The “Umayyad Codex of Damascus” (Codex TIEM ŞE 321) 1st Century Of Hijra

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First Composed: 26th May 2009

Last Updated: 4th December 2018

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Folios from the codex TIEM ŞE 321 (the "Damascus Umayyad Qur'an"): (a) Folio 33v and (b) Folio 57v.


1st century of hijra.[1] Déroche arrived at this dating by studying illumination, script, the 10-bifolio quire structure, direct relation of the ornaments used in the manuscript with the mosaics at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. He dates it to the time after 72 AH / 691-692 CE or more probably during the last quater of the 1st (early 8th) century AH.

Inventory No.

TIEM ŞE 321 (‘Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi Şam Evrakı 321’) .

Size & Folios

24 cm x 19.5 cm. The codex has 78 folios.[2] It has the 10-bifolio quire structure.

History Of The Manuscript

This manuscript belongs to the Şam Evrakı (‘Papers of Syria’) collection.

Script & Ornamentation

Kufic or perhaps late ḥijāzī.

The script bears some similarities with the ḥijāzī. The ratio between the height of the script and its thickness is high and as a whole its appearance is close to that of the British Library's MS Or. 2165. Notice also that the writing instrument is slightly thicker than the usually associated with the ḥijāzī script. The shafts of lām and alif tend to be vertical although there are still some tendencies to have them slanting to the right; an exception is the shaft of the letter ṭāʾ / ẓāʾ which remains oblique. Compare this manuscript with the “Great Umayyad Qur'ān”, DAM 20-33.1, from Ṣanʿāʾ.

This copy was written with 18 to 21 lines to the page on folios in vertical format. The folios were ruled - a complete frame with two vertical lines indicating the margins and 18 to 21 horizontal lines.[3] The letters are spread over the entire page due to an extensive use of elongation of horizontal connections or to a regular spacing of the letters or groups of letters irrespective of being part of the word or not. Just like what is found in the ḥijāzī manuscripts of the Qur'an, words can be divided at the end of the line when there is not enough space left, provided that the word includes a letter which does not require connection with the next one.

The sūrah headings of this codex are illuminated and do not contain information about the text. The illumination of this Qur'an relies on motifs which find their parallels with the mosaics of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.


Below are the published folios of this codex.

Codex TIEM ŞE 321 ("Umayyad Codex Of Damascus")
Folio Number Qur'anic Surah Contents Image Publication
1v Partial image Déroche, 2014
9r Partial image Déroche, 2014
33v 31:33 – 32:4 Déroche, 2002
43r Partial image Déroche, 2014
47r Partial image Déroche, 2014
54r Partial image Déroche, 2014
57v Partial image Déroche, 2014; Déroche, 2018


Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi (Turkish and Islamic Art Museum), Istanbul, Turkey.

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[1] 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), pp. 629, 632, 634, 640 and Fig. 11.

[2] F. Déroche, Qurʾans Of The Umayyads: A First Overview, 2014, Koninklijke Brill nv: Leiden (The Netherlands), pp. 75-76 and Figs. 19-24.

[3] F. Déroche, "A Qurʾanic Script From Umayyad Times: Around The Codex Of Fustat", in A. George & A. Marsham, Power, Patronage And Memory In Early Islam: Perspectives On Umayyad Elites, 2018, Oxford University Press: New York (USA), pp. 69-80 and Fig. 3.2.

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