This copy of the first volume of the Qur'an is attributed to the city of Zubara. Its leather binding is decorated, through pressing and heating, with geometric and vegetal patterns of Indian influence. Largely damaged, the leather has recently been restored. The two opening pages are adorned with geometric patterns comprising green, orange and red squares.
This volume includes half the Qur'an from Surat Al Fatihah to Surat Al Isra. The text is written in naskh script and bears influences of Indian and Ottoman calligraphy. Each page has 14 lines, and the text is written in red and black. The manuscript was written by Ahmad bin Rashid bin Juma'a bin Khamis bin Hilal al-Marikhi from the Maliki sect, and who was from Al Zubara. This name is inscribed at the end of the second part of the manuscript, with the date 16 Sha'ban 1221, corresponding to October 29, 1806.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT QATAR
The Qatar Peninsula is surrounded by sea except in the south where it connects with its neighbours from the Arabian Peninsula. For hundreds of years people have shared the land, resources and knowledge inherited from their environment. With no fixed lifestyle in terms of time and place, people moved easily and freely between land and sea for trade, livestock, pearl diving, fishing, and hunting at various times throughout the year. This symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment was represented in the unity of their societies, including the exchange of knowledge, stories and the trading of available goods.
A distinctive characteristic of life on the Qatar Peninsula has long been the close association between the coast and the desert – al barr. Some desert tribes spent several months of the year in coastal cities, setting up semi-permanent residences to participate in pearl diving or fishing. Similarly, coastal residents occasionally moved to al barr during the winter to graze their livestock. This exchange of natural resources and the influence of different environments has contributed to the creation of a unique community.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT - REGION/GULF/WORLD
The presence of British, French and Dutch trading companies in the Gulf from the early 1600s brought uncertainty to the region, with unstable alliances and intense competition over trade routes. As trade flourished, however, the strength of the Arab tribes increased. Many Arab tribes moved from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula to Qatar, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the major towns of the Gulf were founded. Several towns flourished on the Qatari coast, including Huwailah, Khor Hassan, Fuwairat, Ruwaida, Freiha, Al Bidda and Doha. The most notable was Al Zubara which became a hub for the Gulf pearl trade.
PUBLICATIONS AND RESEARCH
AL THANI, N., Manuscript of the Holy Quran in Al Zubarah
ELSAYED, M. H., The Holy Quran in Al Zubarah Report(NMoQ)