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

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”.


Saudi body to help UN devise policies for sustainable living

Updated 13 August 2020

Saudi body to help UN devise policies for sustainable living

  • Saudi Green Building Forum granted accreditation as an observer to UNEP governing body

RIYADH: A professional association from Saudi Arabia will play a key policymaking role at a UN governing body addressing the importance of environmental needs.
Following careful assessment and consideration of the commitments and engagements of the Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF), the nonprofit organization has been granted accreditation as an observer at the governing body of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). SGBF will play a role as an observer at all public meetings and sessions of the UNEP and its subsidiary organs.
Speaking to Arab News, Faisal Al-Fadl, founder of the nonprofit organization, said that the forum’s mission has been developing for the past 10 years and this accreditation was considered an important step in strengthening the role of Saudi civil society institutions, locally and internationally. This was in line with Vision 2030, which has not only played an integral role in the NGO’s mission but also paved the way for the Kingdom’s people to go the extra mile in building an advanced and resilient society.
SGBF was initiated in 2010 and established in 2014. In 2017, it became the first professional body from Saudi Arabia in consultative status with the UN.
“The Saudi Forum was an advocacy group with an honest voice to bridge the gap; through UNEP we now have the tools to become the policymakers,” Al-Fadl said. It is a challenge that the group founder says will be met by providing communities with the proper tools to implement commitments.
As the observing body on the environmental framework at the UNEP, SGBF’s role will include promoting its concepts and goals to be reflected within the community of change. For change to happen, people of a community at a grassroots level who have committed to the preservation of moral codes of conduct are key to changing mentality and behavior to guarantee a future for the next generations, Al-Fadl said.
“As an open platform, our role is being the honest voice of bridging the gap. Economic and social progress accompanied by environmental degradation and pandemics are endangering the very systems on which our future development and our survival depends,” he said.
SGBF represents the Kingdom and its call to communities, stakeholders, and policymakers to build on the principles of volunteering, advocacy and sustainable development.
For the NGO, their next step is increasing the engagement of civil society, finding solutions to the problem of volunteer integration in societies, and to prioritize and address social challenges for women, youth and the elderly, calling on member states to increase their role in building and developing practices that minimize the negative impact on the planet.
Al-Fadl added that protecting the planet and building resilience was not easy. Without bolstering local action, including volunteers to accelerate the implementation, it would be a long time until goals were met and result seen, he said.
“UN member countries have the responsibility in confronting the human crisis of inestimable proportions, which impose its heaviest tolls on the supply chain for those marginalized and
most vulnerable in cities and communities around the world,” Al-Fadl said.