The Almighty Allah promised in Verse 09 of Chapter 15 – Al Hijr in the Holy Quran that he will preserve it! A miracle from Albania in Europe establishes this glorious act of preservation by our Creator and the Holy Quran’s Creator. This preservation happened despite the hunting down of the 19th-century holy book from all the houses during the wretched and tyrannical rule of the Communists in Albania in the 20th century. But its size is not the only remarkable thing about the Quran. It is also responsible for converting the Prushi family from Catholicism to Islam.
Surely We have revealed this reminder (The Qur’an), and We will surely preserve it Ourself. Verse 09, Chapter 15, Al Hijr, Holy Quran.
“My great-great-grandparents were digging the ground for a new house in the Djakovica region of Kosovo when they found the perfectly preserved body of a man buried there,” says the present owner of the smallest copy of the Holy Quran, Sikander Halim Prushi from Tirana in Albania. As they say in Urdu – Muhammed (Sa) ke Ghulamon ka Kafan Maila Nahi Hota! The coffin of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)’s followers is not spoilt. So, no wonder the body was perfectly preserved for many decades long after its burial.
“The Quran was found intact lying over his heart.” The Catholic Prushi family took the discovery as a divine sign and embraced Islam. His grandfather, an officer in the army of Albania’s King Ahmet Zog in the 1930s, knew Arabic and would invite friends to his home every night to read verses from it.
Years later, under the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha – who banned all forms of religion and sent all practicing believers to prison – the book partially survived because it could be so easily hidden despite an extensive search by the dictator Enver’s security forces. Just two centimeters wide and one centimeter thick, the holy book almost disappears in the palm of Prushi’s hand, and it can only be read with a small magnifying glass embedded in its case.
For generations, the postage stamp-sized holy book has been passed down in his family – surviving wars and one of the world’s most militant “godless regimes.” Scholars say it is one of the smallest Quran on record, with the little holy book in a silver case blackened with age. “We have kept it from generation to generation with absolute dedication,” declares Mario Prushi proudly.
This smallest copy of the Quran is difficult to date without scientific analysis, but according to Elton Karaj – a researcher in Quranic studies at Beder University in Tirana – the 900-page copy has been around since at least the 19th century.
“This Quran was printed in a minimal format, one of the smallest in the world. From its appearance, its publication dates back to the end of the 19th century. It is an extraordinary work, precious. Fortunately, this copy is in Albania,” opines Karaj.
It is significant to note that Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are three Muslim-majority countries in the heart of Europe. Albania is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country since the mid-1990s thousands of young Sunni Muslim Albanians have travelled to Arab and Asian countries on educational scholarships, with many returning to Albania embracing different religious schools other than the Hanafi, which is traditionally predominant in the Balkans. These foreign-educated students now dominate several mosques, madrasas, and other Islamic institutions in Albania. Many Albanians enroll at the world-famous Al Azhar University in Egypt. The Grand Mufti of Albania, Hadhrat Bujar Supahiu is also a Sunni Muslim. He graduated from Al Azhar University. Of late, there has been some Salafi influence too. The Sufi denominations – Quadria, Rifaia, and Tijania have spread Islam for centuries in Albania. The Shii Bektashi denomination is found in some places.