Tuesday 17 August 2010

BBC: The Koran Through the Ages

The BBC has an article entitled "The Koran through the ages" by Razia Iqbal which looks at the origin of the Quran, how it has been preserved and memorised through history and how modern technology is making it accessible to everyone:

"A secular interpretation of any sacred text says, of course, that it's a human production," explains Tim Winter, also known under his Muslim name Abdel Hakim Murad, who lectures in Islamic studies at Cambridge University in England.

"But a traditional believing interpretation says that this is the word of God. It's not a work of co-authorship between God and the Prophet. God wrote it all," he adds.

One of the oldest surviving fragments of the Koran, dating back to the late 7th or early 8th Centuries, is at the British Library in London.

A page from Sultan Baybars' Koran at the British Library, written entirely in gold. Although the script slants to the right and looks unfamiliar to modern Arabic speakers, the text itself is almost exactly what you would find in a modern printed edition.

Soraya Syed is one of the few full-time female Arabic calligraphers in Europe.

Even though writing the sacred words is so closely bound up with the Islamic faith, she says she experiences her art as liberating and profoundly universal.

As she showed me how to write a version of the Bismillah - the declaration "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful" - she revealed something astonishing.

"When you study calligraphy and read how the old manuscripts describe the letters and the proportions, they use the human anatomy to describe the letters," she says.

"So in order for you to understand the letters and how to write them, you need to understand the human form."

Read the full article here.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting!

    Please visit: http://the-ideal-teenager.blogspot.com/