Fragments of a Koran dating back at least 1,370 years have been found among the archives of the University of Birmingham.
Radiocarbon analysis, which was carried out in a laboratory at the University of Oxford, has dated the parchment on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4 percent accuracy.
The result places the leaves close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.
Researchers conclude that the Quran manuscript is among the earliest written textual evidence of the Islamic holy book known to survive. This gives the Quran manuscript in Birmingham global significance to Muslim heritage and the study of Islam.
Susan Worrall, Director of Special Collections (Cadbury Research Library), said that the radiocarbon dating has delivered an exciting result, which contributes significantly to their understanding of the earliest written copies of the Quran.
Worrall added that they are thrilled that such an important historical document is here in Birmingham, the most culturally diverse city in the UK.
Consisting of two parchment leaves, the Quran manuscript, which is part of the University’s Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, is believed to contain parts of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi.
Worrall added that by separating the two leaves and analysing the parchment, they have brought to light an amazing find within the Mingana Collection.
The manuscript will be on public display at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, from Friday 2 October until Sunday 25 October.