The Holy Quran Museum and Holy Quran Academy in Sharjah
The Holy Quran Museum is a wonderful hidden treasure within the Holy Quran Academy in Sharjah. Through the various halls, you will learn about the history of the Quran, its recording and recitation, Quranic scholars and more. If you haven’t been yet, read on to find out more.
The Holy Quran Museum
The Holy Quran Museum consists of seven individual museums, each with a different theme.
Although you can walk around the museum yourself, I highly recommend going with a guide. Firstly, if you don’t know Arabic, you won’t be able to read the information boards, but even if you do, the guides can help with any questions. My guide spoke English well and explained everything clearly.
Cave of Hira
At the first stop, you’ll see a model of the Cave of Hira, which you can enter, and you can watch a video (in Arabic). The cave is where the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ used to retreat before the Quran was revealed. He would visit the mountain cave for solitude and contemplation. It was here that he received the first revelation.
Museum of the History of Writing the Noble Quran
The Museum of the History of Writing the Noble Quran is the largest of the seven and shows how the recording and preservation of the Quran evolved over the centuries.
The first display shows verses inscribed on the shoulder bones of camels, animal skin, palm fronds, stones, etc. In the 7th century CE, the companions of Prophet Mohammed ﷺ used whatever they could find to record the verses of the Quran as they were revealed.
If you are not familiar with the revelation of the Qur’an, it was revealed over a period of 23 years. Sometimes, a few verses were revealed, and sometimes, the sections were longer. And so, as new verses were revealed, some of the first Muslims would record them on whatever clean surface was available to them if there was no parchment.
The exhibition takes you around a circular hall following the development of the writing of the Quran right up to the digital format in modern-day devices and a Quran in braille.
Some of the exhibits in the museums are originals, and some are copies. Several antiques are gifts from private collectors to the museum or to HH Dr Sheikh Sultan, the Ruler of Sharjah.
Before moving on to the next gallery, take time to admire the beauty of the hall’s architecture with its arches, intricate geometric designs and a beautiful chandelier.
Museum of Rare Qurans
Next is the Museum of Rare Qurans. Some years after the revelation of the Quran was complete, the pages on parchment or other materials were collected into a book form, referred to as mushaf. Some of the ‘mushaf’ (or the plural musahif in Arabic) are centuries old, dating as far back as the 8th century CE.
The rare Qurans come from different parts of the world, including China, and many are by renowned calligraphers. Some of them are embellished, or illuminated, with materials such as gold and lapis lazuli pigment.
Museum of the Seven and Ten Quranic Readings
This museum describes the different permitted ways of reciting the Quran and mentions relevant scholars and the history of the recitations. You can listen to them and see if you notice differences.
Museum of the Quran Pillars Throughout History
Museum of the Quran Pillars Throughout History presents important personalities in the history of the Quran, such as scholars. It describes their achievements and the contributions they made to the study of the Quran.
Museum of Famous Quran Readers
This section honours the most famous Quran readers, some of whom travelled around spreading the beauty of the Quran recitation. It includes readers from many parts of the world, both male and female.
This section also exhibits some of the personal possessions of famous readers.
There are dedicated sections to the three holy mosques of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, the Prophet’s Mosque in Al Madina and Al Aqsa in Jerusalem.
Museum of the Kaaba cloth (Kiswa)and the Prophet’s Chamber’s Curtains
The kiswa is the name given to the large cloth that covers the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building in Makkah, and is decorated with verses of the Quran and elements of Islamic design. It is changed annually on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhu’l Hijjah, the time of the hajj, or pilgrimage.
Today, it is made of black silk and comprises many sections which are sewn together once the embroidery is complete. Other materials, such as linen and wool, were also used in the past. Local artisans embroider the verses of the Quran onto the silk with gold and silver wire. Since 1962, the kiswa has been made entirely in Makkah. Before that, it was made in Egypt until 1927 and then in Egypt and Makkah.
The Museum of the Kiswa contains 18 kiswas, the oldest dating back to the 16th century CE. The centrepiece is a model of the Kaaba door covered with an original curtain. It also describes the history of the kiswa and its manufacture.
Around the walls hang the other pieces, many gifted to the museum. You’ll notice that in contrast to today’s black, gold and silver, the older kiswas had different colours, especially shades of orange and green.
Museum of Universe and Mankind in the Quran
Many aspects of science are mentioned in the Quran, some of which were not understood until many years later as humans learned more about the world and the universe. The Museum of Universe and Mankind in the Quran has various sections covering different sciences, including biology, geology and astronomy.
The exhibition explains verses of the Quran relating to topics, such as mountains stabilising the Earth.
As well as visiting the Holy Quran Museum in person, you can enjoy a virtual tour on the Holy Quran Academy website.
The Holy Quran Academy
The Holy Quran Academy in Sharjah is built in the shape of a star with eight points, often found in Islamic designs. It has 34 domes and incorporates geometric patterns, arches and other elements of Islamic architecture.
Apart from the museums, the academy includes a recording studio with cutting-edge technology, the Quranic Scientific Library and the Electronic Maqra’a section.
The Electronic Maqra’a, or Sharjah International eMaqraa, is an online academy for the recitation of the Holy Quran. It helps those who have already memorised the Quran in many countries worldwide.
The eMaqraa programme first launched in 2018 and, in 2020, had students from over 100 countries, including one in the North Pole!
The Holy Quran Academy was established under the direction of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah in accordance with his vision of preservation of the Quran and development of skills related to the Quran. It opened in 2020.
I must say that I found it a very calm place to be and came away feel refreshed and inspired.
How to visit the Holy Quran Museum
How to get to the Holy Quran Museum
The Holy Quran Academy is in the Mowaileh district of Sharjah, near Sharjah University City. It can be hard to find as there is no board outside. If you take the S116 (from the S102 Maleha Rd) towards Sharjah city, pass the planetarium and Al Qasimia University on your right. At the traffic light, turn right, pass the academy, turn right at the roundabout, and then turn right into the car park. Park in that area and enter the building from that side.
The barrier will be down at the gate, but drive up and the security guard will speak to you and let you in. Another security guard at the reception will register your details. If you wish to ensure an English-speaking guide will be available, it might be wise to call in advance and arrange a time.
The Holy Quran Museum is also open to school and group visits.
Given the religious nature of the museum, both men and women should dress modestly when planning a visit.
How long do you need for your visit at the Holy Quran Museum, Sharjah
The minimum time I suggest for your visit is 45 minutes, but I recommend allowing up to two hours to spend more time browsing the exhibits. You may consider taking the tour and then going around again at your leisure. If you can understand Arabic, you can easily spend a few hours there.
Holy Quran Museum Opening Times
Daily 8am-8pm except Friday 4pm-8pm
Holy Quran Academy Contact Details
Tel: 06 511 8118
If you liked this post, you may also like to read these:
- Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
- Islamic World Garden
- Islamic Botanic Garden at Sharjah Desert Park
- Arabic Architecture in Sharjah
- Calligraphy Museum in the Heart of Sharjah
What else is near the Holy Quran Academy in Sharjah?
- Sharjah Planetarium ( Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences)
- University City
- Martyrs’ Square – Martyrs’ Monument and Halls
- House of Wisdom and the Scroll Monument
- Classic Car Museum
- Al Jada Park, food trucks, etc.
Notes: CE – Common Era or Gregorian calendar, ﷺ – peace and blessings be upon him, said after mentioning the name of Prophet Muhammed ﷺ
- Follow on Instagram or Facebook for regular photos, tips and snippets of cultural and historical information too.
- Sign up for the Glimpses of the UAE Newsletter
- Take me to the Glimpses of the UAE Map to find nearby locations and plan my trip.
- See some of my hiking trails, walks and off-road trips on Wikiloc.
- To see my Oman trips, visit In Scotterati Footsteps.