Qurʼanic Verses


This calligraphic fragment includes verses 57−59 of the 27th chapter of the Qurʼan entitled al-Naml (The ants). The text continues with verses 59−60 on the folio's verso. The immediately preceding verses, 56−57, appear on another fragment from the same Qurʼan in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together, these two folios form the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qurʼan, demarcated by a panel of illumination. Surat al-Naml describes the wonders of the spiritual world. The stories of a number of prophets, such as Moses, Solomon, Salih, and Lut (Lot) are offered in order to distinguish true from false worship and to highlight the miracles of God's grace and revelation. In the story of Lot, here in 27:58, those who are lustful will suffer God's punishment: “And We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone). / And evil was the shower on those who were admonished, but heeded not.” Verse 27:59 continues: “Say, praise be to God and peace upon his servants / Whom he has chosen (for his Message). / Who is better? God or the false god they associate with him?” The text is executed in a Kufi script similar to style D of Qurʼans produced during the ninth century. With five lines per page executed in black ink, this fragment follows the horizontal format of early Qurʼans made on parchment. The ink has worn off the verso because it was written on the flesh side of the parchment. Red dots indicate vocalization, while diacritics made of diagonal lines in black ink may have been added at a later date. On the second and fourth lines of this fragment appear two verse markers separating verse 57 from verse 58 and verse 58 from verse 59. They consist of small gold circles stippled with tiny gold and blue dots.

Last updated: April 6, 2015