Calligrapher Mohammad Sabir Khedri with the largest Koran in the world
Calligrapher Mohammad Sabir Khedri with the largest Koran in the world

It has taken an Afghan calligrapher five years to complete the world's largest Koran, the Islamic holy book.

The project saw master calligrapher Mohammad Sabir Khedri work with nine of his students for five years to complete a Koran that measures 2.28 metres (90 inches) by 1.55 metres.

Khedri said the project was both the most difficult and the most rewarding of his life.

"I have tried with all my heart and soul to reach this goal. Doing the calligraphy for the holy book has been the biggest challenge in my life," he told Radio Free Afghanistan.

"This idea was a spiritual move to be closer to the path of God," Khedri said.

"I wanted to use as many tasteful colours as possible to make this holy book look beautiful."

The lavish book blends gold script with millions of tiny colourful points.

The Koran is reported to be worth $500,000 (£320,000). It weighs 500 kilograms and has 218 pages made out of cloth and paper, which are bound by a leather cover made from the skins of 21 goats.

The book, funded by Alhaj Syed Mansoor Naderi, the leader of the minority Shia Ismailies in northern Afghanistan, was printed in Turkey.

It has now been certified by the Afghan ministry of Haj and religious affairs and is on display at the Kabul cultural centre.

Fazilhadi Muslimyar, chairman of the upper house of parliament, hailed the project as an historic achievement.

"There is only one Koran and for the largest to be in Afghanistan is due to the hard work of these young people, who have presented it to the Afghan people. Today, Muslims in Afghanistan have shown the world once again that the Koran is of such value that we have spent our own resources to make history for ourselves," he said.