Codex Arabe 328c – A Qur'anic Manuscript From 1st Century Of Hijra
© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.
First Composed: 10th July 2009
Last Updated: 23rd July 2015
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, Folio 1r
Folios from Codex Arabe 328c.
1st century of hijra.
Two folios located at University of Birmingham (Islamic Arabic 1572a, earlier part of M 1572) had been dated to 2nd-3rd century hijra, primarily on the basis of its script which was wrongly categorised as kufic.[1,2] These folios have now been subjected to radiocarbon analysis at the University of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit and have been dated to 568-645 CE with 95.4% probability.
Arabe 328c and Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a.
Size & Folios
Parchment manuscript with an approximate size of 33.3 cm x 24.5 cm. Writing area approximately: 30.0 (31.2) cm x 21.5 cm. There are 23-25 lines per page. Traces of ruling are visible.
Total number of folios are 18 = 16 (Arabe 328c, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) + 2 (Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, University of Birmingham, Birmingham).
History Of The Manuscript
The Birmingham part of this manuscript belongs to what is commonly known as the ‘Mingana Collection’. The core Mingana Collection, of manuscripts and manuscript fragments, was built up between 1924-29 through the common interest and energy of Dr. Edward Cadbury and Alphonse Mingana. Edward Cadbury, owner of family's chocolate factory at Bournville, sponsored Alphonse Mingana in three journeys to the Middle East, and subsequently engaged Mingana to catalogue much of the collection. This must represent one of the last such European Orientalist enterprises undertaken to scour the Middle East for manuscripts.
When Mingana worked in Manchester, from 1915-32, cataloguing the Arabic manuscripts of the John Rylands Library, Edward Cadbury sponsored him to undertake three journeys to the Middle East to collect manuscripts. In the spring of 1924 in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, Mingana acquired twenty-two Arabic and some Syriac manuscripts for the John Rylands Library and other Syriac manuscripts for Cadbury. A visit in the autumn of 1925 to Syria, Iraq and South Kurdistan yielded mostly Syriac manuscripts with some Arabic. Another in 1929 to Sinai Peninsula (St. Catherine's monastery) and Upper Egypt produced mostly Arabic manuscripts, with some Coptic and Greek.
The history of Arabe 328 of which Arabe 328c is a part, is easier to trace. This manuscript of the Qur'an along with a great many others was acquired by Jean-Louis Asselin de Cherville (d. 1822), consular agent of France in Egypt. Subsequently in 1833 the whole collection was sold to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. The ultimate provenance of all these folios is the ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ mosque, Fusṭāṭ. Thus it is likely the Birmingham part of this manuscript was acquired by Mingana whilst he was travelling in Egypt.
In 2009, we suggested M. 1572 and Arabe 328c belonged to the same codex in our article Concise List of Arabic Manuscripts of the Qur'an Attributable to the First Century Hijra. In 2011 a detailed study regarding the history and provenance of this manuscript was made by Alba Fedeli who established that M. 1572 comprised two distinct manuscripts. Folios 1 and 7, namely Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, belonged to the same codex as Arabe 328c and the remaining seven folios, 2-6, 9, namely Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572b, belonged to the same codex as Marcel 17 (National Library of Russia) and Ms. 67 [Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (Qatar)].
Script & Ornamentation
Manuscript on parchment. Brown ink. The consonants are occasionally differentiated by oblique dashes. Vocalization is absent. A group of usually four to six strokes denote ending of the verses. Groups of five or ten verses are not indicated. A strip separates sūrahs from each other, perhaps added by a later hand. However, the sūrah separator motifs are different. In folio 3v, three undulating threads of orange-red colour separated by dots run parallel over the entire width. In the outer margin, the three nets are joined to draw a very rough stylized palm leaf, partly cropped. On the other hand, the dots and stylized palm leaf are absent in folio 1r of Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a. In folio 12v, two orange-red threads run across the width and terminate in the outer margin with a coarse pattern similar to that of folio 3v. The sūrah separator in folio 9r has a red-orange net with blackheads from where same-colored tendrils emanate from the outer margin and splits the middle of the sheet.
Below are the published information of folios in this codex.
Codex Arabe 328c Folio Number Qur'anic Surah Image Publication Comments 1r 10:35 – 10:48 – – 1v 10:49 – 10:61 – – 2r 10:62 – 10:74 – – 2v 10:74 – 10:90 – – 3r 10:90 – 10:104 – – 3v 10:104 – 10:109; 11:1 – 11:7 – – 4r 11:7 – 11:18 – – 4v 11:18 – 11:31 – – 5r 11:31 – 11:44 – – 5v 11:44 – 11:57 – – 6r 11:57 – 11:70 – – 6v 11:70 – 11:84 – – 7r 11:84 – 11:95 – – 7v 11:95 – 11:110 – – – 18:17 – 18:23 Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, VMR, University of Birmingham – – 18:23 – 18:31 Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, VMR, University of Birmingham – – 19:91 – 19:98; 20:1 – 20:13 Fedeli, 2011; Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, VMR, University of Birmingham – – 20:13 – 20:40 Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572a, VMR, University of Birmingham – 8r 20:99 – 20:113 – Partially torn folio 8v 20:118 – 20:128 – Partially torn folio 9r 20:131 – 20:135; 21:1 – 21:10 – – 9v 21:10 – 21:29 – – 10r 21:29 – 21:43 – – 10v 21:43 – 21:60 – – 11r 21:61 – 21:78 – – 11v 21:78 – 21:90 – – 12r 21:90 – 21:105 – – 12v 21:105 – 21:112; 22:1 – 22:5 – – 13r 22:5 – 22:18 – – 13v 22:18 – 22:28 – – 14r 22:28 – 22:38 – – 14v 22:38 – 22:49 – – 15r 22:49 – 22:58 – Partially torn folio 15v 22:62 – 22:72 – Partially torn folio 16r 22:73 – 22:78; 23:1 – 23:11 – – 16v 23:12 – 23:27 – –
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (France); University of Birmingham, Birmingham (United Kingdom).
 H. L. Gottschalk (Ed.), Catalogue Of The Mingana Collection Of Manuscripts: Now In The Possession Of The Trustees Of The Woodbrooke Settlement, Selly Oak, Birmingham And Preserved At The Selly Oak Colleges Library, 1948, Volume IV - Islamic Arabic Manuscripts, The Selly Oaks Colleges Library: Birmingham, p. 2.
 L-A. Hunt, The Mingana And Related Collections: A Survey Of Illustrated Arabic, Greek, Eastern Christian, Persian And Turkish Manuscripts In The Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, 1997, The Mingana Collection, The Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust: Birmingham (UK), p. 11.
 F. Déroche, Catalogue Des Manuscrits Arabes: Deuxième Partie: Manuscrits Musulmans - Tome I, 1: Les Manuscrits Du Coran: Aux Origines De La Calligraphie Coranique, 1983, Bibliothèque Nationale: Paris, pp. 60-61.
 A. Fedeli, "The Provenance Of The Manuscript Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572: Dispersed Folios From A Few Qur'ānic Quires", Manuscripta Orientalia, 2011, Volume 17, Number 1, pp. 45-56.
 Preceding two paragraphs adapted from L-A. Hunt, The Mingana And Related Collections: A Survey Of Illustrated Arabic, Greek, Eastern Christian, Persian And Turkish Manuscripts In The Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, 1997, op. cit., pp. 3-4.
 A. Fedeli, "The Provenance Of The Manuscript Mingana Islamic Arabic 1572: Dispersed Folios From A Few Qur'ānic Quires", Manuscripta Orientalia, 2011, op. cit., pp. 48-52.
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