April 24th, 2011 marked the inauguration of comprehensive exhibition on the Quran with a wonderful array of the sights and sounds of the Glorious Quran at the Mulla Asghar Memorial Library and Resource Centre (MARC) at the Jaffari Community Centre, in Toronto. Visitors from different faiths and around the world were able to feast their eyes upon rare manuscripts and digital displays of rare Qur`anic manuscripts, dating back to the 8th Century from individual collectors and communities of the Islamic world. On display are all sorts’ modern gadgets for learning, reading, reciting and listening to the Qur’an. Appropriately placed on the imposing central wall, is a display titled Ahlul Bait (AS) in the Qur’an, depicting verses on the Ahlul Bait, including posters and digital displays of Qur’an fragments illustrating the word of Allah in the handwriting of Aimma (AS).

This six month long exposition, aptly named “Word of Allah – Expressions of Man – From Parchment to iPad” , expounds upon the history of the Noble Quran, following the journey of the Quran, from its revelation through its compilation and preservation to this date through a unique diversity of means, ranging from historical notes, timelines, diagrams and maps. Over the next six months, many more displays and artifacts will be added to make this a unique repository of the beauty of the Quran in North America. “The wonderful steps we have taken are just the beginning. The seed that we have sown must now be nourished and taken care of so that it can grow to produce results needed for us.

This will happen as we explore all the themes (one by one) that are wonderfully displayed in the exhibition and produce easily understandable Tafsir and literature on each theme. Through such endeavors, Qur’an will bring about an intellectual revolution in our lives beyond just the ritual recitation of it. All our scholars should be put to use for this task.” says Sheikh Husein Khimjee who advises on the rich content on display.

The stunning and thematic visuals explore topics such as astronomy, embryology, nature, animals as well as the value of foods mentioned in the Qur’an. Also on display is a collection of over 26 language translations of the Quran which also include a Qur’an in Braille, a Qur’an which begins with the letter ‘alif’ and a ‘fragrant’ Quran which emits a beautiful scent of rose essence on its pages.

“This is the first of a series of exhibitions to be held, Inshallah, at MARC providing visitors of all faiths with a unique opportunity to appreciate the commonalities between faiths and explore the richness and wondrous heritage of one of the worlds fast growing and most talked about religions.” says Dr Hasnain Walji who leads a team of 20, who have designed and delivered a world class exhibition addressing a diverse spectrum of themes and topics on the Quran. Featuring slides, animated films and other exhibits, the exhibition is designed to appeal to all faiths; something the organizers believe is central to fostering education and cultural integration and is also aimed at achieving harmony among different cultures and religions. “Through electronic media, informative multimedia presentations, and enchanting Islamic artwork including displays of rare historical manuscripts and artifacts from across the Muslim world, Mulla Asghar Resource Centre is designed to increase engagement within the larger communities and help foster a spirit of friendship and understanding of Islam and Muslims.” says Salma Alibhai who directs the creative team.

The Resource Centre also houses a permanent exhibit of the history of Khoja Shia Ithnaashari Community from its original roots in India now spread all around the world. It highlights aspects of cultural & societal developments of this vibrant Community from over a century ago, that today still form the heart of successful, developing Khoja communities in North America and around the globe. By connecting with its heritage, visitors and community members will be able to better understand the role of faith and sacrifices in developing the 150 year old Khoja Shia Ithnaashari Community.

Here are some images from the exhibition:

Here are a series of videos filmed at MARC introducing the exhibition, and providing an overview/ walkthrough of it.