Saudi Crown Prince, Archbishop view fragments of one of oldest Qur’an manuscripts

Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library. (Al-Ekhbariya)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Saudi Crown Prince, Archbishop view fragments of one of oldest Qur’an manuscripts

LONDON: Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Archbishop of Canterbury viewed fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015 on Thursday, the second full day of his landmark visit to the UK.
The Qur’an manuscript, thought to be among the world’s oldest, dates back to the seventh century.
Consisting of two parchment leaves, the Qur’an manuscript is part of the University’s Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts which is held in the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.
Funded by Quaker philanthropist Edward Cadbury, the collection was acquired to raise the status of Birmingham as an intellectual centre for religious studies and attract prominent theological scholars.
The manuscript contains parts of chapters 18 to 20 of the Qur’an known as Surah Al-Kahf, Surah Maryam and Surah Taha, written with ink in Hijazi, an early form of Arabic script.
The manuscript was found by an academic and had been misbound with leaves of a more recent Qur’an manuscript. It remained undiscovered in the library for almost a century.

According to BBC News, radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence.
The tests, carried out by the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, showed that the fragments, written on sheep or goat skin, were among the very oldest surviving texts of the Quran.
According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Qur’an between the years 610 and 632, the year of his death. At the time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today. Instead, early Muslims memorized the revelations and parts of it had also been written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and animal bones.
The final written form of the Qur’an was completed and fixed under the direction of the third Caliph Uthman, in about 650.
Professor David Thomas, Professor of Christianity and Islam and Nadir Dinshaw, Professor of Interreligious Relations at the University of Birmingham, said: “The tests carried out on the parchment of the Birmingham folios yield the strong probability that the animal from which it was taken was alive during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad or shortly afterwards. 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”.


Art exhibition in Riyadh sees high turnout ahead of Saudi National Day

Updated 22 September 2018
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Art exhibition in Riyadh sees high turnout ahead of Saudi National Day

  • The Nation of Honor and Dignity Exhibition is taking place at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel until Tuesday.
  • The exhibition contains more than 140 works by 125 male and female artists.

JEDDAH: The Nation of Honor and Dignity Exhibition, organized by the Saudi Art Association (GSFT), saw a high turnout on Saturday on the occasion of the Kingdom’s 88th National Day.
The exhibition, which contains more than 140 works by 125 male and female artists, is taking place at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel until Tuesday.
GSFT Chairwoman Manal Al-Rowaished said the association works to promote Saudi fine arts and support artists by organizing exhibitions, interactive shows, workshops and cultural evenings.
The GSFT makes sure to participate in National Day celebrations, and the title of this year’s exhibition reflects the honor and dignity that the Kingdom provides locally and internationally, she added. The exhibited works reflect “the reality, culture and history of the Kingdom,” she said.
Al-Rowaished congratulated the king and crown prince on the occasion of the National Day, and thanked Prince Faisal bin Mohammed bin Saud, the GSFT’s honorary president and its main supporter.
Artist Saad Al-Hussein’s work highlights the Kingdom’s architectural heritage. Ghadi Mousaed Al-Zahrani, an artist with special needs, presented a live painting show for visitors, as did Abdul Aziz Al-Debl.
Artist Ghaliya Al-Mazeed encouraged visitors with special needs of all ages to paint or write something that expresses their love of their nation.
Nasser Al-Kherji’s work represents Saudi culture and heritage, and the security and services provided at the Two Holy Mosques.
Artist Fahd Al-Ammar presented an interactive painting that represents Saudi heritage, with authentic Arab horses and Arabic script.