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Early copy of the Qur’an discovered

Researchers in Germany have discovered that a manuscript of Qur’an written between 20 and 40 years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, making it one of the earliest copies of the Islamic holy book known to be in existence.

early copy of quran

Taking a sample from the manuscript for dating. Photo: Dr. Wilfried Lagler/Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen

Scholars at the Coranica Project, part of the University of Tübingen, examined a manuscript written in Kufic script, one of the oldest forms of Arabic writing. Using carbon-14 dating on three samples of the manuscript parchment, the researchers concluded that it was more than 95 percent likely to have originated in the period 649-675 AD.

The manuscript is one of more than 20 fragments of Kufic script held by the Tübingen University Library. This particular item was donated to the university in the 19th century.

The entire manuscript has already been digitized and can be viewed here.

The Coranica project, a collaboration between the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres Paris and the Berlin-Brandenburgischen Academy of the Sciences and Humanities, sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and France’s Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR). The project investigates the Quran in the context of its historical background using documents such as manuscripts and information derived from archaeological excavations. Click here to visit their website.

See also:

Was a Woman the first editor of the Qur’an?

 

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