Codex Mixt. 917 – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From 1st / 2nd Century Hijra

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First Composed: 8th August 2008

Last Updated: 18th January 2009

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Folio 27v from Codex Mixt. 917 containing 3:49 to 3:55.


Late 1st - 2nd century hijra / 8th century CE.

Josef von Karabacek was the first scholar to publish this manuscript.[1]

A rare form of punctuation is also displayed in this manuscript corroborating its eighth century dating. For early Qur'anic writing, there were three different systems for identifying the letters ف and ق which have the same initial and medial forms. Following Leemhuis, the third method is one dash underneath for the ف ‎and one dash on top for the ق. This method did not survive very long and is actually a rather rare occurrence in early Qur'anic writing. Leemhuis points out this is exactly the method of punctuation adopted by the Qur'anic inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock - wherever the ف and ق are punctuated. Thus, based on the external evidence, Leemhuis concludes that early Qur'anic manuscripts displaying the same method of punctuation also date roughly from this same short period, i.e., from around 72 AH / 692 CE when the Dome of the Rock was constructed.[2]

Inventory No.

Mixt. 917.

Size & Folios

Approximately 15.4 cm x 21.2 cm. The text is written in an area of 11.2 cm x 16.0 cm. Total number of folios: 105 = 104 (Austrian National Library) + 1 (Topkai Museum).[3] The extant folios contain about 27% of the text of the Qur'an.

History Of The Manuscript

The codex came from Asia Minor. It came into the possession of the Austrian ambassador to Constantinople Count Anton Prokesch-Osten in 1872 who gave it as a gift to the Austrian National Library.[4]

Script & Ornamentation

It is written in the late ḥijāzī script. Small scholars have also classified the script as kufic. It has 15 lines of text per page.


The contents of the manuscript, as tabulated below, are gathered from Karabacek's publication of this manuscript. Zaynaddin published another folio of this manuscript located in Turkey.

Codex Mixt. 917
Folio Number Qur'anic Surah Image Publication Location
Folios 1r – 23r 2:97 - 2:286 Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folios 23r – 40v Sūrah āl-ʿImrān Al-Samman & Mazal, 1988[5]; Cambridge Companion To The Qur'an, 2006[6] Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folios 40v – 59r Sūrah al-Nisā Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folios 59v – 73r Sūrah al-Mā'idah Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folios 73r – 87v Sūrah al-Anʿām Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folios 87v – 103v Sūrah al-Aʿrāf Austrian National Museum, Vienna
Folio 104r - 104v 9:19 - 9:29 Austrian National Museum, Vienna
34:46 - 34:54, 35:1 Zaynaddin, 1974.[7] Topkapi Museum, Istanbul


Austrian National Library, Vienna; Topkapi Museum, Istanbul.

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[1] J. von Karabacek, Zur Orientalischen Altertumskunde, VI Koranfragment Des IX. Jahrhunderts Aus Dem Besitze Des Seldschukensultans Kaikubad, 1917, Wein, pp. 10-40, especially pp. 10-11, pp. 31-33 and Tafel I and II.

[2] F. Leemhuis, "From Palm Leaves To The Internet" in J. D. McAuliffe (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion To The Qur'an, 2006, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge (UK), pp. 147-148. At the time of writing his article Leemhuis was aware of only four manuscripts with this method of punctuation. The other three are Istanbul Saray Medina 1a, DAM 01-29.2 and St. Petersburg Inv. No. E-20.

[3] H. Loebenstein, Katalog Der Arabischen Handschriften Der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek: Neuerwerbungen 1868-1968 Teil 1: Codices Mixti ab Nr 744, 1970, Hollinek: Wein, p. 4, No. 2026.

[4] T. Al-Samman & O. Mazal, Die Arabische Welt Und Europa, Ausstellung Der Handschriften - Und Inkunabelsammlung Der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Handbuch Und Katalog, Prunksaal 20. Mai - 16. Oktober 1988, 1988, Akademische Druck - Und Verlagsanstalt: Graz (Austria), p. 76, No. 1, Plate Ia.

[5] ibid.

[6] D. A. Madigan, "Themes And Topics" in J. D. McAuliffe (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion To The Qur'an, 2006, op. cit., p. 95.

[7] N. Zaynaddin, Muṣawwar Al-Khaṭṭ Al-ʻArabī, 1974, Maktabat al-Nahḍah: Beirut (Lebanon), pp. 314-315, Figure 68.

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