PERF No. 665: The Earliest Extant Manuscript Of The Sirah Of Prophet Muhammad By Ibn Hisham
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First Created: 23rd February 2005
Last Updated: 9th March 2005
First half of the third century of hijra. This manuscript is believed to be transmitted by students of Ibn Hisham (d. 218 AH /834 CE), perhaps soon after his death.
PERF No. 665
Fine papyrus 11 x 13 cm. Central section of folio covering 16 lines.
Small well formed early cursive hand with marked angularity. Note especially the initial alif with its consistent bend to the right. The triangular head of the mim is particularly conspicuous in verso. Diacritical points or dots are sparingly used and only for the letters ta, tha, dal with dot underneath, zain, nun and ya.
The text contained in the manuscript concerns with the second meeting of `Aqabah.
According to Nabia Abbott:
It is, nevertheless, illustrative of the simple nature and limited extent of variants in the course of early transmission... The papyrus thus affords us, at one and the same time, the earliest text fragment and the earliest extant manuscript fragment of the famous Sirah.
Austrian National Library, Vienna.
We are grateful to the Austrian National Library, Vienna, for providing us the manuscript.
 N. Abbott, Studies In Arabic Literary Papyri: Historical Texts, 1957, Volume I, University of Chicago Press: Chicago (USA), p. 61. Plate 5 in the end shows both recto and verso images.
 ibid., p. 64.
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