Erstwhile Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein once wrote a romance novel, but that was totally non-controversial compared to his later literary adventure. As the supreme ruler of his nation, Saddam indulged his whims without the input of Islamic theologians, as in the time he commissioned a copy of the Qur’an to be written with his own blood!
The dictator had recently re-embraced his Islamic faith after his son, Uday Hussein, narrowly survived an assassination attempt on December 12, 1996. In an official letter published in 2000, Saddam explained that the book was intended as thanks to God for bringing him safely through many ‘conspiracies and dangers’ throughout his long political career: “My life has been full of dangers in which I should have lost a lot of blood…but since I have bled only a little, I asked somebody to write God’s words with my blood in gratitude.”
To write the book, Saddam commissioned calligrapher Abbas Shakir Joody al-Baghdadi. Over the next two years a nurse drew a total of 27 litres of Saddam’s blood and delivered it to al-Baghdadi, who after treating it with chemicals to stabilize it, used the liquid to write out the 114 chapters and 6000 verses of the Islamic holy book. Completed in 2000, the finished book runs 605 pages and is written in lettering two centimetres in height with borders decorated in intricate blue, red, and black designs.
Saddam is no more, but the blood Qur’an remains, and presents quite a paradox. While the book and its contents are holy to Muslims, human blood is considered unclean, so what is the status of this particular copy? And is it really Saddam's blood -or that of someone else? The calligrapher al-Baghdadi refuses to discuss the project to this day. Read about the blood Qur’an and what it means at Today I Found Out.