Beit Al Qur\'an ... A unique Islamic centre.
Manama, Sept. 8 (BNA): Whether you are a resident in Bahrain or a tourist, Beit Al Qur'an is a place to see. The Islamic Centre located in Manama welcomes visitors from all sects and ages -- Free of charge.
Beit Al Qur'an, the first and only institute of its kind, aims to spread the message of Islam.
The centre was inaugurated on March 12, 1990 by the late Emir HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Beit Al Qur'an, as the name implies in Arabic, is the house of the Holy Qur'an. It combines religion, knowledge and culture under one roof.
The centre Founder and Executive Chairman Dr Abdul Latif Kanoo said Beit Al Qur'an is unique in many ways.
"It is the first institute of its size and range of functions in the area to be totally funded and wholly supported by public donations as well as generous help from people from all walks of life," he told Bahrain News Agency (BNA).
Dr. Kanoo himself is a serious collector of Islamic manuscripts and art in general. He started with collecting Holy Qur'anic manuscripts first and later Islamic art in general. When his collection expanded to a substantial size, he felt a heavy responsibility as its keeper.
It is this feeling that inspired Dr. Kanoo to initiate the idea of Beit Al Qur'an. He felt a necessity to create an institute to function as a guardian of this great heritage for future generations.
"The centre is continuously receiving materials that are related to the Holy Qur'an. We have lots of people from Bahrain who brought their old Qur'an books for display. In this way they will not be detached from something precious to them and they trust us to preserve and maintain them," said Dr. Kanoo.
"When receiving materials from the public, the first thing the experts in the centre do is make sure that they do not have any insects or fungus. Normally we do treat the materials if needed and keep them for about two months outside the circulation of Beit Al Qur'an collections and when we are satisfied that they are clean we display them in the centre," Dr. Kanoo said.
In addition to that, the Beit is always on the outlook of new Qur'ans available to be obtained through auctions which are mostly held in America or Europe.
"We have a permanent exhibition of magnificent Holy Qur'anic manuscripts in our Al Hayat Museum where visitors can see the best in Qur'anic calligraphy from the different eras and many areas of the Islamic world, we have a splendid lending library which is open to the public free of charge and a mosque which is open for prayer at all times. We have also staged exhibitions of Islamic art and culture and sponsored lectures on a variety of subjects by prominent scholars and religious leaders from different countries."
To fulfill its objectives, Beit Al Qur'an building was designed within a traditional Islamic architectural concept in an entirely modern mould.
The building consists of five major functional elements with their ancillary facilities and services.
The major areas of Beit Al Qur'an are Al Forqan Library which holds some 25,000 volumes mainly in Arabic in addition to English and French. The library and its reading rooms are open to the public.
Yousif Bin Ahmed Kanoo School for Qur'anic Studies comprises of seven study areas, equipped with computer and other modern educational aids and is open for students to memorise the Holy Qur'an and for the public when space is required for private teaching of the Holy Qur'an to special groups.
Al Hayat Museum comprises ten halls over two floors, interconnected by easy split level ramps where the visitors can perambulate from one level to another effortlessly through the subtle changes in level.
The thematic and attractive displays in each of these halls are arranged to give an overall view of Beit Al Qur'an collections of Islamic manuscripts, the oldest dates back to the first Hijra century (Seventh century).
The items are displayed in specially designed cabinets with sophisticated environmental controls and fibre optic lightning technologies. The cabinets cater for the very special lighting and humidity requirements essential for the proper display of rare and delicate old manuscripts.
There is also Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa Lecture Hall, Abdul Rahman Jassim Kanoo Mosque and Yousif Bin Ahmed Kanoo Award for Excellence and Creativity Hall.
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