Item Number: 609
Manuscript Leaflet: Surat al-Anbiya (The Prophets) & Surat-al Hajj (The Pilgrimage)
Size: 365 x 210 mm (inner)
475 x 315 mm (outer)
Origin: Banda, India
Languages: Arabic and Persian
Frame: Dark brown wood
Handwritten Qur’an manuscript from Banda, India, dated 1790 AD. It is one single paper with two pages, and contains verses from Surat al-Anbiyya (The Prophets) and Surat al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage). The text is written with beautiful Arabic Calligraphy and bold letters and includes marginal commentaries in Persian. The leaf is in good condition.
A magnificent handwritten leaf from a Koran fragment. It originates from Banda, India, and is dated 1790 AD. It contains verses from Surat al-Anbiyya (The Prophets) and Surat al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage). There are eleven lines of strong black naskh script within gold clouds. Gold roundels appear between verses. It also includes illuminated marginal medallions, markings after every tenth verse, a red Persian interlinear translation, surah headings in red, margins with Tafsir written in black and red. The final folio commentary is dated 1205.
The opening flyleaf is inscribed with a note reading: this copy of the Koran, formally the property of the Bahadoor, Nawab of Banda was delivered after the great victory obtained over Rebels and Mutineers by Major General Whitlocks Troops on the 19th of April 1858 to the Reverend A. Kinloch, the Chaplain of the Horse and present to him as a slight token of affectionate remembrance to the Reverend George Gleed the Vicar of Chalfont St. Peters, Bucks Banda Palace on April 29th 1858. A further note on the final flyleaf reads: This Copy of the Koran was taken from the apartments of Ali Bahadoor, Nawab of Banda after the occupation of his City and Palace by the Madras Column under Major General Whitlock.
Condition of this leaf is Fine.
Al-Anbiyāʾ , a Makkan sūrah, receives its name from the many stories of prophets told in it. The first section recounts the various accusations of falsehood and expressions of incredulity directed at the Prophet by the Quraysh (vv. 1– 10) and offers a reminder that peoples before him had been destroyed and could do nothing to stave off their punishment (vv. 11– 15). The impossibility of God taking a consort or having a child and the absurdity of more than one divinity in the universe are explained (vv. 16– 29), followed by a section asking human beings to contemplate the cosmos (vv. 30– 33). Human beings are reminded that all souls will taste death and will then be judged (vv. 34– 47).
After a brief mention of Moses and Aaron (vv. 48– 50), a longer account of Abraham is given that includes his ruse of blaming the largest of his people’s idols for destroying the smaller ones to show them how empty their worship was and the attempt by his people to burn him alive in retaliation (vv. 51– 73). After mentioning Lot (vv. 74– 75) and Noah (vv. 76– 77), the sūrah narrates a story of David and Solomon in which David’s judgment is overturned by that of his son (vv. 78– 82). This is followed by accounts of Job (vv. 83– 84); Ishmael, Idrīs, and Dhu’l-Kifl (vv. 85– 86); Jonah (vv. 87– 88); and Zachariah, John, and Mary (vv. 89– 91).
The last part of al-Anbiyāʾ addresses the end of the world and the coming of the Hereafter. A reminder of the tendency of religious communities to fragment when their members disagree among themselves is followed by an account of the coming of Gog and Magog, the ultimate end of idolaters and their idols in Hell, and the destruction of the cosmos and its renewal for the righteous (vv. 92– 104). The sūrah ends with a statement that the Prophet is a mercy to all creation, and a reminder both that he has given fair warning of what is to come and that he does not know when the final doom will come to pass (vv. 105– 12).
As to Surat al-Hajj, some say it is Madinan except for vv. 52– 55, which are Makkan, while others say it is Makkan except for vv. 19– 22, which are from the Madinan period. Most say it is a mix of Makkan and Madinan verses (Q). According to one tradition, it was called one of the most remarkable of sūrahs for several reasons: it was revealed both at night and during the day, while on journey and while at home, and during war and during peace; it contains both abrogating and abrogated verses; and it has both muḥ kam (unambiguous) and mutashābih (symbolic or allegorical) verses (Q). It takes its name from the mention of the hHajj (pilgrimage) in v. 27 and also the broader discussion of it throughout.
Al-Ḥajj opens with a warning of the terrors of the destruction of the world and the Resurrection (vv. 1– 4), which are compared to the individual life cycle of human beings (vv. 5– 7). The traits of the misguided are described and compared with those of the righteous through the parable of a garden and by describing their reward or punishment in the Hereafter (vv. 8– 25). The significance of the ḥ ajj is addressed in a passage that begins with a reminder that the rituals of the ḥ ajj were begun by Abraham and goes on to note that the true meaning of the rites of pilgrimage lies in the inner state of reverence (taqwā ) that reaches God, not sacrificial meat or other physical aspects of the Hajj (vv. 26– 37).
The resistance to and rejection of other prophets by their peoples is mentioned in a passage that some commentators have explained in terms of the “story of the cranes,” more popularly known in the West as the “Satanic Verses,” which are connected to various passages of the Quran, but are often discussed in connection with v. 52 of this sūrah . This sūrah contains an important passage thought by many scholars to be the first verses revealed giving the Muslim community permission to resort to the use of force to defend itself against persecution (v. 39– 41); it also contains significant verses dealing with the relationship of Islam to other religions and the place of the Muslim community in history (vv. 17, 34, 67, 78).
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