American Qur’an

ScreenHunter_06 Jan. 10 15.31

[Click picture to enlarge.]

Sandow Birk at his website:

An ongoing project to hand-transcribe the entire Qur'an according to historic Islamic traditions
and to illuminate the text with relevant scenes from contemporary American life. Five years in the making, the project has been inspired by a decade of extended travel in Islamic regions of the world and undertaken after extensive research.

Unlike the Gospels of the New Testament – which relate narratives of Jesus’ ministry on earth – the Holy Qur’an is believed to be the verbatim words of God as communicated through the angel Gabriel to Muhammad in the 7th Century CE. Collected together and grouped generally according to length (rather than chronologically), the 114 chapters (“suras”) form a collection of sermon-like “revelations” that are the fundamental text of Islam, the fastest growing religion in America. At a time when the United States is involved in two wars against Islamic nations and declares itself to be in a cultural and philosophical struggle against Islamic extremists, American artist Sandow Birk’s latest project considers the Qur’an as it was intended – as a universal message to humankind. If the Qur’an is indeed a divine message to all peoples, he ponders, what does it mean to an individual American in the 21st Century? How does the message of the Qur’an relate to us, as Americans, in this life, in this time? What is this message that we have spent so much blood and treasure fighting against, and how can the message of the Qur’an be applied to contemporary American life? In short, what might the Qur’an mean to contemporary Americans?

From that starting point, Sandow Birk has spent the past five years creating a personal Qur’an. Following the traditions of ancient Arabic and Islamic manuscripts, the artist has been hand-transcribing the entire English-translated text of the Qur’an as was done in centuries past – following traditional guidelines as to the colors of inks, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and the illuminations of page headings and medallions marking verses and passages.

More here. [Thanks to Jeff Strabone.]