Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Hijr, verse 09:
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran, and indeed, We will be its Guardian.”
Without any doubt, the Holy Book Quran is same as the Quran, which was exposed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Here, we catch a look at some of the oldest or earlier manuscripts of the Quran as well as ones that date back close to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) days.
1- Birmingham Quran Manuscript
In 2015, the scientists of University of Birmingham found an old manuscript of the Quran that contained parts of Surah 18 to 20 on parchment. After the investigation, it proves that its date back between 568 and 645 CE and that close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The professors of Birmingham University said that:
Muslims believe that the Qur’an they read today is the same text that was standardized under Uthman and regard it as the exact record of the revelations that were delivered to Muhammad.
‘The tests carried out on the parchment of the Birmingham folios yield the substantial probability that the animal from which it was taken was alive during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad or shortly afterward. This means that the parts of the Qur’an that are written on this parchment can, with a degree of confidence, be dated to less than two decades after Muhammad’s death. These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the style of the Qur’an read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.’
2- Sana’a Quran Manuscript
This manuscript was found in many Qur’anic and non-Qur’anic fragments in 1972, Yemen during the restoration of the Great Masjid of Sana’a. It is written on parchment, and Yemeni hoard seemed to date back of this parchment to the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. this manuscript is comprises two layers of text, both of which are in the Hijazi script. The above text conforms to the standard ‘Uthmanic Quran’ and the lower text contains many variants to the standard version.
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3- The Topkapi Quran Manuscript
Topkapi Quran Manuscript is an early manuscript of the Quran. Its date back to the 1st and 2nd century AH and now it is placed in the Topkapi palace museum, Istanbul, Turkey. The volume of this manuscript is 41 cm to 46 cm and contains more than 99% of the text of the Quran.
This manuscript had two pages or 23 verses missing and close to the complete Quran text of the same period. In the 19th century, the state of Egypt, Mehmed Ali Pasha sent this Quran manuscript to the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II as a gift.
4- Samarqand Quran Manuscript
The date of Samarqand Quran Manuscript is back to the early period of 2nd-century hijra or 8th century CE. The result gives you an idea about a 68% probability of a date between 640 CE and 765 CE and 95% probability of a date between 595 CE and 855 CE.
The size of this manuscript pages are 53 cm x 68 cm and text is 44 cm x 55 cm. Now it is kept in the Hast Imam library in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The local tradition of Uzbekistan showed that it has belonged to the 3rd Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan.
5- Parisino-Petropolitanus Quran Manuscript
This is one of the oldest Quran manuscripts that were found among Qur’anic parts which were retained in the al-Amr Masjid in Fustat, Egypt until the end of the 18th century. According to the scientists, the dated of this manuscript belong to sometime around the late 7th century CE or early 8th century CE.
98 surviving sheets of this paper (manuscripts) are conserved across different location, such as The National Library of Russia, The Khalili Collection in London, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and The Library of Vatican. This was produced by five different scribes writing in the Hijazi script, almost certainly working alongside to meet the requirement for a faster production.
6- The Blue Quran Manuscript
The Blue Quran Manuscript is a late 9th century to early 10th century Fatimid Tunisian Quran manuscript in Kufic calligraphy and probably founded in North Africa for the great Masjid of Qairawan. It has been dated back to 1020 CE and placed in Qairawan as well as Córdoba.
This is written in gold and decorated in silver on vellum colored with indigo. This manuscript has approximately 600 pages, and some of them were isolated during the Ottoman Period. Today, most of its parts are located in the Archaeology Bardo National Museum and National Institute of Art in Tunis.
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7- Ibn Al-Bawwab Quran Manuscript
Ibn Al-Bawwab Quran Manuscript is a fully-surviving Quran in cursive style. Today, it is situated in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin. Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Hilal was written this manuscript, he was known as Ibn al-Bawwab in Baghdad. The date of this manuscript is back to 391 AH. It is drafted in a cursive script and significant as an early Quran.
8- Al Andalus Quran Manuscript
The date of Al-Andalus Quranic Manuscript is back to the 13th century. It was written in the Islamic world, this bifolio, represented in gold ink on parchment, reflects the traditional nature of Spain in the early ancient period, as does its distinctive script. This cursive writing is a direct descendent of Kufic.
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9- The Maghribi Quran Manuscript
It is the detached folio of the Quran from North Africa, and it dates back to the 13th century CE. This Quran manuscript is written on a parchment in Maghribi script. It was the most traditional calligraphy form in North-West Africa.
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10- Seville Qur’anic Manuscript
It is a 13th-century manuscript, and it counts among the select few surviving oldest Qur’anic manuscripts from Spain. Its early date is back to in Seville in 624 AH and written in short Andalusian script on a parchment. Today, it is kept at ‘The Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany.