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This content is taken from the University of Birmingham's online course, The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds SPEAKER 1: This week we’re joined by Neelam Hussain. Neelam is a curator of the Mingana collection here at the Cadbury Research Library, specialising in Islamic manuscripts. She’s also a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham. She’ll be describing some of the features of the Birmingham Qur’an and how they relate to developments in the Arabic written tradition, Islamic art, and wider Islamic manuscript culture.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 seconds NEELAM HUSSAIN: The Birmingham Qur’an manuscript is not only one of the earliest manuscripts of the Islamic holy text, but is also an early example of the Arabic written tradition. We will begin by taking a closer look at the features of our Qur’an manuscript leaves, and tracing some of the major developments in the way the Qur’an was presented in its written form. We will discuss the developments in the way Arabic script was written and the evolution of reading aid in Qur’an manuscripts. Whilst the Qur’an and its teachings have been a central focus in the worship, culture, writing, and everyday life of Muslims, the holy book has also been a focus for Islamic art across the centuries.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds Qur’an manuscripts were produced with great reverence. Scribes and artists ornamented the visible written form of the divine word by using calligraphy as a decorative feature. They also began decorating Qur’an manuscripts with geometric patterns and vegetal motifs. Many of the styles and techniques used to produce Qur’an manuscripts would go on to influence decorative features used in Islamic manuscript culture. We will also take a look at the styles and techniques that were used to ornament Qur’an manuscripts and how they influenced the [? book arts ?] more generally.

Qur’an manuscripts and Islamic arts of the book

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This video is from the free online course:

The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands

University of Birmingham