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Antique Banda Quran Leaf Manuscript: Surat al-Qasas (The Story) dated 1790


Item Number: 608
Manuscript Leaflet: Surat al-Qasas (The Story)
Age: 1790
Size: 365 x 210 mm
Size including frame: 475 x 315 mm
Origin: Banda, India
Languages: Arabic and Persian
Frame: Dark brown wood
Mount: Green


Detailed Description:

A magnificent handwritten leaf from a Koran fragment. It originates from Banda, India, and is dated 1790 AD.  It contains verses from Surat Al-Qaṣaṣ (The Story). 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.

Most commentators consider al-Qaṣaṣ to be an entirely Makkan sūrah that was revealed after Sūrah 27, al-Naml. It takes its name from the story (qaṣ aṣ ) Moses tells his future father-in-law in v. 25 regarding his flight from Egypt.
Al-Qaṣaṣ begins with the story of Moses and Pharaoh and describes the oppression suffered by the Children of Israel, leading Moses’ mother to cast him into the river, after which he was rescued and cared for by the family of Pharaoh and ultimately reunited with his mother (vv. 3– 13). This is followed by an account of Moses’ striking and killing an Egyptian who was quarreling with an Israelite and the subsequent flight of Moses from Egypt to Midian (vv. 14– 22). There Moses meets two sisters, one of whom he will come to marry, and finds refuge for many years in the employ of his father-in-law (vv. 23– 28). Then Moses encounters the fire from which he hears God speak to him; he has his first experience of the miracles he will perform in Egypt and requests that Aaron, his brother, be sent with him to confront Pharaoh (vv. 29– 35). The confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh includes the issue of the latter’s claim to divinity and his boast about building a structure to climb up to Heaven to encounter and challenge the God of Moses (vv. 36– 42).
The Prophet Muhammad is told that he was not present when Moses received his revelations and that in the intervening period God sent prophets to other peoples, a reminder that only highlights the obstinacy and pride of the Prophet’s contemporaries who claimed to long for guidance from God, but who rejected His Prophet when he was sent (vv. 43– 50). They are contrasted with those who, when they hear the truth, believe in it (vv. 51– 55).
The last part of the sūrah emphasizes the ephemerality of the world in relation to the Hereafter; Moses’ contemporary Korah is presented as the epitome of wickedness and worldly extravagance and pride. The sūrah ends with a reminder that this world is coming to an end and that all things will return to God (vv. 56– 88).



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