Albanian offers heirloom mini-Koran for sale

Skender Prushi always keeps the tiny Koran in his trouser pocket for safekeeping. Before opening it, he washes his hands and puts the book on his forehead and on his heart.

The book, which is 2.68 cm long, 2.16 cm wide and 1.09 cm thick, has been in his family for generations. Now 64 years old, Prushi wants to keep a promise he gave his father 26 years ago and send the Koran to a museum worthy of its holiness and value.

“Men in my family never lived past 70, and my children and my brother’s children did not come under the full influence of religion,” said the chain-smoking Prushi.

“So I am ready to sell the Koran at an auction. I’d be happy if it went to a museum either in the Arab or the Western world.”

….[Prushi’s] family converted to Islam [from Catholicism], producing several high ranking Muslim clerics. Skender Prushi’s father Halim, an officer of Albania’s King Zog in the 1930s, knew Arabic. He kept the book on himself as a talisman, reading from it to family and trusted friends even after the Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha [of Albania] banned religion in the late 1960s.

In a harrowing incident involving Hoxha’s men knocking on Prushi’s door, Prushi had to deny the Koran’s existence, ”and the next day jumped on a relative’s coal truck heading for the Kosovo border. By midnight, the Koran was in safe hands in the Teke (Islamic monastery) in the historic Kosovo town of Prizren.”