Early Manuscripts of Quran (Through Data of Hijazi Calligraphy and Archaeological Evidence)
Prof. Dr. Adnan bin Mohammed Shareef (Umm Al Qura University)
Prof. Dr. Yasser Ismail Abdul Salam (Cairo and Taif Universities)
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This research tackled the manuscripts of the early Quran (through the data of Hijazi calligraphy and archaeological evidence), reviewing the spelling phenomena that characterized Quran writing in close relation to the reality of Arabic writing. It also attempted to enlist the characteristics of calligraphy in early Quran copies as influenced by Nabataean script or what might be called early Arabic calligraphy (Hijazi calligraphy), comparing it with early Arabic inscriptions. Moreover, the study identified the relationship between the spelling system used in writing early Quran copies and the one used in early Arabic inscriptions, and attempted to conceive ways of identifying and dating the early Quran manuscripts preserved in regional and international libraries.
The study is mainly based on five copies of the Quran manuscripts preserved in international libraries and book houses; namely:
The Quran manuscript preserved in Berlin National Library (Berlin Quran), the Quran preserved in Birmingham University Library (Birmingham Quran), Tübingen University Library Quran (Tübingen Quran), the Quran preserved in the National Library in Paris (Paris Quran), and the Quran preserved in the British Library in London (London Quran).This is in addition to a collection of stone inscriptions and early dated papyrus received.
The identification of the origin of Arabic calligraphy is significant for researchers of ancient Arabic inscriptions and of the Quran, whether in terms of the manuscripts or the drawings and other related sciences. Such identifications also enables identifying the characteristics of this calligraphy, especially the early ones with which the first Quran was written to explain those sciences and others, and to resolve the debate on the origin of the calligraphy with which the Quran in the era of the Prophet peace be upon him was written and copied in the era of the Caliphs, may Allah be pleased with them all.
There are many trends and theories in determining the origin of the Hijazi Arabic calligraphy with which the Quran was written. A researcher of early dated Arabic inscriptions can easily identify a well-established writing system that writers followed, no matter how well that system resulted in conformity between what is written and what is pronounced.
The study concluded with a set of findings and recommendations, the most important of which are:
– The study proved that the early Quran copies received (samples of study) were copied and written in soft Hijazi calligraphy.
– The study and the models of Quran manuscripts used proved the authenticity of the Holy Quran, despite the claims of Orientalists and skeptics.
– The study revealed that most of the tithing marks were later on added in the early Quran manuscripts after their copying.
– The study proved that among the main criteria that assist in dating the Quran manuscripts, especially the early ones, are their technical standards, as well as the linguistic standards in comparison with the cultural heritage, and then the radioactive carbon (C14) examination.