Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Birmingham's online course, The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsMOHAMMED AFZAL: My name is Mohammad Afzal. And I'm chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque.

Skip to 0 minutes and 18 secondsWell, frankly, I was very, very emotional when I saw this script and when they told me that how old it is. And I think, for us, it was a very unique moment that we never thought that we would be able to see a Quran calligraphy going back almost 1,400 years ago, which was very, very real. So frankly, with emotion, there were tears in my eyes.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsWe were overwhelmed with emotion, with pleasure, with joy.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsIt was more than our expectation that here we are. Also, we were happy in the sense that at least it has been found in Birmingham, our home city. And there was an extra layer of joy for us.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsReally proud and very happy to find this Quran in our home town, Birmingham. And this mosque is basically like cathedral for all the Muslims in Birmingham, because this mosque welcomes people from all school of thought. And we are the basically main mosque represented in the Muslim, not only in Birmingham, but rather wider [INAUDIBLE]. And we were really overjoyed. And all of our members were very happy. Obviously, we made the announcement on Friday congregation that we are very happy that now Birmingham University. And we are also very appreciative of the research department of Birmingham University, because I think basically they are the one who also helped a lot and they went an extra mile to find out the date.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 secondsAnd they got it authenticated. But we are happy that it is in Birmingham. We have got this such a old historical authentic and the original, because that is the time when the Quran was compiled. So there was an extra joy for us, which we never thought. Ever we thought that we would be able to see a Quran going back in that calligraphy of 1,400 years ago. So we were very happy. And in Muslim community, not only within the UK, but my understanding is there are Muslims who came from all over the world to visit it while it was at university and while it was Birmingham [INAUDIBLE].

Skip to 3 minutes and 37 secondsSo people from all over the world came, because it was a very unique thing that it was the time when the Quran was compiled, although we believe that Quran is unique in that sense, that for last of 1,400 years, it has never been changed. But it was an extra pleasure to see the original calligraphy going back to 1,400 years. This mosque, as I said to you, that this mosque was constructed back in 1970. And the unique feature of this mosque is that it caters for all school of thought. This mosque also actively take part with all the other communities as well. And I mean, Christians, Catholic, Anglican, Jews, Buddhist, Hindus, Sikh.

Skip to 4 minutes and 44 secondsAnd in Birmingham, there is a Faith Leaders' Group, which is people from Jewish religion, Christian, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. And this mosque represent Muslims on the Birmingham Faith Leaders' Group. And I represent on behalf of mosque.

Skip to 5 minutes and 14 secondsBack in the early part of this year, National Front were having this demonstration. And here actually, in collaboration with Westminster police commissioner, we have a tea party.

Skip to 5 minutes and 28 secondsSPEAKER 1: Yes, I read about that.

Skip to 5 minutes and 29 secondsMOHAMMED AFZAL: Yes, yes. And we were invited actually. And there was quite a few couples. I mean, there was one couple who came all the way from Wales.

Skip to 5 minutes and 38 secondsSPEAKER 1: For this-- especially for that?

Skip to 5 minutes and 40 secondsMOHAMMED AFZAL: For the tea party. And she was also having a-- because it was at weekend-- I think, either it was Saturday. And she had junkets with them. And because we offered them Asian food, [INAUDIBLE], et cetera. And they really enjoyed that. But there was people of all different communities, faith, and religion.

Mohammed Afzal, Chairman, Birmingham Central Mosque

The chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, Mohammed Afzal speaks about the pride he and his mosque have in the Birmingham Qur’an.

He talks passionately about how he felt when he was asked by the Cadbury Research Library to be one of the first people to see the Birmingham Qur’an after the announcement of its age was made public. He also speaks about the valuable community work that the mosque undertakes.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands

University of Birmingham