The Grand Masjid, located at Bahria Town in Lahore, has got a new gallery which is now open for public viewing. The gallery features numerous rare copies of the handwritten Quran. Furthermore, the gallery also houses a unique collection of books on Fiqh and Ahadith.
The center of attraction of the Quran Gallery in the Grand Jamia Masjid is the handwritten Quran on canvas. This masterpiece is the handiwork of calligrapher Muhammad Ayub who lived in Agra, India. He started working on it in the year 1161(Hijri year), and it took him four years to complete the copy. Overall, there are over 50 handwritten copies of the Quran displayed in the gallery. Some copies date back to even 300-700 years in the past. The unique copies of the Quran showcase a plethora of styles of Arabic scripts and calligraphy to the public. The gallery also houses unique copies of the Quran translated from Arabic to the Persian language.
Apart from rare copies of the Quran, the gallery has dozens of original photographs of Holy Kabba, Masjid-e-Nabvi, and numerous other holy places. The photographs were clicked in the early 1990s.
As per Zubair Ahmed who is the general manager of the Grand Jamia Masjid Administration, many rare copies of Quran displayed in the gallery have been taken from the personal collection of Commodore(Retired) Late Ahsan Javed. He was the erstwhile Deputy CEO of Bahria Town and the father of Col(Retired) Ali Ahsan, who is the current head of security and HR of Bahria Town. Zubair also said that the gallery is the brainchild of the founder of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz. He has a deep interest in rare copies of the Holy Quran, and his association with Late Ahsan Javed spanned for more than 18 years. Zubair further gave the information that the many rare copies of the Quran, along with books on Fiqh and Ahadith, were obtained by Bahria Town CEO Ali Riaz Malik. The rare copy of the handwritten Quran on canvas by the Indian calligrapher was also procured by the CEO himself.
The capacity of the Grand Jamia Masjid is 70,000, and the total area covered by the mosque is 10.5 acres, as per Zubair Ahmed. He elaborated that 25,000 can be accommodated inside the mosque while 45,000 can fit in the outer area of the mosque. He also said that Grand Jamia Masjid is the seventh-largest mosque in the world. Zubair Ahmed also provided the information that the management plans to set up an Islamic University and Research Centre in the basement of the Grand Jamia Masjid.
Col (Retired) Ali Ahsan said that his father, Late Air Commodore(Retired) Ahsan Javed was passionate about collecting rare copies of the Quran. He gave the credit for the gallery to his father and respected Malik Riaz Hussain. He also called the gallery a humble effort to preserve Islamic art and history.
The gallery will be open to the local public daily. The timings are from 10 am to 10 pm.