800-year-old Quran sells for record $2.3 million

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society Topics: Quran Views: 14297

The Quran is considered by Muslims to be the exact word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Arabic. Recently a Quran written over 800 years ago has sold for 1.14 million ($2.3 million) at an auction in London. 

The Quran written in 1203, signed by Yahya bin Muhammad ibn Umar, is dated 17 Ramadan 599 (June 1203). The inscription in the manuscript was done in gold outlined in thin black lines, and the marginal notes are in silver outlined in red. This holy book was estimated to sell for up to $715,000 but it fetched $2,327,300 on 23 October at Christie's auction house in London.


Click Image to Enlarge

Photo released by Christie's auctioneers of a 13th century Quran which has sold for a world record at the London auction house Tuesday Oct. 23, 2007.

At the same auction two new world auction records were made for any Islamic manuscript. Along with it another 10th-century Kufic Quran from North Africa or the near East, was sold for $1,870,000. Both ancient manuscripts were offered for sale by the Hispanic Society of America, and were purchased by trade buyers in London.

The Kufic Quran was written on paper in a landscape format, a change from the earlier style of copying on horizontal parchment, Christie's catalog said.

The Kufic script takes its name from Kufah in Iraq, an early centre of Islamic scholarship.

The Hispanic Society is a museum and reference library in New York for the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal and Latin America, and has a centre devoted to medieval studies.

The gold script Quran was bought in Cairo in 1905 by Archer Milton Huntington, the adopted son of railroad and ship-building magnate Collis P. Huntington and founder of the Hispanic Society.

Christie's sold 5.95 million ($11.8 million) of art from the Islamic and Indian worlds at its sale on Tuesday.

"Today's extraordinary sale total is one of the highest ever for Islamic art at Christie's, reflecting the depth of demand and very strong prices realized throughout the field,'' William Robinson, director of Islamic art and carpets at Christie's, said in a statement.


Muslim historians document that the Quranic revelation was communicated to Prophet Muhammad by Angel Gabriel while he was meditating in the cave of Hira near Makkah in 610 AD.

According to Muslim tradition the complete Quran was revealed over a period of 22 years in segments during the life of the Prophet. The order and sequence of the Quran was Divinely inspired and was instructed to the Prophet by God through archangel Gabriel. Whenever the Prophet recited a revelation to his companions, he would also mention in which chapter and after which verse the new revelation belonged.

It is recorded that the verses were written on separate pieces of different material, scrapes of leather, thin flat stones, leaflets, palm branches, shoulder blades, etc. After the demise of the prophet, Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam ordered that the Quran be copied from the various materials on to a common material which was in the shape of sheets. At the same time several companions of the Prophet had memorized the complete Quran.

It is important to note that "Quran" means "Recitation". Even today schools that specialize in teaching Quranic memorization can trace the teachers back to these first Muslims who had committed the entire Quran to memory.


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  9 Comments   Comment

  1. pamela from united States

    I have one and it looks just like this one and it is

    very frail and was written in gold and black. It has

    some loose pic same in writting with gold and

    black, one is a tree and a beautiful pic of a

    rose with gold peddles. It is amazing ! Would

    like to see if it's from the same time. Looks

    just like the one in there pic....

  2. muthahira from india

    Masha allah..the verses look so beautiful..I wonder how it was when it was brand new...

  3. bishal hameed from canada

    a quran is a very holy book which has no comparison with nothing on earth, in my opinion it should not auctioned like this in the open market it should be kept in the most holy place of earth like MECCA OR any ancient MOSQUE please for gods sake dont auction this holy book please.

  4. FS from USA

    It seems offensive to me that a Qur'an would be optioned off. I don't think that the word of God should be treated like a hot commodity item.

  5. A Osman from UK

    Jihad Abdul Akbar,

    You commented "This is the word of OUR LORD ALLAH!Thow shalt not sell the words of The most High for Silver or Gold." Is this from any source Quran/Hadith?

    The fact that it sold for a very high price is a sign that it would be well looked after. Selling the Quran is not a crime under the Islamic rule and I find it difficult to understand our reactions at times.

    Actually, if auctions of other Islamic sources is publicised it would bring attention to the wealth of Islamic culture and would give us and others insight.

  6. Shehla Shukoor from canada

    The Quran 's value is the words and its meaning not the book cover with gold, astaghfuRAllah, the prophet was the "walking =Quran" narrated by Aisha (R) meaning the Quran is to follow it and implement what it teaches, it clearly does not mean for it to be put high on the shelf so one can never read it, astahgfuRAllah , may Allah guide this ummah, for clearly we NEED GUIDANCE!!

  7. Jihad Abdul Akhbar from usa

    I am highly upset that Our Book of Life is auction off like a old car on ebay.This is the word of OUR LORD ALLAH!Thow shalt not sell the words of The most High for Silver or Gold.May ALLAH punish the DEVILS that did this dirty deed! ALLAH is the best of all planners.All Praises Due To ALLAH.

  8. Mohammad Syed from USA

    Buying and selling of the Qur'an (Word of Allah) is a very serious business. If the intent of the parties involved in this transaction was to protect the Quran from going into the wrong hands, it may have been a worthy cause. If the intent of the seller was to make a quick buck, then, he/she/it has indeed earned a miserable price for selling the Word of Allah. The same is true for the buyer.

    Mohammad

  9. Tapiwa from USA

    Hopefully the purchaser will understand the contents and receive

    an infinite return on investment from Allah inshaallah.