Codex Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a - A Qur'ān Located At Topkapı Sarayı Museum, Istanbul, From 1st/ 2nd Century Hijra

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First Composed: 12th June 2013

Last Updated: 30th October 2013

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

(f)

(g)

(h)

(i)

(j)

(k)

(l)

Figure 1: Codex Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a. HAND A: (a) Folio 11a, Sūrah al-Aʿrāf, verses 20-28. (b) Folio 13a, Sūrah al-Aʿrāf, verses 44-51. HAND B: (c) Folio 29a, Sūrah al-Anfāl, verses 60-66. (d) Folio 30a, Sūrah al-Anfāl, verses 72-75 to Sūrah Tawbah, verses 1-3. HAND C: (e). Folio 39a, Sūrah Tawbah, verses 115-120. (f) Folio 41a, Sūrah Yūnus, verses 13-20. HAND D: (g) Folio 91a, Sūrah al-Kahf, verses 21-26. (h) Folio 99a, Sūrah Maryam, verses 24-32. HAND E: (i) Folio 148a, Sūrah al-Shuʿarā, verses 158-171. (j) Folio 149a, Sūrah al-Shuʿarā, verses 183-191. HAND F: (k) Folio 202a, Sūrah al-Ṣāffāt, verses 121-147. (l) Folio 203a, Sūrah al-al-Ṣāffāt, verses 169-182 to Sūrah Ṣād, verses 1-5.

Date

Late 1st / early 2nd century of hijra.

Accession Number

Medina 1a.

Size & Folios

Size: 34-38 cm x 27-28.5 cm.

Total number of folios: 305. The figure was arrived from the Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv. However, given the fact that the folio count starts from 1b (instead of 1a), it may be likely that some other folios are present.

History Of The Manuscript

The earliest photograph of this manuscript appeared in Bergsträsser and Pretzl's Die Geschichte Des Qorāntexts in 1936.[1] However, the history of study of this manuscript in the Western world goes back to Theodor Nöldeke, whose book Geschichte Des Qorān was considered as a landmark of philological scholarship of the Qur'an. Nöldeke's successors Gotthelf Bergsträsser and Otto Pretzl developed the project for creating a philological critical study of the Qur'an. Armed with the newly developed first transportable Leica photographic camera and Agfa film roll,[2] Bergsträsser travelled the Muslim world to take pictures of Arabic texts, including the Qur'anic manuscripts such as codex Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a. He died, quite young, in the year 1933 and left behind an archive that was lost from sight after World War II by a combination of silence of his successor Anton Spitaler (d. 2003)[3] and rumours of the destruction of the material in the bombing of 1944.[4]

How big was the archive originally collected by Bergsträsser and Pretzl? Muhammad Hamidullah, who had met Pretzl when the latter came to Paris to collect photocopies of the Qur'anic manuscripts available in the libraries there, says that it had the photographs of "42,000 copies (or folios?) of the Qur'an" and that "they are collating them".[5] Hamidullah adds that Pretzl also issued a "provisional report" which said that occasional mistakes of the copyists were found in these manuscripts but "no textual differences" from the official text were seen.[6]

Script & Ornamentation

Ḥijāzī.

In terms of script style this is perhaps one of the most intriguing early manuscripts of the Qur'an published so far. There are at least four different hands and perhaps as many as six. With the exception of the final hand, the manuscript is penned in differing forms of ḥijāzī script all of which confess acquaintance with kufic tendencies from the Umayyad period, evidenced by the uniformity and regularity of their appearance and the overall presentation of the page. Sharing the same script style as Marcel 13 + Arabe 330c (same manuscript) and TIEM ŞE 321, it is the final hand (herein Hand F) of Medina 1a which has the most potential to shed light on the milieux in which this manuscript was produced. Fortunately, Marcel 13 has been precisely described in the literature,[7] marking it out from this very small group of special manuscripts. In terms of palaeography, François Déroche summarises the salient characteristics of the script heralded by Marcel 13, showing its close affinity with the manuscripts just mentioned as well as the milestones of ʿAbd al-Malik.[8] The final hand of Medina 1a fits neatly into this group of scripts[9] and is now an additional substantial piece of evidence contributing towards our knowledge and understanding of Umayyad bookhands (Figure 2). Based primarily on palaeographic and art historical criteria, Alain George and Barry Flood date Marcel 13 to the late 1st century hijra with George stating the script antedates Codex Ṣanʿāʾ 20-33.1, itself dated to the late 1st century hijra (c. 705-715 CE).[10] Déroche prefers a slightly wider range of dates that extends into the first decades of the second century of hijra / 8th century CE, still belonging to the Umayyad period.[11]

Figure 2: Comparison of consonant shapes in Codex Topkapı Sarayı Medina 1a with Marcel 11, 13, and 15, TIEM ŞE 321, BNF Arabe 330c and milestones of ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwan.

Given this was once a complete Qur'an consisting of around 400(?) folios, it is almost certain a wealthy patron commissioned its production, though it seems expansive illumination and ornamentation were not key concerns, or their inclusion was not deemed economical or cost effective. Unlike Marcel 13 and TIEM ŞE 321, there are no precisely executed elaborate ornamental bands between sūrahs that echo the decorative elements of the Dome of the Rock and other Umayyad structures. There are basic line art and simple geometric patterns based on circular, square and rectangular shapes, variously connected and inked in different colours, giving the appearance of chain / ribbon like structures. Sometimes there is no decoration, sometimes the text is headed by the name of the sūrah. There is no uniform system for indicating / decorating verse separators and some have clearly been erased. In general single verse separators are indicated by dashes / dots arranged as a vertical or slanting line or in triangular form. Similarly where ten verse separators are indicated, they appear as a large circle surrounded by dots. The scribes of this manuscript did not regularly leave a large enough space between sūrahs that would have allowed for such decoration to be added at a later date. How should this ‘discrepancy’ be interpreted and can it provide any clues towards the dating of this manuscript? It used to be thought that early manuscripts of the Qur'an without decoration preceded those similarly dated Qur'ans showing ornamental decoration. This hypothesis was frustrated by the discovery of Codex Ṣanʿāʾ I which showed the presence of geometric sūrah separators in the scriptio inferior, which, though altogether less elaborate, showed a form of decoration that did not exist in the scriptio superior. In light of this observation, it cannot be stated that this manuscript should antedate Marcel 13 and/or TIEM ŞE 321 based on this criterion alone. The presence however, of at least three or as many as five different other hands may provide more decisive evidence. Adolf Grohmann studied this manuscript though he was limited to one ḥijāzī style folio. Based on similarities with dated first century Arabic papyri, Grohmann ascribed Medina 1a to the 1st century of hijra.[12] Similarly, Michael Marx states that Medina 1a is from amongst the earliest manuscripts of the Qur'an written in the ḥijāzī script,[13] though considering the manuscript as a whole it seems more accurate to ascribe it to a later stage of development.

Contents

The contents of the manuscript are tabulated below. This constitutes ~78% of the total text of the Qur'an.

Folios Qur'anic Sūrah Contents Image Publication Comments
- al-Fātiḥah   -  
- al-Baqarah   -  
- āl-ʿImrān   -  
- al-Nisā   -  
- al-Mā'idah   -  
1b - 10a al-Anʿām Verse 60 to end Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
10a - 24b al-Aʿrāf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
24b - 30a al-Anfāl Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
30a - 40a Tawbah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
40a - 47a Yūnus Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
47a - 54b Hūd Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
55a - 62b Yūsuf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
62b - 66b al-Rʿad Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
66b - 70b Ibrāhīm Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
70b - 72b al-Ḥijr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
72b - 81b al-Nahl Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
81b - 89b al-Isrāʾ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
89b - 97b al-Kahf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
97b - 102b Maryam Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv; M. Marx, 2011 (folios 98b, 99a)[14]  
103a - 112b Ṭāhā Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv; Nöldeke et al., 2013 (folios 109b, 110a)[15]  
112b - 117a al-Anbiyā Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
117a - 121b al-Ḥajj Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
121b - 126b al-Muʾminūn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
126b - 135a al-Nūr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
135a - 141b al-Furqān Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
141b - 150b al-Shuʿarā Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
151a - 158a al-Naml Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
158a - 166a al-Qaṣaṣ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
166a - 173a al-ʿAnkabūt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
173a - 177a al-Rūm Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
177a - 179b Luqmān Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
179b - 181a al-Sajdah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
181a - 188a al-Aḥzāb Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
188a - 192a Sabʾ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
192a - 195b Fāṭir Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
195b - 199a Yāsīn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
199a - 203a al-Ṣāffāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
203a - 206b Ṣād Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
207a - 213a al-Zumar Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
213a - 221a Ghāfir Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
221a - 226a Fussilat Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
226a - 230b al-Shūra Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
230b - 235b al-Zukhruf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
235b - 237a al-Dukhān Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
237a - 239b al-Jāthiya Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
239b - 242b al-Aḥqāf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
242b - 245b Muḥammad Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
245b - 248b al-Fataḥ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
248b - 250a al-Ḥujurāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
250a - 252a Qāf Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
252a - 254a al-Dhāriyāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
254a - 256a al-Ṭūr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
256a - 257b al-Najm Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
257b - 259b al-Qamar Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
259b - 261a al-Raḥmān Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
261a - 263a al-Wāqiʿah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
263a - 266a al-Ḥadid Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
266a - 268b al-Mujādilah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
268b - 270b al-Ḥashr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
270b - 272b al-Mumtaḥinah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
272b - 273b al-Ṣaff Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
273b - 274a al-Jumuʿah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
274a - 275a al-Munāfiqūn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
275a - 276b al-Taghābūn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
276b - 277b al-Talāq Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
278a - 279a al-Tahrīm Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
279a - 280b al-Mulk Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
280b - 282a al-Qalam Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
282a - 283b al-Ḥaqqah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
283b - 284b al-Maʿārij Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
284b - 285b Nūḥ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
285b - 287a al-Jinn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
287a - 288a al-Muzzammil Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
288a - 289b al-Muddathir Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
289b - 290a al-Qiyāmah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
290a - 291b al-Insān Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
291b - 292b al-Mursalāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
292b - 293b al-Nabāʾ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
293b - 294b al-Nāziʿāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
294b - 295a al-ʿAbasa Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
295a - 295b al-Takwīr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
295b - 296a al-Intifār Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
296a - 297a al-Mutaffifīn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
297a - 298a al-Inshiqāq Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
298a - 298b al-Burūj Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
298b - 299a al-Tāriq Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
299a al-ʿAlā Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
299a - 299b al-Ghāshīyah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
299b - 300b al-Fajr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
300b - 301a al-Balad Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
301a al-Shams Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
301b al-Layl Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
301b - 302a al-Ḍuḥa Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
302a al-Sharḥ Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
302a al-Ṭīn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
302a - 302b al-ʿAlaq Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
302b al-Qadr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
302b - 303a al-Bayyinah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
303a - 303b al-Zalzalah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
303b - al-ʿAdiyāt Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
303b al-Qāriʿah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
303b - 304a al-Takāthur Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304a al-ʿAsr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304a al-Humazah Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304a - 304b al-Fīl Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304b al-Quraysh Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304b al-Māʿun Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304b al-Kawthar Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
304b - 305a al-Kafirūn Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
305a al-Naṣr Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
305a al-Masad Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
305a al-Ikhlās Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
305a - 305b al-Falaq Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  
305b al-Nās Complete Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv  

Location

Topkapı Sarayı Museum, Istanbul (Turkey). Contents tabulated from the Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

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References

[1] G. Bergsträsser & O. Pretzl, Die Geschichte Des Qorāntexts, 1936, Dritter Teil, Lieferung 3, Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung: Leipzig, Tafel VIII, Abbildung 10.

[2] M. Marx, "»The Koran According To Agfa« Gotthelf-Bergsträßers Archiv Der Koranhandschrift", Trajekte - Zeitschrift Des Zentrums Für Literatur- Und Kulturforschung, 2009, Volume 19, pp. 25-29.

[3] M. Marx, "The Lost Archive, The Myth Of Philology, And The Study Of The Qur'an", Wall Street Journal, 2008, 12th January, available online.

[4] A. Jeffery, The Qur'an As Scripture, 1952, Russell F. Moore Company Inc.: New York (USA), p. 103.

Jeffery writes:

The present writer was collaborating with the late Professor Bergstrasser on such a project, and a beginning had been made on both the connected problems. The writer has gone through all the printed literature and a good deal of MSS material to collect all the variant readings. Bergstrasser established at Munich a Qur'anic Archive in which he commenced to gather the photographs of all early Qur'anic MSS, and of all masoretic material connected therewith. After his untimely death this Archive was continued and developed by his successor Otto Pretzl, but Pretzl was killed outside Sebastopol during this late War, and the whole of the Archive at Munich was destroyed by bomb action and by fire, so that the gigantic task has to be started over again from the beginning.

[5] M. Hamidullah, Khutubat-e-Bahawalpur, 1401 AH, Islamic University, Bahawalpur (Pakistan), pp. 15-16.

[6] ibid. An indirect confirmation of this "provisional report" comes from Arthur Jeffery who compared the ʿUthmanic text from the "uncanonical" readings of Ibn Masʿud and Ubayy ibn Kʿab :

Bergsträsser in his preliminary collection of the uncanonical readings of Ibn Masʿud and Ubai made an attempt to estimate the value of these two texts as compared with the ʿUthmanic text. With increase of material one feels less inclined to venture on such a judgement of value.

See A. Jeffery, Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'an: The Old Codices, 1937, E. J. Brill: Leiden, p. 16.

[7] F. Déroche, "Colonnes, Vases Et Rinceaux Sur Quelques Enluminures D'Époque Omeyyade", Comptes Rendus Des Séances / Académie Des Inscriptions & Belles-Lettres, 2004 (published 2006), pp. 227-264.

[8] ibid., pp. 231-234.

[9] ibid., p. 233, Figure 2. This chart is based on the one produced by François Déroche with the addition of Medina 1a by us.

[10] A. George, The Rise Of Islamic Calligraphy, 2010, Saqi Books: London (UK), pp. 75-80 & p. 148; F. B. Flood, ''The Qur'an'', in H. C. Evans & B. Ratliff (Eds.), Byzantium And Islam: Age Of Transition 7th - 9th Century, 2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York (USA), pp. 270-271.

[11] F. Déroche, La Transmission Écrite Du Coran Dans Les Débuts De L’Islam: Le Codex Parisino-Petropolitanus, 2009, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden: The Netherlands, p. 154.

[12] A. Grohmann, "The Problem Of Dating Early Qur'ans", Der Islam, 1958, Volume 33, Number 3, pp. 221-222. Speaking of the Gotthelf-Bergsträßer-Filmarchiv, Grohmann said, “The rich collection of photographs of old Qur'ans in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich would have been very useful ...” Fast forward fifty years later and scholars find themselves in a similar position!

[13] M. Marx, "The Qur'an - The First Arabic Book", U. Franke, J. Gierlichs (Eds.) in collaboration with S. Vassilopoulou, L. Wagner, Roads Of Arabia - The Archaeological Treasures Of Saudi Arabia, 2011, Ernst Wasmuth Verlag: Tübingen / Berlin (Germany), pp. 199-201.

[14] ibid., p. 201.

[15] T. Nöldeke, F. Schwally, G. Bergsträßer, O. Pretzl (Ed. & Trans. W. H. Behn), The History Of The Qur'an, 2013, Texts And Studies On The Qur'an - Volume 8, Brill: Leiden & Boston, Tafel VIII.

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