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July 14, 2013 10:44 am

Israel’s National Library Exhibits 30 Ancient Koran Manuscripts to Celebrate Ramadan

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12th century Koran displayed on Israel's National Library website during Ramadan. Photo: Israel's National Library .

Israel’s National Library has curated a special digital display of 30 rare Koran manuscripts that date from the 9th through the 19th centuries to mark the start last week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The manuscripts are part of the NLI collection, which includes 2,400 manuscripts in the Arabic script, and over 100 manuscripts of the Koran.

Ha’aretz reports that one page, dating from the early 16th century, is particularly noteworthy. “It’s amazing – truly one of the most beautiful Korans in our possession,” Dr. Raquel Ukeles, curator of the Islamic and Middle East collection at the library, told the daily.

The first page of most Korans is illustrated and decorative, while other pages are plain black and white, says Ukeles. “In this Koran, however, each page is a work of art, a royal manuscript,” she says.

Handwritten in Persian, it contains a small seal indicating that it came from the private library of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, father of Suleiman “The Magnificent” who rebuilt Jerusalem’s city walls in the 16th century.

The Koran was looted by Selim I’s forces during the conquest of the city of Tabriz and then brought to the market in centuries later Istanbul, when the Sultan’s family was disintegrating and in need of quick cash.

The emphasis on 30 Korans reflects one of the central rituals performed during the month of Ramadan: a daily reading of one section  in order to complete the recitation of the Koran by the end of Ramadan. The Library will highlight a different Koran each day throughout the month. Each Koran will be displayed with a link to the full digitized text. “‹”‹”‹

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  • Raymond in DC

    Did they display, and provide translations, of the Quran’s many pages manifesting hatred toward Jews, Christians, and other non-believers? Or of the religion’s founder’s treatment of conquered peoples?

    • rashid Zaidi

      That is not true, it not hatred of Jews or Christians but as a matter of fact admonishment by God of the wrong deeds that had been committed by people who go astray. There is only one God, the Muslims were the new kids on the block and they were being warned not to commit those same mistakes. Please do not distort facts or misconstrue them to create division. The Jews and Muslims lived in peace across the Mid East for centuries. Do not forget the Ottomans accepted the fleeing Jews from the Spanish inquisition. Today’s conflict is mainly because of politics. We have more in common than you give credit too.

    • Adeeb Hamad

      Have you ever read the Quran? If not then stop spreading false claims.

  • Efram Paul

    I am sure that all Islamic countries will reciprocate by showing photographs of Torah scrolls on Rosh Ha Shannah.

    • Kris Kristian

      RR is correct.
      No Islamic country would show photos of the Torah.
      They would rather burn the Torah.

      Why does Israel always have to be the “nice guys”?

    • VG

      Ha ha ha Wushful thinking!

  • Very dangerous art.

  • ZbaH