The “Qur'ān Of ʿUthmān” At The Al-Hussein Mosque, Cairo, Egypt, From 1st / 2nd Century Hijra
© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.
First Composed: 21st May 2000
Last Updated: 16th September 2009
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
Figures: (a) Folios 23a and 24a showing sūrah al-Baqarah - part of verse 139 to beginning of verse 143. (b) Folios 511b and 512a showing sūrah al-Isrāʾ - part of verse 110 to the end, and sūrah al-Kahf - from the beginning until part of verse 5. (c) Folios 541b and 542a showing sūrah Maryam - part of verse 85 to the end, and the beginning of sūrah Ṭāhā. (d) Folios 500b and 501a - the former shows the missing folio written in a later hand and the latter shows fixing of lacunae in the manuscript, especially at the bottom left hand side edge, presumably by the same later hand. The folios contain sūrah al-Isrāʾ part of verse 58 to end of verse 62. (e) Display and (f) restoration of the monumental Qur'an attributed to caliph Uthmān at the al-Hussein mosque by Mohamed Seif el-Shazli and his son Ahmed.
Late 1st century / early 2nd century of hijra. Moritz publishd four folios of this manuscript and dated them to 1st / 2nd century of hijra. A facsimile edition of this manuscript was prepared by Dr. Tayyar Altikulaç in the year 2009.
The dating of this manuscript by various scholars has been summarized by Dr. Altikulaç. Muḥammad Bakhit considers it to be one of ʿUthmāni muṣḥaf. Labīb al-Saʿīd opines that it may be the muṣḥaf sent to Madinah or Syria. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Zurqānī, author of Manāhil al-ʿIrfan, considers it to be a copy of one of the ʿUthmāni muṣḥaf. On the other hand, palaeographer Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-Munajjid did not consider this manuscript to be from the time of caliph ʿUthmān. His says that, in all probability, it was a copy made on the order of the Governor of Egypt ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Marwān, brother of Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān. Therefore, it can be said that this is one of the oldest copies of the Qur'an written in Egypt in the second half of 1st century hijra. This dating is also endorsed by Dr. Altikulaç, the editor of the facsimile edition, as well as others. Finally, Dr. Suʿād Maher, who examined this Qur'an, believes that it is not one of the Qur'ans sent by the third caliph ʿUthmān to various regions of the Islamic Empire.
Furthermore, there are palaeographic reasons to believe that this Qur'an does not belong to time of the third caliph ʿUthmān. There are good number of other Qur'ans [such as the ones at St. Petersburg, Cairo, Samarqand and two in Istanbul (Topkapi Library and TIEM)] having at times turned up in different parts of the Islamic world, almost all purporting to show the traces of the blood of the third caliph ʿUthmān upon certain pages, and thus the genuine ʿUthmānic Qur'an, the imām, which he was reading at the time of his death. The manuscript clearly shows the script, illumination and marking of vowels that are from the Umayyad times, i.e., late 1st century / early 2nd century of hijra.
Size & Folios
Total number of folios: 1087. Only 4 folios are missing (after folios nos. 100, 637, 883, 1051) and others restored by a later hand (folio nos. 43, 63, 64, 65, 500, 1051, 1053, 1086, 1087). Size: 57 cm x 68 cms. Written area: 48 cm x 51 cm. The height of the muṣḥaf is 40 cm and weighs 80 kgs. The extant folios contain more than 99% of the text of the Qur'an.
History Of The Manuscript
The manuscript was kept in the special collection of Qadhi ʿAbd al-Raḥīm al-Bisānī al-Asqalānī in Madrasah Al-Faḍiliyah in the Ayyubid period [596 AH / 1200 CE], then transferred to the dome, next the madrasah, built by Mamluk Sultan Al-Gūrī [922 AH / 1516 CE]. It remained there until 1275 AH / 1858-59 CE. From the dome, it was shifted to Masjid al-Zainabī, then to Muḥammad ʿAlī's castle, then to Dīwān al-Awqāf in the year 1304 AH / 1886-87 CE, then to Qasr Abidīn next year, arriving finally at al-Mashad al-Husseini in the year 1305 AH / 1887-88 CE. It remained there until 2006 CE until it was transferred to the Centre Library for Islamic Manuscripts, Masjid al-Sayyida Zaynab.
Script & Ornamentation
This monumental Qur'anic manuscript on parchment showing a well-formed Kufic script, written in dark-brown ink with sparse diacritical marks and no ornamentation. There are 12 lines per folio, but some folios also have 8-10 lines. The verse endings are marked by a set of diagonal dashes; the tenth verse is marked with a square medallion illuminated in blue, green, and red with a stellar design. A rectangular ornate band separates the two sūrahs. The verse endings and the tenth verse marker in this manuscript show striking similarity with those present in the Samarqand manuscript attributed to ʿUthmān. This suggests that these two manuscripts are probably contemporary.
There are some lacunae in this manuscript such as missing folios or worn out writing. Some of them were fixed by adding extra folios or reinking the existing text - both of them clearly done using a later hand [Figure (d)]. This has resulted in copying mistakes - 7 out of 22 mistakes are due to restorations. The parchment of this Qur'an was restored in the time of Sultan al-Gūrī, the last of the Mamluk sultans, and was restored from time to time since then due to wear and tear.
The contents of the manuscript, as tabulated below, are gathered from the facsimile edition.
|Folios||Qur'anic Sūrah||Image Publication||Comments|
|1b||al-Fātiḥah||Altikulaç, 2009||Fragmented on the sides|
|1b - 59a||al-Baqarah||Altikulaç, 2009||Folios 2a-4b fragmented on the sides. Folios 43a and 43b are written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|59a - 99b||āl-ʿImrān||Altikulaç, 2009; Moritz 1905, Pls. 13, 14 (end of sūrah)||Folios 63a-65b are written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|99b - 148a||al-Nisā||Altikulaç, 2009; Moritz 1905, Pls. 13, 14 (beginning of sūrah)||Part of the verse 6 to part of verse 8 are missing due to lacunae.|
|148a - 186a||al-Mā'idah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|186a - 231b||al-Anʿām||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|231b - 286a||al-Aʿrāf||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|286a - 307a||al-Anfāl||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|307a - 343b||Tawbah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|343b - 371a||Yūnus||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|371a - 400b||Hūd||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|400b - 427a||Yūsuf||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|427a - 439a||al-Rʿad||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|439a - 451a||Ibrāhīm||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|451a - 460a||al-Ḥijr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|460b - 486b||al-Nahl||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|487a - 511b||al-Isrāʾ||Altikulaç, 2009||Folios 500a-500b are written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|511b - 533b||al-Kahf||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|534a - 542a||Maryam||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|542a - 554a||Ṭāhā||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|554a - 566a||al-Anbiyā||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|566a - 579a||al-Ḥajj||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|579b - 592a||al-Muʾminūn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|592a - 608b||al-Nūr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|608b - 620b||al-Furqān||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|620b - 638a||al-Shuʿarā||Altikulaç, 2009||Verse 211 to part of verse 225 are missing due to lacunae.|
|638a - 654b||al-Naml||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|654b - 673a||al-Qaṣaṣ||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|673a - 687b||al-ʿAnkabūt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|687b - 700a||al-Rūm||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|700a - 708b||Luqmān||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|708b - 714a||al-Sajdah||Altikulaç, 2009; Moritz, 1905, Pl. 15 (end of sūrah).||-|
|714a - 735a||al-Aḥzāb||Altikulaç, 2009; Moritz, 1905, Pl. 15 (beginning of sūrah).||-|
|735a - 749a||Sabʾ||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|749a - 762a||Fāṭir||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|762a - 774a||Yāsīn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|774a - 787a||al-Ṣāffāt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|787a - 797a||Ṣād||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|797a - 814a||al-Zumar||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|814a - 834b||Ghāfir||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|834b - 846a||Fussilat||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|846b - 859b||al-Shūra||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|859b - 873a||al-Zukhruf||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|873a - 878a||al-Dukhān||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|878a - 883b||al-Jāthiya||Altikulaç, 2009||Verse 33 to the end of surah are missing due to lacunae.|
|884a - 892b||al-Aḥqāf||Altikulaç, 2009||Verse 1 to part of verse 2 are missing due to lacunae.|
|892b - 900b||Muḥammad||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|900b - 909a||al-Fataḥ||Altikulaç, 2009; Moritz, 1905, Pl. 16 (end of sūrah).||-|
|909b - 914b||al-Ḥujurāt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|914b - 920a||Qāf||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|920a - 925b||al-Dhāriyāt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|925b - 929b||al-Ṭūr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|930a - 935b||al-Najm||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|935b - 941a||al-Qamar||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|941a - 946b||al-Raḥmān||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|947a - 952b||al-Wāqiʿah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|953a - 961b||al-Ḥadid||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|961b - 968b||al-Mujādilah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|969a - 975b||al-Ḥashr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|975b - 981b||al-Mumtaḥinah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|982a - 985a||al-Ṣaff||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|985a - 988a||al-Jumuʿah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|988a - 990b||al-Munāfiqūn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|990b - 995a||al-Taghābūn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|995a - 999b||al-Talāq||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|999b - 1004a||al-Tahrīm||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1004a - 1009b||al-Mulk||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1009b - 1014b||al-Qalam||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1014b - 1018b||al-Ḥaqqah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1018b - 1022a||al-Maʿārij||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1022a - 1026a||Nūḥ||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1026a - 1030b||al-Jinn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1031a - 1034a||al-Muzzammil||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1034b - 1038b||al-Muddathir||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1038b - 1041a||al-Qiyāmah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1041a - 1045b||al-Insān||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1045b - 1048b||al-Mursalāt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1048b - 1051a||al-Nabāʾ||Altikulaç, 2009||Folio 1051a is written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|1051a - 1053a||al-Nāziʿāt||Altikulaç, 2009||Folios 1051a-1051b and 1053a are written in a later hand due to lacunae. Verse 20 to part of verse 31 are missing due to lacunae.|
|1053a - 1055a||al-ʿAbasa||Altikulaç, 2009||Folios 1053a-1053b are written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|1055a - 1056b||al-Takwīr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1057a - 1058a||al-Intifār||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1058a - 1060b||al-Mutaffifīn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1060b - 1062b||al-Inshiqāq||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1062b - 1064a||al-Burūj||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1064a - 1065a||al-Tāriq||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1065a - 1066a||al-ʿAlā||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1066b - 1067b||al-Ghāshīyah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1068a - 1070a||al-Fajr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1070a - 1071b||al-Balad||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1071b - 1072b||al-Shams||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1072b - 1073b||al-Layl||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1073b - 1074a||al-Ḍuḥa||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1074b - 1075a||al-Sharḥ||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1075a - 1075b||al-Ṭīn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1075b - 1076b||al-ʿAlaq||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1077b - 1078b||al-Bayyinah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1079a - 1079b||al-Zalzalah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1079b - 1080a||al-ʿAdiyāt||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1080a - 1081a||al-Qāriʿah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1081a - 1081b||al-Takāthur||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1081a - 1082a||al-ʿAsr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1082a - 1082b||al-Humazah||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1082b - 1083a||al-Fīl||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1083a - 1083b||al-Quraysh||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1083b - 1084a||al-Māʿun||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1084a - 1084b||al-Kawthar||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1084b - 1085a||al-Kafirūn||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1085a - 1085b||al-Naṣr||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1085b - 1086a||al-Masad||Altikulaç, 2009||-|
|1086a||al-Ikhlās||Altikulaç, 2009||Folio 1086a is written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|1086b||al-Falaq||Altikulaç, 2009||Folio 1086b is written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
|1087a||al-Nās||Altikulaç, 2009||Folio 1087a is written in a later hand due to lacunae.|
Al-Hussein Mosque, Cairo, and now shifted to the Centre Library for Islamic Manuscripts, Masjid al-Sayyida Zaynab, Cairo, Egypt.
 B. Moritz (Ed.), Arabic Palaeography: A Collection Of Arabic Texts From The First Century Of The Hidjra Till The Year 1000, 1905, Publications of the Khedivial Library - No. 16, Cairo, Plates 13-16.
 T. Altikulaç, Hz. Osman’a Nisbet Edilen Mushaf- I Şerîf (Kahire El-Meşhedü’l-Hüseynî Nüshası), 2009, Volumes I and II, Organization of the Islamic Conference Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture: Istanbul (Turkey).
 ibid., pp. 119-120 (Volume I, Turkish section), pp. 139-140 (Volume I, Arabic section).
 S. al-Munajjid, Dirāsāt fī Tārīkh al-Khatt al-ʿArabī Mundhu Bidayatihi ilā Nihayat al-ʿAsr al-Umawi (French Title: Etudes De Paleographie Arabe), 1972, Dār al-Kitāb al-Jadid: Beirut (Lebanon), pp. 53-54.
 T. Altikulaç, Hz. Osman’a Nisbet Edilen Mushaf- I Şerîf (Kahire El-Meşhedü’l-Hüseynî Nüshası), 2009, Volume I, op. cit., p. 120 (Turkish section) and p. 140 (Arabic section).
 S. al-Munajjid, Dirāsāt fī Tārīkh al-Khatt al-ʿArabī Mundhu Bidayatihi ilā Nihayat al-ʿAsr al-Umawi (French Title: Etudes De Paleographie Arabe), 1972, op. cit., pp. 53-54.
 T. Altikulaç, Hz. Osman’a Nisbet Edilen Mushaf- I Şerîf (Kahire El-Meşhedü’l-Hüseynî Nüshası), 2009, Volume I, op. cit., p. 116; Also see S. N. Noseda, "Uno Dei Cosiddetti ‘Corani Di ʿUṭmān’: Quello Nella Moschea Ḥusayn Al Cairo", Studi Magrebini, 2006, New Series, Volume IV, p. 262.
The images above are reproduced from the stated sources under the provisions of the copyright law. This allows for the reproduction of portions of copyrighted material for non-commercial, educational purposes.
With the exception for those images which have passed into the public domain, the use of these images for commercial purposes is expressly prohibited without the consent of the copyright holder.
Back To The Qur'anic Manuscripts