The Qur'an Manuscript display
A Qur’an manuscript held by the the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham has been placed among the oldest in the world thanks to modern scientific methods. The manuscript is on display until 3 August 2016 at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's new Faith in Birmingham gallery.
Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment on which the text is written to the period between 568 and 645 CE with 95.4% accuracy. Researchers conclude that the Qur’an manuscript is among the earliest written textual evidence of the Islamic holy book known to survive. See the About the Birmingham Qur'an manuscript section for more information and refer to the About and FAQ sections at the end of this page.
The Birmingham Qur'an is part of the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts, which is designated as being of ‘Outstanding International Importance’ by Arts Council England. You can view digitised manuscripts from the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts on the Cadbury Research Library's Virtual Manuscript Room.
The initial announcement saw the University trend on Twitter, with the story reaching over 450 million people worldwide. The story was the most read story on the BBC website, also featuring on every BBC outlet. It was covered in every major national and international publication, including making the front page of the New York Times.
In October 2015 the manuscript went on public display in the University's Bramall Music Building. Over the course of the three-week period nearly 9,000 people visited campus to see the Qur’an, with people coming from as far away as China, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Sweden and Malaysia.
Visitors were invited to leave comments about their experiences. Some comments left included:
“Thank you for sharing such an amazing piece of Islamic history with us all! The way it’s been handled with care & respect, is absolutely amazing to see! Thank you! Ijaz family from Birmingham”
“As a former student of the University, I am proud and privileged to have seen the blessed pages of the manuscript. I also think it is testament to scholars of Islam and the many Hadith collections on the authenticity of the Quran. The University has made a great find available to the public and we hope further showings of the manuscript will continue. We hope and pray more people are able to see the manuscript and support the University in doing this. Shabnam 11/10/15”
“As an alumnus of this great University, I have been all along proud of this as a world-class University. Now, with this new discovery, it gives the institution a new reputation as a truly Universe-City containing collections from various parts of the world. So University of Birmingham is a Universe-City. Oloruntele O. Abdulganiy & family 8-10-2015”
“I feel very privileged to have been able to view the manuscript. As a Birmingham Uni graduate – I feel very proud that my Uni is guarding this sacred treasure. Inspirational, surreal, amazing! Ferdaus Islam BDS 2001”
“THANK YOU SO MUCH. The moment I saw this advertised I have literally ‘stalked’ your website to book tickets. Six of us came from Cardiff and two from Nottingham. We made it a very special occasion as it’s my mum’s birthday and this is a gift not only for her but all of us. God bless all involved. Keep up the hard work and keep the public aware. You have our support and gratitude. Robina”
“A privilege & an honour to see possibly the earliest Qur’an. It has been a rewarding, moving & intellectually inspiring experience. Many thanks to Birmingham University for this unique opportunity & its dedication to research & preservation of early documents. S. Khashun, Burton-on-Trent, 14th October 2015”
“First I was questioning the abrupt finding of the Quran. But, after seeing it I am glad that I came! It’s astonishing to see something genuine around the Prophet Muhammad’s time. Zaahirah Ali, Bromsgrove”
“It is with much appreciation and thanks to the University of Birmingham that we’ve enjoyed the exhibition. It’s inspiring and uplifting to see and listen to the discussions of a school group who were visiting the exhibition at the same time. How wonderful that such an artefact would be a catalyst for research into what Islam and the Holy Quran really is. Zahida & Family”
“Seeing the Quran manuscript has been inspiring. It is lovely to see that a piece of history can bring so many people together, of different ethnicities, from different religions and social backgrounds. The Quran is making a difference to people even today! Ravat”
“Thank you for organizing this interesting viewing. I have learnt so much in a very short time. I am inspired to learn more!! Thank you. ” A visitor from Wolverhampton
“MashaAllah what a beautiful experience. It is amazing to see we are blessed with this opportunity to have something as beautiful as the Birmingham Quran Manuscript before our very own eyes. I was a previous student at UoB and it is amazing to come back on campus and see this. Humena, visited with Mom”
The Qur’an manuscript is on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from from 5 February to 3 August 2016 in the new Faith in Birmingham gallery.