A 16th-century Qur’an of Afghani, or possibly Indian, origin.

The manuscript

Librarians’ notes show that this manuscript was acquired by some royal library in 984 AH (1576 CE). Later it was in the library of the Amirs of Sind, after which it was acquired by the royal family of Delhi.

What is significant about this manuscript?

It is customary for Muslims to recite a special prayer on completing a reading of the whole Qur’an. These extra pages, which contain the concluding prayer at the end of the volume, are sometimes highly decorative. In this Qur’an the prayer pages (folios 372v –373) have the same format as a carpet page, with each line of text on the right-hand page in gold set against an alternating background of blue, pink and yellow cartouches. For theological and doctrinal reasons – since only God is perfect – the symmetry of design in the decorative pages of the Qur’an is not exact. Usually the symmetry is subtly broken; in this case, however the asymmetry is obvious. For, though the cartouches on both pages are in the same colours, the left-hand page presents them in a different order.