Codex Arabe 6140a – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra

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First Composed: 4th February 2012

Last Updated: 10th August 2019

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Folios from the manuscript Arabe 6140a (a) 1r, (b) 2r and (c) 3r. Folio 1r from Camb. Ms. Add. 1125 belonging to the same codex [Arabe 6140a, © Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Camb. Ms. Add. 1125, © University Library, Cambridge].


1st century of hijra.[1]

Accession Number

Arabe 6140a, TIEM ŞE 86, Camb. Ms. Add. 1125

Size & Folios

Parchment manuscript with a size of 37 cm x 28 cm. Writing area: 32.7 cm x 26.5 cm. There are 22-25 lines per page.[2]

Total number of folios are 10 = 4 (TIEM ŞE 86, Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi, Istanbul) + 4 (Arabe 6140a, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) + 2 (Camb. Ms. Add. 1125, University Library, University of Cambridge).[3]

History Of The Manuscript

A brief history of Arabe 6140 collection at the Bibliothèque Nationale has been narrated by Déroche.[4] Arabe 6140 was the part of collection of Charles Schefer, a French Oriental scholar, who acquired it during the years he spent as a civil servant in the Ottoman Empire during 1843-1857. The folios from the Qur'an belonging to various periods make up the contents of Arabe 6140. Those folios on parchment were almost certainly taken from the deposit in Damascus, especially, folios 1–4, which make Arabe 6140a, the manuscript of our interest. As for the folios residing at the Cambridge University Library, they were purchased from Professor Edward Henry Palmer and Charles. E. Tyrwhitt Drake in 1878 by the library. Both Palmer and Drake undertook a journey to the Near East with the support of the Palestine Exploration Fund. They stopped in Damascus on their way to Britain via Constantinople in 1870. Richard Burton, the then British Consul in Damascus, was their host. Although the details of their stay in Damascus are scanty, most likely they also made purchases especially of Camb. Ms. Add. 1125. The presence of a few folios (TIEM ŞE 86) from this codex at the Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi located in Istanbul is interesting and supports a Syrian provenance. This manuscript belongs to the Şam Evrakı (‘Papers of Syria’) collection that were transferred from Damascus to Istanbul. Perhaps the strongest argument in the support of Syrian provenance is that the extant folios from this codex show distinct Ḥimṣī tradition in writing.

Script & Ornamentation


The format is vertical, and the script which is thin and slender, also has a distinct vertical emphasis, despite the slant to the right. The text is written in brown-black ink, with occasional diacritical strokes. Five to six dashes arranged vertically punctuate the verses. Every tenth verse is marked by a red hollow circle surrounded by dots. Red dots were presumably added later to facilitate vocalization.


The contents of the manuscript, as tabulated below, are gathered from the published data.

Codex Arabe 6140a
Folios Qur'anic Sūrah Image Publication Comments
1r 7:129 - 7:144 Arabe 6140a
1v 7:144 - 7:155 Arabe 6140a
2r 7:155 - 7:164 Arabe 6140a
2v 7:164 - 7:179 Arabe 6140a
3r 8:10 - 8:28 Camb. Ms. Add. 1125
3v 8:28 - 8:42 Camb. Ms. Add. 1125
4r 8:42 - 8:57 Camb. Ms. Add. 1125
4v 8:57 - 8:72 Camb. Ms. Add. 1125
5r 9:44 - 9:59 Arabe 6140a
5v 9:59 - 9:69 Arabe 6140a
6r 9:23 - 9:34 Arabe 6140a
6v 9:34 - 9:43 Arabe 6140a
7r 27:83 - 27:93; 28:1 - 28:8 TIEM ŞE 86
7v 28:8 - 28:22 TIEM ŞE 86
8r 28:22 - 28:35 TIEM ŞE 86
8v 28:35 - 28:50  TIEM ŞE 86
9r 30:24 - 30:39 TIEM ŞE 86
9v 30:39 - 30:54 TIEM ŞE 86
10r 30:54 - 30:60; 31:1 - 31:12 TIEM ŞE 86
10v 31:12 - 31:25 TIEM ŞE 86


Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi (Turkish and Islamic Art Museum), Istanbul (Turkey); Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (France); Cambridge University Library, Cambridge (United Kingdom);

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[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. 3-38.

[2] 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. 61.

[3] E. G. Browne, A Hand-List Of The Muhammadan Manuscripts, Including All Those Written In The Arabic Character, Preserved In The Library Of The University Of Cambridge, 1900, At The University Press: Cambridge, p. 146 (No. 806); C. Ansorge et al.Faith & Fable: Islamic Manuscripts From Cambridge University Library, 2011, Cambridge University Library (UK), p. 11.

[4] F. Déroche, "The Quranic Collections Acquired By Wetzstein", in B. Liebrenz & C. Rauch (Eds.), Manuscripts, Politics And Oriental - Studies Life And Collections Of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815-1905) In Context, 2019, Islamic Manuscripts and Books - Volume 19, Koninklijke Brill NV: Leiden (The Netherlands), pp. 96-97.

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