LONDON— The University of Birmingham says new scientific tests on a Quran parchment place it close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
The university said Wednesday that radiocarbon dating has put the parchment among one of the oldest known manuscripts of the Muslim holy book known to survive. The analysis dated the parchment close to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.
The manuscript has long been part of the university’s Cadbury Research Library. But it had not been bound properly and was attached to the leaves of a similar manuscript that was not as old.
Professor David Thomas says the finding could well “take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam.”
Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, Lead Curator for Persian and Turkish Manuscripts at the British Library, described the discovery of the Quran fragments as “news to rejoice Muslim hearts”.
“The tests carried out on the parchment of the Birmingham folios yield the strong probability that the animal from which it was taken was alive during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad or shortly afterwards.
This means that the parts of the Quran that are written on this parchment can, with a degree of confidence, be dated to less than two decades after Mohammad’s death.
“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Quran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.”
The manuscript will be on public display at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, from 2 October until 25 October.
Source: Associate Press