Early Quran Fragments found in Birmingham University

The ancient manuscript, written on sheep or goat skin, sat for nearly a century at a university library, with scholars unaware of its significance.

That is, until Alba Fedeli, a researcher at the University of Birmingham studying for her doctorate, became captivated by its calligraphy and noticed that two of its pages appeared mis-bound alongside pages of a similar Quranic manuscript from a later date.

The scripts did not match. Prodded by her observations, the university sent the pages out for radiocarbon testing.

On Wednesday, researchers at the University of Birmingham revealed the startling finding that the fragments appeared to be part of what could be the world’s oldest copy of the Quran, and researchers say it may have been transcribed by a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims believe Muhammad received the revelations that form the Quran, the scripture of Islam, between 610 and 632, the year of his death. Professor Thomas said tests by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit indicated with a probability of more than 94 percent that the parchment dated from 568 to 645.

Omid Safi, the director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center and the author of “Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters,” said that the discovery of the manuscript provided “further evidence for the position of the classical Islamic tradition that the Quran as it exists today is a seventh-century document.”

UK Muslims come with new terminology

The time has come for Islam in the West to become Islam of the West, and put the last nine years of madness and suffering in the past, according to the president of the İslamic society of Britain (İSB).

Zahoor Qureshi spoke alongside five other British Muslim representatives at Bahçeşehir University last week, saying their visit is important for sharing ideas, seeking advice and engaging in discussions about the radicalization of Muslims in the West. “We want people like ourselves who live in Britain and people like yourselves who are no doubt European, to play a role in what the EU decides about its future and what Britain decides about its future,” said Aftab Ahmad Malik, a visiting fellow at Birmingham University.

Regarding the criticism that the Muslim faith has received since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Malik said at no point did Muslim councils agree with what happened. “The British government and the Muslim community in Britain have decided that it is better if we can engage and it is better if we can talk,” said Malik.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)