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 Rammah
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TN 09