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Crocodile taught Quran to Russian readers

The tale is of educational nature and depicts value of cleanliness and its maintenance.

Source : | 29 May 2013

А recent cartoon illustration controversy sparked heated debates across Russia. Social media residents were very active discussing ardent arguments of offended Muslims and their opponents. But the incident turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Through this publisher's ignorance, thousands of Russians had an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the message of the Holy Quran.

Russian children since the Soviet times love the fairy tales of Kornei Chukovsky and they are published many times with fresh illustrations and colors. A recent publication of the collection of Chukovsky fairy tales however, struck our attention by an unusual usage of the Muslims Holy Book, a page of the Quran is inserted into a hand of a crocodile that is chasing a naughty boy.

The tale is of educational nature and depicts value of cleanliness and its maintenance. But why is the page from the Quran in the hand of the crocodile that supposedly teaches cleanliness to the boy? The tales publisher contacted the artist who worked on book illustration and received no concrete answer as to why she decided to use the Quranic page. Apparently the artist had no idea as to what text was written on the page of a picture she found on the Internet and her search for suitable colors ended on that particular picture.


Initially there was huge resistance to admit that it is a page from the Quran, however after it was proven by team of experts, there was no doubt, and the artist and the publisher apologised for the shortcoming and promised to remove the notorious illustration from future publications.

Interestingly enough, the page of the Quran that found its way into the tales collection contains the following message:

سُوۡرَةُ الحِجر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
الٓر‌ۚ تِلۡكَ ءَايَـٰتُ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ وَقُرۡءَانٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ (١) رُّبَمَا يَوَدُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ لَوۡ كَانُواْ مُسۡلِمِينَ (٢) ذَرۡهُمۡ يَأۡڪُلُواْ وَيَتَمَتَّعُواْ وَيُلۡهِهِمُ ٱلۡأَمَلُ‌ۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَعۡلَمُونَ (٣) وَمَآ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مِن قَرۡيَةٍ إِلَّا وَلَهَا كِتَابٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬ (٤) مَّا تَسۡبِقُ مِنۡ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلَهَا وَمَا يَسۡتَـٔۡخِرُونَ (٥) وَقَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِى نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلذِّكۡرُ إِنَّكَ لَمَجۡنُونٌ۬ (٦) لَّوۡ مَا تَأۡتِينَا بِٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ (٧) مَا نُنَزِّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةَ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَمَا كَانُوٓاْ إِذً۬ا مُّنظَرِينَ (٨) إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ (٩) وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ فِى شِيَعِ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ (١٠) وَمَا يَأۡتِيہِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَہۡزِءُونَ (١١) كَذَٲلِكَ نَسۡلُكُهُ ۥ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ (١٢) لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ‌ۖ وَقَدۡ خَلَتۡ سُنَّةُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ (١٣) وَلَوۡ فَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡہِم بَابً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَظَلُّواْ فِيهِ يَعۡرُجُونَ (١٤) لَقَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا سُكِّرَتۡ أَبۡصَـٰرُنَا بَلۡ نَحۡنُ قَوۡمٌ۬ مَّسۡحُورُونَ (١٥)

Surah Al-Hijr
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Alif, Lam, Ra. These are verses of the Book and the enlightening Qur’an. (1) On many occasions, the disbelievers will wish that they were Muslims. (2) Let them eat and enjoy, and let (their) fancy make them neglectful, for they shall soon come to know (their ultimate end). (3) We did not destroy any town without having a pre-determined time for it. (4) No people can precede their appointed time, nor can they exceed it. (5) They say, “O you to whom the Dhikr (the Qur’an) has been revealed, you are surely insane. (6) Why do you not bring the angels to us, if you are one of the truthful?” (7) We do not send down the angels except with truth, and then they shall be given no respite. (8) We, Ourselves, have sent down the Dhikr (the Qur’an), and We are there to protect it. (9) We did send the messengers before you among the groups of earlier peoples. (10) No messenger came to them but they used to mock at him. (11) Likewise, We make it (i.e. disbelief) enter into the hearts of the sinners, (12) Whereby) they do not believe in it (the Qur’an), and this has been the way of earlier people. (13) Even if We open a gate in the sky and they keep ascending through it, (14) Still they will say, “In fact our eyes have been deluded; rather we are enchanted people. (15)


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