This calligraphic fragment includes the last verse (88) of the 28th chapter of the Qurʼan entitled al-Qaṣaṣ (The stories), as well as the illuminated heading and first six verses of the 29th chapter entitled al-ʻAnkabūt (The spider). Sūrat al-ʻAnkabūt dates from the late Meccan period, and it contains 69 verses. It warns that belief is always tested by trial and personal conduct: “Do men think that they will be left alone / When they say “We believe” and that they will not be tested? / We did test those before them, / And God will know those who are true from those who are false” (29:2‒3). And: “Those who believe and perform righteous deeds, / From them will We blot out all evil that may be in them, / And We will reward them according to the best of their deeds” (29:7). The text is written in an early style of Kufic script, in which red dots indicate vocalization. No a posteriori diacritical marks have been added to the text. This particular script typifies Qurʼans of the ninth century, at which time a vertical format began to be preferred over a horizontal format. Verse markers are barely visible to the naked eye and consist of three adjacent circles forming a triangle. The illuminated heading of Sūrat al-ʻAnkabūt is damaged from wear and being placed on the flesh side of the parchment (because of its pore holes, the hair side on the fragment's verso holds ink better). Nevertheless, it appears that the chapter’s title was executed in gold ink on the plain folio and provided with a rectangular gold frame. In the left margin appear the remaining traces of a gold decorative palmette, truncated at the edge from cropping.
Place: Middle East and North Africa
Institution: Library of Congress
Physical description: Dimensions of written surface: 23.1 x 14.5 centimeters