Repairing Old Copies of the Quran for Ramadan


This article, Libyans Repair Old Qurans for Ramadan, shows us how economic hard times can sometimes be a boon for the ancient art of repairing what we already have, in this case masahif or copies of the Quran. The word “Quran” actually refers to the message itself, not written copies of it. Because English makes no such distinction, people generally refer to copies of the Quran as “Qurans,” although this is incorrect, a single book/copy being called a mus’haf. It’s a nice distinction, because what counts is not the physical book but the actual message it conveys. On the other hand, without an actual physical book, our ability to study it would be greatly limited. Now with virtual masahif in writing as well as Quran recitation on our phones, the distinction between the “copy” and its “content” becomes even blurrier, since you can’t have the content without a “source” for its transmission, yet what appears on a screen is changeable, somewhat not-quite-physically there. In any case, there are times when reading a physical book has its advantages, like when the power goes out for a significant period of time. Not to forget the beauty of a printed Quran in Arabic. And does anyone else still remember certain memorized parts of the Quran by their placement on the page?

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