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July 22nd, 2015

Are these “Dr Mingana’s Leaves”?

Many of you will have seen the following news item: 'Oldest' Koran fragments found in Birmingham University.

When I read in this news item that: "The manuscript is part of the Mingana Collection of more than 3,000 Middle Eastern documents gathered in the 1920s by Alphonse Mingana, a Chaldean priest born near Mosul in modern-day Iraq", my mind turned to the section entitled "Dr Mingana's Leaves" in the Introduction of the English translation of the Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali. I have extracted it and placed it at this link.

Please also read in this connection articles in the May 1915 issue of The Islamic Review, starting at p. 219 (link).

If these newly-discovered manuscripts are the same as those mentioned in these references, then what we have is that a hundred years ago these were used by a Christian clergyman, Rev. Mingana, to prove that the Quran before Hazrat Uthman had some differences with the Quran that he standardized which has been in use since then!

Dr Mingana co-wrote a book entitled Leaves from three ancient Qurans, possibly Pre-Othmanic, with a list of their Variants, published by the Cambridge University Press in 1914 (which is dangerous and poisonous from an Islamic point of view). Today I downloaded it and have for your convenience placed it at this link (14 MB).

Update:

For full details please see this link at the University of Birmingham website. It says:

"Consisting of two parchment leaves, the Qur’an manuscript contains parts of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi. For many years, the manuscript had been misbound with leaves of a similar Qur’an manuscript, which is datable to the late seventh century."

I have looked at the 1914 book Leaves from three ancient Qurans, and find that the manuscripts mentioned in it are from several other chapters of the Quran, but not chapters 18 to 20. So this would appear to be a different manuscript in the same collection of Dr Mingana.

Zahid Aziz

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