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Skywizard
22nd July 2015, 19:03
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Fragments of what could be the world’s oldest Koran.


Fragments of what could be the world’s oldest Koran have been found in an English library
after laying unrecognized for nearly a century.

The finding “is news to rejoice Muslim hearts,” Muhammad Isa Waley, lead curator for Persian and Turkish manuscripts at the British Library, said.

Written with ink in a surprisingly clear early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi, the manuscript consists of two parchment leaves and is part of the Mingana Collection, held in the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library.


‘For Allah’ Inscription Found on Viking Era Ring

The collection is made up of over 3,000 Middle Eastern manuscripts in over 20 languages and was the property of Alphonse Mingana (1878-1937), a Chaldean priest and historian. He built up his collection in the 1920s, when he embarked on three trips to the Middle East to purchase manuscripts.

The collection was later acquired “to raise the status of Birmingham as a center for religious studies and attract prominent theological scholars,” the University of Birmingham said in a statement.

For years the manuscript had been bound with leaves of a similar Koran manuscript, which is datable to the late seventh century.

The importance of the two parchment leaves was first noticed by Alba Fedeli during her Ph.D. research, prompting a radiocarbon dating test.

The results were “exciting,” said Susan Worrall, the university’s director of special collections.


Priceless Timbuktu Manuscripts Escape Burning

The tests, carried out by the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, dated the parchment on which the text is written to between 568 and 645 A.D. with 95.4 percent accuracy. The dating places the leaves close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between 570 and 632 A.D.

“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, said in a statement.

He noted that, according to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Koran between 610 and 632 A.D., the year of his death.

“At this time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today. Instead, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men.’ Parts of it had also been written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels,” Thomas said.


Mysterious Manuscript Has Genuine Message

It was Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad, that ordered the collection of all Koranic material in the form of a book. The final written form was completed under the direction of the third leader, Caliph Uthman, in about 650 A.D.

According to Thomas, there is a strong probability that the sheep or goat from which the parchment was made was alive during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad or shortly afterwards.

“This means that the parts of the Koran that are written on this parchment can, with a degree of confidence, be dated to less than two decades after Muhammad’s death,” Thomas said.

The manuscript contains parts of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, written in a form that is very close to how the Koran reads today.


Source: http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/worlds-oldest-koran-fragments-found-in-uk-150722.htm



peace...

Baby Steps
22nd July 2015, 19:55
According to the Chronica Majora written by Matthew Paris in the 13th century , King John wanted to convert England to Islam, as he was not happy with the Pope.

That would have made Robin Hood a Christian insurgent!

Meggings
22nd July 2015, 20:27
Well now, Baby Steps, your post above about King John interested me as I'd never heard this before. After some internet checking, a website called "Ask Historians" gave this (from http://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/2dl88v/today_my_friend_told_me_that_king_john_considered/

The claim comes from the 'Chronica Majora' by Matthew Paris which forms part of the The Saint Alban’s Chronicles. Paris was an English Benedictine Monk who wrote about the alleged event some twenty years after it was meant to have happened.

In his version of events King John visited Muhammad al-Nasir, the Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate which spanned a large swathe of the Mediterranean coast and offered to convert himself and the English to Islam.

Matthew Paris is not considered a reliable historical source by any stretch and certainly not in regards to King John.

This isn't unusual for chroniclers of that era, the study and recording of history didn't have the academic rigour that it does today. Rather it lavishly incorporated religious beliefs, national mythologies and political propaganda. The practice of compiling was also common, where parts of previous chronicles deemed favourable would be inserted; the Medieval version of copypasta.

The propaganda message here is 'King John is worse than the enemies of Christendom because he wanted to coerce his people to leave their religion and convert, something which even Islam forbids a King to do'

To put this in to some context, Chronica Majoa was written more than a century before the first stirrings of the English pre-reformation and so the Religious coercion which would come later was not yet an issue.

Because there is such a lack of reliable contemporary accounts for this period Paris is often used as a source by modern historians, but crucially not where his claims aren't corroborated.

The historical accuracy of events relayed in his chronicles and those of others like him are judged through the quantity and consistency of the accounts. As well as whether other evidence available backs them up. The chronicles blended fact and fiction and so it's the task of modern Historians to try to separate that mixture.

If many chroniclers have the same basic story - it's more likely to be true. The King John story falls down at this hurdle. There's no account of these events anywhere else in the contemporary historical record, the Chronica Majora is the only source.

Furthermore, Paris is known to have had reason to want to paint an unfavourable picture of John. His Abbey was put under secular rule by him during the interdiction of 1208-1214 and thus, for this reason and others, he bore him a grudge.

His account of King John's reign ends with the lines:
“With John’s foul deeds England’s whole realm is stinking - Hell itself is defiled by the foul presence of John”

My own private understanding is that King John was rather better than history has written him to be, was more "spiritually" awake than many of his time.

Baby Steps
23rd July 2015, 08:47
Well now, Baby Steps, your post above about King John interested me as I'd never heard this before. After some internet checking, a website called "Ask Historians" gave this (from http://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/2dl88v/today_my_friend_told_me_that_king_john_considered/

The claim comes from the 'Chronica Majora' by Matthew Paris which forms part of the The Saint Alban’s Chronicles. Paris was an English Benedictine Monk who wrote about the alleged event some twenty years after it was meant to have happened.

In his version of events King John visited Muhammad al-Nasir, the Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate which spanned a large swathe of the Mediterranean coast and offered to convert himself and the English to Islam.

Matthew Paris is not considered a reliable historical source by any stretch and certainly not in regards to King John.

This isn't unusual for chroniclers of that era, the study and recording of history didn't have the academic rigour that it does today. Rather it lavishly incorporated religious beliefs, national mythologies and political propaganda. The practice of compiling was also common, where parts of previous chronicles deemed favourable would be inserted; the Medieval version of copypasta.

The propaganda message here is 'King John is worse than the enemies of Christendom because he wanted to coerce his people to leave their religion and convert, something which even Islam forbids a King to do'

To put this in to some context, Chronica Majoa was written more than a century before the first stirrings of the English pre-reformation and so the Religious coercion which would come later was not yet an issue.

Because there is such a lack of reliable contemporary accounts for this period Paris is often used as a source by modern historians, but crucially not where his claims aren't corroborated.

The historical accuracy of events relayed in his chronicles and those of others like him are judged through the quantity and consistency of the accounts. As well as whether other evidence available backs them up. The chronicles blended fact and fiction and so it's the task of modern Historians to try to separate that mixture.

If many chroniclers have the same basic story - it's more likely to be true. The King John story falls down at this hurdle. There's no account of these events anywhere else in the contemporary historical record, the Chronica Majora is the only source.

Furthermore, Paris is known to have had reason to want to paint an unfavourable picture of John. His Abbey was put under secular rule by him during the interdiction of 1208-1214 and thus, for this reason and others, he bore him a grudge.

His account of King John's reign ends with the lines:
“With John’s foul deeds England’s whole realm is stinking - Hell itself is defiled by the foul presence of John”

My own private understanding is that King John was rather better than history has written him to be, was more "spiritually" awake than many of his time.

Thanks, that got me thinking!
Yes, I agree there was more to King John than we are taught.
He is portrayed as a usurper but in fact paid a ransom equivalent to twice the Country’s economic output to bring his elder brother, King Richard home

http://www.angus-donald.com/history/king-richards-return-imprisonment-and-ransom/

http://www.britroyals.com/kings.asp?id=john

He signed the Magna Carta, which is a globally significant event. It was the first time to my knowledge that a Royal surrendered his God-given Divine right to rule absolutely , to other humans.
Maybe that is why he is portrayed as such a bad guy.

I can believe that he was enlightened. Maybe he DID have a flirtation with the Caliph. After all, the country was being brutally crippled by taxes to fund the Crusades, a policy that was imposed from ROME. If the English had converted to Islam then the people of Palestine would no longer be ‘Infidels’, and John could have loosened his people’s bonds.
It takes a wise soul to recognise that swapping one Religious dogma for another ain’t no hill of beans!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV6QsM1rV7g