Small cautioned that the carbon dating was only done on the parchment in the fragments, and not the actual ink, but added "If the dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Koran — or at least portions of it — predates Mohammed, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s." Click for more from The Times of London.
An ancient copy of the Islamic holy book the Quran was discovered by researchers from the University of Birmingham.
There has been some dispute over the exact dating of the Birmingham fragments, however, with some British scholars suggesting that the written work actually predates the founding of Islam by Muhammad."This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran's genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from Heaven," Keith Small of Oxford's Bodleian Library said back in August.
If you have followed the news over the last week, then there’s little doubt you may have seen some of the following headlines: Fragments of World’s Oldest Koran May Predate Muhammad Birmingham’s ancient Koran ‘could rewrite history of Islam’Carbon dating suggest ‘world’s oldest’ Koran could be older than the Prophet Apparently this ancient Quran found in England is older than the Prophet Muhammed!The text of the ancient Quran were written in early Arabic script using ink and placed on parchment consisting of goat or sheep skin.The pages of the book feature parts of the Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, which some consider may have been written by an individual who may have known the Prophet Muhammad.The fragments were discovered by researchers from the University of Birmingham bound within the pages of another copy of the Quran from the seventh century.The older pages are considered to around 1,448 to 1,371 years old.A British university said on Wednesday that fragments of a Quran manuscript found in its library were from one of the oldest surviving copies of the Islamic text in the world, possibly written by someone who might have known the Islamic prophet Muhammad.Radiocarbon dating indicated that the parchment folios held by the University of Birmingham in central England were at least 1,370 years old, which would make them one of the earliest written forms of the Islamic holy book in existence. Researchers like Huwareib are now claiming there is evidence that the written work was commissioned by Abu Bakr, a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, for Egypt's oldest mosque, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As in Fustat.Radiocarbon dating indicated that the parchment folios held by the University of Birmingham in central England were at least 1,370 years old, which would make them one of the earliest written forms of the Islamic holy book in existence.The BBC report noted that academics were able to determine that the Birmingham manuscript is an exact match of other Quran fragments held at the National Library of France, which are known to have been kept at the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As.Experts from the University of Oxford conducted carbon-dating on the pages, revealing that the ancient manuscript may have been written between 568 and 645 AD.This makes the newly-discovered pages possibly the oldest copy of the Quran in existence.