World’s Oldest Koran Found | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

LIFE

World’s Oldest Koran Found

Posted: Jul 23, 2015 at 1:09 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Fragments the world’s oldest Koran, which dates back almost to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, have been found hidden inside the pages of another book in a university library.

The pages from the Islamic holy book manuscript are thought to be between 1,448 and 1,371 years old, making it the earliest copy of the the Koran in existence.

It was discovered bound within the pages of another far younger Koran from the late seventh century at the library of the University of Birmingham.

Written in ink in an early form of Arabic script on parchment made from animal skin, it is thought the pages were added to the younger manuscript due to confusion over where they belonged.

Researchers say the script used in the two books is similar, meaning the older pages could have been thought to belong to the seventh century Koran.

The two ancient pages, which contain parts of the Suras, or chapters, 18 to 20, may have been written by someone who actually knew the Prophet Muhammad who founded the Islamic faith.  The discovery is thought to be particularly significant as in the early years of Islam, the Koran was thought to have been memorised and passed down orally rather written.

Professor David Thomas, an expert on Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘If it is what we now think it is, is very important indeed.

‘Islam is associated, of course, with the Prophet Muhammad, and he lived in the late sixth and early seventh century.

‘Now this manuscript could well have been written just after he died.’

Speaking to the BBC, he added: ‘The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad.

‘He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally.’