Quran dating

Professor Thomas said that the discovery could make Birmingham a draw for Muslims and scholars.Two fragments from the Quran, discovered last month and considered the earliest written evidence of Islam’s holy book, have now been suggested to pre-date the birth of the prophet Muhammad, the founder of the religion.Professor Thomas said it provided tantalizing clues to help settle a scholarly dispute about whether the holy text was actually written down at the time of the prophet, or compiled years later after being passed down by word of mouth.

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He also said that dating the skin on which the text was written did not prove when it was written.

Manuscript skins were sometimes washed clean and reused later, he said.

In Birmingham, which has a large Muslim population, the discovery of the ancient manuscript was greeted with joy.

Mohammad Afzal, the chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, said he had been granted access to the manuscript.

Jeff Speakman, director of the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, who was not involved with the research, said the dates and accuracy sounded reasonable.

“Oxford is one of the premier radiocarbon laboratories in the world,” he said.Muslims believe Muhammad received the revelations that form the Quran, the scripture of Islam, between 610 and 632, the year of his death.Professor Thomas said tests by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit indicated with a probability of more than 94 percent that the parchment dated from 568 to 645.LONDON — The ancient manuscript, written on sheep or goat skin, sat for nearly a century at a university library, with scholars unaware of its significance.That is, until Alba Fedeli, a researcher at the University of Birmingham studying for her doctorate, became captivated by its calligraphy and noticed that two of its pages appeared misbound alongside pages of a similar Quranic manuscript from a later date. Prodded by her observations, the university sent the pages out for radiocarbon testing.What the tests revealed initially, was that the parchment originated around 1,370 years ago.

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