The “Qur'ān Of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib” (The Ṣanʿāʾ Muṣḥaf) From 1st / 2nd Century Hijra
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First Composed: 14th January 2012
Last Updated: 18th January 2012
Folios of the Qur'an attributed to Ali b. Abi Talib (known as the Sanaa Mushaf) at Jami al-Kabir, Sanaa, Yemen. (a) folio 91b (b) Folio 153a showing every 10th verse marked with a large floral circle. (c) Folio 184a showing every 100th verse marked with a large rectangle filled with patterns. (d) Folio 243a showing end of sūrah al-Shūra separated by a marker and beginning of sūrah al-Zukhruf. (e) Folio 257b showing a different design of surah separated dividing sūrah al-Fataḥ and sūrah al-Ḥujurāt.
Late 1st century / early 2nd century of hijra.
A facsimile edition of this manuscript appeared in the year 2011. According to Dr. Tayyar Altikulaç, the editor of facsimile edition, the method of dotting and vowelling among other characteristics of this manuscript suggests a second half of the 1st century AH date. He adds that according to Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī al-Akwaʿ, President of the General Organization of Antiquities and Libraries, Yemen, this manuscript was probably copied in the 2nd century AH. Similar suggestion was also made by calligraphy expert Professor Dr. Muhittin Serin.
Size & Folios
Size: 34 cm x 36 cms.
Total number of folios: 275. The extant folios contain about 86% of the text of the Qur'an.
History Of The Manuscript
This is a two volume muṣḥaf attributed to the fourth caliph ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib. Did this Qur'an belong to him? The answer is no. The basis of the claim that this manuscript was copied by ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib comes from the tuck of the binding of the first volume which bears the following expression: “The first half of the muṣḥaf which was copied by the father of the two grandsons and belonging to the two martyrs, Rajab 1395”. Furthermore, at the end of the muṣḥaf there is a statement by Aḥmad b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Djarafī which says that he first saw it in 1317 AH (i.e., 1900 CE) at Masjid al-Shahidayn when he was 10 years old. As far as he remembers, at the end of the muṣḥaf there was a note saying that this muṣḥaf was copied by Zayd b. Thābit, or by ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib. He also states that when he saw it for the second time after 1322 AH (1904 CE), there were some missing folios.
Script & Ornamentation
Kufic. A general examination of the codex indicates that its script varies slightly. The script is slightly sloping backwards and is reminiscent of the type of well-executed kufic script exhibited during the Umayyad period. Damaged or lost folios were rewritten and added to the codex later and they are clearly of a different hand.
It is extensively dotted perhaps by a later hand. The letters contain vowel marks in the form of red dots according to the method of Abū al-Aswad al-Duʾalī (d. 69 AH / 688 CE). Single dots were placed above, beside or below the letters. Two dots were placed to indicate the nunation known as tanwīn. Diacritical marks are represented by dashes. The ending of verses is indicated by a series of 5 or 6 dashes. The sūrahs are separated by wide horizontal bands in the form of rectangles. The inside of the band is decorated differently for every sūrah separator. The sequence of the sūrahs is just like what is seen in modern day copies of the Qur'an. The codex is contains large ornamentaled circles to indicate every 10 verses. Ornamented rectangular shaped signs are used to indicate every 100 verses.
The contents of the manuscript, as tabulated below, are gathered from the facsimile edition.
|Folios||Qur'anic Sūrah||Image Publication||Comments|
|1b||al-Baqarah: 144-146||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmented|
|2a||al-Baqarah: 148-153||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|2b - 3b||al-Baqarah: 155-172||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmented|
|4a - 15a||al-Baqarah: 189-286||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|15b - 29b||āl-ʿImrān||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verses 60-64|
|29b - 44b||al-Nisā: 1-175||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verses 80-83, 173|
|45a - 55a||al-Mā'idah: 5-120||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|55a - 66b||al-Anʿām||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|66b - 79b||al-Aʿrāf||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|80a - 85b||al-Anfāl||Altikulaç, 2011||Folio 84a-84b damaged. Folio 85a-85b written in a different hand.|
|85b||Tawbah: 2-3||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|86a - 96a||Tawbah: 12-129||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|96a - 103b||Yūnus||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|104a - 111b||Hūd||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|111b - 118b||Yūsuf||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verses 33, 66, 103-104|
|119a - 122b||al-Rʿad||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|122b - 125b||Ibrāhīm||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|125b - 128b||al-Ḥijr||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|128b - 136a||al-Nahl||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verses 33-35, 38-42|
|136a - 142b||al-Isrāʾ||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verses 23-28|
|142b - 148b||al-Kahf||Altikulaç, 2011||Fragmentation of verse 12. Folio 148a and 148b in different hand to replace damaged folio.|
|149b - 153b||Maryam||Altikulaç, 2011||Folio 149b in different hand|
|153b - 159a||Ṭāhā||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|159a - 164a||al-Anbiyā||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|164a - 169b||al-Ḥajj||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|169b - 173b||al-Muʾminūn||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|173b - 175b||al-Nūr: 1-31||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|176a - 178a||al-Nūr: 40-64||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|178a - 181b||al-Furqān||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|181b - 187a||al-Shuʿarā||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|187a - 191b||al-Naml||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|191b - 197a||al-Qaṣaṣ||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|197a - 201a||al-ʿAnkabūt||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|201a - 204a||al-Rūm||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|204a - 206b||Luqmān||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|206b - 208a||al-Sajdah||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|208a - 213b||al-Aḥzāb||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|213b - 217a||Sabʾ||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|217a - 220a||Fāṭir||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|220a - 223a||Yāsīn||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|223a - 226b||al-Ṣāffāt||Altikulaç, 2011||Folio 226a and 226b in a different hand to replace damaged folio|
|226b - 227b||Ṣād: 1-28||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|228a - 228b||al-Zumar: 1-17||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|229a - 231a||al-Zumar: 36-75||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|231b - 236b||Ghāfir||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|236b - 239b||Fussilat||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|239b - 243a||al-Shūra||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|243a - 246a||al-Zukhruf||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|246a - 247b||al-Dukhān||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|247b - 250a||al-Jāthiya||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|250a - 252b||al-Aḥqāf||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|253a - 255a||Muḥammad||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|255a - 257b||al-Fataḥ||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|257b - 259a||al-Ḥujurāt||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|259a - 260b||Qāf||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|260b - 262a||al-Dhāriyāt||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|262a - 263a||al-Ṭūr||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|263b - 264b||al-Najm||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|264b - 266a||al-Qamar||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|266b - 267b||al-Raḥmān||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|268a - 269b||al-Wāqiʿah||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|269b - 272a||al-Ḥadid||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|272a - 273b||al-Mujādilah||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
|274a - 275a||al-Ḥashr: 1-18||Altikulaç, 2011||-|
Jāmiʿ al-Kabir, Ṣanʿāʾ, Yemen.
 T. Altikulaç, Al-Muṣḥaf Al-Sharif: Attributed To ʿAli B. ʿAbi Talib (The Copy Of Sana’a), 2011, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation / Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture: Istanbul (Turkey).
 ibid., p. 152.
 ibid., p. 148.
 ibid., p. 146.
 ibid., p. 147.
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