Codex Arabe 331 – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra

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First Composed: 7th December 2014

Last Updated: 8th March 2020

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(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

(f)

(g)

(h)

Folios of manuscript Arabe 331 (a) 3r, (b) 41r, (c) 56v and (d) 45v at Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Folios of (e) Leiden Or. 14.545b recto, (f) Leiden Or. 14.545c recto, (g) Nabécor Encheres 2019, Lot 94, recto, and (h) Nabécor Encheres 2019, Lot 94, verso.

Date

1st century of hijra.

Noseda included this manuscript in his table of ḥijāzī manuscripts from 1st century hijra. Giving information about a ḥijāzī manuscript kept at the Universiteitsbibliothek Leida (i.e., University Library, Lieden), he does not mark any dash to indicate the contents of the manuscript.[1] One may surmise that perhaps Noseda had only limited information concerning this manuscript at the time of writing and made note of the existence of the manuscript. However, it was Nabia Abbott in 1939, who first classified two folios from this codex at the Oriental Institute, Chicago, to be from 1st/2nd century AH.[2]

Originally believed to date from the latter part of the 8th century, two folios of this manuscript have now been subjected to radiocarbon analysis under the auspices of the Corpus Coranicum project. Folio 1 of Leiden Or. 14.545b has been dated to 652-765 CE with 95.4% probability, with that range being broken down into a 81.1% probability that it dates to between 652 and 715 CE and a 14.3% probability that it dates to between 744 and 765 CE. Folio 1 of Leiden Or. 14.545c has been dated to 650-765 CE with 95.4% probability, with that range being broken down into a 83.7% probability that it dates to between 650 and 714 CE and a 11.7% probability that it dates to between 744 and 765 CE. Just like the above manuscript, the combined dating is given as 652–763 CE by Marx and Jocham, it does not give the true nature of distribution of probabilities of dates. Radiocarbon analyses of folios combinely date the codex to 652-763 CE with 95.4% probability, with that range being broken down into a 89.3% probability that it dates to between 652 and 694 CE and a 6.1% probability that it dates to between 747 and 763 CE.[3]

Size & Folios

41.3 cm x 34.8 cm. There are 19 lines per page. Manuscript on parchment.

This manuscript has 88 folios = 56 (Arabe 331, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris)[4] + 26 (Marcel 3, National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg) + 2 (Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545b + Or. 14.545c, University Library, Leiden)[5] + 2 (A 6959 + A 6990, Oriental Institute, Chicago)[6] + 1 (E16264 R, University of Pennsylvania Museum) + 1 (Nabécor Enchères, 2019, Lot 94).[7] The extant folios contain ~28.5% of the text of the Qur'an.

History Of The Manuscript

This manuscript was kept at the ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ mosque, Fusṭāṭ until, at the end of the 18th century, a member of French expedition to Egypt, Jean-Joseph Marcel, acquired a few leaves which, in 1864, became part of the collection of what is now known as National Library of Russia at St. Petersburgh. A few years later another Frenchman, Jean-Louis Asselin de Cherville (d. 1822), a consular agent of France in Cairo from 1806 to 1822, was able to buy a larger number of folios. These were passed to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, in 1833, and became part of Arabe 331 collection of Qur'an manuscripts. François Déroche was the first person to give a brief description in his handlist of manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545b + Or. 14.545c were purchased in May 1979 from Mr. H. C. Jorissen, former Dutch ambassador in Beirut, where he had purchased the fragments. François Déroche was the first person to give a brief description in his handlist of manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, and connected Arabe 331 with the two folios at the Oriental Institute, Chicago.[8]

Script & Ornamentation

Ḥijāzī or ḥijāzī-like. B 1a according to the classification of Déroche. The script is upright though slightly tilted to the right and is penned in a brownish ink. The consonants are frequently differentiated by oblique strokes. There is no vocalisation. Usually six, sometimes less, small oblique strokes (giving the appearance of dots) arranged in a triangular formation punctuate the verses. Every tenth verse is indicated by alphabetic numerals (abjad) usually enclosed in a black hollow circle. The beginning and end of the sūrahs are characterized by an extra blank line that has been added with the absence of any ornamentation. After the last word of the sūrah written in a smaller script almost without diacritics, possibly by a later(?) copyist, or, sometimes in the space between the two sūrahs, we find the phrase "khatimatu sūrati...".

Contents

The contents of the manuscript are tabulated below.

Codex Arabe 331
Folios Qur'anic Surah / Ayah Image Publication Comments
1r 2:125 - 2:132 Arabe 331
1v 2:132 - 2:140 Arabe 331
2r 2:140 - 2:144 Arabe 331
2v 2:144 - 2:151 Arabe 331
3r 2:151 - 2:161 Arabe 331
3v 2:161 - 2:167 Arabe 331
4r 2:168 - 2:175 Arabe 331
4v 2:175 - 2:180 Arabe 331
5r 2:181 - 2:187 Arabe 331
5v 2:187 - 2:191 Arabe 331
6r 2:201 - 2:210 Arabe 331
6v 2:210 - 2:213 Arabe 331
7r 2:213 - 2:218 Arabe 331
7v 2:219 - 2:222 Arabe 331
8r 2:222 - 2:229 Arabe 331
8v 2:229 - 2:232 Arabe 331
9r 2:232 - 2:235 Arabe 331
9v 2:235 - 2:240 Arabe 331
10r 2:240 - 2:246 Arabe 331
10v 2:246 - 2:250 Arabe 331
11r 2:250 - 2:255 Arabe 331
11v 2:255 - 2:258 Arabe 331
12r 4:92 - 4:96 Marcel 3
12v 4:96 - 4:102 Marcel 3
13r 4:102 - 4:108 Marcel 3
13v 4:108 - 4:115 Marcel 3
14r 4:115 - 4:125 Marcel 3
14v 4:125 - 4:131 Marcel 3
15r 4:131 - 4:138 Marcel 3
15v 4:138 - 4:145 Marcel 3
16r 4:145 - 4:153 Marcel 3
16v 4:153 - 4:161 Marcel 3
17r 4:161 - 4:170 Marcel 3
17v 4:170 - 4:175 Marcel 3
18r 4:175 - 4:176; 5:1 - 5:2 Marcel 3
18v 5:2 - 5:5 Marcel 3
19r 6:25 - 6:34 Marcel 3
19v 6:34 - 6:42 Marcel 3
20r 6:42 - 6:51 Marcel 3
20v 6:51 - 6:59 Marcel 3
21r 6:59 - 6:68 Marcel 3
21v 6:68 - 6:73 Marcel 3
22r 6:73 - 6:81 Marcel 3
22v 6:81 - 6:91 Marcel 3
23r 6:91 - 6:94 Marcel 3
23v 6:94 - 6:101 Marcel 3
24r 6:101 - 6:110 Marcel 3
24v 6:110 - 6:118 Marcel 3
25r 6:118 - 6:124 Marcel 3
25v 6:124 - 6:130 Marcel 3
26r 6:130 - 6:138 Marcel 3
26v 6:138 - 6:144 Marcel 3
27r 6:144 - 6:148 Marcel 3
27v 6:148 - 6:153 Marcel 3
28r 7:162 - 7:169 Arabe 331
28v 7:169 - 7:176 Arabe 331
29r 7:176 - 7:186 Arabe 331
29v 7:186 - 7:194 Arabe 331
30r 7:194 - 7:205 Arabe 331
30v 7:205 - 7:206; 8:1 - 8:6 Arabe 331
31r 8:6 - 8:16 Arabe 331
31v 8:16 - 8:25 Arabe 331
32r 8:25 - 8:33 Arabe 331
32v 8:34 - 8:41 Arabe 331
33r 8:41 - 8:47 Arabe 331
33v 8:47 - 8:54 Arabe 331
34r 8:54 - 8:64 Arabe 331
34v 8:64 - 8:72 Arabe 331
35r 8:72 - 8:75; 9:1 - 9:3 Arabe 331
35v 9:3 - 9:8 Arabe 331
36r 9:8 - 9:16 Arabe 331
36v 9:16 - 9:24 Arabe 331
37r 9:24 - 9:29 Arabe 331
37v 9:29 - 9:35 Arabe 331
38r 11:48 - 11:51 E16264 R
38v 11:57 - 11:60 E16264 R
39r 14:9 - 14:18 Arabe 331
39v 14:18 - 14:24 Arabe 331
40r 14:25 - 14:35 Arabe 331
40v 14:35 - 14:44 Arabe 331
41r 14:45 - 14:52; 15:1 - 15:7 Arabe 331
41v 15:7 - 15:25 Arabe 331
42r 15:25 - 15:45 Arabe 331
42v 15:46 - 15:65 Arabe 331
43r 15:66 - 15:88 Arabe 331
43v 15:88 - 15:99; 16:1 - 16:5 Arabe 331
44r 16:5 - 16:15 Arabe 331
44v 16:15 - 16:27 Arabe 331
45r 16:27 - 16:35 Arabe 331
45v 16:35 - 16:43 Arabe 331
46r 16:44 - 16:55 Arabe 331
46v 16:55 - 16:64 Arabe 331
47r 16:96 - 16:105 Witkam, 2007 Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545b
47v 16:106 - 16:114 Witkam, 2007 Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545b
48r 16:114 - 16:124 Arabe 331
48v 16:124 - 16:128; 17:1 - 17:4 Arabe 331
49r 17:78 - 17:89 Arabe 331
49v 17:89 - 17:98 Arabe 331
50r 17:98 - 17:107 Arabe 331
50v 17:107 - 17:111; 18:1 - 18:6 Arabe 331
51r 19:72 - 19:82 Nabécor Enchères, 2019, Lot 94
51v 19:82 - 19:98 Nabécor Enchères, 2019, Lot 94
52r 25:65 - 25:77 Arabe 331
52v 26:1 - 26:19 Arabe 331
53r 43:81 - 43:89; 44:1 - 44:7 Arabe 331
53v 44:8 - 44:28 Arabe 331
54r 45:9 - 45:18 Arabe 331
54v 45:18 - 45:27 Arabe 331
55r 45:27 - 45:37 Arabe 331
55v 45:37; 46:1 - 46:8 Arabe 331
56r 46:21 - 46:29 Arabe 331
56v 46:29 - 46:35 Arabe 331
57r 47:1 - 47:10 Arabe 331
57v 47:10 - 47:16 Arabe 331
58r 47:36 - 47:38; 48:1 - 48:6 Arabe 331
58v 48:6 - 48:14 Arabe 331
59r 48:14 - 48:20 Arabe 331
59v 48:20 - 48:26 Arabe 331
60r 48:27 - 48:29; 49:1 - 49:2 Arabe 331
60v 49:2 - 49:9 Arabe 331
61r 49:9 - 49:14 Arabe 331
61v 49:15 - 49:18; 50:1 - 50:7 Arabe 331
62r 50:7 - 50:26 Déroche, 1983 Arabe 331
62v 50:26 - 50:43 Arabe 331
63r 50:44 - 50:45; 51:1 - 51:23 Arabe 331
63v 51:23 - 51:43 Arabe 331
64r 51:43 - 51:60; 52:1 - 52:2 Arabe 331
64v 52:2 - 52:25 Arabe 331
65r 52:25 - 52:45 Arabe 331
65v 52:45 - 52:49; 53:1 - 53:21 Arabe 331
66r 53:21 - 53:32 Arabe 331
66v 53:32 - 53:62 Arabe 331
67r 54:41 - 54:55; 55:1 - 55:10 Arabe 331
67v 55:11 - 55:36 Arabe 331
68r 55:36 - 55:64 Arabe 331
68v 55:65 - 55:78; 56:1 - 56:19 Arabe 331
69r 56:19 - 56:55 Arabe 331
69v 56:55 - 56:53 Arabe 331
70r 56:54 - 56:96; 57:1 - 57:5 Arabe 331
70v 57:5 - 57:12 Arabe 331
71r 57:12 - 57:19 Arabe 331
71v 57:19 - 57:25 Arabe 331
72r 57:25 - 57:29; 58:1 Arabe 331
72v 58:1 - 58:7 Arabe 331
73r 58:7 - 58:12 Arabe 331
73v 58:12 - 58:22 Arabe 331
74r 58:22; 59:1 - 59:4 Arabe 331
74v 59:4 - 59:9 Arabe 331
75r 59:9 - 59:16 Arabe 331
75v 59:17 - 59:24; 60:1 Arabe 331
76r 63:1 - 63:7 Witkam, 2007 Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545c
76v 63:8 - 63:11; 64:1 - 64:4 Witkam, 2007 Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545c
77r 69:9 - 69:24 Abbott, 1939 A 6959
77v 69:36 - 69:45 Abbott, 1939 A 6959
78r 70:44; 71:1 - 71:15 Marcel 3
78v 71:15 - 71:28; 72:1 Marcel 3
79r 72:1 - 72:16 Marcel 3
79v 72:16 - 72:28; 73:1 Marcel 3
80r 73:2 - 73:20 Marcel 3
80v 73:20; 74:1 - 74:24 Marcel 3
81r 74:24 - 74:49 Marcel 3
81v 74:49 - 74:56; 75:1 - 75:24 Marcel 3
82r 75:24 - 75:40; 76:1 - 76:8 Marcel 3
82v 76:8 - 76:26 Marcel 3
83r 76:26 - 76:31; 77:1 - 77:23 Marcel 3
83v 77:24 - 77:50; 78:1 - 78:4 Marcel 3
84r 78:4 - 78:38 Marcel 3
84v 78:38 - 78:40; 79:1 - 79:26 Marcel 3
85r 79:26 - 79:46; 80:1 - 80:11 Marcel 3
85v 80:12 - 80:42; 81:1 - 81:8 Marcel 3
86r 81:8 - 81:29; 82:1 - 82:12 Marcel 3
86v 82:12 - 82:19; 83:1 - 83:21 Marcel 3
87r 83:22 - 83:36; 84:1 - 84:10 Marcel 3
87v 84:11 - 84:25; 85:1 - 85:10 Marcel 3
88r 97:3 - 97:5; 98:1 - 98:4 Abbott, 1939 A 6990
88v 99:6 - 99:8; 100:1 - 100:4 Abbott, 1939 A 6990

Location

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg; University Library, Leiden; and private collection.

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References & Notes

[1] S. N. Noseda, "Note Esterne In Margin Al 1° Volume Dei ‘Materiali Per Un'edizione Critica Del Corano’", Rendiconti: Classe Di Lettere E Scienze Morali E Storiche, 2000, Vol. 134, Fasc. 1, pp. 19-28.

[2] N. Abbott, The Rise Of The North Arabic Script And Its Kur'ānic Development, With A Full Description Of The Kur'ān Manuscripts In The Oriental Institute, 1939, University of Chicago Press, pp. 60-61, Plates VIII, IX.

[3] M. J. Marx & T. J. Jocham, "Radiocarbon (14C) Dating Of Qur'ān Manuscripts", in A. Kaplony, M. Marx (Eds.), Qur'ān Quotations Preserved On Papyrus Documents, 7th-10th Centuries, 2019, Documenta Coranica: Volume 2, Brill: Leiden, pp. 188-221, esp. Table 6.2 on p. 216. Also see M. J. Marx & T. J. Jocham, "Zu Den Datierungen Von Koranhandschriften Durch Die 14C-Methode", Frankfurter Zeitschrift Für Islamisch-Theologische Studien, 2015, Volume 2, p. 24. Also see "Oudste Leidse Koranfragmenten ruim een eeuw ouder dan gedacht". For English translation of the same see "Oldest Quran Fragments in Leiden" at Leiden University. Both the links accessed on 29th December 2014.

[4] 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, p. 67 & Plate IX.

[5] J. J. Witkam, Inventory Of The Oriental Manuscripts Of The Library Of The University Of Leiden, 2007, Volume 15, Manuscripts Or. 14.001 - Or. 15.000, Ter Lugt Press: Leiden, p. 253; J. J. Witkam, ''Course of Islamic Paleography'', The Netherlands, 2007, available online.

[6] N. Abbott, The Rise Of The North Arabic Script And Its Kur'ānic Development, With A Full Description Of The Kur'ān Manuscripts In The Oriental Institute, 1939, op. cit., Plates VIII, IX.

[7] Nabécor Enchères, 2019, Lot 94. Details are here (text only).

[8] F. Déroche, Catalogue Des Manuscrits Arabes: Deuxième Partie: Manuscrits Musulmans - Tome I, 1: Les Manuscrits Du Coran: Aux Origines De La Calligraphie Coranique, 1983, op. cit., p. 67.

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