Qurʼanic Verses


The recto of this fragment includes surahs 101−4, some of the shortest and final chapters of the Qurʼan, which continue on the fragment's verso and on another fragment held in the collections of the Library of Congress. At the top of the fragment appears the text, though not the chapter heading, of the 101st chapter entitled al-Qari'ah (The calamity). This particular surah describes the Day of Judgment, when men's deeds will be weighed to determine whether they will dwell in an abode of pleasure (Heaven) or a blazing fire (Hell). Chapter 102, al-Takathur (The piling up), follows and warns of humans' inclination to gather worldly goods rather than to pursue the higher things in life. Chapter 103, al-'Asr (Time and age), continues with praise for those who are constant and patient in life. Finally, this fragment's recto includes at the bottom the chapter heading and initial bismillah (in the name of God) of the 104th chapter entitled al-Humazah (The slanderer), the text of which appears on the fragment's verso. The verso includes the short surahs 104−6, starting with the text of al-Humazah, which condemns insincerity, hypocrisy, and backbiting. Chapter 105, al-Fil (The elephant), refers to events that took place during the year of the Prophet's birth. Chapter 106, al-Quraysh (The tribe of Quraysh), appears at the bottom of the folio and urges the worship of one single God. The chapter headings include the total number of verses and are calligraphed in gold thuluth script on a blue and red background. Verse markers consist of shamsah (rosettes) in gold with red centers, with 12 petals outlined in black, and blue and red dots punctuating the perimeter. The calligraphy used for the verses is masahif, a cursive script that is a smaller and less stiff than muhaqqaq. Its name, which means "codices" or "volumes," reflects its common use for copying the Qurʼan. Masahif and other bold cursive scripts such as naskh and muhaqqaq are typical of Qurʼans produced in Egypt during the 14th−15th centuries.

Last updated: April 6, 2015