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Updates for the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
30th October 2013
On the night of April 24, 1944, British air force bombers hammered a former Jesuit college here housing the Bavarian Academy of Science. The 16th-century building crumpled in the inferno. Among the treasures lost, later lamented Anton Spitaler, an Arabic scholar at the academy, was a unique photo archive of ancient manuscripts of the Qur'an. The 450 rolls of film had been assembled before the war for a bold venture: a study of the evolution of the Qur'an, the text Muslims view as the verbatim transcript of God's word. The wartime destruction made the project "outright impossible," Mr. Spitaler wrote in the 1970s. Mr. Spitaler was lying. The cache of photos survived, and he was sitting on it all along. The truth is only now dribbling out to scholars – and a Qur'an research project buried for more than 60 years has risen from the grave [A. Higgins, "The Lost Archive", Wall Street Journal, 12th January 2008, p. 1].
Beginning in 2012, Corpus Coranicum has slowly begun to publish these early manuscripts by digitising their images and making them available online along with other useful information, in what may ultimately prove to be a catalyst for western studies of the Qur'anic text. One such manuscript, Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a, a single image of which was first published in 1936, has now been fully input into the manuscript database and contains more than three quarters of the entire Qur'anic text (~78% of the total text of the Qur'an). A palaeographic analysis assigns this manuscript to the Umayyad period, most probably the late first or early second century of hijra. A brief summary of the manuscript is provided along with a selection of images showing the different hands used to scribe the text. This can be seen at Codex Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a - A Qur'ān Located At Topkapı Sarayı Museum, Istanbul, From 1st/ 2nd Century Hijra. Importantly, this manuscript is an additional witness to the type of script heralded by Marcel 13, which scholars have shown is likely to be a by-product of ʿAbd al-Malik's scribal programs.
Relying on the single image published in 1936, Adolf Grohmann noticed similarities between this folio (including other manuscripts) and dated 1st century Arabic papyri and ascribed Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a to the 1st century hijra; however, considering the manuscript as a whole, it seems more accurate to ascribe it to a slightly later stage of development. We will thus remove this manuscript entry from Table I in a forthcoming update to our Concise List Of Arabic Manuscripts Of The Qur'ān Attributable To The First Century Hijra, until further more complete studies give a better approximation of its antiquity.
This article is added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.
28th June 2013
Addition of an almost complete ḥijāzī Qur'an, two inscriptions from Makkah (one of them containing a verse from the Qur'an) and a glass half dīnār weight.
Kodex Wetzstein II 1913 - A Qur'ān Located At Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, From 1st / 2nd Century Hijra. This manuscript was written in ḥijāzī script and contains 210 folios. Originally, it may have contained 245-250 folios. The extant folios contain about 85% of the text of the Qur'an, thus making it one the earliest and almost complete ḥijāzī Qur'ans.
A Rock Inscription From Makkah Containing Qur'an 4:87, 80 AH / 699-700 CE. The inscription contains complete Qur'an 4:87.
A Rock Inscription From Makkah, 80 AH / 699-700 CE. It has long, slender and slightly inclined form of writing that is reminiscent of ḥijāzī script.
A Glass Half Dīnār Weight In The Name Of Caliph ʿAbd Al-Malik Ibn Marwān, 65-86 AH / 685-705 CE. This glass half dīnār weight may be from the latter part of Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān's rule when coinage reforms came into effect, for the gold coinage, in 77 AH / 696-697 CE.
We have updated Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE to include the inscription containing a verse from the Qur'an.
4th April 2013
This update deals with documentary evidence in the first 100 years of Islam.
We begin with Two Seals From The Time Of Muʿāwiya Bin Abī Sufyān, c. 44 AH / 664 CE. Umayyad caliph Muʿāwiya established two diwans in his administration - Diwan al-Rasa‘il and Diwan al-Khatam. The former looked after correspondence received by caliph and drafted his replies. This was handled by his katib (secretary). Once a document had been drafted, it was passed on to the Diwan al-Khatam, or “office of the seal”, where two or more copies of each document were made and sealed, at least one to be deposited in the archives while the other was checked, sealed and dispatched to its recipient. This arrangement was set up as a means of preventing forgeries. After Muʿāwiya was recognised as head of the Muslim community he named ʿAbd Allāh b. Amīr Governor of Baṣra for the second time in 41 AH, where he served until his dismissal in 44 AH. These seals would have validated both the documents delivered to ʿAbd Allāh and the official copy that was kept in the Diwan al-Khatam. With this important inscription, we have updated Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam.
Early coins provide important evidence for the political development and growth of the Islamic empire. Three interesting coins are presented below:
Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 82 AH / 701-702 CE. Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: Naṣr Allāh al-ḥaqq ("May God give victory to the truth").
Transitional Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Governor ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Āmir, 72 AH / 691-92 CE. Obverse field: Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. Middle Persian legend on the left of the bust: GDH ’pzwt' xwarrah abzūd ("Increase in glory") and on the right: ’pdwl ’cyc Y ’pdwl’ Y ’myl’n ("ʿAbdul ʿAzīz ī ʿAbdullāh ī Āmirān"), i.e., the name of the governor. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / al-ʿazīz ("In the name of God / the Great"). Reverse field: Absence of typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Instead it contains the legend in Middle Persian in five line, three of which state full shahada in Middle Persian. This full shahada is perhaps the earliest surviving physical record of it in Pahlavi.
A Unique Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 83 AH / 702-703 CE. Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: Muḥammadun rasūlu’llāhi wa’lladhīna yatlūna maʿahu ashiddāʾu ʿalā’l-kuffāri ruḥamāʾu baynahum ("Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, those who recite with him are severe [in their dealings] with the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves").
One of them (i.e., the last) is a unique coin containing part of a verse from the Qur'an as well as mentions Prophet Muḥammad. Consequently, we have updated Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE and Dated Texts Mentioning Prophet Muḥammad From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE, respectively.
The weight of the coins, whether dirham or dīnār, was kept in a close range during early Islam. To achieve this, standard weights were used. One such example is A Glass Dirham Weight In The Name Of Muḥammad Ibn Marwān, 73-91 AH / 692-709 CE. This standard weight was issued by Muḥammad bin Marwān while he was serving as Governor of the North, where he would have been in charge of implementing the Umayyad coinage reform of 77-78 AH. This piece would have acted as the control tool against which the mint could validate the standard weight of its precious metal coinage. It is certainly the earliest surviving documentary evidence of the famous seven to ten ratio between the weight of the mithqal and the dirham, a standard which has survived in the traditional usage ever since that time.
24th February 2013
The science of genetics can also be used to work out the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the Samaritans. In layman terms, the MRCA is the most recent individual from which an organism or a group of people descended. It is impossible to precisely identify the specific MRCA of a group of people. However, an estimate of the time at which the MRCA lived can be given. We have added this information in the article The “Samaritan” Error In The Qur'an? This article has been reworked slightly to improve readability.
This article is in the section Refutation Of The So-Called External Contradictions In The Qur'an.
Addition of Arabe 330g – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra At The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Written in the ḥijāzī script. Total number of folios are 24 = 20 (Arabe 330g, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) + 4 (Is. 1615 II, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland). These folios contain about ~15% of the text of the Qur'an.
This article is added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.