Digital collectibles company produces NFTs of all five volumes of 1400-year-old handwritten Qur’an

Matadee founder Deepali Shukla said all five volumes of the oldest handwritten Qur’an manuscript are available as NFTs. (Supplied/MetaDee)
Matadee founder Deepali Shukla said all five volumes of the oldest handwritten Qur’an manuscript are available as NFTs. (Supplied/MetaDee)
Short Url
Updated 10 September 2022

Digital collectibles company produces NFTs of all five volumes of 1400-year-old handwritten Qur’an

Digital collectibles company produces NFTs of all five volumes of 1400-year-old handwritten Qur’an
  • London-based Metadee is selling unique digital copies of the manuscript, which was written by Zayd ibn Thaabit, personal scribe of the Prophet Muhammad

LONDON: A UK-based marketplace for digital non-fungible tokens has announced plans to tokenize and sell all five volumes of the oldest handwritten Qur’an manuscript available in the public domain.

Metadee, which offers digital artworks and collectibles from around the world, said in July that it had tokenized the third, fourth and fifth volumes of a copy of the Qur’an handwritten by the personal scribe of the Prophet Muhammad, Zayd ibn Thaabit, who served as the chief recorder of Qur’anic text.

Now it has confirmed that all five volumes will be made available as NFTs — digital objects specially encoded with proof of their unique nature and ownership — for purchase “to ensure everyone in any country, especially in countries which do not trade in crypto(currency), can access the manuscript.” In addition, the physical copies of volumes one and two are going up for auction.




Metadee said that this rare Qur’an manuscript is believed to have been written in 632 A.D. and has been authenticated and certified by the University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art. (Supplied/MetaDee)

One million NFTs of each of volumes three, four and five of the manuscript have been created and are available to buy for $200 each. The bidding for volumes one and two begins at $25 million per volume, and the successful bidder for each of them will receive the physical copy plus an NFT.

Matadee founder Deepali Shukla told Arab News that the Qur’an NFTs “are limited, digitized versions of the very first manuscript, handwritten in ink by the personal scribe of the Prophet (and) owing to their immeasurable historic and cultural value, the manuscripts are being seen as a cherished treasure by the faithful and art collectors alike.”

The company said that this rare Qur’an manuscript is believed to have been written in 632 A.D. and has been authenticated and certified by the University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, the leading global authority in dating archaeological artifacts using radiocarbon dating technology.

“In addition to owning and preserving a unique and significant artifact, any individual that owns such an NFT can pass it on to future generations using proof of ownership secured on blockchain,” Shukla said.

“Equally so, it is a great honor to bring enduring wisdom from 1,400 years (ago) and to make it even more valuable in today’s and tomorrow’s digital world.”

She explained that the original manuscripts from which the NFTs will be created are in the possession of a custodian family and kept in Geneva, Switzerland. Generations of the family have traveled through Madinah, Makkah and Syria over the years, and have guarded the volumes and kept them secure.




Matadee founder Deepali Shukla said that the Qur’an NFTs are limited, digitized versions of the very first manuscript, handwritten in ink by the personal scribe of the Prophet Muhammad. (Supplied/MetaDee)

“Thanks to tokenization, rare artifacts and holy texts can now be acquired more easily and accessed without the restrictions of time and space,” said Shukla.

“This helps enrich learning experiences, empowers communities, and makes knowledge more appealing for young people.”

Shukla, who describes herself as a collector and art enthusiast, said recently-launched MetaDee fills a significant gap in the NFT marketplace, in the sense that not everyone might feel attracted to the abstract.

“We have, therefore, innovated a marketplace for exquisite, real and rare digitalized collectibles,” she said. “What was once the exclusive domain of the rich and the ultra-wealthy is now democratized. Everyday people can now own such rare, exclusive and real tokenized artworks and collectibles.”

Shukla said that Metadee’s NFTs undergo extensive scrutiny and due diligence and each collectible is carefully studied, researched and scientifically validated as being one of a kind and valuable. Since the company began selling them, she added, it has received a great response from organizations, countries and even across religions.

“If we were to even set aside their collectible value, this undertaking is proving to be something truly empowering,” she said.

The Qur’an manuscript NFTs are unique, she added, because no other format assigns proof of ownership that can be verified and validated in perpetuity. They can be accessed anytime, anywhere around the world, are easily stored on the blockchain, and are transferable to new owners.

“Besides digital information, NFTs hold perpetual records using smart contracts that may be accessed on blockchain; therefore gifting, purchasing and selling collectibles is made easy within a safe and secure marketplace such as MetaDee.”

Shukla said that the market for digital NFT collectibles is the fastest-growing niche market, and is expected to be worth $700 billion in the coming decade, as several countries, including Saudi Arabia, have started to accept cryptocurrency and NFTs and some have even installed cryptocurrency ATMs.

“As time progresses, actual, tangible and real assets almost always endure, hence the rationale of augmented value of such tokenized assets seems to appeal to people,” she added.


Amal, George Clooney host inaugural Albie Awards

Amal, George Clooney host inaugural Albie Awards
Updated 01 October 2022

Amal, George Clooney host inaugural Albie Awards

Amal, George Clooney host inaugural Albie Awards

DUBAI: Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her actor husband George Clooney this week hosted the first-ever Albie Awards, an event created by the celebrity couple to honor individuals who, at great personal risk, have devoted their lives to justice.

The awards ceremony, which took place in New York City, is named after South African lawyer, activist, writer and former judge Justice Albie Sachs, who spent much of his life “defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws.”

Amal was spotted on the red carpet wearing a silver and gold beaded Atelier Versace column gown and strappy silver Aquazzura sandals, while George wore a black tuxedo. (AFP)

Amal was spotted on the red carpet wearing a silver and gold beaded Atelier Versace column gown and strappy silver Aquazzura sandals, while George wore a black tuxedo.

The event was attended by A-list celebrities including Oscar Isaac, Dua Lipa, John Oliver, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Ethan Hawke and Meryl Streep.


New Lonely Planet guide shines a light on Britain’s hidden Muslim heritage

New Lonely Planet guide shines a light on Britain’s hidden Muslim heritage
Updated 01 October 2022

New Lonely Planet guide shines a light on Britain’s hidden Muslim heritage

New Lonely Planet guide shines a light on Britain’s hidden Muslim heritage
  • ‘Experience Great Britain’ is part of publisher’s range of ‘anti-guidebooks’
  • It offers ‘really diverse experiences for visitors,’ contributor Tharik Hussain says

LONDON: A new Lonely Planet guide to Great Britain features an entire chapter on the country’s little-known Islamic heritage, which stretches back more than 1,200 years.

Published this month, “Experience Great Britain” is part of the publisher’s range of “anti-guidebooks,” so-called because of the unique local perspectives they offer travelers.

The guide to Britain has sections and essays titled “Legacies of Empire,” “Bristol’s Black History,” “An Other London” and “Hidden Muslim Britain,” all of which seek to shine a light on the nation’s marginalized cultures and their stories.

Tharik Hussain, the Muslim author of “Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey Into Muslim Europe,” which explores the continent’s indigenous Muslim cultures, contributed to the new travel guide.

 

 

“I think it is wonderful to see mainstream guidebooks like this finally going out of their way to include such really diverse experiences for visitors,” he said.

“So often, writers like me are brought onto such projects to tick a box and create the impression there are diverse perspectives in it, but actually we’re often asked to just write about the same things covered by the previous writers. What’s diverse about that?

“To achieve truly diverse perspectives commissioning editors must select writers from different backgrounds and then be brave and empower writers to come back with what they find interesting, even if that goes against the editor’s expectations.”

Hussain, who developed one of the UK’s first Muslim heritage trails, wrote the “Hidden Muslim Britain” chapter, which focuses on Woking — home to the UK’s first purpose-built mosque, the Shah Jahan — Liverpool and Brighton, where some of the country’s most visible Islamic legacies can be found.

These include Britain’s first Muslim cemetery — the final resting place of convert lords, ladies and Muslim royalty — and Brighton Pavilion, where injured Muslim (as well as Sikh and Hindu) soldiers fighting for Britain in World War I were treated.

The guide also tells of cultural institutes set up by the Turkish, Palestinian, Bangladeshi and Black communities in London. (Supplied/Tharik Hussain)

“The guide also reveals where to visit spectacular ‘oriental rooms’ modeled on famous Muslim palaces like the Alhambra in Spain and the Topkapi in Turkey,” Hussain said.

“This is supported by an essay called Anglo Islam that reveals how Islam came to the island as early as the 8th century, when an Anglo-Saxon king called Offa minted a gold coin featuring part of the Muslim declaration of faith in Arabic.”

The essay also tells of how Britain’s first real Muslim community “were a group of white, convert Victorians who worshipped at the country’s first mosque in Liverpool, founded by a solicitor called Henry William Quilliam, later Abdullah Quilliam,” he added.

The section on empire tells visitors where they can go to learn about “the horrors of British imperial rule,” and how to experience more positive post-colonial legacies like the stunning Neasden Temple in northwest London, built by immigrants who moved to Britain after the collapse of the empire, Hussain said.

The guide also tells of the cultural institutes set up by the Turkish, Palestinian, Bangladeshi and Black communities in London, like the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, and offers alternatives to the usual tourist attractions, such as the Muslim History Tours and the Open City walking tours that explore London’s forgotten Chinese heritage.


Dance group Mayyas to perform in Beirut after ‘America’s Got Talent’ win

Dance group Mayyas to perform in Beirut after ‘America’s Got Talent’ win
Updated 30 September 2022

Dance group Mayyas to perform in Beirut after ‘America’s Got Talent’ win

Dance group Mayyas to perform in Beirut after ‘America’s Got Talent’ win
  • Crew ecstatic over ‘dream’ prize, says choreographer Nadim Cherfan
  • Artists will showcase their gifts at the US embassy this weekend

DUBAI: Lebanese dance crew Mayyas are set to perform for the first time since winning “America’s Got Talent” at the US embassy in Beirut this weekend.

The embassy will also host a virtual meet-the-artist session which will be released on Oct. 1 on YouTube.

“I am very happy that Mayyas will do a collaboration with the US embassy,” the crew’s choreographer Nadim Cherfan said in a video shared on the embassy’s Twitter page.

Earlier this month, the group took home the $1 million grand prize after winning the show.

“We can’t believe what’s happening,” group member Marcel Assal told Arab News after the show. “We can’t believe what we’ve achieved — giving so much energy, leaving our work and education, dedicating our time to training every day to be here to represent our country, and this is what we were looking for.

“We were very stressed out by the fact that we had to (prepare the dance) in two to three days, but when we went up on stage and heard the cheers, the audience gave us a push and an adrenaline rush that wasn’t there and we did it,” added Assal.

Cherfan said: “This win gave me an opportunity to dream again. When you have a dream and you achieve it, you start to look for another dream. So I’m very happy that there is something to look forward to now — something to dream of, something to fight for.”


Arab models Gigi, Bella Hadid grace the runway for French label Isabel Marant in Paris 

Arab models Gigi, Bella Hadid grace the runway for French label Isabel Marant in Paris 
Updated 01 October 2022

Arab models Gigi, Bella Hadid grace the runway for French label Isabel Marant in Paris 

Arab models Gigi, Bella Hadid grace the runway for French label Isabel Marant in Paris 

DUBAI: Dutch Palestinian models Gigi and Bella Hadid have had a fashion-packed month, from Milan to Paris Fashion Week. 

This week, the sisters modeled for Isabel Marant wearing the French label’s spring-summer 2023 collection.  

Gigi strutted down the runway in an oversized cameo-print jacket in neutral hues. 

Bella wore two outfits. The first featured a white cut-out top embellished with silver studs, white pants, stilettos and a handbag.

The second look was a black flowy mini dress with cut-out detailing across the chest, which the model styled with a tasseled bag casually slung on her shoulder. 

The fashion show featured an array of unique outfits — including sheer tops, oversized jumpers, floral dresses, jeans and crochet items — which British Moroccan model Nora Attal championed. 

Attal wore a yacht-perfect crochet bodysuit and a matching bag with fringe detailing.

French Algerian catwalk star Loli Bahia was also part of the star-studded show.

Bella wore a white cut-out top embellished with silver studs, white pants, stilettos and a handbag. (AFP)

She put on an eye-catching display in an outfit similar to Bella’s all-white look, sporting leather trousers and a cut-out red top.

Bahia also wore reflective silver pants with a white chiffon top featuring a sleeveless neckline. 

The part-Arab models all opted for loose hair with natural make-up looks in a bronze pallet. 

Another star-studded event at Paris Fashion Week was French jewelry label Messika’s show, which was inspired by ancient Egypt.

Bahia wore leather trousers and a cut-out red top. (AFP)

Supermodel Naomi Campbell opened the runway on Thursday wearing the new Akh-Ba-Ka set, which was designed by Valérie Messika and is part of the brand’s new jewelry collection titled “Beyond the Light.”

The necklace, which Italian Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi wore in the campaign images, is made of white gold with 15 diamonds totaling 71 carats. The entire set is composed of a pair of asymmetrical earrings and a transformable ring that can be worn in three different ways.

Among the guests who watched the show were Gigi, Lebanese singer Maya Diab, Saudi TV presenter Lojain Omran, Egyptian actresses Mai Omar and Enjy Kiwan and Lebanese presenter Diala Makki.


Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai questions lack of Muslim representation in Hollywood

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai questions lack of Muslim representation in Hollywood
Updated 01 October 2022

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai questions lack of Muslim representation in Hollywood

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai questions lack of Muslim representation in Hollywood

DUBAI: Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai addressed the lack of Muslim representation in Hollywood films during Variety’s recent Power of Women event in the US.

Yousafzai, who was honored at the event, said: “I’ve been doing activism for more than a decade now, and I’ve realized that we shouldn’t limit activism to the work of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) only: There’s also the element of changing people’s minds and perspectives — and that requires a bit more work.”

The 25-year-old, in her new role as a content producer, pointed out that despite Muslims making up 25 percent of the population, there was “only 1 percent of characters in popular TV series.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Malala (@malala)

Addressing A-list guests including American politician Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, US actress Elizabeth Olsen, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and the American former actress, and wife of British Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, she added: “You’re often told in Hollywood, implicitly or explicitly, that the characters are too young, too brown, or too Muslim, or that if one show about a person of color is made, then that’s it — you don’t need to make another one. That needs to change.

“I’m a woman, a Muslim, a Pashtun, a Pakistani, and a person of color. And I watched ‘Succession,’ ‘Ted Lasso,’ and ‘Severance,’ where the leads are white people — and especially a lot of white men.

“If we can watch those shows, then I think audiences should be able to watch shows that are made by people of color, and produced and directed by people of color, with people of color in the lead. That is possible, and I’m going to make it happen,” Yousafzai said.