in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, now bound with the Codex Parisino-petropolitanus, and witness verses corresponding to a lacuna in that text.
Professor Berk recalls that these manuscripts had been intensively researched in association with an exhibition on the history of the Quran, The Quran in its 1,400th Year, held in Istanbul in 2010, and the findings published by François Déroche as Qur’ans of the Umayyads in 2013.
In that study, the Paris Quran, Bn F Arabe 328(c), is compared with Qurans in Istanbul, and concluded as having been written "around the end of the seventh century and the beginning of the eighth century." Joseph E. Lumbard of Brandeis University has written in the Huffington Post in support of the dates proposed by the Birmingham scholars.
Alba Fedeli, who was studying items in the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts for her Ph D thesis Early Qur'ānic manuscripts, their text, and the Alphonse Mingana papers held in the Department of Special Collections of the University of Birmingham, Following an approach by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy in 2013 to contribute a sample from Islamic Arabic 1572 to the Corpus Coranicum project to investigate textual history of the Quran, which coincided with Fedeli's research into the handwriting, the Cadbury Research Library arranged for the manuscript to be radiocarbon dated at the University of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.
They determined the radiocarbon date of the parchment to be 1465±21 years BP (before 1950), which corresponds with 95.4% confidence to the calendar years CE 568–645 when calibrated.
And it seems to leave open the possibility that the Uthmanic redaction took place earlier than had been thought – or even, conceivably, that these folios predate that process.
In any case, this – along with the sheer beauty of the content and the surprisingly clear Hijazi script – is news to rejoice Muslim hearts.
Equally, the application of intermittent dashes to differentiate consonants varies from the counterpart pointing in the standard text at four places.
Otherwise, the aspect in which the Birmingham Quran differs most substantially from the standard text is in its verse divisions; of the four surahs partially witnessed in these leaves, three have a verse division omitted in at least one place.
The text is laid out in the format that was to become standard for complete Quran manuscripts, with chapter divisions indicated by a decorated line, and verse endings by intertextual clustered dots.