Surat al-Nas and Du'a


This fragment contains on the top line the last two verses of the final surah (chapter) of the Qurʼan, Surat al-Nas (Chapter of mankind). This chapter extols seeking refuge in the Lord from Satan, who, like al-jinn (the spirits), whispers evil things in the hearts of people (116:5–6). The verses at the top of the folio are separated by two verse markers shaped like gold disks with five blue dots on their peripheries. Immediately below the last verse appears a prayer in five lines praising God, the Prophet Muhammad, and all prophets, or al-mursilin (messengers) of Islam. This terminal du'a (formulaic prayer) continues in illuminated bands on the folio’s verso. The prayer is beautifully written in large Ottoman naskh in alternating gold and blue ink. This prayer is said upon completion of the Qurʼan, in which God is praised as the all-hearing and the all-knowing. It continues the initial, non-illuminated five-line prayer on the folio’s recto and serves as an appropriate closing to the Holy Book. In some cases, illuminated terminal prayers in rectangular bands, such as this one, precede a four-page treatise on how to practice fal (divination) using the letters of the Qurʼan. Although only one illuminated folio remains, it originally would have created a double-page illuminated du'a. This layout is typical of Safavid Persian Qurʼans from the second half of the 16th century, as well as Ottoman Turkish Qurʼans from the same period.

Last updated: April 16, 2015