Qatar National Library Brings Community Together with Kalila and Dimna “One Book, One Doha” Campaign

Mar 24, 2022 by QNL

Doha, Qatar  - March 24, 2022 – Qatar National Library, in collaboration with Qatar Reads and the Ministry of Culture, State of Qatar, has held a variety of cultural events for the book Kalila and Dimna, which was featured in the “One Book, One Doha” campaign. The initiative aims to bring people together to celebrate culture and learn about the rich history of Arabic literature through a shared reading experience.  

The Library held an event titled: “A Night with Kalila and Dimna” on 21 and 22 March for children and young adults to hear stories from the book and take part in engaging discussions and activities. The Library also hosted Mohammed Al Mokhtar Ahmed, Scientific Supervisor at Al Jazeera.net, for a special event, “The Importance of Kalila and Dimna in the History of Islamic Culture.” Ahmed shed light on the importance of the book to the history of Islamic culture and literature and how it served as a resource for translations in other languages.

Kalila and Dimna is one of the most famous books in the history of Arabic literature and is considered one of the most popular collections of stories ever written. The 15 full-of-wisdom tales, which all feature dynamic animals as their main heroes, were originally written in Sanskrit, an ancient language of India, before they were translated into Arabic during the Abbasid era by Muslim scholar Abdullah Ibn Al Muqaffa.  

Abeer Al Kuwari, Director of Research and Learning Services at Qatar National Library said: “Kalila and Dimna is one of the most timeless Arabic literary texts. We have many rare copies of Kalila and Dimna in our Heritage Library: two manuscripts, an old book printed in Arabic in 1819, and many other printed books that date back to early 20th century. One of the two manuscripts is written in Arabic in a poetic form and dates back to 747 After Hijrah /1347 Common Era. The other manuscript is in Persian, with beautiful color illustrations, and dates back to the 19th century Qajar Iran. Most of these rare copies are available in a digitized format through our Digital Repository. We also provide electronic copies of the book to our members through our online resources.”


“Rare books such as Kalila and Dimna are a testament to our mission in heritage preservation, protection and care. It also highlights our work in promoting cultural understanding and historical research on the region, which has positioned the Library as the nation’s primary institution of reference for Arabic and Islamic heritage and civilization,” she added.


“The theme and stories of Kalila and Dimna have been a great way to bring the community together at the Library,” said Hind Al Khulaifi, Manager of the Children’s and Young Adults’ Library at Qatar National Library.


“The book features beautifully illustrated tales with humorous stories about animals to capture the reader’s imagination. We hope the events held at the Library have helped to promote a love of reading in children and young adults, as well as sparked discussion and new perspectives,” she added.


Qatar Reads is a Qatar Foundation initiative that aims to increase national awareness of the value of reading to all members of society. Its “One Book, One Doha” campaign runs from 6 to 26 March in three phases—awareness, reading and participation. The campaign ends with a four-day festival at Katara Cultural Village from 23 to 26 March. Participating readers will have the opportunity to meet and interact in the festival through a variety of workshops, games and creative activities. For a complete list of events, please visit the Qatar Reads website (https://qatarreads.qa/one-book-one-doha/)

The Library will continue to offer educational and cultural events throughout April. For a complete list of events, please visit the Events page on the Library’s website (www.qnl.qa/en/events).