Fragments of world's oldest Quran found in UK

Researchers at the Birmingham University have stumbled upon the fragments of the world’s oldest Quran, dating back more than 1,300 years; radiocarbon tests showed the manuscripts to be from between AD 568 and 645

London: Researchers at the Birmingham University in United Kingdom have discovered that fragments of a Quran manuscript in the varsity library are among the oldest in the world, dating back at least 1,370 years, close to the time of Prophet Muhammad.

QuranThe test, which was carried out in a laboratory at the University of Oxford, places the parchment close to the time of Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and AD 632. Pic for representation/AFP

Radiocarbon analysis has placed the parchment on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4% accuracy.

The test, which was carried out in a laboratory at the University of Oxford, places the parchment close to the time of Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.

Consisting of two parchment leaves, the Quran manuscript contains parts of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi.

“According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Quran  between the years AD 610 and 632. At this time, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men’. Parts of it had also been written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels,” said Professor David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam, and Nadir Dinshaw, professor of interreligious relations at the University of Birmingham.

“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Quran read today, so it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed,” Thomas said.

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