Palaeographical Aspects of Qurʾānic Manuscripts

and the Qurʾānic Fragments of the University of Birmingham

By Qasim al-Samarrai
SKU: 101099 Categories: , Date: 2017Language: EnglishEdition: 1ISBN: 9781788146890Format: PaperbackNo. of Volumes: 1No. of Pages: 76Weight: 0.101kg

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Summary

This lecture took place in London, on 23rd November 2015, and resonated with the news that materialised earlier that year about the discovery of some fragments of Qur’an kept at the Mingana Collection in the Birmingham University Library.
The assertion that the document - kept at Birmingham University - is part of one of the world’s oldest copies of the Qur’an, was strongly disputed by many scholars in the field of codicology and palaeography, who pointed out that the science of carbon dating is contradicted by other evidence. Among these scholars was Professor Qasim Al-Samarrai, Professor Emeritus of Palaeography and Codicology. Professor Al-Samarrai’s immedite reaction - after the news spread about the Birmingham fragments - was: “The fragments of the Qur’an folios that were found at Birmingham are not at all what they are claimed to be. They in fact belong to the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century AH (after Hijrah), if not later. All the features in them: the script, dotting, use of gold and red ink, as well as the separation of verses (Ayat) and chapters (Suwar)...etc., indicate that they might have been written on parchments older than the script. Therefore, they are not as early as thought. Surprisingly enough, Berlin and Tubingen claim the same with their own fragments."
In this lecture, Professor Al-Samarrai gives a detailed insight on the Birmingham folios, with a special focus on Qur’anic manuscripts palaeographical aspects in general, the accuracy of carbon dating tests, the Uthman copies of the Qur’an, as well as other aspects related to this topic.

About the Author(s)

Professor Qasim al-Samarrai
• 1958: BA (Hon) in Arabic Literature and History from the Faculty of Education, University of Baghdad.
• 1965: PhD in comparative mysticism (Ascension in Mystical Writings) from the University of Cambridge, UK under the supervision of Prof A.J. Arbery. At the same time, he held the post of lecturer at the Department of Oriental Studies, Cambridge University, UK.
• 1966 – 1969: Assistant professor at the Faculty of Shari’ah and at the Faculty of Arts – Department of Philosophy of the University of Baghdad, as well as at al-Mustansiriyya University in Baghdad.
• 1970 – 1976: Held the post of lecturer of Arabic literature and Islamic History at the Department of Arabic & Islamic Studies of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.
• 1977 – 1980: Affiliated Professor to the Department of Islamic Studies, the Faculty of Theology of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.
• 1980 – 1981: Held the post of Professor of Islamic Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Qâr Yunus, Banghâzi, Libya.
• 1981 – 1983: Held the post of Professor of Islamic Civilisation and Islamic Education in the Faculty of Arabic Studies and at the Research Center, both of the University of Muhammed bin Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
• 1983 – 1986: Held the post of Professor of Arabic & Islamic Palaeography and Codicology in the Department of Libraries & Information at the Faculty of Social Studies of the University of Muhammed bin Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
• 1987- 2003: Affiliated Professor to the Department of Studies of Comparative Religions, the Faculty of Theology of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.

Professor Al-Samarrai has published more than 60 books, the last of which is a critical edition of Al-Badr al-Safir by Al-Udfawi, in 3 vols. (together with Tariq Tatami); puplished by Al-Rabita al-Muhammadiyya lil-‘Ulama’, Rabat 2015.
He has supervised a few MA and PhD dissertations in Palaeography and Codicology in the Department of Libraries & Information at the Faculty of Social Studies of the University of Muhammed bin Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Also, he has participated extensively in national and international congresses, as well as many training courses on handling and cataloguing Islamic Manuscripts, organised by Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation (such as the courses held in Istanbul, London, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, Casablanca and Rabat), as well as in Jum’a al- Majid Center in Dubai, King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies in Riyadh, the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, the Department of Libraries of King Saud University in Riyadh and King Abdul Aziz Library in Riyadh.

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Additional information

Weight 0.101 kg
Dimensions 20 × 14 × 0.5 cm
Edition

1

Format

Paperback

ISBN-13

9781788146890

Language

English

Legacy ID

103678

Pages

76

Publication Date

2017

No. of Volumes

1