Islamic Scholars in Saudi Arabia Skeptical of Age of Birmingham University Quran

A Qur’an manuscript held by the University of Birmingham has been placed among the oldest in the world “thanks to modern scientific methods,” the UK-based college said, but some Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia are expressing their doubts.

The age of the Quran was put by the University between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4% 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.”

But a report today in Arabian Business shows that not all Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia are on the same page. According to the Dubai-based publisher, “at least three Saudi scholars claim the text must have been written after the Prophet’s death for several reasons,” with one going so far as to call the manuscript a “publicity stunt.”

“It is not possible to ascertain that the parchments were written close to the time of the Prophet (PBUH),” he was quoted as telling Makkah daily. “The university should have examined the ink not the hide on which it was written,” noting that even if the hide was from the period, the text may not be.

Another scholar noted that the use of red ink lines to separate chapters, nor red ink to write the words ‘Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem’, Arabian Business said.