The first one started in 1991 and completed in 1994 and was presented to President Suharto and now kept at Bina Graha, Jakarta. The second produced in 1996 and was presented to the Indonesian Religious Minister and now kept at Baitul Quran, Jakarta. The third produced in 2002 and was presented to the Governor of Jakarta and now kept at the Islamic Centre, Jakarta. The fourth was presented to the Jawa Tengah Governor and now kept at Jawa Tengah Grand Mosque in Semarang. The fifth is the one that has gone out of Indonesia to Brunei. The Mushaf was specially flown using Royal Brunei Airforce transport plane on 5th July 2006.
The handwriting of the fifth Quran Akbar aka Mushaf Nurul Iman started on 21st October 2005 and completed before June 2006. At that time of the writing, it was reported in the newspaper and it wasn't at that time meant as a gift for His Majesty yet. The news report of the writing came to the attention of one of the committe members who then decided to contact the group for it to be especially designed for His Majesty's birthday gift sometime early this year.
It was written by an H Hayatuddin, a dosen (lecturer) at the Al-Quran Science University (UNSIQ) in Wonosobo, the ornamental designs was done by Anas Maaruf, an Undergraduate at the same institution together with Haji Majid bin Haji Ibrahim of the Information Department for the Brunei ornaments. What makes the Mushaf Nurul Iman different than the other 4 is that several Bruneian features have been added on to it. The Brunei kain tenunan 'Silubang Bangsi' with the motif of 'Bunga Mekar Kembang Bersinar' was added to the front and back pages which took about a month to make specially for the Mushaf. Several added features include the additional of Kubah Masjid and Payung Panji-Panji Diraja as well as the personal standard of His Majesty.
Several interesting features of the previously unknown hill town of Wonosobo is that the name is derived from Wono which means forest or resort and Sobo which means to visit making it especially a much visited hill town for people to bathe, wash and take home from a Surodilogo Spring which is believed to have mystical power. It is located about 145 kilometeres from Semarang, Jawa Tengah's provincial capital and is located at a mountainous region of about 275 to 2,100 meters above sea level. Among the local produce includes Tambi Tea Plantation which is well known since the Dutch Government era. Wonosobo now has about three quarter of a million poplulation spread over 948,68 square kilometers and used to be a major Hindu city but that has now changed as less than half of 1 percent now still practising Hinduism.
Digahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik.