Sana'a manuscript

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Recto side of the Stanford '07 folio. The upper text covers Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).265-271.
The lower text of the above folio, recovered through X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging at Stanford University. The lower text covers Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).191-196.
Transcription of the above lower text image (Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).191-196), according to Sadeghi & Goudarzi's edition.

The Sana'a palimpsest, dubbed Ṣanʿā’ 1, is one of the oldest Qur'anic manuscripts in existence.[1] It was found, along with many other Qur'anic and non-Qur'anic fragments, in Yemen in 1972 during restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a. The manuscript is written on parchment, and comprises two layers of text (see palimpsest). The upper text conforms to the standard 'Uthmanic Qur'an, whereas the lower text contains many variants to the standard text. An edition of the lower text was published in 2012.[2] A radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment containing the lower text to before 671 AD with a 99% accuracy.[3]

Discovery[edit]

In 1972, construction workers renovating a wall in the attic of the Great Mosque of Sana'a in Yemen came across large quantities of old manuscripts and parchments, many of which were deteriorated. Not realizing their significance, the workers gathered up the documents, packed them away into some twenty potato sacks, and left them on the staircase of one of the mosque's minarets.[4]

Qadhi Isma'il al-Akwa', then the president of the Yemeni Antiquities Authority, realized the potential importance of the find. Al-Akwa' sought international assistance in examining and preserving the fragments, and in 1979 managed to interest a visiting German scholar, who in turn persuaded the West German government to organize and fund a restoration project.[4] The preserved fragments comprise Qur'anic and non-Qur'anic material.[5]

Restoration project[edit]

Restoration of the fragments began in 1980 under the supervision of the Yemeni Department for Antiquities. It was funded by the Cultural Section of the German Foreign Ministry.[2] The find includes 12,000 Qur'anic parchment fragments. All of them, except 1500–2000 fragments, were assigned to 926 distinct Qur'anic manuscripts as of 1997. None is complete and many contain only a few folios apiece.[2] "Albrecht Noth (University of Hamburg) was the director of the project. Work on the ground began in 1981 and continued through the end of 1989, when the project terminated with the end of funding. Gerd R. Puin (University of Saarland) was the local director beginning with 1981. His involvement came to an end in 1985, when Hans-Caspar Graf von Bothmer (University of Saarland) took over as the local director. Bothmer left Ṣan'ā' in the following year, but continued to run the project from Germany, traveling to the site almost every year.

Beginning in 1982, Ursula Dreibholz served as the conservator for this project, and worked full time in Ṣan'ā' until the end of 1989. She completed the restoration of the manuscripts. She also designed the permanent storage, collated many parchment fragments to identify distinct Qur'ānic manuscripts, and directed the Yemeni staff in the same task. The manuscripts are located in the House of Manuscripts, the Dār al-Makhṭūṭāt (DAM), in Ṣan'ā', Yemen. After 1989, Bothmer would visit the collection periodically. In the winter of 1996–7, he microfilmed all of the parchment fragments that have been assigned to distinct Qur'anic manuscripts. Of the remaining 1500–2000 fragments, he microfilmed a group of 280. The microfilms are available in Ṣan'ā' in the House of Manuscripts."[2]

About the manuscript[edit]

The Sana'a palimpsest is one of the most important manuscripts of the collection. This palimpsest has two layers of text, both of which are Qur'anic and written in the Hijazi script. While the upper text is almost identical with the modern Qur'ans in use (with the exception of spelling variants), the lower text contains significant diversions from the standard text. For example, in sura 2, verse 87, the lower text has wa-qaffaynā 'alā āthārihi whereas the standard text has wa-qaffaynā min ba'dihi (see the "Variants" section below for a selected list).[2] Such variants are similar to the ones reported for the Qur'an codices of Companions such as Ibn Mas'ud and Ubayy b. Ka'b. However, variants occur much more frequently in the Sana'a codex, which contains "by a rough estimate perhaps twenty-five times as many [as Ibn Mas'ud's reported variants]".[6]

As can be seen in the sample page from Sadeghi and Goudarzi's edition, the lower text has no vowel marks and rarely uses diacritical marks for distinguishing consonants. The lower text was erased and written over, but due to the presence of metals in the ink, the lower text has resurfaced, and now appears in a light brown color.[7] A number of reasons may have led to erasure of the lower text: some pages of the codex may have been destroyed or worn out, thereby requiring the production of a new codex, for which the already available parchment was used. (This was a common practice in ancient times. When enough of a manuscript's writing wore off—ink does not bond to parchment like it does to paper—all of the writing was washed off to make the expensive parchment usable for a new text. This was an ancient way of recycling.) Alternatively, the standardization of the Qur'anic text by 'Uthmān may have led to the non-standard lower text becoming obsolete, and thereby erased.[8] The parchment upon which the lower codex is written has been radiocarbon dated with 99% accuracy to before 671 AD, with a 95.5% probability of being older than 661 AD and 75% probability from before 646 AD.[1]

The manuscript is not complete. About 80 folios are known to exist: 36 in Yemen’s Dār al-Makhṭūṭāt (House of Manuscripts),[2] 4 in private collections (after being auctioned abroad),[7] and 40 in the Eastern Library of the Grand Mosque in Sana’a.[9] Many of the folios in the House of Manuscripts are physically incomplete (perhaps due to damage),[10] whereas those in private possession[7] or held by the Eastern Library are all complete.[9] These 80 folios comprise roughly half of the Qur'an.

The lower text of the folios in the House of Manuscripts and those auctioned abroad have been published. The German scholar Elisabeth Puin (of Saarland University), whose husband was the local director of the restoration project until 1985, has transcribed the text of six folios (and one side of another folio) in four successive publications.[11][12][13][14] In 2010 Behnam Sadeghi (Professor of Islamic Studies at Stanford University) published an extensive study of the four folios auctioned abroad, and analyzed their variants using textual critical methods. In March 2012, Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi (of Harvard University) published a long essay containing a complete edition of the lower text of the folios in the House of Manuscripts and those auctioned abroad, along with an analysis.[2] The lower text of the folios in the Eastern Library has not been published yet.

Variants[edit]

The lower text of the Sana'a palimpsest frequently differs from the standard text of the Qur'an, although only "a small fraction of the variants do make a difference in meaning." [15] The below table presents some variants, based on the lower text edition provided by Sadeghi and Goudarzi:[16]

Location Visible Traces Reconstruction Standard Text
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).191
Stanford folio, recto, l. 4, p. 44
ﺣ/ / ٮٯٮـ(ـلو) کم حَتّی يُقـٰتِلوکُم حَتَّىٰ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).191
Stanford folio, recto, l. 5, p. 44
د لک جز ا ا لکڡر ٮں ذَٰلِکَ جَزاءُ الکـٰفِرينَ كـذَٰلِكَ جَزَآءُ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).192
Stanford folio, recto, l. 5, p. 44
ا نتـ(ﻬ)ـﻮ إنتَهَو انتَهَوا
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).193
Stanford folio, recto, l. 6, p. 44
حتا حَتّا حَتّی
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).193
Stanford folio, recto, l. 7, p. 44
و ٮکو ں ا لد ٮں کله ﻟ[ﻠ]ﻪ و يَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّـهِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلدِّينُ لِلَّـهِ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).194
Stanford folio, recto, l. 10, p. 44
و من اعتدی وَ مَنِ اعتَدَی فَــمَنِ ٱعْتَدَى
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).194
Stanford folio, recto, l. 11, p. 44
ڡا ﻋٮـ/ / و فاعتدو فَٱعْتَدُوا
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).194
Stanford folio, recto, l. 11, p. 44
ما اعتد ی علٮكم ٮه مَا اعتَدَی عَلَيكُم بِه مَا ٱعْتَدَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).196
Stanford folio, recto, l. 17, p. 44
ڡـﻤ// تٮسر مں ا لهد ی فَما تَيَسَّر مِن الهَدی فما استَيسَرَ مِنَ ٱلْهَدْىِ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).196
Stanford folio, recto, l. 17, p. 44
و لا تحلٯو ا وَلَا تَحلِقُوا وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).196
Stanford folio, recto, l. 18, p. 44
ڡا ﮞ كا ﮞ ا حد ﻣٮكم فَإن كان أحَدٌ مِنكُم فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).196
Stanford folio, recto, l. 19, p. 45
ڡد ٮه فِديَةٌ فَـفِديَةٌ
Qur’ān 2 (al-Baqarah).196
Stanford folio, recto, l. 20, p. 45
مں صٮم او نسک مِن صِيٰمٍ أَو نُسُكٍ مِن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ
Qur’ān 11 (Hūd).105
Folio 4, recto, l. 1, p. 51
ا (لا) مں ا {------}؛ إلّا مَن أَذِنَ لَه إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ
Qur’ān 11 (Hūd).122
Folio 4, verso, l. 4, p. 52
ا / / (ﻣﻌ)[ﮑ]/ / {--------}؛ إِنَّا مَعَكُم مُنتَظِرُونَ إِنَّا مُنتَظِرُونَ
Qur’ān 8 (al-Anfāl).2
Folio 4, verso, l. 12, p. 52
ڡـ(ﺮ) ٯـٮ ْفَرِقَت ْوَجِلَت
Qur’ān 8 (al-Anfāl).2
Folio 4, verso, l. 13, p. 52
ا ٮـ(ـٮٮـ)ﺎ ءَايَـٰتُنا ءَايَـٰتُهُ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).122
Folio 22, recto, l. 3, p. 62
ما [كـ]ﺎ ﮞ مَا كَانَ وَمَا كَانَ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).122
Folio 22, recto, l. 4, p. 62
مں كل ا ﻣﻪ مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).124
Folio 22, recto, l. 9, p. 62
و ا د ا ا ٮر لٮ وَإِذَا أُنزِلَتْ وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).125
Folio 22, recto, l. 12, p. 62
ڡی ٯلو ٮهم ر حس فِى قُلُوبِهِم رِجْسٌ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَرَضٌ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).125
Folio 22, recto, l. 13, p. 62
ر حر ا ا لی ر ﺣﺴ[ﻬ]ـﻢ رِجزاً إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ رِجساً إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).125
Folio 22, recto, l. 13, p. 62
و ما ٮو ا و هم ڡـ(ـﺴٯـ)[ـﻮ] ﮞ وَمَاتُوا۟ وَهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ وَمَاتُوا۟ وَهُمْ كَـٰفِرُونَ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).126
Folio 22, recto, l. 13, p. 62
ا [و] / / ٮر و أَوَلَا يَرَوْ أَوَلَا يَرَوْنَ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).126
Folio 22, recto, l. 15, p. 62
و لا ٮـ(ـٮـ)ـﺪ كر و ﮞ وَلَا يَتَذَكَّرُونَ وَلَا هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).127
Folio 22, recto, l. 15, p. 62
و ا د ا ا [ٮـ]ـﺮ (ﻟ)ـٮ وَإِذَا أُنزِلَتْ وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).127
Folio 22, recto, l. 16, p. 62
هل ٮر ٮٮا هَلْ يَرَىٰنَا هَلْ يَرَىٰكُم
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).127
Folio 22, recto, l. 17, p. 62
ڡا ٮـ[ـﺼ](ـﺮ) ڡـ(ـﻮ) ا فَـﭑنصَرَفُوا ثُمَّ انصَرَفُوا
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).127
Folio 22, recto, l. 17, p. 62
ڡصر ڡ ا ﻟـﻠـﻪ فَــصَرَفَ اللهُ صَرَفَ ٱللَّـهُ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).127
Folio 22, recto, l. 17, p. 62
د لک ٮـ(ﺎ ٮـ)//[ـﻢ] (ٯـ)ـﻮ م لا ٮڡٯهو ﮞ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).128
Folio 22, recto, l. 18, p. 62
و لٯد حا کم وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).128
Folio 22, recto, l. 18, p. 62
ر سو ل ﻣٮـ(ﮑ)ـﻢ رَسولٌ مِنْكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِکُمْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).128
Folio 22, recto, l. 19, p. 63
عر ٮر (ﻋ)ﻠ[ـٮـ](ﻪ) ما عٮٮکم عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنَّتَكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).129
Folio 22, recto, l. 20, p. 63
ڡا / / (ٮـ)ـﻮ لو ا [ﻋ](ـٮـ)ـﮏ فَإن تَوَلَّوْا عَنْكَ فَإن تَوَلَّوْا
Qur’ān 9 (al-Tawbah).129
Folio 22, recto, l. 21, p. 63
ا لد ی لا ا ﻟ[ﻪ] ا لا ﻫﻮ الَّذي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).2
Folio 22, recto, l. 24, p. 63
ر ﺣ[ـﻤ]ﻪ رَحْمَةِ رَحْمَتِ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).3
Folio 22, recto, l. 25, p. 63
ا د ٮا د ی ر ٮک ر ﻛ[ـر] ٮا إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّــكَ زَكَرِيَّا إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّــهُ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).4
Folio 22, recto, l. 25, p. 63
و ٯل ر ٮی وَقٰلَ رَبِّــي قالَ رَبِّ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).4
Folio 22, recto, l. 26, p. 63
و ٯل ر ٮی ا سٮعل ا لر ا س سٮٮا وَقٰلَ رَبِّي ٱشْتَعَلَ ٱلرَّأْسُ شَيْباً قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَهَنَ ٱلْعَظْمُ مِنِّي وَٱشْتَعَلَ ٱلرَّأْسُ شَيْبًا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).4
Folio 22, recto, l. 26, p. 63
و لم ا کں ر ٮ ٮـ(ـد) عا ک وَلَمْ أَکُنْ رَبِّ بِدُعَاءِكَ وَلَمْ أَكُن بِدُعَائِكَ رَبِّ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).5
Folio 22, recto, l. 27, p. 63
و ﺣ(ڡـ)ـٮ ا لمو ل مں و [ر] ا ی وَ خِفْتُ ٱلْمَوَٰل مِن وَرٰاءِى وَإِنِّى خِفْتُ ٱلْمَوَٰلِىَ مِن وَرٰاءِى
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).7
Folio 22, verso, l. 2-3, p. 63
؛{-----------------} (ٯد) و هٮٮا لک علما ر کٮا ۝ و ٮسر ٮه {----------------}(ﻪ) مں ٯـٮـ(ـﻞ) ﺳ//ـﻤٮـﺎ ؛{يَـٰزَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا قَد} وَهَبْنَا لَكَ غُلٰماً زَكِيَّاً ۝ وَبَشَّرْنٰهُ {بِيَحْيیٰ لَمْ نَجْعَل ﻟَّ}ﻪُ مِن قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا[17] يَـٰزَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا نُبَشِّرُكَ بِغُلَـٰمٍ ٱسْمُهُ يَحْيَىٰ لَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ مِن قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).8
Folio 22, verso, l. 3-4, p. 63
ا //ﻰ ٮـ(ﮑ)ـﻮ ﮞ لی (ﻋ)ـلم {---------------} ﻟ[ﮑ]ـٮر عٮٮا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِى غُلَـٰمٌ {وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ ٱ} لْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِى غُلَـٰمٌ وَكَانَتِ ٱمْرَأَتِى عَاقِرًا وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ ٱلْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).9
Folio 22, verso, l. 5, p. 63
و لم ٮک سا ی وَلَمْ تَكُ شَاي وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).11
Folio 22, verso, l. 7, p. 64
؛{-}ـم حرح ؛{ثُـ}ـمَّ خَرَجَ فَــخَرَجَ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).11
Folio 22, verso, l. 7, p. 64
ا (و) ﺣ(ﻰ) ا ﻟ(ـٮـ)ﻬﻢ أَوْحَىٰ إِلَيْهِمْ فَــأَوْحَىٰ إِلَيْهِمْ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).12
Folio 22, verso, l. 8, p. 64
و علمٮه ا ﻟ(ـﺤ)ﮑﻢ وَعَلَّمْنٰهُ الْحُكْمَ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحُكْمَ صَبِيًّا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).13
Folio 22, verso, l. 9, p. 64
حننا حَنٰناً وَحَنَاناً
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).14
Folio 22, verso, l. 10, p. 64
و لم ٮک وَلَمْ يَكُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).15
Folio 22, verso, l. 10, p. 64
و علٮه ا لسلم وَعَلَيْهِ السَّلٰمُ وَسَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيْهِ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).19
Folio 22, verso, l. 15, p. 64
لنهب لِنَهَبَ لِأَهَبَ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).21
Folio 22, verso, l. 17, p. 64
و هو ﻋﻠ//(ﻪ) ﻫ(ـٮـ)ـﮟ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ هَيِّنٌ ۝ هُوَ عَلَىَّ هَيِّنٌ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).21
Folio 22, verso, l. 18, p. 64
و [ا] مر ا مٯصٮا وَأَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).22
Folio 22, verso, l. 18, p. 64
ڡحملٮ فَحَمَلَتْ فَحَمَلَتْــهُ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).23
Folio 22, verso, l. 19, p. 64
ڡـﻠﻤ// ا حا ها ا لمحص فَــلَمَّا أَجَاءَهَا ٱلْمَخٰضُ فَأَجَاءَهَا ٱلْمَخَاضُ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).23
Folio 22, verso, l. 20, p. 65
ٯٮل هد ا ا ﻟ(ـٮـ)[ـو] م قَبْلَ هَـٰذَا الْيَوْمِ قَبْلَ هَـٰذَا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).24
Folio 22, verso, l. 20-21, p. 65
ڡٮـ[ـد] ٮها مں ٮـﺤٮـﻬ/----------/ ا لا ٮحر ٮی فَنٰدٮٰهَا مِن تَحْتِهَـ/ـا مَلَكٌ/ أَلَّا تَحْزَنِى [18] فَنَادَىٰهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِى
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).26
Folio 22, verso, l. 23, p. 65
و ٯـ// [ی] ﻋ(ـٮٮـ)ﺎ ۝ وَقَرِّى عَيْنًا ۝ وَقَرِّى عَيْنًا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).26
Folio 22, verso, l. 24, p. 65
ﺻ[ـﻮ] (ما) [و ﺻﻤ]ـٮا صَوْماً وَصُمْتاً صَوْماً
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).26
Folio 22, verso, l. 24, p. 65
ﻟﮟ ا کلم لَنْ أُکَلِّمَ فَــلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).27
Folio 22, verso, l. 25, p. 65
؛//ﺎ [ٮـ](ـت ٯو) [ﻣﻬ] ﺎ فَأَتَتْ قَوْمَهَا فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).27
Folio 22, verso, l. 25, p. 65
لٯد ا ﺗٮت لَقَدْ أَتَيْتِ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ
Qur’ān 19 (Maryam).28
Folio 22, verso, l. 26, p. 65
ما کا (ﮞ) ا ٮو [ک] (ا ٮا) //[ﻮ] ا مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ أَباً سُوءاً مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ ٱمْرَأَ سَوْءٍ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).19
Folio 31, recto, l. 4-5, p. 71
ْو {------} (ﻋﻠٮـ)// ٮـﻌ[ﺺ] (ا) ﻟ[ﺴ]/ /؛ و {جَاءَت} عَلَيْهِ بَعْضُ السَّيَّارَةِ وَجَاءَتْ سَيَّارَةٌ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).19
Folio 31, recto, l. 6, p. 71
و ٯل وَقٰلَ قَالَ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).19
Folio 31, recto, l. 7, p. 71
و (ا) ﻟ[ﻠﻪ] ﻋﻠ//ـﻢ ٮـﻤ(ﺎ) ٮڡعلو{}ﮞ وَٱللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ وَٱللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).28
Folio 31, verso, l. 4, p. 72
ٯل ا //[ﻪ] (ﻛ)[ـٮد] ﻛﮟ قٰلَ إِنَّهُ كَيْدَكُنَّ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِن كَيْدِكُنَّ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).30
Folio 31, verso, l. 5, p. 72
ٮسو (ه) مں ا (هل) ا لمد [ٮـ]ـٮه نِسْوَةٌ مِن أَهْلِ ٱلْمَدِينَةِ نِسْوَةٌ فِي ٱلْمَدِينَةِ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).30
Folio 31, verso, l. 5-6, p. 72
؛{---------------}/ / ٯـ(ـﺪ ﺳ)ﻌ(ڡـ)[ﻬﺎ] (ﺣ)[ـٮ] ڡٮـ//(ﻬ)ﺎ ؛{ٱمْرَأَتُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ} قَدْ شَغَفَهَا حُبُّ فَتَٮٰهَا[19] ٱمْرَأَتُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ تُرَٰوِدُ فَتَٮٰهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ قَدْ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّا
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).31
Folio 31, verso, l. 7, p. 72
ڡلما ﺳﻤ[ﻌ]/ / مکر[ﻫ]ـﮟ فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتْ مَكْرَهُنَّ فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتْ بِــمَكْرِهِنَّ
Qur’ān 12 (Yūsuf).31
Folio 31, verso, l. 8, p. 72
و{ } ﺣ(ﻌ)ﻠ/ / ﻟ(ﻬ)/ / (ﻣٮـﮑ)//؛ وَجَعَلَتْ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَـًٔا وَأَعْتَدَتْ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَـًٔا
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).15
Folio 28, recto, l. 1, p. 102
و ٯلو ا هد ا {------}//ٮٮں وَقٰلوا هذا سِحرٌ مُبينٌ وَقالوا إن هـٰذا إِلّا سِحرٌ مُبينٌ
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).19
Folio 28, recto, l. 4, p. 102
/ /ڡا د ا ﻫ[ـﻢ] ﻣﺤ(ـﺼ)ـﺮ فَإذا هُم مُحضَرون فَإِذا هُم يَنظُرونَ
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).22
Folio 28, recto, l. 6, p. 102
ا ٮـ(ﻌٮـ)ﻮ ا إبعَثوا احشُرُوا
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).22
Folio 28, recto, l. 6, p. 102
ﻃـ//[ـﻤ]ـﻮ ا { } الَّذينَ ظَلَموا الَّذينَ ظَلَموا وَأَزوٰجَهُم
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).23
Folio 28, recto, l. 8, p. 102
صر ٮط ا (ﻟﺤ)ﺤٮم صِر ٮطِ الجَحيم صِرٰطِ الجَحيمِ
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).25
Folio 28, recto, l. 9, p. 103
/ / لا ٮٮٮصرو لا تَنٮٰصَرون or لا تَتَنٰصَرون لا تَناصَرون
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).27
Folio 28, recto, l. 10, p. 103
ڡـ(ﺎ ٯـ)ـٮل فَـﺄ قبَلَ وَأَقبَلَ
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).48
Folio 28, verso, l. 3, p. 103
ﻋ(ـٮـ)[ـد] هم عِندَهُم وَعِندَهُم
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).50
Folio 28, verso, l. 4, p. 103
علا عَلا عَلی
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).54
Folio 28, verso, l. 7, p. 103
ٯهل فَــﻬَﻞ هَل
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).56
Folio 28, verso, l. 8, p. 103
ﻟ(ـٮـﻌ)ـو ٮں لَتُغوِينِ ِلَتُرْدِين
Qur’ān 37 (al-Ṣāffāt).58
Folio 28, verso, l. 9, p. 103
و ما ٮحں وَما نَحنُ أَفَما نَحْنُ

The page numbers refer to the edition by Sadeghi and Goudarzi.[2] In their edition, a reliably read but partially visible letter is put in parentheses, while a less reliably read letter is put inside brackets. A pair of forward slashes mark an illegible area on the folio, while braces indicate a missing part of the folio. The list here does not include all the spelling variants. (Note: In the above table, parentheses or brackets are left out if they appear at the very beginning or end of a phrase, to avoid text alignment issues. Braces or forward slashes are preserved in all instances, but with the insertion of extra semicolons that help preserve text alignment.)

Media coverage[edit]

Puin, and his colleague Graf von Bothmer, have published only short essays on the Ṣana'a find. In a 1999 interview with Toby Lester, the executive editor of The Atlantic Monthly website, Puin described the preserved fragments by the following:

Some of the parchment pages in the Yemeni hoard seemed to date back to the seventh and eighth centuries A.D., or Islam's first two centuries—they were fragments, in other words, of perhaps the oldest Korans in existence. What's more, some of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text. Such aberrations, though not surprising to textual historians, are troublingly at odds with the orthodox Muslim belief that the Koran as it has reached us today is quite simply the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God.[citation needed]

The mathematician Jeffrey Lang wrote a letter to the editor of The Atlantic Monthly about the interview:

[I]t should be mentioned that the article's alarmist tone concerning the discovery of the Yemeni manuscripts seems totally uncalled for. Lester admits that so far the manuscripts show some unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment. However, the past existence of such manuscripts is well known to Muslims and those that did not completely agree with the Uthmanic text were eliminated in various ways. The recovery of an ancient manuscript dating back to the earliest history of Islam that differs in minor ways from the Uthmanic text and that was eliminated from circulation will hardly cause Muslims to feel the need to rewrite their history; if anything, it will only confirm it for them.[20]

In another interview, Puin said:

So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Qur'an is Allah's unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Qur'an has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Qur'an has a history too. The Sana'a fragments will help us accomplish this.[4]

Puin claimed that the Yemeni authorities want to keep work on the Ṣana'a manuscripts "low-profile".[4]

In 2000, The Guardian interviewed a number of academics for their responses to Puin's remarks, including Dr Tarif Khalidi, and Professor Allen Jones, a lecturer in Koranic Studies at Oxford University. In regard to Puin's claim that certain words and pronunciations in the Koran were not standardized until the ninth century, The Guardian reported:

Jones admits there have been 'trifling' changes made to the Uthmanic recension. Khalidi says the traditional Muslim account of the Koran's development is still more or less true. 'I haven't yet seen anything to radically alter my view,' he says. [Jones] believes that the San'a Koran could just be a bad copy that was being used by people to whom the Uthmanic text had not reached yet. 'It's not inconceivable that after the promulgation of the Uthmanic text, it took a long time to filter down.'[21]

The article noted some positive Muslim reaction to Puin's research. Salim Abdullah, director of the German Islamic Archives, affiliated to the Muslim World League, commented when he was warned of the controversy Puin's work might generate, "I am longing for this kind of discussion on this topic."[21]

Based on interviews with several scholars, Sadeghi and Goudarzi question Puin's claims regarding Yemeni suppression of research on the manuscripts and Puin's statement that the Yemenis did not want others to know that work was being done on them. For instance, they note that in 2007 Sergio Noja Noseda (an Italian scholar) and Christian Robin (a French archaeologist) were allowed to take pictures of the Sana'a palimpsest. They write that according to Robin, his colleagues were "granted greater access than would have been possible in some European libraries."[22] They report a similar view from Ursula Dreibholz, the conservator for the restoration project, who describes the Yemenis as supportive.[22] They quote Dreibholz as saying that the Yemenis "brought school children, university students, foreign delegations, religious dignitaries, and heads of state, like Franҫois Mitterrand, Gerhard Schröder, and Prince Claus of the Netherlands, to see the collection."[22]

Sadeghi and Goudarzi conclude:

Although the Yemeni authorities' openness proved a boon to scholarship, they were to be punished for it. The American media amplified the erroneous words of G. Puin, purveying a narrative that belittled Yemen and misrepresented the work done there. The Arab press in turn exaggerated the American story. The outcome was a media discourse in Yemen borne of three stages of misrepresentation. This embarrassed the Yemeni authorities responsible for the House of Manuscripts, and the Head of the Antiquities Department had to defend before Parliament the decision to bring in the foreigners.[22]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012.
  3. ^ Sadeghi 2010, p. 353.
  4. ^ a b c d Lester 1999.
  5. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 9.
  6. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 20.
  7. ^ a b c Sadeghi 2010.
  8. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 27.
  9. ^ a b Hamdoun 2004.
  10. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 37.
  11. ^ Puin 2008.
  12. ^ Puin 2009.
  13. ^ Puin 2010.
  14. ^ Puin 2011.
  15. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 19.
  16. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, pp. 41-129.
  17. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 63. The hypothetical interpolation of texts for the missing parts in this and the next row are based on Sadeghi & Goudarzi's fn. 216 and 218.
  18. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 65. The hypothetical interpolation of text for the illegible part is based on Sadeghi & Goudarzi's fn. 229.
  19. ^ Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 72. The reconstructed text here is based on suggestions in Sadeghi & Goudarzi's fn. 279 and 281.
  20. ^ Lang 2000.
  21. ^ a b Taher 2000.
  22. ^ a b c d Sadeghi & Goudarzi 2012, p. 36.

References[edit]

  • Puin, Elisabeth (2011). "Ein früher Koranpalimpsest aus Ṣan'ā' (DAM 01-27.1) – Teil IV". Die Entstehung einer Weltreligion II. Hans Schiller. ISBN 3899303458. 
  • Puin, Elisabeth (2010). "Ein früher Koranpalimpsest aus Ṣan'ā' (DAM 01-27.1): Teil III: Ein nicht-‘uṯmānischer Koran". Die Entstehung einer Weltreligion I: von der koranischen Bewegung zum Frühislam. Hans Schiller. ISBN 3899303180. 
  • Puin, Elisabeth (2009). "Ein früher Koranpalimpsest aus Ṣan'ā' (DAM 01-27.1): Teil II". Vom Koran zum Islam. Hans Schiller. ISBN 3899302699. 
  • Puin, Elisabeth (2008). "Ein früher Koranpalimpsest aus Ṣan'ā' (DAM 01-27.1)". Schlaglichter: Die beiden ersten islamischen Jahrhunderte. Hans Schiller. ISBN 3899302249. 

External links[edit]