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A LARGE AND IMPORTANT QUR'AN FROM SULTANATE INDIA
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A LARGE AND IMPORTANT QUR'AN FROM SULTANATE INDIA

COPIED BY SHEIKH MUHAMMAD SADIQI, BIHAR, AH 1003/1594-95 AD OR EARLIER

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A LARGE AND IMPORTANT QUR'AN FROM SULTANATE INDIA
COPIED BY SHEIKH MUHAMMAD SADIQI, BIHAR, AH 1003/1594-95 AD OR EARLIER
Manuscript on cream paper, 642ff. with 8ll. of black muhaqqaq between 3ll. of large red muhaqqaq, the word Allah and other important words in gold, blue, gold, red and black floret between verses, 'ashr markers with gold 'ain in variously coloured medallions over white or coloured foliage, juz' divisions indicated by blue roundels containing gold squares and triangles, other divisions with blue teardrop-shaped markers, sura headings in gold on coloured ground, opening with double-page illumination, similar double-page illumination in centre and at end of Qur'anic text, opening with explanation of text layout, written in nasta'liq, then illuminated double-page with dedicatory inscription in small black naskh, Falnameh after Qur'anic text written in nasta'liq , tafsir written in margin, brown morocco binding with flap, spine repaired, generally in very good condition
Folio 18 x 12in. (45.8 x 30.5cm.)
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Lot Essay

A highly important Qur'an in the Sultanate style, this manuscript is of great significance, as signed and dated copies of Qur'ans from pre-Mughal India are of extreme rarity.

It is written in a clear hand, in the characteristic script and format known loosely as "Bihari". Just before the start of surat al-fatiha, written in small naskh on a double-page within illuminated borders is what appears to be a dedicatory inscription: the patron's titles are listed (although not his name), as are the details of how the first volume was completed in Muharram AH 897/November-December 1491 AD (although the number is spelt erroneously- sa'ba wa tisa'in wa saman miah- sin used instead of tha), and the subsequent ones transcribed by Husayn Rafi.

A prominent feature of the manuscript is the Qu'ranic tafsir commentary, which is written in the margins in small naskh, by the same hand as this dedication. Its colophon, in the margin of the final page of Qur'anic text, gives its title as jawahir al-tafsir li-tuhfat al-amir. There is no record of this text in the libraries of Salar Jung or Gulistan. The colophon also gives the names of the patron, Sheikh Muhammad Hafiz Sadiqi and scribe, Sheik 'Abdallah al-Sa'if, are given, as is the place- balad bihar/country of Bihar and the date AH 1003/1594-5 AD. This, together with the curious spelling mistake in the dating of the dedication mentioned above, suggest that it was actually copied from an earlier colophon, but it is also possible that the entire manuscript is a duplication of one made over a century earlier.

Before and after the Qur'anic text are sections that appear to have been added later, written in the same 17th century nasta'liq hand. At the beginning of the manuscript is an explanation elucidating the rules of the layout of the text (34 in all) - where certain words are highlighted or placed at the beginning of lines, with exceptions noted- which appears to account for the five-part layout of the page, and appears to be the key to understanding "Bihari" Qur'ans.
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