Radiocarbon analysis of two parchment leaves which were mistakenly bound with another manuscript dating from the seventh century found them to be decades older. The analysis, scientists claim, is 95% accurate and testifies that the script was written somewhere between 568 and 645 AD. It is largely believed to be written around the same time as Prophet Muhammed who lived between 570 and 632 AD. It makes it the oldest surviving manuscript of the Quran available till date.
The text is also found to be identical to that used today by the Muslim community supporting the view that the religious book has been preserved in its original form through centuries. It contains parts of the chapters 18 to 20 of the holy book.
In the Muslim tradition, the holy Quran is believed to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammed and was memorized and spread orally. It’s compilation in the form of a book was ordered by Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of Muslim community after the Prophet.
The announcement made by the University has thrilled Muslim scholars and the community all over the world. The pieces of the Quran are part of the University’s Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, held in the Cadbury Research Library. They were discovered by a PhD scholar who was researching the Mingana manuscripts when she spotted differences in the text.
The folios will be on public display at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, from 2 October until 25 October.