Did you know the Mushaf known as the Madinah Mushaf was all handwritten by one man?
Yes, contrary to popular belief, the Madinah Mushaf, found in millions of Muslim homes around the world, was not typed on a computer, but it was handwritten by one man.
Meet Sheikh Uthman Taha, the renowned calligrapher, who has single-handedly written the Mushaf al-Madinah, which is the copy of the Qur’an issued by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran in Saudi Arabia.
‘Mushaf’ is a word used for a copy of the Qur’an, and it took Sheikh Uthman nearly three years for copying a Mushaf and an additional year for proof-reading and reviewing.
Sheikh Uthman Taha was born in a village near Aleppo in Syria in 1934 to a family of farmers. His father was the village’s imam.
“I developed a passion for calligraphy when, at the age of six, I started to look through my father’s books and see how beautifully their titles were written,” Arab News quoted him as saying. “When I became older, my father sent me to Aleppo to complete my education, there, I met some of Aleppo’s famous calligraphers, watched them work, and learned about the tools they used, the way they held their pens, and how they created beautiful alphabets.”
Sheikh Uthman’s interest in calligraphy led him to study with many masters of Arabic calligraphy including the late Hamid Al-Amidi, one of Turkey’s most famous modern calligraphers from whom he received a certificate in calligraphy.
In 1988, while still studying at the University of Damascus, he was approached for writing the copy of the Qur’an by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran. This copy is the one printed by the King Fahd Complex and distributed to millions of pilgrims every year. It is the most common copy of the Qur’an available worldwide.
Besides this, Sheikh Uthman has copied out six different textual variants including Warsh (used in Morocco and Algeria), Hafs (worldwide), Duri (Africa and Sudan), and Qalun (Libya).
“Writing a Mushaf requires readiness and desire, as well as good knowledge in Qur’anic teachings. The person who writes the Mushaf must have memorized the Holy Qur’an and should understand its verses well,” says Sheikh Uthman.
If you have a copy of the Madinah Mushaf, it is most likely written by Sheikh Uthman Taha.