‘The Digital Muṣḥaf Project’: A New and Unique Resource for Qur’an Manuscript Studies

The Oriental Manuscripts Division of the Special Collections at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford would like to announce the launch of a new portal for viewing the dispersed fragments of early Qur’ān manuscripts called ‘The Digital Muṣḥaf Project’, which can be accessed at http://digitalmushaf.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ Here you can view 85 folios of high definition colour images of a parchment Qur’ān manuscript in page order as if they were physically reunited in one location.

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We are launching this portal with the modest beginning of reuniting 85 of 334 known folios of one Qur’ān codex, a 3rd/9th or early 4th/10th century Abbasid Kufic manuscript which is dispersed over at least 10 museum and library collections. The 85 folios we have chosen for the initial project are from the collections of the Bodleian Library, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Herzog August Bibliotek at Wolfenbüttal, Germany. We desire to complete the reunification of this manuscript in a continuing project as well as add other early dispersed parchment Qur’āns.
 
Alasdair Watson, the Bahari Curator of Persian Manuscripts and the Curator of Islamic  Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, and Dr. Keith E. Small, a Qur’ānic Manuscript Consultant and formerly Honorary Fellow to the Bodleian Library’s Centre for the Study of the Book, are co-leading this project and maintaining the site.
 
This portal represents the first attempt to reunite a dispersed Qur’an manuscript online. It holds out great promise for setting a new standard of both access to manuscripts, and completeness in the presentation of basic bibliographic and codicological information for scholarly research. In making images of manuscripts from varying collections available through a common portal, it presents a cost effective way of gaining access to images, and also provides a very direct advertisement of the treasures held in the various collections involved. It also will assist in the conservation of these important and fragile resources.
 
We gratefully acknowledge funding from The Islamic Manuscript Association, the assistance of Computer Services at Oxford University, and the cooperation of the four libraries mentioned which have all made this portal possible.
 
Please feel free to use this site for your research of early Qur’ān manuscripts. Also, if you come across a leaf or folio that might be from this parchment but is unknown to us, please let us know so that we can investigate it and if possible, include it on the site. Please also let us know your suggestions for improving the site. The Digital Muṣḥaf Project email address is: digital.mushaf@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

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