Sartaj Ahmad Sofi
Carvings and impressions leave indelible marks on the minds and hearts of people more than the words. The fact is known to all but been acknowledged and appreciated throughout the history of the world. The subject of history holds its basis on ancient carvings and impressions. If the impressions will not be considered, it will confiscate history. What remains left may be the abstract notion of the things which is mostly impossible to conceive and believe. Even the geographical boundaries demand archeological remains to separate the borders between the countries and regions. Carvings and impressions have work essentially in the formation of history of the world. Today, these carvings have an important role to familiar us about the history and the origin of the things.
Quran, the divine book of God for Muslims, which emphasizes on the history of the past civilizations of the world makes it ample clear that carving are more attractive than the words. For that matter, Allah sent books for the guidance of the people along with the Prophets. Sometimes Prophets were sent without books but it had never happened the books were sent without the prophets. God knows the nature of humanity that it accepts carvings and impressions more than the words.
The most miserable period for the Muslim world was when the Saudi government demolished the heritage history of the Muslims in the name of religion. Today, the world is craving and yearns about the impressions and carvings of the past Arabia. The emotional feeling that these carvings have has lost the spirit what we observe now. Same is the case with other heritages sites of the Muslim world.
Taking the principle into consideration that impressions are more influential than the words, the recently opened ‘Holy Quran Park’ generates more relevance. This park was maintained essentially for the Muslims visitors to visit and get an idea about the extinct impressions of their history. It essentially focuses on those places, persons, events and miracles that are mentioned in Quran. It is meant for the promotion of tourism, on the one hand, and for regaining the idea about the Quranic events of the past nations, on the other hand.
Dubai Municipality initiated very recently a park developed by Khawaneej called ‘Holy Quran Park’. The park was established on a 64 hectare area at a cost of Dh200 million. The park consists of 12 gardens containing 45 types of those plants that are mentioned in the sacred texts of Islam viz. bananas, pomegranates, olives, melons, grapes, figs, garlic, leeks, onions, corn, lentils, wheat, fennel seeds, ginger, tamarind, basil, pumpkins, cucumbers, and so on. To grow under certain temperatures and special environmental determinants, all plants are contained in the Glass House. The glass house marks a distinct architectural design at the highest point of the park, allowing visitors to see all its elements. The park also includes several kiosks in all its gardens that display information on all types of plants and cultivated trees, about the benefits of their uses in food and medicine, and the Quranic verses they are mentioned in.
The park is surrounded by a low wall that reveals its beautiful features, a Moses Stick Miracle Lake and shops that sell herbs and plants mentioned in the Holy Quran. The park also comprises solar energy trees that are inspired by the art of Arabic and Islamic fonts, designed specifically for the park that also contains solar panels, Wi-Fi, and phone-charging stations.
Within the park, two areas shaded with palm trees have been devoted for children from the age group of 2 to 12 years. Further facilities include a children’s play area, an Umrah corner, outdoor theatre, running and cycling tracks.
The park has been developed with the aim to promote Islamic culture and roles of civilizations. For that matter, the park contains cultural elements that bring closer the interaction between different cultures. It holds uniqueness in terms of being an innovative concept and having an Islamic character. Indeed, it forms first of its kind project in the world, the park is characterized by its modern designs and a number of international specifications. It also has its beautiful green landscapes and diversity, and the exhibits promote the dissemination of a culture of tolerance.
The park was established recently and is still under construction. It is meant to offer wonderful insight mentioned in the Holy Quran. The primary aim of the park is to introduce the miracles of the Quran through a variety of surprises. It depicts the impressions of numerous sites mentioned in the Quran.
Considering it in context of tourism, it holds tremendous prospects in the tourism phenomenon which can be evaluated from its inauguration. It was opened in Dubai on Friday March 29, 2019 and received an impressive 100,000 visitors in its first week alone. The park is enthusiastically visited by Muslims not only from Dubai but by the visitors belongs to other parts of the world. It can be considered as a new trend into the tourism market on the one side and intra-Muslim tourism on the other side which confirms the significant number of tourists.
To conclude, it can be established that the ‘Holy Quran Park’ is an addition in the whole phenomenon of Islamic tourism and is a new trend in intra-Muslim tourism industry. There are number of questions pertains to the theology aspect of tourism which needs much human endeavor to respond. Besides, the park is undoubtedly a significant mechanism to develop the tourism market and generate revenue and work to provide the moments of pleasure for the people, in general.
—The author is a Research Scholar working on the theme of Religious Tourism at Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org