Qur’anic manuscript No. 7
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Hegira 7th century / AD 13th century; restored AH 1117 / AD 1705
Ink on paper; leather binding with embossed decoration.
Length 41 cm, width 33 cm, depth 10 cm
Mamluk; restored in the Ottoman period
A mashaf bound with an embossed decorative cover that dates to the Ottoman period. Both sides of the binding are decorated with medallions that are connected at the top and bottom by a hanging ornament. The front of the mashaf is composed of scroll 3b–4a. These two pages contain identical illuminated panels, some parts of which have been lost as a result of age and usage over a long period of time. Restoration of the mashaf took place in AH 1117 / AD 1705, directed by the Ottoman governor in Jerusalem, Qura Mustafa Pasha, who ruled for just one year. Scroll 4b–5a consists of a two-page spread embellished with the Opening Chapter (Surat al-Fatiha) and the beginning of “Surat al-Baqara” (“Chapter of the Cow”,). The decorative bands specific to these two pages are lost and all that remains of their ornamentation is half a border, which lies above “Surat al-Baqara”. The chapter number, the verse number and the surrounding area are all placed within a rectangular frame with a blue background. Similar information with regard to the other chapters appears in the same form but unframed.
The beautiful Mamluk thuluth script is written in black ink. A Farsi (Persian) translation of the Arabic text is written underneath each verse. The vowel marks of the mashaf are written in blue and the diacritical marks in red. The pause markers assume the shape of golden flowers. The symbols for the division of every five parts in the text assume the form of a pyramid-shaped blossom, whose place is indicated in the margin by a suspended ornament, and in the middle of which is a blue circle. Written in the centre of it is the word “one fifth” in illuminated kufic script against a red background. The markers of every one-tenth of the text take the form of a blue flower with four leaves. Its place is indicated in the margin by a circular-shaped ornament with the word “one tenth” written in it, in illuminated kufic script.
This is a Qur’anic manuscript written in Mamluk thuluth script and translated into Farsi. The Farsi text appears below each line. Its opens with beautiful decorative panels that reflect the elements of Mamluk decorative art. Chapter names are illuminated against a dark blue background and the letters are written in blue. Diacritical markers are in red.
The original owner of the mashaf is not known, but it was present at al-Aqsa Mosque and was likely to have been part of an endowment (waqf) which is now lost
The Qur'an was dated by analysis of the Mamluk thuluth script employed in its production. Accurate dating was also achieved by analysis of the Mamluk decorative form used, which was widespread in the period to which the mashaf belongs.
The mashaf was an endowment (waqf) to al-Aqsa Mosque; it is not known when it was transferred from there to the Museum.
Egypt was narrowed down as the place of production because the type of thuluth script in which the manuscript is written was widespread in Egypt. It is possible to compare it with other similar works that were produced in Egypt.
Salameh, K., Al-Makhtutat al-Qur'aniya fi al-Muthaf al-Islami fi al-Haram al-Sharif, al-Quds [Qur'anic Manuscripts in the Islamic Museum in al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem], Paris, 2003.
Khader Salameh "Qur’anic manuscript No. 7" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;27;en
Prepared by: Khader SalamehKhader Salameh
Khader Salameh has been the Director of the Islamic Museum and Al-Aqsa Library in Jerusalem for more than two decades. He was previously employed in the Hebrew University Library and worked as a librarian in Saudi Arabia and as a teacher in Libya. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ottoman History. He received a Certificate of Librarianship in 1986 from the Hebrew University. He obtained his BA degree from Beirut University in 1980. He catalogued the Manuscripts Collections of the Haram al-Sharif, which was published in six parts in several countries. His publications include many articles on different subjects and a recent publication in English and Arabic on the Qur'an manuscripts in the Islamic Museum.
Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: PA 27
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Geometric Decoration | Geometric Decoration and the Art of the Book
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