Student Finds Pages From Quran Almost As Old As Islam Itself In Birmingham Library

The two leaves of parchment have recently been carbon dated at a labratory at the University of Oxford and are thought to date back to the early seventh century, close to the time of the Prophet Muhammed. The finding makes the manuscript, with text from the Koran, Islams holy book, one of the oldest anywhere in the world. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images. ​

Pages from the oldest known copy of the Quran have been discovered at the library of the University of Birmingham, in England.

A Ph.D. candidate came upon several parchments from the ancient manuscript between the pages of another book, the university announced in a statement on Wednesday.

According to a press release on the University of Birmingham’s website, radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchments to the period between AD 568 to 645 with 94.5% accuracy.

The 1,370-year-old Quran is thought to be the earliest in existence. The age of the document means that the text may have been written during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, who is thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.

David Thomas, the university’s professor of Christianity and Islam, told the BBC, “The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad. He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may even have known him personally—and that really is quite a thought to conjure with,” he said.

Muhammad Afzal, chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque said, “When I saw these pages I was very moved. There were tears of joy and emotion in my eyes. And I’m sure people from all over the UK will come to Birmingham to have a glimpse of these pages.”

The pages will go on display at the Barber Institute in Birmingham, England in October.

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