Islamic Perspectives

Qur’an’s oldest manuscript found in a German library

Berlin: According to German Radio’s Urdu Service, a 7-page manuscript of the Qur’an written on very thin pieces of leather is preserved in Berlin’s Prussian Staatsbibliothek i.e. State Library of Prussia, set up by some researchers for study and research in educational, historical and other fields. According to DPA, a German New agency, complete manuscript of the Qur’an is not available but only 7 pages of this Qur’anic manuscript written on thin sheets or pages of leather are preserved in this library which, according to latest scientific method of testing the age of any object i.e. radio carbon dating technology, are considered to be written about 20 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in 571 in Makkah and died in 632 (CE) in Madinah).

According to Prussian State Library sources, the complete Qur’anic manuscript is not in its possession but only 7 pages, which are part of a complete manuscript written by hand on thin sheets of leather, are in this Library. According to the same German news agency DPA, earlier these 7 pages of the Qur’anic manuscript were in the possession of a prominent German scholar and researcher who was staying in Cairo during late 19th and early 20th century period for research purposes. After his death, all his possessions in the form of research papers and documents etc were purchased by the Prussian State Library. Subsequently these Qur’anic manuscripts were sent to Zurich (Switzerland) University’s laboratory for finding out its age by means of radio carbon dating and it was found that this particular Qur’an (of which these 7 pages were a part) would have been written during the years 606 and 652 i.e. about 20 years after Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) death (in the year 632).

In yet another such case another German University which was in possession of about 77 pages of the manuscript of some other Qur’an, had got it radio carbon tested for finding out the approximate age of these 77 pages of the Qur’anic manuscript, which were found to be written about 20 or 40 years after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s death.

MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2015 on page no. 20

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