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The World’s Oldest Qur’an Manuscript

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

The World’s Oldest Qur’an Manuscript

by Firas Alkhateeb

According to new research at the University of Birmingham, a collection of Quranic manuscripts held at the university may be the oldest in the world. Radiocarbon dating estimates that the manuscripts, which are written on animal skin, were written between 568 and 645 CE.

If the research is accurate, it means that the manuscripts were written at most just a few years after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ passed away in 632 CE, indicating it was probably transcribed by a Companion of his.

The manuscript is written in the now extinct Hijazi script, which lacked dots and vowel markings, making it difficult to read for someone not already familiar with the verses. By the late 600s, the Kufic script came to dominate Quranic manuscripts.

Below are scans of the manuscript along with links for further reading.

Verses 91-98 of Surat Maryam, followed by the first 12 verses of Surat TahaVerses 91-98 of Surat Maryam, followed by the first 12 verses of Surat Taha

TahaVerses 12 to 39 of Surat Taha

Verses 17 to 23 of Surat al-KahfVerses 17 to 23 of Surat al-Kahf

Verses 23 to 31 of Surat al-KahfVerses 23 to 31 of Surat al-Kahf

Link to virtual manuscript at University of Birmingham

Link to text transcription of the manuscripts by Alba Fedel

في امان الله

Your brother in Islam,
A Shabbir Ahmed

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