The Holy Qurʼan


This distinctive Qurʼan comprises the first six surahs (chapters) of the Muslim Holy Book, starting with al-Fātiḥah (The opening) and ending with al-Anʻām (The cattle). The two beginning pages containing al-Fātiḥah are elaborately decorated, as is usually the case with this surah, first with an outermost frame of numerous, small, olive-green niches, but also with a series of other linear frames in red, white, black, green, and gold. Motifs include twisted metal bars and vines with top and bottom transom-like cartouches, suggesting a door shape, and possibly alluding to the fact that al-Fātiḥah is the opener or entrance to the entire Qurʼan. The text is in bold black ink with frequent rubrication, and the script does not follow any of the known styles, although it still reflects elements of the thuluth and the naskh. Each chapter begins with a heading, giving not only the number of verses but also the number of words and letters in that chapter—all of which are elements used in the tazīb (division) of the Qurʼan into sections and subsections, as well as in the esoteric ʻilm al-urūf (discipline of the letters). Diagonal rectangles and triangles branch out on the margins, providing pronunciation keys and additional guidance on the other possible riwāyāt (readings) of the holy text. The verse markers are indicated with red or gold triangular inverted commas, while the markers of the sections and subsections take different red and gold shapes. Throughout the text, the beginning phrases of all the sections and subsections are rubricated, together with ism al-jalālah (God’s name) and the inner bend of the letter kāf (k), a possible inference of kāf al-mashī ʼah, or the “be-and-it-is” will of God. Two colophon notes appear, distinct and independent, attributing the copying to two different scribes: Sayf ibn Muhammad ibn Salim al-Tawqi at the beginning, and ʿAbdulkarīm ibn ʿUmar ibn Mūsā al-Nawfalī at the end. The manuscript was produced in 1365 AH (1945).

Last updated: April 6, 2015