Codex Ṣanʿāʾ I – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From Mid–1st Century Of Hijra

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First Composed: 10th April 2008

Last Updated: 8th March 2020

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2r, recto
2v, verso
Sotheby's 1993 / Stanford 2007, recto
Sotheby's 1993 / Stanford 2007, verso
Sotheby's 1992 / David 86/2003, recto
Sotheby's 1992 / David 86/2003, verso
3r, recto
3v, verso
Bonhams 2000, recto
Bonhams 2000, verso
Christies 2008, recto
Christies 2008, verso

DAM 01–27.1

DAM 01–27.1

Folios from codex Ṣanʿāʾ I


Mid-first century of hijra.



Although the script in this fragment is italic, yet its angles are sharp. One is advised to consult the after named publications for specific details on the published folios lines per page, verse/sūrah divisions, specifics of script etc.

History Of The Manuscript

In 1965 heavy rains damaged the roof construction of the Western Library in the Great Mosque of Ṣanʿāʾ – a mosque established by a companion of Prophet Muhammad. Qādī Hussain bin Ahmed al-Sayaghy, then Director of Administration at the Yemen National Museum, instructed an examination of the area concerned be carried out to assess the extent of the damage. During this time a forgotten about storeroom with no access door and a single window was discovered to contain a substantial cache of used Arabic manuscripts, almost all being ancient manuscripts of the Qur'an spanning the first few Islamic centuries. Before repairs to the storeroom were complete, five or more sacks of Qur'anic manuscripts were removed and deposited in the Awqāf Library. Over time the curator of the library sold off the contents of the sacks unlawfully with some of the manuscripts ending up in Western libraries. In 1972 in order to consolidate the north-west corner of the external wall to the mosque, it was necessary to remove part of the roof to allow progress to be made in the restoration and renovation works. As the storeroom was also located in this area the remaining manuscripts were permanently removed consisting of some twenty sacks and placed in the National Museum.[1] Reminiscent of the adventures of Indiana Jones, the re-opening of the storeroom was photographed almost immediately after its occurrence, the Italian Islamic archaeologist Paolo Costa proudly kneeling in front of the cache of manuscripts cradling a folio of the Qur'an.[2] After noticing the contents of the sacks were gradually diminishing, the Yemeni authorities realised these valuable Qur'anic manuscripts were yet again being sold off piecemeal. Consequently in an attempt to prevent further corruption, the remaining manuscripts were eventually retransferred back to the Great Mosque. At the international level an urgent call for the preservation of these manuscripts would soon gain widespread attention. A Colloquium on the Islamic City organised by the World of Islam Festival Trust, sponsored by UNESCO, was held at the Middle East Centre, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge, in July 1976. Drawing a wide variety of experts from both the Muslim and non-Muslim world, a number of specific research activities were recommended, amongst which was highlighted the pressing need to conserve the rich corpus of Qur'anic texts discovered in the Great Mosque of Ṣanʿāʾ.[3]

Apparently with no indigenous expertise to conserve the badly damaged manuscripts, Qādī Ismāʿīl al-Akwá, President of the General Organization Of Antiquities and Libraries initiated the effort to secure external specialists to conserve the manuscripts.[4] As word spread of the find, Denmark contacted the Yemeni government with the offer to preserve the manuscripts on the condition they were sent to Denmark where the restoration work would take place. This offer was rejected by the Yemeni authorities who preferred the manuscripts to remain in the country. Finally, after much deliberation, al-Akwá authorised a special project funded by the cultural section of the Foreign ministry of West Germany, to restore and catalogue the manuscripts on location in Yemen. After the signing of a ‘bilateral’ agreement titled ‘Arrangement Between The Government Of The Federal Republic Of Germany And The Government Of The Yemen Arab Republic Concerning The Restoration And Cataloguing Of Arabic Manuscripts’,[5] work took place beginning in the autumn of 1980, the overall director of the project being Gerd-R Puin. The chief conservator Ursula Dreibholz joined the project in 1982. Gerd-R. Puin was subsequently replaced by his colleague Hans-Casper Graf von Bothmer, an art historian from the Universität des Saarlandes, who remained director until the end of the project in the final months of 1989.[6] It was in the midst of the conservation project the existence of this manuscript – now known as Ṣanʿāʾ I – was made known to the general public with the publication of Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ in 1985, an exhibition catalogue presenting some of the findings of the project. A single palimpsest folio from the part of the codex located in Dār al-Makhṭūtāt (i.e., DAM 01-27.1), folio 21a according to Sadeghi and Goudarzi’s classification, was displayed along with some brief comments regarding the script and its contents. The folio was tentatively dated to the first half of the 1st century of hijra.[7] A few years later Hans-Casper Graf von Bothmer showcased a bifolio from this codex, folio 22a according to Sadeghi and Goudarzi’s classification. Discussing the script, contents and the fact it was palimpsest, von Bothmer tentatively dated the folio also to the first half of the 1st century of hijra.[8] After the work had been completed, the assessment concluded there were almost 1,000 unique copies of the Qur'an comprising approximately 15,000 parchment fragments, with less than 1% of the find belonging to non-Qur'anic material.[9] Funding for the project ran out before a catalogue or even a handlist could be compiled.[10] Perhaps the most outstanding realisation was that a small percentage of these Qur'anic manuscripts displayed signs of great antiquity, allowing them to be placed with a degree of certitude into the 1st century of hijra. It was also discovered about one hundred manuscripts contained elaborate decorations. It would appear with the publication of these folios the importance of this codex became impressed upon those studying the most ancient Qur’anic manuscripts. It is from the context thus described that the story of codex Ṣanʿāʾ I emerges.

In October 1992, the latter instance of Sotheby's (London) biannual sale of Islamic art, a folio from Ṣanʿāʾ I was put under the hammer fetching a princely sum of £159,500 (including buyer's premium) around five times the estimated asking price. The experts-in-charge of the sale were Nabil Saidi and Marcus Fraser. At the time, they noted the ‘similarity’ between this folio and the folio displayed in the exhibition catalogue without ever fully describing their intimate connection.[11] A further folio from the manuscript was sold at Sotheby’s (London) as Lot 31 in October 1993.[12] The auctioning off of parts of the manuscript lulled momentarily, and, beginning in 1996 until 1997, realising the importance of the find, the German team which enjoyed exclusive access to the site, began to microfilm as much of the material as they could totalling more than 35,000 images,[13] after being inspired to do so based on an observation made by Christoph Luxenberg at a lecture given by him in 1996.[14] Auction activities resumed pace and yet another folio of the manuscript was sold at Bonhams (London) as Lot 13 in October 2000.[15] It was not until the folio sold at Sotheby’s in 1992 was put under the hammer yet again at Christies (London) as Lot 12 in May 2001, that the genetic connection between all the folios just discussed would soon become public knowledge. Renowned antiquarian Sam Fogg subsequently acquired this folio and it promptly made its way into their Islamic Calligraphy catalogue published in 2003. For the first time it was explicitly stated that Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ 1985, Sotheby’s 1992, Sotheby’s 1993 and Bonhams 2000 were folios originating from the same manuscript,[16] namely Ṣanʿāʾ I. In October 2003 this particular folio (i.e., David 86/2003) and the one preceding it (i.e., Sotheby’s 1993 / Stanford 2007) were the subject of some detailed analysis and discussion by Yasin Dutton at the 3rd Biennial Conference on the Qur’an held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Discussing the readings of the scriptio inferior text (i.e., washed-away text), he suggested that they originated from the pre-‘Uthmanic times.[17]

In 2004 Sergio Noja Noseda had an article published describing his visit to Ṣanʿāʾ in 2002, in order to examine, organise and have photographed those manuscripts that would become part of the forthcoming volumes of his Sources De La Transmission Manuscrite Du Texte Coranique.[18] Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Literature at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, he founded the ‘Amari Project’ whose goal was to put in the hands of western scholars scale facsimile reproductions of the earliest Qur'anic manuscripts known to him and his colleagues with the hope of creating a ‘critical edition’ of the Qur’an.[19] Writing his obituary a few years later, Giuliana Malpezzi of Centro di Cultura Italia Asia, reported that Noseda’s visit, in cooperation with the L’Académie Française, was made possible by special Yemeni presidential decree and that he was also permitted to have some samples of the manuscripts taken for the purposes of radiocarbon dating.[20] Made known for the first time, Noseda described in detail the contents of the catalogued thirty-two folios from a palimpsest Qur'an – DAM 01-27.1 – still present at Dār al-Makhṭutāt[21] as well as listing other ancient ijāzī codices such as DAM 01-32.1,[22] DAM 01-18.3 (sixteen folios),[23] DAM 01-29.1,[24] DAM 01-30.1,[25] DAM 01-20.7 (one folio), DAM 01-28.1 (sixty folios),[26] DAM 01-25.1 (twenty-nine folios).[27] The same year Noseda’s visit to Ṣanʿāʾ was published, researcher Razan Ghassan Hamdoun submitted her master’s thesis titled “The Qur'anic Manuscripts In Ṣanʿāʾ From The First Century Hijra And The Preservation Of The Qur’an” to Al-Yemenia University.[28] Utilising images provided by her father Professor Ghassan Hamdoun,[29] the main subject of her thesis was the analysis and discussion of one early manuscript of the Qur’an located in al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya (i.e., the Eastern Library), the Great Mosque, Ṣanʿāʾ. She noted, amongst other things, the manuscript was written on parchment and consisted of 72 plates (i.e., 40 folios). It had the approximate dimensions of 35 cm x 26.5 cm, though the size of each folio was variable across the manuscript. On average there were 28 lines per page and across a selection of 5 folios there were 24-32 lines per page, but that it could be even less or more on some pages.[30] Unknown to Hamdoun, she had made known the most remarkable manuscript ‘(re)discovery’ of the Qur’an since 1965/72. These 40 folios belonged to the same manuscript as DAM 01-27.1, collectively referred to today as codex Ṣanʿāʾ I. Hamdoun was not alone in being unaware of the importance of her edition in relation to the other parts of manuscript extant. No specialist in the West in their publications was aware that these 40 folios belonged to Ṣanʿāʾ I at the time of the submission of her thesis until 2012. Indeed, many publications even seemed unaware that DAM 01-27.1 comprised dozens of folios as it was only in 2004 courtesy of Noseda that a full listing of the folios and their contents was published. In any event, individual folios still continued to be the subject of detailed examination.

In 2005, the scriptio inferior text of the Sam Fogg folio (i.e., David 86/2003) including one of its sister folios (i.e., Bonhams 2000) was studied by Alba Fedeli, a pupil of Noseda and formerly the Director of Fondazione Ferni Noja Noseda, who confirmed some of the readings were of Ibn Mas‘ūd as well as some other companions as reported in the Islamic traditions.[31] Fedeli established no more than what the scribe who washed away this text around fourteen centuries ago already knew: the initial text contained on this parchment was not in accordance with the Qur'anic text collected by ‘Uthman. The author noted it was baseless to assert this folio was one of Ibn Mas‘ūd's or a leaf from one of the Qur'ans ‘Uthman distributed. However, suggesting as she did, that this folio could have originated from the 10th century (4th century hijra), the author left anyone with a passing knowledge of the chronology of Arabic palaeography scratching their heads. On the other hand, Déroche stated this folio could be one of the oldest examples of an Arabic palimpsest and that it was apparently in use sometime in the 1st century AH / 7th century CE.[32] The palimpsest manuscripts of the Qur'an are rare. The only other palimpsests that have been published are the ‘Mingana Palimpsest’ and DAM 18-?.a.[33] The Sam Fogg folio, analysed earlier by Dutton and Fedeli, was discussed (amongst others) at a Symposium on Islamic Calligraphy held at Vortragssaal, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Kulturforum, Berlin which drew together six internationally recognised experts in the field of Islamic calligraphy; some notable attendees included François Déroche and Sheila Blair as well as others. The symposium inaugurated the exhibition Ink and Gold: Masterpieces of Islamic Calligraphy, held at the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art), Berlin, in July-August of 2006. Held in collaboration with Sam Fogg, this exhibition charted the development of Islamic calligraphy from its beginnings in the 7th century Arabia onwards. The stated catalogue accompanying this exhibition was published on behalf of Sam Fogg in 2006,[34] wherein it was stated the folio now resided at the David Collection, Copenhagen. In this publication the date of the folio was more cautiously given as mid- to late 7th century as opposed to mid-7th century in the previous catalogue. The provenance of the folio was also extended to include Syria as well as the Ḥijāz.

In October 2007, scholars from Fondazione Ferni Noja Noseda visited Ṣanʿāʾ, the purpose of their mission to take high resolution photographs of selected manuscripts including ultraviolet images of DAM 01-27.1.[35] It seems as often as scholars visited Sana’a to study the folios located there, other folios from the manuscript would resurface and visit an auction house. So the monetary trade of Islamic heritage continued and the following year in 2008 another folio from this codex travelled to London and went under the hammer at Christies selling for a remarkable £2,200,000, around fifteen times the estimated asking price.[36] It was from this period onward part of Ṣanʿāʾ I, namely DAM 01-27.1 and the auction folios, became the subject of comparative in-depth studies and conferences. Starting in 2008, Elisabeth Puin, wife of Gerd-R. Puin, began publishing a series of yearly articles on the scriptio inferior of DAM 01-27.1.[37] In her initial article she stated her study was based on small 6 x 6 black and white photographs of the manuscript, making reference that an independent set of photographs had been recently made by Noseda that might be published shortly as a facsimile reprint.[38] In July 2009 at a conference titled ‘Evidence For The Early History Of The Qur’an’ held at Stanford University, Asma Helali discussed the philological and literary aspects of DAM 01-27.1 whilst Behnam Sadeghi discussed the Sotheby’s 1993 / Stanford 2007 folio and its radiocarbon dating. In December 2009 at the 6th Biennial Conference on the Qur’an held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Helali once again discussed the philological and literary aspects of DAM 01-27.1. In the same year, after a further examination of the microfilms, Puin published details of 5 newly identified folios belonging to DAM 01-27.1,[39] doubting whether Sotheby’s 1992 / David 86/2003 and Sotheby’s 1993 / Stanford 2007 were part of the same codex.[40] Subsequently in 2010 Sadeghi and Bergmann had published their article analysing the four auction folios, specifically the Sotheby’s 1993 / Stanford 2007 folio, where details were given of a radiocarbon study corroborating the early date already assigned to the manuscript. Analysis was done at the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Laboratory at the University of Arizona.[41] According to Sadeghi and Bergmann, the results indicated that the parchment had a 68% (1σ) probability of belonging to the period between 614 CE to 656 CE. It had a 95% (2σ) probability of belonging to the period between 578 CE and 669 CE. The carbon dating was applicable to the scriptio inferior text.[42] The date which the scriptio superior text was written could be the first or second half of the 7th century or even the early 8th century (more generally the 1st century hijra). Sadeghi then pointed out, “For historical reasons, however, what is of greater interest is the probability that the parchment is older than a certain date. … The probability that the parchment is older than AD 646 is 75.1 %, or a three-to-one likelihood. It is highly probable therefore, that the Ṣanʿāʾ I manuscript was produced no more than 15 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.”[43] He concluded that the scriptio inferior text belonged to the period of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, whilst the scriptio superior text belonged to the ʿUthmānic tradition, and using stemmatics, the ʿUthmānic tradition was shown to give the most accurate reproduction of the Prophetic prototype.[44] Recently, three folios of DAM 01-27.1 manuscipt were also radiocarbon dated under the auspices of the Corpus Coranicum project. Folio 2 has been dated to 589–650 CE with 95.4% probability. Folio 11 has been dated to 611–660 CE with 95.4% probability. Folio 13 has been dated to 590–650 CE with 95.4% probability. Radiocarbon analyses of folios combinely date the codex to 606–649 CE with 95.4% probability.[45]

Following up on his previous study, in 2012 Sadeghi and Goudarzi had published an article on Ṣanʿāʾ I,[46] giving for the first time a complete edition of the scriptio inferior that is undoubtedly the authoritative edition so far.[47] After providing an informative history of the manuscript and the field of Qur’anic studies, the authors evidenced numerous textual-critical conclusions – one of the most important being that the spread of the type of textual tradition represented by the scriptio inferior happened before the widespread propagation of the ʿUthmānic tradition in the mid-7th century; in turn, early Muslim tradition describing the existence of companion codices and the types of variants reported in them has now received textual confirmation.[48] They also discussed the ‘media and manuscripts’[49] and dispelled some common myths and misunderstandings regarding alleged Yemeni obstruction such as access to the manuscripts and their publication, pointing out that where obstruction did occur it was not the fault of Yemen.[50] The overall theme of ‘suppression’ though widely held is simply unjustified. A complete edition of the scriptio superior of DAM 01-27.1, also of great importance, is currently being undertaken and will be published along with a graphical reconstruction of the scriptio inferior.

Not long after Sadeghi and Goudarzi’s article appeared in the beginning of 2012, we received correspondence from a reader who had looked at Hamdoun’s thesis and suggested that the manuscript studied by her may be from the same codex as DAM 01-27.1, i.e., Ṣanʿāʾ I. We made further examination which revealed that it was indeed from the same codex. It is clear that all the four auction folios have been appropriated from this section of the manuscript and not DAM 01-27.1 as scholars previously thought. Interestingly folios 1, 2 and 3 of DAM 01-27.1 are interspersed between the mid-point and last quarter of the al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya section. Intriguing questions such as how this section of the manuscript came to be separated from DAM 01-27.1, where, at what time and by who, are beyond the scope of this discussion. Referring to the lower text, Sadeghi and Goudarzi said of Ṣanʿāʾ I, “… at present the most important document for the history of the Qur’an. … it has the greatest potential of any known manuscript to shed light on the early history of the scripture.”[51] This hitherto unknown section of the manuscript made known by Hamdoun is a remarkable (re)discovery without parallel since 1965/72. Slightly larger than the section contained in Dār al-Makhṭūtāt, it is tremendously significant and provides additional very early material evidence of the text of the Qur’an and its subsequent collection and standardisation.


Noseda was the first to publish a full table of contents of the scriptio superior of DAM 01-27.1 informing us he was able to personally examine this manuscript on site at Ṣanʿāʾ.[52] Unfortunately Noseda made or reproduced a number of mistakes regarding the contents of quite a few folios. Folio 32 according to his classification is no longer considered part of the codex.[53] Subsequently Fedeli published the full contents of the scriptio superior of DAM 01-27.1 but did not give a folio-by-folio breakdown.[54] As part of a series of articles in 2009 and 2010, Puin gave successively updated contents of the scriptio superior and scriptio inferior[55] which were based on small 6 x 6 black and white photographs, understandably containing some errors.[56] At present the authoritative contents for the upper and lower text has been published by Sadeghi and Goudarzi in 2012.[57] For the purposes of consistency and to prevent confusion, we have reproduced the table below in accordance with the list of folios as ordered by Sadeghi and Goudarzi (i.e., according to scriptio superior text). For additional clarity the folio numbers assigned by Sadeghi and Goudarzi in their article are cross-referenced with those images already published. The folios from al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya are inserted in their appropriate place in order to preserve the original sequence of the manuscript preserving verse order.

The codex now contains 81 folios [= al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya, Ṣanʿāʾ (40) + DAM 01-27.1, Dār al-Makhṭūtāt, Ṣanʿāʾ (36) + Louvre Abu Dhabi (1) + Sotheby’s 1993 / Stanford 2007 (1) + Sotheby’s 1992 / David 86/2003 (1) + Bonhams 2000 (1) + Christies 2008 (1)]. The extant folios contain about 41% of the text of the Qur'an.

Codex Ṣanʿāʾ I
Folio Number Qur'anic Surah (Scriptio Superior) Qur'anic Surah (Scriptio Inferior) Size of the Folio (cm.) Image Publication
1r 2:246 – 2:250     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
1v 2:250 – 2:255     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
2r 2:255 – 2:259     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
2v 2:259 – 2:265     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
2:265 – 2:271 2:191 – 2:196 36.5 x 28.1 Sotheby's 1993 / Stanford 2007, recto
2:271 – 2:277 2:197 – 2:205   Sotheby's 1993 / Stanford 2007, verso
2:277 – 2:282 2:206 – 2:217 36.6 x 28.2 Sotheby's 1992 / David 86/2003, recto
2:282 – 2:286 2:217 – 2:223   Sotheby's 1992 / David 86/2003, verso
3r 2:286 – 3:10     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
3v 3:11 – 3:20     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
4r 3:20 – 3:28     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
4v 3:28 – 3:37     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
5r 3:37 – 3:47     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
5v 3:47 – 3:57     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
6r 3:57 – 3:71     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
6v 3:71 – 3:81     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
7r 3:81 – 3:94     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
7v 3:94 – 3:107     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
8r 3:107 – 3:119     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
8v 3:119 – 3:133     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
9r 3:133 – 3:145     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
9v 3:145 – 3:154     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
10r 3:179 – 3:187     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
10v 3:187 – 3:199     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
11r 3:199 – 4:7     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
11v 4:7 – 4:14     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
12r       No photo taken by Hamdoun
12v 4:24 – 4:33     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
4:33 – 4:43 5:41 – 5:48 36.8 x 27.6 Bonhams 2000, recto
4:43 – 4:56 5:48 – 5:54   Bonhams 2000, verso
13r 4:56 – 4:64     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
13v 4:64 – 4:76     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
14r 4:77 – 4:84     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
14v 4:84 – 4:92     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
15r 4:92 – 4:100     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
15v 4:100 – 4:108     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
16r 4:108 – 4:120     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
16v       No photo taken by Hamdoun
17r 4:131 – 4:140     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
17v 4:140 – 4:151     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
18r 4:151 – 4:161     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
18v 4:161 – 4:171     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
4:171 – 5:3 63:1 – 11; 62:1 – 11 36.3 x 28.0 Christies 2008, recto
5:3 – 5:9 62:11; 89:1 – 90:6   Christies 2008, verso
5:9 – 5:18     Louvre Abu Dhabi
5:18 – 5:32     Louvre Abu Dhabi
19r 5:32 – 5:42     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
19v       No photo taken by Hamdoun
20r 5:49 – 5:61     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
20v 5:61 – 5:71     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
21r 5:71 – 5:82     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
21v 5:82 – 5:93     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
22r 5:93 – 5:104     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
22v 5:104 – 5:111     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
1A 6:49 – 6:61 illegible 36.0 x 28.0 UNESCO Image No. 152255B
1B 6:61 – 6:73 illegible    
2A 6:149 – 6:159 2:87 – 2:96 37.0 x 27.0 UNESCO Image No. 152254B; Puin, 2008 recto
2B 6:159 – 7:11 2:96 – 2:105   Puin, 2008 verso
23r 7:40 – 7:53     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
23v 7:53 – 7:69     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
24r 7:69 – 7:83     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
24v 7:83 – 7:99     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
25r 7:99 – 7:126     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
25v 7:126 – 7:141     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
26r 7:141 – 7:153     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
26v 7:153 – 7:162     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
27r 7:163 – 7:176     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
27v 7:176 – 7:195     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
28r 7:195 – 8:10     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
28v 8:10 – 8:28     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
29r 8:28 – 8:43     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
29v 8:43 – 8:60     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
30r 8:60 – 8:73     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
30v 8:73 – 9:13     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
31r 9:13 – 9:27     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
31v 9:27 – 9:39     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
32r 9:40 – 9:55     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
32v 9:55 – 9:71     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
3A 9:112 – 9:115 illegible    
3B 9:124 – 9:127 35:39 – 35:49    
33r 9:128 – 10:12     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
33v       No photo taken by Hamdoun
34r 10:24 – 10:39     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
34v 10:39 – 10:59     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
35r 10:59 – 10:75     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
35v       No photo taken by Hamdoun
36r 10:94 – 11:5     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
36v       No photo taken by Hamdoun
37r       No photo taken by Hamdoun
37v 11:40 – 11:61     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
38r 11:61 – 11:84     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
38v 11:84 – 11:100     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
39r       No photo taken by Hamdoun
39v 11:119 – 12:15     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
40r 12:16 – 12:30     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
40v 12:31 – 12:49     Hamdoun, Master's Thesis
4A 14:32 – 14:41 11:105 – 11:112    
4B 14:52 – 15:16 11:120 – 8:3    
5A 16:73 – 16.89 8:73 – 9:7 36.0 x 28.0 UNESCO Image No. 027002B; Puin, 2009 recto (part); Puin 2010 recto (part)
5B 16:89 – 16:102 9:7 – 9:16   Puin, 2009 verso (part); Puin 2010 verso (part)
6A 16:102 – 16:118 9:17 – 9:26 36.0 x 28.0 UNESCO Image No. 027004B; Puin, 2009 recto
6B 16:118 – 17:6 9:26 – 9:34    
7A 17:40 – 17:58 22:15 – 22:26    
7B 17:59 – 17:77 22:27 – 22:39    
8A 18:22 illegible    
8B 18:32 illegible    
9A 19:38 – 19:64 33:51 – 33:57    
9B 19:64 – 19:98 33:57 – 33:72   Puin 2010 verso (part)
10A 20:1 – 20:43 ?? – 24:13 37.0 x 28.0 UNESCO Image No. 152256B
10B 20:44 – 20:74 24:13 – 24:23    
11A 20:74 – 20:98 24:23 – 24:32    
11B 20:98 – 20:130 24:32 – 24:40    
12A 21:16 – 21:19 illegible    
12B 21:38 – 21:42 illegible    
13A 21:42 – 21:72 16:26 – 16:37    
13B 21:72 – 21:92 16:37 – 16:59    
14A 21:111 – 22:1 16:68 – 16:69    
14B 22:15 – 22:16 16:78 – 16:79    
15A 25:10 – 25:34 20:23 – 20:61    
15B 25:34 – 25:59 20:61 – 20:80    
16A 26:155 – 26:176 28:30 – 28:35    
16B 26:198 – 26:221 28:19 – 28:24    
17A 27:25 – 27:29 no guess    
17B 27:46 – 27:49 no guess    
18A 28:58 – 28:74 15:4 – 15:33    
18B 28:74 – 28:86 15:33 – 15:74   Puin 2010 verso (part)
19A 29:29 – 29:40 25:14 – 25:27    
19B 29:43 – 29:54 15:87 – 15:99; 25:1 – 25:8   Puin 2010 verso (part)
20A 30:26 – 30:40 9:70 – 9:81   Puin 2010 recto
20B 30:40 – 30:54 9:81 – 9:90    
21A 31:24 – 32:4 9:106 – 9: 113 37.1 x 28.0 Maṣāḥif Ṣan‘a', 1985; Puin 2012 recto
21B 32:4 – 32:20 9:114 – 9:120    
22A 32:20 – 33:6 (bifolio) 9:121 – 9:129; 19:1 – 19:5 Hans–Casper von Bothmer, 1987?; Puin 2010 recto (part)
22B 33:6 – 33:18 (bifolio) 19:6 – 19:29   Puin 2012 verso
23A 33:18 – 33:29 (bifolio) 19:29 – 19:53    
23B 33:30 – 33:37 (bifolio) 19:54 – 19:74    
24A 34:52 – 35:9 illegible    
24B 35:10 – 35:18 30:38 – 30:50   Puin 2010 verso
25A 37:38 – 37:59 39:25 – 39:36    
25B 37:73 – 37:88 39:42 – 39:47    
26A 37:102 – 37:134 39:51 – 39:70    
26B 37:134 – 37:172 39:70 – 40:8    
27A 38:73 – 38:75 illegible    
27B 39:6 illegible    
28A 41:17 – 41:27 37:15 – 37:33    
28B 41:33 – 41:43 37:43 – 37:68    
29A 41:47 – 42:5 37:82 – 37:103    
29B 42:10 – 42:16 37:118 – 37:144    
30A 42:21 – 42:29 21:5 – 21:19    
30B 42:38 – 42:48 20:122 – 20:133    
31A 43:63 – 43:69 12:17 – 12:20    
31B 43:89 – 44:11 12:27 – 12:31    
32A 47:15 – 47:20 12:111 – 18:5    
32B 47:32 – 48:2 18:15 – 18:18    
33A 55:16 – 56:4 34:13 – 34:23    
33B 56:5 – 56:69 34:23 – 34:33    
34A 57:1 – 57:10 34:40 – 34:47    
34B 57:16 – 57:22 13:1 – 13:5    
35A 57:27 – 58:6 13:6 – 13:14    
35B 58:11 – 58:22 13:16 – 13:21    
36A 59:1 – 59:10 13:25 – 13:31 19.0 x 16.0 UNESCO Image No. 152257B
36B 59:14 – 60:1 13:33 – 13:40    

Not including the section of the manuscript located at al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya, the scriptio inferior text of Ṣanʿāʾ I has eleven sūrah changeovers. They are sūrah 11, 8, 9 and 19, sūrah 12 to 18, sūrah 15 to 25, sūrah 20 to 21, sūrah 34 to 13, sūrah 39 to 40 and sūrah 63, 62, 89 and 90.[58] In its original state it would of course had many more. Despite the fact a few times there is a standard sūrah changeover, considering their placement as it would have been originally, all of them can be considered non-standard. Sadeghi and Goudarzi observed these changeovers somewhat resembled the ordering of the codex of Ubayy b. Kaʿb, though the sampling size was not large enough.[59] In any case, Sadeghi has shown that the scriptio inferior text cannot be identified with the codices known to us in the literary sources but instead it represents an independent codex, text type and textual tradition.[60] One could also add that such an explanation for the differences in sūrah orders (i.e., companion codices) though feasible, is not the only one. There exist numerous partially written copies of the Qur'an dating well into medieval times that contain a variety of sūrah orders.[61] This phenomenon, however, cannot be attributed to the alleged sequence of sūrahs supposedly found in codices attributed to various companions. Simple logic dictates that if a person or patron wished to copy or have copied a few or even many sūrahs for personal or public edification, he or they were not limited to copying sūrahs adjoining each other only. Thus one must carefully consider to what extent the manuscript in question was originally a full or partial copy.

High resolution images of the folios from Dār al-Makhṭūtāt, Ṣanʿāʾ, are now available for download. The folios were imaged using white light and ultraviolet light - the former enables reading of scriptio superior whilst the latter highlights scriptio inferior. RGB images acquired using white light can be downloaded by clicking here (file size: 2.05 Gb). The images acquired using the ultraviolet light can be downloaded by clicking here (file size: 2.13 Gb).

The Use Of Ultraviolet Photography In Studying Palimpsests

Written in the ijāzī script, the above palimpsests have a few diacritical marks with no vocalization and sūrah titles. Underneath the bold, dark brown writing (i.e., scriptio superior), faint light brown traces of an earlier script (i.e., scriptio inferior) can be seen. This has been washed off to make the parchment reusable once again. The under-writing of palimpsest is, of course, often difficult to read, although modern tools such as ultraviolet photography are useful to highlight them.

The ultraviolet photography enhances the washed off earlier script which now forms the scriptio inferior.

The principle of ultraviolet photography to detect under–writings and forgeries in the manuscripts and documents is quite simple. The ink used in writing early documents was iron–gallotannate type or simply "iron-gall". Iron-gall inks absorb long–wave ultraviolet radiation strongly without generation of fluorescence, so the legibility of faded, bleached or erased parts of handwriting can be improved considerably. On the other hand, the parchment exhibits a weak fluorescence under long-wave ultraviolet light. Traces of iron compounds on the parchment quench this fluorescence, and the areas formerly carrying ink (i.e., scriptio inferior) appear dark against a lighter background as observed in the above figure. Compare the above figure with images of palimpsests (e.g., Sotheby's 1992, recto) to see the improvement of contrast of the faded writing observed in ultraviolet photography as opposed to what is seen in the ordinary colour photography.


Principally at al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya and Dār al-Makhṭūtāt, Ṣanʿāʾ (Yemen). Also at the David Collection, Copenhagen, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and other private collections.

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[1] Qādī Ismāʿīl al-Akwá, "The Mosque Of Sanʿāʾ: The Most Prominent Landmark Of Islamic Culture In Yemen" in Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ, 1985, Dār al-Athar al-Islamiyyah: Kuwait, pp. 20-21 (Arabic Section). For a review of this publication including a very brief summary of al-Akwá's article in English see J. J. Witkam, "Maṣāḥif Ṣan‘a' …", Manuscripts Of The Middle East, 1986, Volume 1, pp. 123-124. Witkam adds circumspectly, “One does indeed wonder, when reading this disheartening information, whether the numerous fragments of vellum Korans that have been offered for sale by auctions at Sotheby's, Christies and the like during the past fifteen years, do not in fact originate from this or similar finds.” [ibid., p. 123].

[2] P. M. Costa, "The Great Mosque Of San‘ā" in P. M. Costa (Ed.), Studies In Arabian Architecture, 1994, Variorum Collected Studies Series CS 455, p. 16 & pl. 30a, 30b (II). This is a slightly revised version of the original Italian publication translated into English, P. M. Costa, "La Moschea Grande Di San‘ā", Annali Dell'Istituto Orientale Di Napoli, 1974, Volume 34, pp. 487-506. Regrettably Costa's description of the physical space as "hidden" has led some to construct some very strange theories regarding the discovery of these manuscripts. There are certain protocols regarding the proper method of disposal of Qur'anic manuscripts. Joseph Sadan was the first to write at length about the "Islamic Genizah" in the West publishing a pair of articles on the topic in the 1980s. His research and subsequent work has now resulted in the general abandonment of calling the physical space where the manuscripts were discovered as a ‘hiding place’. See J. Sadan, "Genizah and Genizah-Like Practices In Islamic And Jewish Tradition", Bibliotheca Orientalis, 1986, Volume XLIII, cols 36-58; and latterly idem., ''New Materials Regarding Purity And Impurity Of Books In Islam In Comparison With Judaism", Jerusalem Studies In Arabic And Islam, 2007, Volume 33, pp. 193-218; also see M. R. Cohen, "Geniza for Islamicists, Islamic Geniza, And The “New Cairo Geniza”", Harvard Middle Eastern And Islamic Review, 2006, Volume 7, pp. 129-145.

[3] "Recommendations" in R. B. Serjeant (Ed.), The Islamic City, 1980, UNESCO: France, pp. 207-208.

[4] Al-Akwá did not think the Yemenis or indeed much of the Islamic World had any appreciation of the architectural heritage of their country in contrast with the ‘concern’ registered by foreign observers. At a seminar on the Architectural Transformations In The Islamic World held at Ṣanʿāʾ in May 1983, in his opening remarks to the Yemeni Prime Minister, other dignitaries and scholars, he declared that, “Until recently we Yemenis did not have an appreciation of our architectural heritage. The people of Sanʿāʾ, and indeed the people in many Islamic countries did not feel that their cities contained anything that was worth preserving. … Foreign scientists, architects and experts registered their concern with our heritage. They praised the beauty of architecture, the type of buildings and the traditional methods of building in Sanʿāʾ. …” See Qadi Ismail al-Akwá, "Opening Remarks", in A. Evin (Ed.), Development And Urban Metamorphosis: Proceedings Of Seminar Eight In The Series Architectural Transformations In The Islamic World Held In Sana‘a, Yemen Arab Republic May 25–30, 1983, 1983, Volume I, The Aga Khan Awards, p. xiv. – It is in such an atmosphere one can appreciate the circumstances as they unfolded.

[5] As this arrangement is regulated by the German Federal Archives Act it cannot be published earlier than thirty years after its coming into force, i.e., 2010 (Personal Communication – Anna-Lena Aßmann, German Federal Foreign Office). For a flavour of the type of official agreements between Germany and Yemen spanning a wide range of issues such as finance, economics, politics, friendship and archaeological co-operation, one can immerse oneself in the United Nations Treaty Series. For example see "No. 27713. Federal Republic Of Germany And Yemen: Agreement On Archaeological Cooperation. Signed At San'a On 30 August 1989" in Treaty Series: Treaties And International Agreements Registered Or Filed And Recorded With The Secretariat Of The United Nations, 1998, Volume 1587, United Nations: New York, pp. 439-444. Available online. The signatories are al-Akwá and Reiners.

[6] U. Dreibholz, "Treatment Of Early Islamic Manuscript Fragments On Parchment: A Case History: The Find At Sana‘a, Yemen", in Y. Ibish (Ed.), The Conservation And Preservation Of Islamic Manuscripts, Proceedings Of The Third Conference Of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation 18-19 November 1995, 1996, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation Publication: No. 19: London (UK), p. 131 & p. 140.

[7] Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ, 1985, op. cit., p. 59, Plate 4.

[8] H. C. G. von Bothmer, "Masterworks Of Islamic Book Art: Koranic Calligraphy And Illumination In The Manuscripts Found In The Great Mosque In Sanaa", in W. Daum (Ed.), Yemen: 3000 Years Of Art And Civilization In Arabia Felix, 1987?, Pinguin-Verlag (Innsbruck) and Umschau-Verlag (Frankfurt/Main), pp. 178-181 for text and Plate I in p. 186 for the image.

[9] U. Dreibholz, "Treatment Of Early Islamic Manuscript Fragments On Parchment: A Case History: The Find At Sana'a, Yemen", in Y. Ibish (Ed.), The Conservation And Preservation Of Islamic Manuscripts, Proceedings Of The Third Conference Of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation 18-19 November 1995, 1996, op. cit., p. 132; idem., "Preserving A Treasure: The Sana'a Manuscripts", Museum International, 1999, Volume LI, No. 3, p. 22.

[10] This is rather befuddling given the title of the ‘bilateral’ agreement. The original German director of the project neglected to follow his own cogent advice on these matters. Pointing out the “… major obstacles to all kinds of Qur'anic research is the limited access to manuscripts”, Puin goes on to say, “As in the case of the San‘ani manuscripts, most oriental collections of fragments are not properly catalogued and classified, which would be the pre-requisite for microfilming as well as for proper quotations”. See Gerd-R. Puin, "Methods of Research On Qur'anic Manuscripts – A Few Ideas" in Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ, 1985, op. cit., p. 16.

[11] Islamic And Indian Art, Oriental Manuscripts And Miniatures, Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd October 1992 (Catalogue No. 2961), Sotheby's: London, pp. 254-259 (Lot 551).

[12] Oriental Manuscripts And Miniatures, Friday 22nd October 1993 (Catalogue No. 93561), Sotheby's: London, pp. 18-23 (Lot 31). This leaf immediately precedes the leaf described in the previous Sotheby's auction containing the verses 2:265-277.

[13] T. Lester, "What Is The Koran?", The Atlantic Monthly, 1999 (January), Volume 283, Number 1, p. 44. Available online. The reverberations of this article were felt in the heart of Yemen prompting Puin and von Bothmer to engage in an impromptu diplomacy. Just over one month after Lester's article, both of them had written dated personal handwritten letters in Arabic addressed directly to al-Akwá attempting to free themselves from the sentiments expressed therein. The full text of Puin's letter can be found in the Yemeni daily newspaper Al-Thawra issue 24.11.1419 / 11.3.1999. For a partial reproduction of Puin's letter one can consult M. M. Al-Azami, "Orientalists And The Qur'an (Part 2)", Impact International, 2000 (March), Volume 30, Number 3, pp. 26-28. Puin terminates his letter with the following advice, no doubt wishing to resonate with al-Akwá's own feelings previously expressed, “… whereas people of ignorance and hatred let them be as they are, until another new generation, well educated, interested in their country's unique history, happy (proud) with their religious heritage, thankful for archaeologists to conserve it and maintain it and taking the expertise and cooperation – even from China!”

[14] C. Luxenberg, The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Koran - A Contribution To The Decoding Of The Language Of The Koran, 2007, Verlag Hans Schiler, Berlin: Germany, p. 74, footnote 94.

[15] Islamic And Indian Works Of Art, Wednesday 11th October 2000, Bonhams: London, pp. 11-14 (Lot 13).

[16] Islamic Calligraphy, 2003, Catalogue 27, Sam Fogg: London, p. 6.

[17] Anonymous, "‘The Qur’an: Text, Interpretation And Translation’ 3rd Biannual SOAS Conference, October 16–17, 2003", Journal Of Qur’anic Studies, 2004, Volume 6, Issue 1, p. 143.

[18] S. Noja Noseda, "La Mia Vista A Sanaa E Il Corano Palinseto", Rendiconti: Classe Di Lettere E Scienze Morali E Storiche, 2003 (Published 2004), Volume 137, Fasc. 1, pp. 43-60.

[19] F. Déroche and S. N. Noseda (Eds.), Sources de la transmission manuscrite du texte coranique. I. Les manuscrits de style hijazi. Volume 2. Tome I. Le manuscrit Or. 2165 (f. 1 à 61) de la British Library, 2001, Fondazione Ferni Noja Noseda, Leda, and British Library: London, pp. xx-xxiii. Their Sources De La Transmission Manuscrite Du Texte Coranique have a further seven volumes projected under the new title, Early Qur'ans. The Era Of The Prophet, The Rightly-Guided Caliphs And The Umayyades. See E. Rezvan, "“From Russia With Love”: Prof. Sergio Noja Noseda (1931-2008)", Manuscripta Orientalia, 2008, Volume 14, Number 1, p. 72.

[20] Ricordo di Sergio Noja Noseda, paragraph six, lines 10-15 (accessed 11th April 2008). That there has long been a lack of scholarly reciprocity between the East and West is a particular facet of orientalism. It would be hard to envisage a time when a Muslim scholar, no matter how qualified, could gain access to the Vatican Apostolic Library in order to study, organise and photograph one of the most ancient Christian manuscripts such as Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV (P75), thereafter, removing some samples for the purposes of radiocarbon dating, all with Papal approval.

[21] S. Noja Noseda, "La Mia Vista A Sanaa E Il Corano Palinseto", Rendiconti: Classe Di Lettere E Scienze Morali E Storiche, 2003 (Published 2004), op. cit., pp. 53-55. Readers may wonder why a folio from 00-27.1 is categorised as belonging to 01-27.1. Here is a description of the inventory scheme developed by Gerd-R. Puin as described by Dreibholz:

The signatures of the different volumes consist of three numbers which also represent the main criteria of classification: (a) the number of lines on the page; (b) the maximum length of the lines in centimetres; and (c) how many different volumes with these same criteria already exist. For example, '7-11' means that there are seven lines to the page and they are not longer than 11 cm. Of course, there may be several Korans with these same criteria, distinguished from each other by different script, decoration, format, etc. For each of these an individual number is added at the end of the signature (i.e., 7-11.1, 7-11.2, etc.). An inconsistent number of lines within a volume is designated by the number '01', followed by the length of the lines. Where the number of lines or their length cannot be established, '00' is used.

U. Dreibholz, "Preserving A Treasure: The Sana'a Manuscripts", Museum International, 1999, op. cit., p. 22. Also see, idem., "Treatment Of Early Islamic Manuscript Fragments On Parchment: A Case History: The Find At Sana'a, Yemen", in Y. Ibish (Ed.), The Conservation And Preservation Of Islamic Manuscripts, Proceedings Of The Third Conference Of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation 18-19 November 1995, 1996, op. cit., pp. 140-141, for a more detailed description of the classification system. Please note these two essays are similar in content.

[22] Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ, 1985, op. cit., p. 52, Plate 25, for sample folio.

[23] ibid., p. 54, Plate 23.

[24] ibid., p. 58, Plate 11.

[25] ibid., p. 53, Plate 24.

[26] ibid., p. 56, Plate 17.

[27] ibid., pp. 60-61, Plate 3.

[28] R. G. Hamdoun, "المخطوطات القرآنية في صنعاء منذ القرن الأول الهجري وحفظ القرآن الكريم بالسطور", 2004, Master’s Thesis (unpublished), Al-Yemenia University.

[29] ibid., p. 2.

[30] ibid., p. 50.

[31] A. Fedeli, "Early Evidences Of Variant Readings In Qur'ānic Manuscripts", in K-H. Ohlig & G-R. Puin (Eds.), Die Dunklen Anfänge: Neue Forschungen Zur Entstehung Und Frühen Geschichte Des Islam, 2006, 2nd Auflage, Verlag Hans Schiler: Berlin (Germany), pp. 298-299 and pp. 304-306. Discussing the Sotheby's sale of 1992 (footnote 29), she says the description attached to the parchment was, “A highly important early Qur'an leaf in hijazi script from the period of the "Rashidun" caliphs”. In actual fact the description is as follows: “Vellum Qur'an leaf in Hijazi script, (surat al-Baqara, verses 277-286) probably Medina, mid-seventh century”. Fedeli says Lot 34 refers to a “Qur'an section: an important early Qur'an section in Hijazi script”. In actuality the description states “Qur'an section (Surat al-Amran, verses 34-184), Arabic manuscript on vellum written in late Hijazi script, Mecca or Medina, c.700 A. D.” See pp. 26-29 of the Sotheby's catalogue.

[32] F. Déroche (Trans. D. Dusinberre & D. Radzinowicz, Ed. M. I. Waley) Islamic Codicology: An Introduction To The Study Of Manuscripts In Arabic Script, 2006, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation Publication: No. 102, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation: London (UK), pp. 43-45. This is an English translation of Déroche's De Codicologie Des Manuscrits En Ècriture Arabe published by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, in the year 2000. Also see F. Déroche, "New Evidence About Umayyad Book Hands" in Essays In Honour Of Ṣalāḥ Al-Dīn Al-Munajjid, 2002, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation Publication: No. 70, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation: London (UK), p. 640, footnote 66. Déroche makes a passing mention that this folio is dated to the first half of the 1st century AH. Sheila Blair also makes a passing mention of this folio. Please see S. S. Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, 2006, Edinburgh University Press Ltd: Scotland, p. 128 & p. 140, footnote 112. Speculating on the early date, Blair states that the textual sources inform us that the first people to make copies of the Qur'an worked in the 8th century. Blair contradicts herself however as in the previous chapter [p. 85] she confidently informs the reader that copies of the Qur'an were penned in the 7th century. Quite apart from what the textual sources inform us, one would find it most remarkable that the powerful new Islamic "state" that was administering conquered lands, embarking on complex construction projects, collecting taxes, minting coins, sending armies to the extremities of its realm on expeditions by land and sea, proclaiming the faith, etc., find themselves unable to execute the relatively simple task of copying a book!

[33] Memory Of The World: Ṣanʿāʾ Manuscripts, CD-ROM Presentation by UNESCO, Image No. 043020C. Keith Small and Elisabeth Puin have painstakingly gone through the Memory Of The World: Ṣanʿāʾ Manuscripts, CD-ROM Presentation by UNESCO and provided a detailed index with additional information as an aid to the cumbersome poorly designed user interface. See K. Small & E. Puin, "UNESCO CD of Ṣanʿāʾ Mss. Part 3: Qur'ān Palimpsests, And Unique Qur'ān Illustrations", Manuscripta Orientalia, 2007, Volume 13, Number 2, pp. 63-70.

[34] M. Fraser & W. Kwiatkowski, Ink And Gold: Islamic Calligraphy, 2006, Sam Fogg: London, pp. 14-17. One will note that the co-author of this entry is Marcus Fraser, formerly Director of Islamic and Indian Art at Sotheby's (London). Fraser was the expert-in-charge at the Sotheby's sale of a folio from this manuscript in 1992. He was also the expert-in-charge at the Sotheby's sale in 1993 when another folio from the same codex was sold.

[35] A. Fedeli, "I Manoscritti Di Sanaa: Fogli Sparsi Che Diventano Corani" in F. Aspesi, V. Brugnatelli, A. L. Callow & C. Rosenzweig (Eds.), Il Mio Cuore È A Oriente: Studi Di Linguistica Storica, Filologia E Cultura Ebraica Dedicati A Maria Luisa Mayer Modena, 2008, Cisalpino: Milano, pp. 35-36, footnote 42.

[36] Art Of The Islamic And Indian Worlds, Tuesday 8th April 2008, Christie's: London, pp. 24-27 (Lot 20).

[37] E. Puin, "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1)", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Schlaglichter: Die Beiden Ersten Islamischen Jahrhunderte, 2008, Verlag Hans Schiler: Berlin, pp 461-493; idem., "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil II", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Vom Koran Zum Islam: Schriften Zur Frühen Islamgeschichte Und Zum Koran, 2009, Verlag Hans Schiler: Berlin, pp. 523-581; idem., "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil III", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Die Entstehung Einer Weltreligion I: Von Der Koranischen Bewegung Zum Frühislam, 2010, Verlag Hans Schiler: Berlin/Tübingen, pp. 233-305; idem., "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil IV", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Die Entstehung Einer Weltreligion II: Von Der Koranischen Bewegung Zum Frühislam, 2012, Verlag Hans Schiler: Berlin/Tübingen, pp. 311-402.

[38] E. Puin, "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1)", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Schlaglichter: Die Beiden Ersten Islamischen Jahrhunderte, 2008, op. cit., pp. 461-462, footnote 2.

[39] E. Puin, "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil II", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Vom Koran Zum Islam: Schriften Zur Frühen Islamgeschichte Und Zum Koran, 2009, op. cit., p. 527 & p. 531.

[40] ibid., pp. 527-528.

[41] B. Sadeghi & U. Bergmann, "The Codex Of A Companion Of The Prophet And The Qurʾān Of The Prophet", Arabica, 2010, Volume 57, Number 4, pp. 348-354.

[42] ibid., pp. 348 - 354.

[43] ibid., p. 353.

[44] ibid., pp. 344-347.

[45] 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.

[46] B. Sadeghi & M. Goudarzi, "Ṣanʿāʾ I And The Origins Of The Qur’ān", Der Islam, 2012, Volume 87, Issue 1-2, pp. 1-129.

[47] Sadeghi and Goudarzi stated that with the application of more advanced technology and greater scholarly effort, they hoped their edition may one day be superseded. See ibid., p. 40.

[48] ibid., pp. 17-20.

[49] ibid., pp. 31-36.

[50] Sadeghi and Goudarzi note repeatedly throughout their essay that scholars have been denied access to the microfilms of the manuscripts prepared by von Bothmer, mentioning at one point in this particular sub-section that, “… G. Puin did not share his photographs with scholars who asked for them …”. See ibid., p. 34. Puin did however share his photographs with at least one scholar. Keith Small, missionary apologist and evangelist to Muslims, recounts how a “private collector” whom he refers to cryptically as “GRP” provided him with photographs of three Ṣanʿāʾ manuscripts from his “private collection”. See K. E. Small, Textual Criticism And Qur’ān Manuscripts, 2011, Lexington Books, Maryland (USA), p. xii & pp. 17-18 & pp. 97-99.

Separate from the microfilms prepared by von Bothmer in 1996/7, Puin provided Thomas Milo with boxes of original colour slides of a Ṣanʿāʾ manuscript he photographed in 1984. Milo recalls, “Recently, G.-R. Puin sent me some 160 colour slides that he made in 1984 ... What makes Puin's photography extraordinary, is his attention to detail and the fact that the slides are made in colour.” See T. Milo, ''Towards Arabic Historical Script Grammar: Through Contrastive Analysis Of Qur'ān Manuscripts'' in R. M. Kerr & T. Milo (Eds.), Writings And Writing From Another World And Another Era: Investigations In Islamic Text And Script In Honour Of Dr. Januarius Justus Witkam, 2010, Archetype: Cambridge, p. 249 & pp. 252-253.

[51] B. Sadeghi & M. Goudarzi, "Ṣanʿāʾ I And The Origins Of The Qur’ān", Der Islam, 2012, op. cit., p. 1.

[52] S. Noja Noseda, "La Mia Vista A Sanaa E Il Corano Palinseto", Rendiconti: Classe Di Lettere E Scienze Morali E Storiche, 2003 (Published 2004), op. cit., pp. 54-55.

[53] E. Puin, "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil II", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Vom Koran Zum Islam: Schriften Zur Frühen Islamgeschichte Und Zum Koran, 2009, op. cit., p. 527.

[54] A. Fedeli, "I Manoscritti Di Sanaa: Fogli Sparsi Che Diventano Corani" in F. Aspesi, V. Brugnatelli, A. L. Callow & C. Rosenzweig (Eds.), Il Mio Cuore È A Oriente: Studi Di Linguistica Storica, Filologia E Cultura Ebraica Dedicati A Maria Luisa Mayer Modena, 2008, op. cit., pp. 28-29.

[55] E. Puin, "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil II", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Vom Koran Zum Islam: Schriften Zur Frühen Islamgeschichte Und Zum Koran, 2009, op. cit., pp. 529-531; idem., "Ein Früher Koranpalimpsest Aus Ṣanʿāʾ (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil III", in M. Groß & K-H. Ohlig (Eds.), Die Entstehung Einer Weltreligion I: Von Der Koranischen Bewegung Zum Frühislam, 2010, op. cit., pp. 249-250. In response to a query of ours regarding the precise contents of one of the folios, Puin re-examined every page of the codex and corrected some discrepancies found in her table of contents (‘Teil II’). In an earlier version of this article we relied upon said table of contents that was kindly provided to us by Puin in advance of its publication (‘Teil III’).

[56] According to Sadeghi and Goudarzi there are 41 errors in Puin's transcriptions (until ‘Teil III’). See B. Sadeghi & M. Goudarzi, "Ṣanʿāʾ I And The Origins Of The Qur’ān", Der Islam, 2012, op. cit., p. 14.

[57] ibid., pp. 37-39.

[58] ibid., p. 25

[59] ibid., p. 24.

[60] B. Sadeghi & U. Bergmann, "The Codex Of A Companion Of The Prophet And The Qurʾān Of The Prophet", Arabica, 2010, op. cit., p. 360.

[61] For documentary examples of non-standard sūrah changeover see M. M. al-A‘zami, The History Of The Qur'ānic Text From Revelation To Compilation: A Comparative Study With The Old And New Testaments, 2003, op. cit., pp. 72-76. Manuscript DAM 01-32.1, as mentioned earlier, shows one non-standard sūrah changeover, i.e., from sūrah 26 to sūrah 37. This particular sequence accords with two contradictory sūrah lists allegedly originating with ʿAbdullāh Ibn Masʿūd. See G-R. Puin, "Observations On Early Qur'an Manuscripts In Ṣanʿāʾ", in S. Wild (Ed.), The Qur'an As Text, 1996, E. J. Brill: Leiden (The Netherlands), pp. 110-111; Also see A. Jeffery, Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'ān: The Old Codices, 1937, E. J. Brill: Leiden, pp. 21-24.

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