The Prophet Jacob had twelve sons, the Prophet Jesus twelve apostles. Prophet Joseph, whose story is told in the 12th surah of the Qur’an, was his father’s favourite child. Twelve loaves of bread the Jews placed at their tables. Twelve golden lions guarded the throne of Solomon. There were six steps up to the throne, and, since every climb had a descent, that meant six steps down, twelve in total. Twelve cardinal beliefs wafted through the land of Hindustan. Twelve imams succeeded the Prophet Mohammed in the Shia creed. Twelve stars ornamented Mary’s crown. And a boy named Jahan had barely completed twelve years of his life when he saw Istanbul for the very first time. – Elif Safak, The Architect’s Apprentice