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9/18/2016 BirminghamQur'anmanuscriptdatedamongtheoldestintheworld

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BirminghamQur'anmanuscriptdated
amongtheoldestintheworld
Postedon22Jul2015

University of Birmingham Quran manuscript amo...

AQuranmanuscriptheldbytheUniversityofBirminghamhasbeenplacedamongtheoldest
intheworldthankstomodernscientificmethods.

Radiocarbonanalysishasdatedtheparchmentonwhichthetextiswrittentotheperiod
betweenAD568and645with95.4%accuracy.Thetestwascarriedoutinalaboratoryatthe
UniversityofOxford.TheresultplacestheleavesclosetothetimeoftheProphet
Muhammad,whoisgenerallythoughttohavelivedbetweenAD570and632.

ResearchersconcludethattheQuranmanuscriptisamongthe
earliestwrittentextualevidenceoftheIslamicholybookknownto
survive.ThisgivestheQuranmanuscriptinBirminghamglobal
significancetoMuslimheritageandthestudyofIslam.

SusanWorrall,DirectorofSpecialCollections(CadburyResearch
Library),attheUniversityofBirmingham,said:Theradiocarbon
datinghasdeliveredanexcitingresult,whichcontributes
significantlytoourunderstandingoftheearliestwrittencopiesofthe
Quran.WearethrilledthatsuchanimportanthistoricaldocumentishereinBirmingham,the
mostculturallydiversecityintheUK.

TheQuranmanuscriptispartoftheUniversitysMinganaCollectionofMiddleEastern
manuscripts,heldintheCadburyResearchLibrary.FundedbyQuakerphilanthropistEdward

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9/18/2016 BirminghamQur'anmanuscriptdatedamongtheoldestintheworld

Cadbury,thecollectionwasacquiredtoraisethestatusofBirminghamasanintellectual
centreforreligiousstudiesandattractprominenttheologicalscholars.

Consistingoftwoparchmentleaves,theQuranmanuscriptcontainspartsofSuras(chapters)
18to20,writtenwithinkinanearlyformofArabicscriptknownasHijazi.Formanyyears,the
manuscripthadbeenmisboundwithleavesofasimilarQuranmanuscript,whichisdatable
tothelateseventhcentury.

SusanWorrallsaid:Byseparatingthetwoleavesandanalysingtheparchment,wehave
broughttolightanamazingfindwithintheMinganaCollection.

Explainingthecontextandsignificanceofthediscovery,
ProfessorDavidThomas,ProfessorofChristianityand
IslamandNadirDinshawProfessorof

InterreligiousRelationsattheUniversityofBirmingham,
said:TheradiocarbondatingoftheBirminghamQuran
folioshasyieldedastartlingresultandrevealsoneofthe
mostsurprisingsecretsoftheUniversityscollections.
TheycouldwelltakeusbacktowithinafewyearsoftheactualfoundingofIslam.

AccordingtoMuslimtradition,theProphetMuhammadreceivedtherevelationsthatformthe
Quran,thescriptureofIslam,betweentheyearsAD610and632,theyearofhisdeath.At
thistime,thedivinemessagewasnotcompiledintothebookforminwhichitappearstoday.
Instead,therevelationswerepreservedinthememoriesofmen.Partsofithadalsobeen
writtendownonparchment,stone,palmleavesandtheshoulderbladesofcamels.Caliph
AbuBakr,thefirstleaderoftheMuslimcommunityafterMuhammad,orderedthecollectionof
allQuranicmaterialintheformofabook.Thefinal,authoritativewrittenformwascompleted
andfixedunderthedirectionofthethirdleader,CaliphUthman,inaboutAD650.

MuslimsbelievethattheQurantheyreadtodayisthesametextthatwasstandardised
underUthmanandregarditastheexactrecordoftherevelationsthatweredeliveredto
Muhammad.

ThetestscarriedoutontheparchmentoftheBirminghamfoliosyieldthestrongprobability
thattheanimalfromwhichitwastakenwasaliveduringthelifetimeoftheProphet
Muhammadorshortlyafterwards.ThismeansthatthepartsoftheQuranthatarewrittenon
thisparchmentcan,withadegreeofconfidence,bedatedtolessthantwodecadesafter
Muhammadsdeath.Theseportionsmusthavebeeninaformthatisveryclosetotheformof
theQuranreadtoday,supportingtheviewthatthetexthasundergonelittleornoalteration
andthatitcanbedatedtoapointveryclosetothetimeitwasbelievedtoberevealed.

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TheQuranmanuscriptwillbeonpublicdisplayattheUniversityofBirminghamfrom
Friday2OctoberuntilSunday25October.

ENDS

Formediaenquiries,pleasecontacttheUniversityofBirminghamPressOffice.

Notestoeditors
CadburyResearchLibrary
TheCadburyResearchLibrary(CRL)isthenameoftheUniversityofBirminghamsSpecial
Collectionsdepartment.TheCRLholdsmorethan4millionmanuscriptsand200,000rare
books,includingtheMinganaCollectionofMiddleEasternManuscripts,whichisdesignated
asbeingofOutstandingInternationalImportancebyArtsCouncilEngland.SusanWorrallis
DirectoroftheCRL.Thefacilityisopentoallinterestedresearchers.

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