Uni's Quran parchment one of oldest

Radiocarbon dating shows the fragments of the Quran manuscript date back to the time of Prophet Muhammad.
Radiocarbon dating shows the fragments of the Quran manuscript date back to the time of Prophet Muhammad.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • A British university said fragments of a Quran manuscript found in its library were from one of the oldest surviving copies of the Islamic text in the world, possibly written by someone who might have known Prophet Muhammad.

Radiocarbon dating indicated the parchment folios held by the University of Birmingham were at least 1,370 years old, which would make them one of the earliest written forms of the Islamic holy book in existence.

"They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam," said the university's Professor of Christianity and Islam David Thomas.

Researchers said that the manuscript consisted of two parchment leaves and was written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi.

The radiocarbon dating, said to have 95.4 per cent accuracy, found the parchment dated from between 568 AD and 645 AD. Prophet Muhammad is believed to have lived between 570 and 632.

The manuscript was part of the university's collection of 3,000 Middle Eastern documents acquired in the 1920s.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Uni's Quran parchment one of oldest'. Print Edition | Subscribe