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The Qur’an is the central text of Islam and believed to be a revelation from God to Muhammad, through the angel Gabriel.
It is a single codex volume [a book with pages and a spine]. The text is written on fine paper with many decorative details painted in gold and other colours using raw materials from mineral and vegetable sources.
The volume has very fine opening pages with two decorated medallions and two very decorative headpieces at the head of the opening text. Following the Qur’an text there are also prayers and a Falnamah (book of omens). The book does not contain a precise date of its production but the style of the text, decoration and binding indicates that it was copied in the 16th century.
The daily and administrative language of the Mughal rulers was Persian but copies of the Qur’an would have remained in the original Arabic.
The style of each individual Qur’an, the style of the script, the decorative details and the materials used, vary according to local traditions.
Islam was the religion of the Mughal rulers of India, whose Empire lasted from the 16th – 19th centuries. A copy of the Qur’an was an essential text for daily worship and fine copies would have been greatly valued. This copy was produced by skilled scribes in India during the 16th century.
The fine materials and expert skills displayed in the text and decoration indicate that it was produced for a rich, perhaps royal, patron or mosque where it would have been highly valued. This volume was once owned by Tipu Sultan, the Nawab of Mysore, (1750-1799), whose fine library was broken up after his death at the Battle of Sriringapatna in 1799 with some of the volumes coming into the possession of the East India Company in Calcutta. It was then presented to University of Cambridge in 1806.
Are there links to current religious practices or a modern equivalent?
Copies of the text of the Qur’an, always in Arabic and unchanging in its content, have been produced throughout the Islamic world since the origins of the religion. The style of each individual copy, the style of the script, the decorative details and the materials used, vary according to the local traditions. Qur’ans produced in Indian at this time frequently display very high quality workmanship and skill.
This is a copy of the central text of the religion of Islam. This copy belonged to a ruler in the Mughal Empire, which covered large parts of the Indian subcontinent and which was originally established by Turco-Mongol invaders from Central Asia.
The daily and administrative language of the Mughal rulers was Persian but copies of the Qur’an text would have remained in the original Arabic, often with Persian influences in the decoration. The Mughal rulers controlled a large empire largely made up of indigenous people of other races and religions, predominantly Hindus. Islam and its beliefs would have functioned as an important unifying influence for the ruling classes.
The complete text is available in the CUL Digital Library.