Item Number: 618 Manuscript Leaflet: Surat Ghāfir (The Forgiver)Age: 1575Size: 155 x 90 mmOrigin: IranLanguages: ArabicFrame: Dark brown woodMount: Green
A leaf from a beautiful handwritten, illuminated, Persian, Safavid Koran manuscript dated 1575 A.D. It contains verses from Surat Ghāfir (The Forgiver). It has 12 lines of text to the page in black strong hand naskhi script with full vowels and diacritical signs, gold ruled borders, surah headings in white ornamental ruja´ script on a gold ground within illuminated panels, blue centered gold roundels mark the 5th and 10th verses and marginal annotations in gold and red.
Although some sections of the work were in very poor condition, the majority has survived the ravages of time, though there is the usual light staining in the corners from devotional use. Condition of this leaf is fine. The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history.
Sūrah Ghāfir, takes its name from the reference to God as the Forgiver of sins in v. 3, but it is also known as “The Believer” (al- Muʾ min ), because of the discussion of a believing man from the House of Pharaoh (v. 28). It is also known by the title “The Bounty” (al-Faḍ l ), because of the reference to God as Possessed of Bounty in v. 3.
Ghāfir is the first in a series of seven sūrah s whose opening verses begin with the separated Arabic letters ḥāʾ and mīm and are followed by a reference to the Quran. Revealed during the same period, these sūrah s are known collectively as the Ḥawāmīm, and as “The Brides”. Addressing several recurring themes, they provide solace to the Muslim community at a time of persecution, foretelling the triumph of the revelation and the demise of those who oppose it.
The sūrah opens with an affirmation of the revelation and of God’s Mercy and Forgiveness (vv. 2– 3), followed by a repudiation of those who dispute the signs of God (vv. 4– 6), which becomes a recurring theme of the sūrah, and an extended prayer uttered by the angels for human beings (vv. 7– 9). Vv. 10– 20 then tell of the place of the disbelievers in the Hereafter, warning of their ultimate demise. This section serves as the thematic backdrop for an extended account of the story of Moses and Pharaoh (vv. 21– 50), the main feature of which is the story of a believing man from the House of Pharaoh who challenges Pharaoh’s opposition to Moses (vv. 28– 45).
An affirmation of the Divine Aid that God sends upon His messengers (vv. 51– 60) concludes with a condemnation of those who are too arrogant to worship God (v. 60), which segues into a discussion of God’s Power over all of creation (vv. 61– 68). The sūrah then discusses the punishment that awaits the disbelievers (vv. 69– 76) and counsels the Prophet to have patience, citing the examples of prophets who prevailed before him (vv. 77– 78). After a reflection on some signs of God’s Generosity and Power (vv. 79– 82), the sūrah concludes with an assurance that those who oppose God’s messengers will be defeated in the end (vv. 83– 85).