Devotees will throng at the Mahim dargah on Sunday night, as the 600-year-old Quran Sharif calligraphed by Makhdoom Ali Mahimi, the secular Sufi saint, will be opened for public viewing from 10 pm-1 am. Makhdoom Ali Mahimi was the first scholar to write a commentary of the holy Quran in India.
"It is considered as a living miracle since even after so many year, most of the pages are not brittle and the ink looks fresh. When u look at a few pages, you may get an impression that it was just written a day before," said Suhail Khandwani, Managing Trustee, Mahim Dargah.
Preserved in a silver box kept in the Asthana (tomb chamber) of the dargah, the Quran Sharif is opened for public viewing once a year on the 29th shab (night) of Ramzan for a span of three hours.
"During Ramzan, the tarabi (special prayers) go on till 9:45 pm. Therefore we have maintained the age-old tradition of opening it after prayer timings," added Khandwani.
While the number of visitors in the dargah goes down during Ramzan, more than 15,000 people come to take a glimpse of the holy book only during the three hours span. Religious heads visit are specially invited on this occasion to read out excerpts from the holy book and offer prayers.
Even as most of the pages of the Quran Sharif still wear a fresh look, the dargah authorities are now considering getting a team of experts appointed to work towards preservation of the book.
"After this year’s public viewing and Eid celebrations, we are planning to appoint print preservation and microfilming experts to preserve the ancient book," said Khandwani.