Samarkand Kufic Quran
The Samarkand Kufic Quran (also known as the Uthman Quran, Samarkand codex, Samarkand manuscript and Tashkent Quran) is a 8th century manuscript Quran written in the territory of modern Iraq in the Kufic script. It is believed by local Uzbek Muslims that it belonged to the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan and is the oldest Quran in the world. Today it is kept in the Hast Imam library, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Dating the Manuscript 
The Samarkand Codex could not have been written earlier than 150 years after the 'Uthmanic Recension was [supposedly] compiled - at the earliest during the late 700's or early 800's since it was written in the Kufic script. Some Muslims claim that there are two "Uthmanic recensions", or original copies of 'Uthman's Codex of the Qur'an : the Samarkand Manuscript, in the Tashkent library, Uzbekistan and the Topkapi Manuscript, in the Topkapi Museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Few claimed that red spots on a page of the codex refer to blood stain from Uthman's murder. The flaw in this claim is that these documents are written in the Kufic Script which, according to Qur'an scholars Martin Lings and Yasin Hamid Safadi, did not appear until the late eighth century. It is problematic that no manuscript fragment of the Qur'an can be dated earlier than first quarter of the 8th century A.D., aside from some of the manuscripts discovered in the loft of the Great Mosque in Sanaa in 1972. However, the kufic quranic inscriptions on the dome of the rock (692) provide strong evidence that the kufic script was in use in the 7th century. The fact that the script was used in a public building and the polemical nature of the inscriptions indicate a wide understanding and acceptance of the kufic script.
The copy of the Quran is traditionally considered to one of a group commissioned by the third caliph Uthman; however, this attribution has been questioned, although no evidence was proffered. In 651, 19 years after the death of Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Uthman commissioned a committee to produce a standard copy of the text of Quran (see Origin and development of the Quran). Five of these original Qurans were sent to the major Muslim cities of the era, with Uthman keeping one for his own use in Medina. The only other surviving copy is held in Topkapı Palace, in Turkey.
Uthman was succeeded by Ali, who took the Uthman Quran to Kufa, now in Iraq. The following history of the Quran is known only from legends. According to one of them, when Tamerlane destroyed the area, he took the Quran to his capital, Samarkand, as a treasure. According to another, the Quran was brought from the caliph of Rum to Samarkand by Hoja Ahrar, a Turkestan sufi master, as a gift after the curing of the caliph. Though the fact that this manuscript originally belonged to Uthman is highly disputed by scientists.[who?]
The Quran remained in Hoja Ahrar Mosque of Samarkand for four centuries until 1869, when Russian general Abramov bought it from the mullahs of the mosque and gave to Turkestan Governor-General Kaufman, which in turn sent the Quran to the Imperial Library in St. Petersburg (now known as the Russian National Library). It attracted great attention from Orientalists and finally the facsimile edition was published in Saint-Petersburg in 1905, though its 50 copies soon became a rarity. The first thorough manuscript's description and dating was made by a Russian Orientalist Shebunin in 1891.No difference in Quran was found.
After the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, in an act of goodwill to the Muslims of Russia, gave the Quran to the people of Ufa, Bashkortostan. After repeated appeals by the people of Turkestan ASSR, the Quran was returned to Central Asia, to Tashkent, in 1924, where it has since remained.
Current state 
The parchment manuscript now is held in the library of the Telyashayakh Mosque, in the old "Hast-Imam" (Khazrati Imom) area of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, close to the grave of Kaffal Shashi, a tenth-century Islamic scholar.
The manuscript is incomplete, only a third of the Quran surviving: it begins in the middle of verse 7 of the second sura and ends at Surah 43:10. The manuscript has between eight and twelve lines to the page and, showing its antiquity, the text is devoid of vocalisation.
See also 
- Ian MacWilliam (2006-01-05). "Tashkent's hidden Islamic relic". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- (Gilchrist 1989:144-147)
- Encyclopedia of the Holy Qur'an (eds. N.K. Singh, A. R. Agwan). ISBN 9788187746003. Page 496.
- Lings & Safadi 1976:12-13,17
- Gilchrist 1989:145-146; 152-153
- Calligraphy and Islamic Culture, Annemarie Schimmel, 1984, p.4
- W. Ouspensky, S. Pissaref, ed. (1905). Coran coufique de Samarcand (facsimile) = Самаркандский куфический Коран (факсимиле). St. Pétersbourg: Institut Archéologique de St. Pétersbourg.
- (Russian) Шебунин, А. Ф. Куфический Коран СПб. Публичной Библиотеки // Записки Восточного отделения Императорского Русского археологического общества. — Вып. 1—4. — СПб., 1892. — Т. VI. — С. 76—77.
- (Russian) "Самаркандский куфический Коран". RARUS'S GALLERY. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Memory of the World Register - Nomination Form Uzbekistan - Holy Koran Mushaf of Othman". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 September 2012.