Qurʼanic Verses


This calligraphic fragment includes verses 20−21 of the 46th chapter of the Qurʼan entitled al-Ahqaf (The winding sand tracks). The text continues with verses 21−24 on the folio's verso. Surat al-Ahqaf is the seventh and last chapter of a series of surahs beginning with the mysterious abbreviated letters ha−mim (h−m). It discusses Creation, its purpose, and its vindication. Those who do not believe in God and his Creation will suffer torment on the Day of Judgment. The title of this surah comes from the long and winding crooked tracts of sand hills characteristic of the country of the 'Ad people, adjoining Ḥaḍramawt, southern Yemen. Verse 20 proclaims: “And on the day that the unbelievers will be placed before the Fire, / It will be said to them: ‘You received your good things / In the life of the world, / And you took pleasure in them. / But today you will be given a penalty of humiliation’.”  Verse 21 cautions: “Mention Hud, one of 'Ad's brethen. / Behold, he warned his people of the winding sand tracts. / But there have been warners before and after him. / Worship none other than God. / Truly I fear for you the penalty of a Mighty Day.” The text on the recto is executed on the flesh side of the parchment. As a result, the brown ink has worn off substantially. This Qurʼan was written with seven lines per page in a Kufi script that is typical of the ninth and tenth centuries. This script is particular because the horizontal shafts of the letters have been extended on the vertical. Red dots indicate vocalization. Neither diacritical marks nor verse markers are present.

Last updated: April 6, 2015