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Antique Ottoman Quran Leaf Manuscript: Surat al-Tawbah (Dated 1878)


Item Number: 483
Manuscript Leaflet: Surat Al-Tawbah (Repentance)
Age: 1878
Length: 17.5 cm x 24.5 cm
Frame: Dark brown wood
Mount: Green
Detailed Description:

Ottoman era leaf that is a remnant of an old handwritten Qur’an manuscript . It is one single paper with two pages, and is part of a larger book dated 1296 AH (1878 AD). It contains verses from Surat Al-Tawbah (Repentance). The text is framed in a red colored border and done with bold letters. The dots between verses are made of gold. The leaf exhibits foxing and no worming.
The name of this sūrah, al-Tawbah, comes from the reference to repentance in v. 3, though some connect it with God’s “relenting” toward the Prophet and the believers as mentioned in vv. 117– 18 (Āl), since “repent” and “relent” render the same verb with a different preposition following it. Another common name for this sūrah is al-Barāʾ ah (“The Repudiation”), a word that appears in its first verse, and several other names are also mentioned by commentators. This Madinan sūrah contains some of the most important passages in the Quran concerning the conduct of war and political relations during peace time, opening with a passage about how and why the believers should fight the idolatrous Arabs and also certain groups among the People of the Book (vv. 1– 29), which is followed by a criticism of the corruption of religious leaders (vv. 29– 32). A long passage describes the trials and disagreements that took place within the community over setting out on a military campaign and expands upon the dissension created by the hypocrites in Madinah who did not wish to go out to fight alongside the Prophet (vv. 38– 106, 117– 27). Loyalty and allegiance are major themes in the latter part of this sūrah and are applied to the attitudes of the nomadic Arabs (vv. 97– 101), the efforts of some hypocrites to establish a competing mosque in Madinah (vv. 107– 110), and the wavering and weakness of some Muslims in their commitment to following the Prophet into battle (vv. 117– 18). The rules governing the zakāh, or alms, and the giving of charity also figure prominently in this sūrah (vv. 58– 60, 103– 4). This is the only sūrah of the Quran that does not begin with the basmalah, the formula In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful . It is reported that Ibn ʿ Abbās asked ʿ Alī ibn Abī Ṭ ālib why there was no basmalah at the start of this sūrah . He responded that the basmalah is a statement of security, and this sūrah begins with the severing of a covenant and a declaration of conflict, which indicate the opposite of a state of security. When it was pointed out to him that the Prophet sent letters beginning with the basmalah to call various hostile groups to embrace Islam, ʿ Alī ibn Abī Ṭ ālib responded that this was precisely a call to God, not the rescinding of a pact; the former leads to peace, the latter to war. Commentators note that it was a custom, even in pre-Islamic times, to omit In the Name of God in a message breaking a treaty.


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