A view of artifacts and
manuscripts in the Grand Mosque Library in Makkah
Believed to be
established 1270 years ago and considered as one of the most
important libraries in the world, the Grand Mosque library in
Makkah tul Mukarremah is attracting good crowd this Umrah season
in Ramadan. The pilgrims are overwhelmed by the rare peek into the
history the Library is providing to its visitors.
Though Muhammad Bajoudah, the
manager of the library, does not know the exact date of the
establishment, he believed it to be before the year 160 AH, over
1,270 years ago, a media report said.
“It is difficult to say when exactly
the library was established but there are indications that the
library existed during the era of Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi in the
year 160 AH,” Arab News quoted him as saying.
"Muslim caliphs, thinkers and rich
men kept books that they had written in the library as well as
copies of the Holy Qur'an that they had donated as wakf
(endowment)", he added.
He recalled that there were two
domes in the library during that historical era used for storing
water and books, which were mostly copies of the Holy Qur'an and
Bajoudah said the library now has
more than 100,000 books, 5,000 original manuscripts, 2,000
manuscripts in the form of photocopies and 3,000 manuscripts on
He added that the library has 16
sections including an audio-visual department responsible for
recording sermons and religious lessons delivered in the Grand
“We have a total of 101,958 CDs in
various languages containing these lectures and lessons,” he said.
He said the library has a microfilm
section that contains all rare manuscripts and these can be
reproduced in a hard copy format for anyone interested in reading
Bajoudah said the library has a
special section on the two holy mosques containing old and new
photos, maps, books and documents.
“Everything concerning the two holy
mosques is found in this section,” he said.
The chief librarian said there is a
special section for women that is open in the morning and evening,
allowing women readers to easily obtain any data they may be
He said the library has an
electronic division especially established for people with special
needs to enable them to read rare books and manuscripts on CDs.
“There are more than 2,300 audio
tapes and 700 readings of rare books for use by the visually
impaired. Books are also produced for them in Braille,” Arab
News quoted the manager of the library.