This is an unusually large and extensively illuminated manuscript of the Islamic holy scripture. This manuscript, completed in naskhi calligraphy on polished paper, contains not only the original Arabic text of the Holy Qur’an, but also the Tafsir al-Qur’an, which is Qur’anic exegesis. It includes Persian translation in blue and additional inscriptions in the margins, written in red and surrounded by foliate decoration in gold, giving the number of verses, words, and letters in each sura (chapter). What is interesting about this particular script is that the Qur’anic commentary is written horizontally, diagonally, and vertically.

Furthermore, this copy gives information about the different “readings” of the Qur’an among important centers of Islamic learning, such as Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Basra, etc. This manuscript is unique in a way that although the author was from the Kashmir region, which is in India, the exegesis was written in Persian and not in the vernacular language of the author. Also, based on a note on the last page of the Tafsir, the exegesis is that of Husain Wa’iz al-Kashifi, a prominent Muslim scholar who wrote his Tafsir (Exegesis) in 1491.

–Jusuf Salih, PhD, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies

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