Name of Object:

Page from a Qur’an


Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Raqqada.

Date of Object:

Hegira, beginning of the second quarter of the 5th century / AD 9th century

Museum Inventory Number:

Rutbi 58

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Decorated parchment.


Length 32 cm, width 22.5 cm; 5 lines

Period / Dynasty:



Great Mosque of Kairouan.


Al-Takathur sura ('The Rivalry', 102: 8) and al-Asr sura ('The Time', 103: 1). This page is taken from a Qur'an written in black kufic script. The vowels are marked with red diacritic dots and the hamza and shadda are indicated by green and yellow marks in the style of Abi al-Aswad, the Arab grammarian (d. AH 61 / AD 681). The verses are divided by a gilded green-centred rosette outlined in brown dots. The magnificent title of the sura is contained within an ornamental line of kufic, terminating in a palm-leaf motif which projects into the margin of the page. This palm-leaf is composed of stylised, gilded leaves and floral arabesques and is illuminated in blue and green with delicate touches of brown. These motifs are part of the decorative repertoire of Muslim illuminators and calligraphers from the AH 5th / AD 11th century.

View Short Description

Written in black kufic script, this page contains two Qur'anic quotations (102: 8 and 103: 1). The division of verses is marked by a gold rosette with a green centre. All of the motifs belong to the decorative repertoire of Muslim illuminators and calligraphers after the AH 5th / AD 11th century.

Original Owner:

The Zirid prince, al-Mu‘izz

How date and origin were established:

The Qur'an was given as a legacy (habus) by the Zirid prince, al-Mu'izz ibn Badis to the Great Mosque of Kairouan. The deed of gift dates from later than the break with Cairo, since it mentions the hatred of the prince for the Fatimids. According to historians this split began in 424 / 1033 and came to an end by 441 / 1050.

How Object was obtained:

This Qur'an was obtained by the National Library in 1967 after the abolition of the habus foundation in Tunisia, and was transferred in 1983 to the Centre of Islamic Art and Civilisation at Raqqada. It has been displayed in the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada since 1986.

How provenance was established:

This Qur'an was left to the Great Mosque by the reigning Zirid prince. Given that Kairouan was at that time a great centre of book production, it is highly likely that this example was copied and bound at Kairouan on locally tanned parchment.

Selected bibliography:

30 ans au service du patrimoine (exhibition catalogue), 1986, p.210.
De Carthage a Kairouan (exhibition catalogue), 1982, p.247, cat. no. 330.
The Arts of Islam (exhibition catalogue), 1976, p.20, cat. no. 2.
Tunez, Tierra de Culturas (exhibition catalogue), Valencia, 2004, p.221.
Ifriqiya: Thirteen Centuries of Art and Architecture in Tunisia, pp.159–62, 182–3.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Page from a Qur’an" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;tn;Mus01;6;en

Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah

Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
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: TN 09


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Manuscripts


As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)