Core Curriculum : Contemporary Civilization

The Quran > The Quran


3rd section (of thirty) in muhaqqaq script with Persian interlinear translation, on paper. Copied by the calligrapher Mes‘ud and illuminated by Mahfuz, two sons of ‘Abd al-Malek, scribe of Ghiyath, in 657 A. H. (1259 C E).

Columbia RBML Smith Oriental MS 263

Click here for item information

Around the year 963 the Samanid ruler of Khurasan, Mansur b. Nuh (r. 961-976),  asked a group of Islamic scholars to translate the Quran into Persian. This, along with the translation of Tabari’s commentary on the Quran into Persian, marked the beginning of the process whereby Islam became a world religion and not merely an Arab religion. This third volume of the Quran, from a set of thirty, is a magnificent example of the Arabic script and Persian interlinear translation. The Persian text is in a version of naskh script and appears in clusters of words and phrases, hanging at a forty-degree angle beneath the corresponding Arabic phrase.  The muhaqqaq, used for the Arabic lines, was a favored script for the large Qurans of the 14th and15th centuries. Here, the majestic muhaqqaq, outlined in gold, allows only three lines per borderless page. In a reversal, the vocalizations are marked in gold that is highlighted by black.


Columbia University Libraries / Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5590 /