Section 13 of the Noble Fourths


This manuscript preserves the 13th juz’ (section) of the Qur’an, which starts at ayah (verse) 53 of Surat Yusuf (Joseph, chapter 12). The section also includes all of Surat al-Raʻd (The thunder, chapter 13), and ends at verse 52 of Surat Ibrahim (Abraham, chapter 14). The story of Joseph is the longest single story in the Qur’an. It shares the general outline of that of the Bible, including the same characters, but many details are different. Themes in chapter 13 include the oneness of God and the righteousness of the message of Prophet Muhammad. The chapter also warns about the consequences of infidelity. Chapter 14 tells about the arrival of Abraham in the barren land of Mecca, and his prayers to God to make his new home safe, protect his descendants, and help them to avoid idolatry. The 114 chapters of the Qur’an are commonly divided into 30 sections, of roughly equal length, corresponding to the days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It is generally recommended to read at least one section a day during the month, with the goal of finishing the entire Qur’an by the end of Ramadan. The term al-rubʻah al-sharīfah (The noble fourths) in the original Arabic title of this manuscript is an older reference to the Qur’an, when it was divided into four sections. The manuscript, written in naskh and Mamluki thuluth scripts, was likely produced in Egypt, sometime in the 15th century. The layout consists of three lines of very large script at top, middle and base of the page, each interspersed by a framed text box of four lines of smaller script, for a total of 11 lines written in black ink. Gold medallions mark the ends of verses. The titles of the individual chapters are in gold ink. The manuscript has an elaborate ʻunwan (decorative panel) title page in blue and gold inks, highlighted with red ink, and a similarly decorated smaller colophon. Several pages have decorative medallions in the margin.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

الجزو الثالث عشر من الربعة الشريفة

Type of Item

Physical Description

15 folios, bound : paper ; 30.3 x 21.3 centimeters


  1. John Kaltner, "Joseph in the Qur’an," in Bible Odyssey.

Last updated: April 14, 2017