A rare 1764 edition of an influential English-language translation of the Quran is permanently displayed at the MBRL
Dubai, UAE, 2 February 2023: During an exceptional donation ceremony at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the United States Mission to the UAE presented the Mohammed bin Rashid Library with a 1764 edition of an English-language translation of the Quran, which will be permanently displayed in the library's Treasures of the Library exhibition. The event was organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation in collaboration with the United States Mission to the UAE and the Mohammed bin Rashid Library.
The rare two-volume set is a copy from the second edition of the 1764 English language translation of the Quran by English author George Sale. Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson owned a copy from the same 1764 edition, which was displayed at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on loan from the U.S. Library of Congress. This was the first time this treasured exhibit travelled outside of the U.S. Capitol, and it was one of the top attractions at the USA Pavilion. While studying law in 1765, Thomas Jefferson, who had a lifelong interest in world religions, bought this version at the age of 22. Following the return of the Thomas Jefferson-owned Quran to the U.S. Library of Congress, the same rare edition Quran translation, which the U.S. Mission to the UAE donated today to the MBR Library, was acquired to continue the exhibition at the USA Pavilion.
'We are here today to celebrate the values that shape the United Arab Emirates, tolerance, peace, and harmony; and to witness history being made as this rare edition of the Holy Quran is transferred for the first time since the 18th century to be permanently displayed at the Mohammed bin Rashid library, the region's largest cultural centre,' Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation said. 'We are delighted and honoured to work with the U.S. Mission to the UAE and the Mohammed bin Rashid Library to support the UAE's mission of preserving Islamic and Arabic heritage and reinforcing its position in society and the world.'
This rare edition will be permanently displayed at the library's Treasures of the Library exhibition which features a unique collection of rare and ancient books, atlases, and manuscripts from around the world.
Welcoming the delegation, H.E. Mohammad Ahmad Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, said: 'I am pleased to welcome you to the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, and specifically to the Treasures of the Library Exhibition which houses rare collections dating back to the thirteenth century,'
The Treasures of The Library Exhibition features unique religious manuscripts, Antique atlases, poetry collections, and other valuable items. The collection also includes rare copies of the Holy Quran, early print editions of literary classics, Latin translations of scholarly works from the Islamic Golden Age, and rare Arabic periodicals from the Arab world and beyond.' H.E added. 'The rare, translated copy of the Holy Quran, donated to the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, is a valuable and significant addition to the Treasures of the Library exhibition, complementing a collection of classical literature publications telling the story of decades of knowledge and civilization.' H.E concluded.
H.E Al Murr thanked the United States Mission for the valuable gift of Thomas Jefferson's rare edition of the Holy Quran in the English language, which reflects the depth and strength of the strategic and cultural relations and partnerships between the two countries.
The Mohamed Bin Rashid Library is pleased to display the rare English language translation of the Quran in its Treasures of the Library exhibition. It has a special connection with Dubai as it was displayed at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. This rare manuscript is from the same 1764 edition as Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the English language translation of the Quran , U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, took his oath of office on Jefferson's Quran in 2006 and noted it demonstrated that from the very beginning of the United States, there people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Quran.
Charge d’Affaires Sean Murphy at the U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi stated: “The U.S. Mission to the UAE is proud to gift a rare edition English-language translation of the Quran and a map of Arabia published in 1764 that were on display at the USA Pavilion during Expo 2020 Dubai to the Mohammed bin Rashid Library. This exhibit is a strong symbol of respect for religious diversity, and our shared values of religious tolerance and co-existence.”
The donation took place on the first day of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, one of the world's top ten literary festivals. The Festival will be held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City and the Mohammed bin Rashid Library from 1-6 February 2023.
Ticket prices start at AED 25. Also new this year are day-long, weekend, student and publishing day passes starting at AED 199. And an all-access Crystal Pass with exclusive entry to the Green Room. Also returning is the Festival Fringe, with a host of fun free events and performances for all the family.