In a Nutshell
In 1997, Saddam Hussein decided to have a copy of the Qu’ran written in his own blood. He explained that the book was written in gratitude to God, as he was forced to endure many dangers yet escaped without bloodshed.
The Whole Bushel
One of the most morbid relics of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s reign is a copy of the Qu’ran—the main religious text of Islam—written in his own blood. Reports differ vastly on the composition of the book. Some claim that it required two years and over 20 pints of Hussein’s blood, which was drawn by a nurse and turned over to an Islamic calligrapher. Others say only a small amount of blood was used and was mixed with ink and other chemicals. Some medical authorities assert that Hussein would have been at serious risk for anemia donating such a large amount of blood in such a short period of time. Typically, donors in the United States are only allowed to give one pint every two months or so.
During the reign of Saddam Hussein, the Blood Qur’an was kept in the Umm a-Ma’arik (“Mother of All Battles”) mosque in Baghdad. When the Hussein regime was deposed, the priceless artifact was locked away. There is great debate as to whether or not the 605-page book should be destroyed.
Some view it as a blasphemous symbol of evil. According to Islamic law, it is “haraam” or sinful to write the Qur’an in blood, but others assert that it would also be blasphemous to destroy a religious doctrine. Those who have seen it claim that it is indescribably beautiful, despite its macabre origins, with lettering two centimeters (0.8 in) tall and “dazzling” multicolored decorative borders.
Saddamn Hussein was hanged for his crimes in the early morning hours of December 30, 2006. The calligrapher who scribed the work now lives in the US state of Virginia and claims the Blood Qur’an is a “painful part of my life that I want to forget about.” The Umm a-Ma’arik mosque has been renamed the Umm al-Qura (“Mother of All Cities”). On August 28, 2011, a suicide bomber killed at least 280 people at the mosque.