The British Library has lent the copy of the Holy Qur’an to the British Museum for the exhibition: Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, which is set to open to the public on Jan. 26.
The Ma’il Qur’an is the oldest object to go on public display as part of the British Museum’s major exhibition dedicated to the Haj, the pilgrimage to Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This manuscript is from Arabia, probably copied in Makkah or Madinah and dates from the 8th century, one of the earliest in existence. The script is known as Ma’il, meaning sloping, on account of the pronounced slant to the right, and it is one of a number of scripts developed in the early Islamic period of the copying of the Qur’an.
In this copy of the Qur'an, as in other ancient fragments, there are no vowel signs or other aids to pronunciation, and the end of each verse is indicated by six small dashes in two stacks of three.